Final reflections…

What have I learnt? Will this influence my practise? In which way?

Participating in this course has forced me to use new digital tools and brought many pedagogical ideas to my mind. I would really like my colleagues to get the same opportunity and I hope there will be a group from Malmö University that joins the course in a near future, maybe already next term.

I have learnt  the importance of having a clear structure and using methods for planning and collaboration when working online, and working in a PBL group (Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M., & Walti, C. 2009). Otherwise PBL work is only group work and socialization, not a method to develop understanding and construct knowledge in a group (Conole 2015).  Equally important is to make PBL work and online learning as flexible as possible,  so different kinds of learners can participate, collaborate and learn the way that suits them best. These different aspects has to be balanced to create a successful online learning environment. I believe that I could have learnt more in this course if the PBL work in my group had been better structured and if I had put more time and engagement in the collaborative and sharing parts of the course.

An indirect result of my participation is that I have developed my professional english when “forced” to blog about and express pedagogical thoughts in english. I have wanted to become better at speaking english in my profession as a librarian for a long time, so this was a good way to learn by doing.

Now when the course has come to an end my goal is to use my experiences from the course to plan my library sessions better – more varied activities and more use of open educational resources to create flexible learning. Another goal will be to plan my library sessions together with the teachers, or at least always invite them. If I succeed I want to collaborate with the teachers to give students possibilities to break down search questions and problems in peers and groups (Conole, 2015) and let them try different methods to collaborate and share experiences online.

A direct result of my involvement in this ONL course is that I have presented some of my thoughts about flexible learning, open educational resources (OER) and learning design to my colleagues at a TeachMeet. The next step is to start working on some of the ideas I shared; for example creating modules connected to the different Information Search Process phases and producing and using OER material in the field of Information Literacy. Finally I will share my thoughts and ideas from this course in the blog I huvudet på bibliotekarien.

My head is spinning like a wheel now and I hope to get some of the ideas I have out of my head by realizing them!

References:

Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M., & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3)

Conole, G. (2015). The 7Cs of Learning Design. Download as PDF (In press).

Kuhlthau, C. (2004). Chapter 8, Zones of Intervention in the Process of Information Seeking. [Electronic version].Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services (pp. 127-144). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited

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Librarians and teachers in collaboration to design better learning environments?

Rethinking and using digital technologies when designing learning environments is a challenge. Lack of time and digital literacy skills are two of the reasons teachers mentions, when asked about why they don’t use  technology to enhance learning/teaching more (Conole 2015).

238649864_f2ec5044f8_q

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) By Eric Waisman

My reflections this week is about how librarians and teachers can collaborate to design better learning environments for students. And how we together can support and scaffold students in different phases of their learning process. These are some of the ideas I have:

  • Discussions about Information Literacy (IL) and Academic Literacy (AL) in different contexts.
  • Share ideas about IL and AL skills moments for students.
  • Librarians as a part of teaching teams in the course design process.
  • Librarians as parts of groups on the university that works with quality enhancement.
  • Rethinking different ways of supporting teachers to  develop their digital literacy skills.
  • Share ideas about how to use digital technologies in education/learning/teaching.
  • Librarians as part of a team that supports the use of technology to enhance learning and teaching.
  • Creating introductions and Open Educational Resources (OER) about digital tools that can be used when teaching and designing a course.
  • Discussions and sharing of good examples of resources and activities to use to support students learning (for example OER).

Salmon (2013) emphasize the importance of creating a social context for students and discusses how effective scaffolding strategies can be used. Salmons way of thinking about how to learn and construct learning environments reminds me of the discussions we had when I was studying to become a teacher 20 years ago! I’m a bit surprised but also happy to see that one of my old favourites from my teacher training is still going strong 🙂 and that his (Vygotsky’s) Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) still is considered a good starting point when it comes to designing learning.

The difference is that today we have an immense amount of digital tools to use to support the students. Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development means that you have two people who have different levels of knowledge in which one person with more sophisticated knowledge helps (or scaffolds) the other in learning. Kuhlthau (2004) calls them Zones of Intervention. It is within these zones that a librarian can step in and help a student just like a teacher can help a student. I believe that help in the ZPD, from both librarians and teachers, could be even better and obviously more flexible if we also used digital tools and OER.

Guidance is one of the foundations for learning and to guide the students in different phases of the learning process is essential. In for example PBL work it is important to provide methods, which helps the students to reflect on and resolve a challenge or open-ended question. Pedagogical methods like the jigsaw pedagogical pattern is a useful way of breaking down a problem. Methods like this also provides structure, which helps the learners construct knowledge and develop understanding in conjunction with others (Conole 2015) .

But I also think that it is important that WE, teachers and librarians, give each other guidance. Because we have different knowledge about the students and various levels of knowledge about subjects like; teaching, learning, digital tools, information literacy, academic literacy etc.

By Dcoetzee (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons 

References:

Kuhlthau, C. (2004). Chapter 8, Zones of Intervention in the Process of Information Seeking. [Electronic version].Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services (pp. 127-144). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited

Salmon, G. (2013) Scaffolding for online learning. Available here

Conole, G. (2015). The 7Cs of Learning Design. Download as PDF (In press).

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Flexible IL learning with OER?

The last two weeks topics about Flexible Learning and Open Educational Practices as well as having read an article about Inquiry Based Learning (Blessinger & Carfora, 2015) made me think about my role as a librarian and what I can do to support flexible learning for the students at Malmö University, maybe by using or creating Open Educational Resources (OER). As a teaching librarian my role is to help students to orientate in the immense information landscape in different phases of the Information Search Process (ISP).

As Martha Cleveland says in her webinar flexible learning is about; When, where, how and at what pace learning occurs! It’s about providing choices for the students and empower them to take the decisions about their learning. So my challenges is how to make the Information Literacy (IL) learning more flexible by providing more choices?

As a teaching librarian I meet students in different phases of the learning process and in various situations; in the information desk, when lecturing, in the chat room and in individual information search sessions. In these meetings the students can get individual support but not always “right on time”. Hence I also see the need to complement this support with educational resources, so students can choose when and where to get the help they need.

One way of creating a flexible learning environment, when it comes to information retrieval and information literacy, could be to organize educational IL resources in learning modules that are connected to the different phases of the ISP. Modules that are connected and build on each other, but also can be used in any order and separately. The modules could be connected to the different phases of the ISP and have various learning goals and learning resources (videos, podcasts, checklists, articles, search assignments, search tips, subject guides, information about scholarly texts, writing references & citing etc.) In these modules there would be both resources created specifically for the students at Malmö University and more general OER material.

sökprocessen_engelsk

Creative Commons-licensBy Åsa Tosting, Malmö University Library

Some examples:
Formulate your question – link to  What Makes a Good Research Question?
Find search terms – link to How to develop Keywords
Choose sources – Link to Subject guides
Search – Link to 3 tips for better searches
Collect the material – Links to for example Borrowing & requesting
Read & value – Links to for example What is a scholarly text? How To Read a Scholarly Journal Article 

By creating resources like this the library can offer a bigger variety of support and a 24/7 accessibility which can contribute to a more flexible IL learning environment. Hopefully this can help the students in their learning process and contribute to flexible and information literate learners!

References:
Chaos and order: Scaffolding students’ exploration during inquiry-based learning in Blessinger, Patrick. & Carfora, John M. (red.) (2015). Inquiry-based learning for multidisciplinary programs [Elektronisk resurs] : a conceptual and practical resource for educators. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald

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Collaborative learning online

This week I’ve learned about Twitter and how to use it for collaboration. I participated in my first twitter chat or tweetchat as it’s called and downloaded TweetDeck to make it more effective. Twitter is far from my first choice when it comes to collaborative learning but at least now I know a little bit more of how to use Twitter and when it can be useful.

To orientate me better in this weeks topic I started by looking up the meaning of the concept learning community which I’ve heard in various contexts but never entered more deeply in. In Wikipedia a learning community is described as “a group of people who share common academic goals and attitudes, who meet semi-regularly to collaborate on classwork” (Wikipedia). So a study group or what we call “basgrupp” in Swedish could be seen as a a learning community.

Smaller learning communities or study groups are a good way of learning collaboratively. Through group work and peer learning, both live and online, I believe you can learn better and deeper. But I’ve realized that it takes a lot of planning and work to create effective learning communities and group work tasks. Brindley, J.,Blaschke, L. M., & Walti, C. (2009) highlights some of the pedagogical benefits of collaborative learning in their article and identifies factors that contribute to make small collaborative
learning groups (online) more effective. I have always thought that collaborative learning works better in smaller groups so this article is what caught most of my interest this week. I got a lot of ideas and new thoughts about how to create effective study groups which could be useful in my own professional context as a teaching librarian.

Teamwork Puzzle Concept, Flickr, http://www.lumaxart.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

References:

Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M., & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_community

Posted in Collaborative learning & communities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Digital literacy or Digital literacies?

This week I have learned a lot and I hope I´ve become a little bit more digital literate. In other words I am now a little more capable of engaging with digitally mediated information to use the description Sara Mörtsell used in the ONL 161 webinar on Digital literacy Friday 11th March 2016.

I haven´t had the time to find much further information than the suggested readings, but by discussing with my PBL group members and listening to the webinar with Sara Mörtsell a lot of new information in the subject digital literacy has been processed.

I agree with Sara and others on the description of digital literacies in plural. I´ve had the same discussion with fellow librarians when it comes to the concept of information literacy/literacies. By using the plural form I think it´s easier to see that digital literacies are context bound and can vary in different situations and environments.  It’s not black or white; people are not either digital literate or illiterate, digital natives or immigrants.

David White and Alison Le Cornu presents a way of describing individuals’ online behaviour in their article Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement (2011). They argue that the metaphors of ‘place’ and ‘tool’ are more appropriate than Prensky’s typology digital natives/immigrants, to represent the use of technology in contemporary society. I agree with their way of describing digital literacy and think it’s more accurate and not as static as Prensky’s typology. This is something I want to read and learn more about to be able to understand how to develop digital literacies in different ways.

These are just a small selection of my thoughts and reflections which has arised on the topic of digital literacy. I hope to be back with some more reflections soon…

Digital_literacy_disciplines

By Dyuti mukh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

References:

David White: Visitors and residents part 1
http://youtu.be/sPOG3iThmRI

David White: Visitors and residents – Credibility part 2
http://youtu.be/kO569eknM6U

White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

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Challenges when working online with a PBL case

After this first week working online in my PBL group I´m quite exhausted. It takes more time and effort than I expected. It is kind of confusing to sort out all the things to be done and to decide when and how to do it and who´s going doing what. I feel a lack of structure when it comes to working in the PBL group so far, but I think I just have to relax and go with the flow, trust the group and do my very best.

I thought I might well jump on the train when it just started to get used to the speed.  So I volunteered to take responsibility for the first topic together with Veronica Lundberg in my PBL group 9. This means for example to schedule and make events in the PBL group G+ community  and make sure that a presentation to the big community is put together and shared. But to be able to do these things the other group members have to be involved as well, and that is easier said then done! It´s difficult to create involvement and schedule meetings when we all have a lot of other things that occupies our minds and lives and we all work daytime. I also think it´s a challenge to make the online meetings efficient and to involve the whole group in a good way.

This first week our PBL group met twice in Adobe Connect. Not everyone could participate and our facilitator took most of the responsibility to lead the meetings. To me it´s a bit unclear who should function as chairman during these meetings, the facilitator or the persons responsible for the topic? I hope we can figure this out in the PBL group during the next topic.

We all had some technical difficulties and this I experienced as a big distraction for many of us and the result is less efficient meetings. I watched Alastairs´s video about Adobe Connect meetings and tried to follow his instructions but still I had problems. But now at least I know how to prevent some of the things that can happen during an online meeting. 

Maybe working with the next topic will be easier because we know each other a little bit more and we now have tried the online PBL work once already. I hope we can help eachother even more in the group this coming week and exchange thoughts and experiences. 

Despite these difficulties and my confusion this first “working” week I learned a lot and I´ve tried and done many things I haven´t done before. Now I´m looking forward to next week and topic and to continue learning in a creative confusion 😉

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Short reflections on the first week & first topic

Connecting & Networking – what does that mean?

At first it wasn’t at all clear what I was supposed to do this first week. But after watching the recorded Introduction Webinar and having read the instructions on the course website it became more clear. I think it’s really helpful with the aims for each topic which are presented on the website. I have tried to take part of the various learning spaces and tried out a few new tools.

I’ve also realized that one of my main challenges in this online course (and maybe in my life…) is to improve what Alastair Creelman and others say is one of the key literacies for us all today – ATTENTION. I find it very hard to focus on one thing at a time when so many things are going on at the same time. How can I practise and develop this key literacy? Hmm… I’ll have to think about this and maybe start by reading this article Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies
I’m grateful for all advices I can get!

Up til now I feel that I’ve done all the things included in the first and second aim for this topic:

1. familiarize yourself with the online learning spaces, features and tools

2. make first contacts with other participants and facilitators in ONL

I look forward to meeting my PBL-group next week and to concentrate on the third aim, discussing problem-based, open and collaborative learning in the context of ONL, with them.

See you next week!

 

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