Friday, January 29, 2010

John Gardner on The First Year Experience: Irving, Texas, Jan 27,2010

These are my "very rough" notes of the meeting with John Gardner. There were 12 or 13 of us. The Cool Ranch Restaurant was HUGE. The food was very good. And what John shared was most informative. At least in my humble opinion. GD

Anyway for what they're worth, here are the notes. Maybe they'll help jog the memories of those who were there ... and provide a small glimpse for those who were not.

I've also enjoyed reading Gardner's blog. Particularly the latter part of the tagline:

"He is alert to national and institutional policies that support or sabotage students’ progress through undergraduate education."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Search for Practical Theory

Sometimes my mind busies itself during holiday with inscrutible questions. One that kept arising since late December was what those of us on the Learning Frameworks committee should put forward as OUR THEORY (for information literacy). As you know Learning Frameworks is supposed to be based on theory.

Those of us on both sides of the fence (faculty and librarian) are not particularly comfortable with such questions. We take pride in our practicality. But it's a task that must be done and the deadline is fast approaching. So what shall it be?

I don't think theory has to mean grand theory, but it should point to something other than mere practice. It's not about how to do something but rather about providing context for things done.

The one that has settled in my mind the longest has two interrelated parts:

(1) Information Cycles and (2) The Concept of Primary - Secondary - Tertiary sources. Here's a page in the University of Idaho Information Literacy Tutorial that combines both. There are, of course, many additional resources on the web that could support this. Like this interactive activity from The University of Washington or this audio powerpoint called 1-2-3 of Sources from a librarian in Minnesota.

I know it's not very satisfying. But if you can only teach one thing (the theory - the content) what would/should it be?

PS 1. For what it's worth here's another idea I've toyed with. Science teacher Greg Craven made a 10 minute viral YouTube video a few years back that was essentially an overview of how to think about Global Warming. He called it "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See." There was a web site that followed the video and a book which I purchased ...What's the Worst That Could Happen? I purchased it because of Chapter 4 "A Beautiful Rainbow of Credibility: The Credibility Spectrum." It's 25 pages and could I think be translated into some kind of activity. I'll probably do another blog post that expands on this idea.

PS 2. I'm sitting here with a pile of information literacy texts trying to figure out what to do. It doesn't look promising.