Monday, April 20, 2009

ACRL 2009 - the assessment sessions

Hello. I am back with more about some of the sessions I attended at ACRL. The last post was about some useful technology for researching and creative instruction ideas. This post will cover assessment topics that were presented at ACRL 2009 in Seattle.

I attended the Fishing for Information: Using Focus Group Research to Discover Student Perceptions of Library Services and Resources The presenters, Rebecca Byrum and William Wearefrom from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana had 3 volunteers from the audience pretend to be their example focus group to demonstrate the methods used for a focus group study. The presentation was active rather than passive since they were using the same type of questions for the volunteers as they did for their original focus group. The original focus group was conducted to find out what the students needs were in the library.

They pointed out some good things to know when you are planning a focus group study:
  • Need to get and oral and written consent from the participants
  • Names of participants should not be revealed
  • Let participants know that results will be used for presentation
  • Make participants feel comfortable, so they will be honest
  • Use clear simple questions
Here they types of questions they suggested to use:
  1. Intro Question
  2. Transition Question
  3. Key Question - grade certain characteristics of topic (report card)
  4. Discussion of report card - Allow participants to drive questions, e.g. "Are there any other categories that you would like to assign a grade to?"
  5. Open question - "Do you have anything else you want to say or tell us?"
  6. Ending Questions - Summary, "Have we missed anything?"
Summarize the results and you have done a qualitative study that you can use to improve your services with. Thanks for the good practical assessment ideas!

More on assessment in the next post.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ACRL 2009 in Seattle, Washington

It has been about a month since ACRL 2009 in Seattle but spring break was right after the conference and it takes a little time for all that I learn and see to sink in. I thought the conference overall was very well organized and engaging. I was very pleased about the green theme and happy to see the green practices being followed through with during the conference.

The location of the conference was excellent since it was in the beautiful waterfront city of Seattle. I did see the famous Seattle Public Library and was quite amazed and the modern architecture and design of the building. There were many patrons busy using the resources when I went in to tour it. Below is a photo I took of the "Living Room" area on the the 3rd floor of the Seattle Public Library.

I attended a little bit of all the different types of presentations. I saw a couple of Cyber Zed Shed presentations which were 20 minute presentations about how libraries are using different new technologies. Nedra Peterson, the Director of Woodbury Library in Burbank California, had great ideas to make instruction classes more engaging and memorable by using video or audio clips from popular movies or songs that reference research related topics. Her presentation was called Popculture Multi-Media and Library Instruction.

She pointed out that the emotions invoked by the media clips can help students identify with the content you are presenting which will help them remember it better. She mentioned using clips from the movie School of Rock, the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and a music clip from a Green Day song. Now hopefully I can keep my eyes and ears open and be as creative as Nedra is about finding research related clips to use for my library instruction classes. Thanks for the great ideas!

Another Cyber Zed Shed presentation I saw was iMacros presented by Todd Quinn at Northern State University. iMacros extension is a very efficient Firefox extension that you can use to create a series of search steps into one click. Or in other words, it is a little program to perform repetitive, multi-step tasks on your browser. Quinn said you could use it as a poor librarians federated search. iMacros that you make can also be bookmarked on your computer or on sites like delicious and shared with others. This handout has a link to the Firefox iMacros extension and other important info to get you started using iMacros. Also, Quinn's LibGuide page at Northern State has a list of other useful tools he has presented about at other conferences. Thanks Todd!

See you all in my next post when I talk about some of the contributed and invited papers as well as panel discussions I attended at the ACRL 2009 conference.