Friday, August 6, 2010

Information Literacy Tips 2

Schedule as many classes as you can in the first few weeks of semester. This isn't because that's when the lecturers want the students to learn how to use the information resources that the library provides for their resources, but rather so that you can run around totally stressed out, shouting things like "I hate Summon!" at random passers-by. Librarians find public displays of insanity fun.

It's particularly useful in this context if your University Librarian considers that the only reason teaching is busy at the beginning of semester is because you, the librarian, have decided that's when you like to teach, not when the need is. This will make your life much easier, particularly if the powers-that-be have decided that your job is only required to be part-time.

As a part-time librarian, you will be required to do a full-time load of information literacy instruction in your part-time hours. What's awesome in this context is when a public holiday falls during Week 3, so your available preparation hours are further reduced.

Weight Loss Challenge

Having collapsed due to Tony Ferguson and since then returning to old habits (i.e. eating my little heart out), I've decided to enrol in MPOW gym's "Weight Loss Challenge" over the next couple of months.

Part of the reason for enrolling is because I go to New Zealand with friends in about a month, and we're doing hiking, skiing, and other "energetic" activities. The other reason is because I have been told by my doctor for years that I need to exercise for a chronic health problem I have, and that I need to exericse if I want to have kids, but I am not naturaly active so I need to be motivated (read: bullied) into doing it. So having a personal trainer "encouraging" me is really helpful . The third reason is: I'm super competetive. Did you see those prizes? Three day break at the sunshine coast. 10 pack of PT sessions. 3 month gym membership. AWESOME. It's like the biggest loser, only without the total humiliation :-)

I bought a "starter" 3 pack of PT sessions a couple of weeks ago and have already started with my Personal Trainer, who I really like. I can almost leg press my weight (I have very strong legs!) and I've even managed to do two whole non-PT exercise activities in the last week! My BF and I went on a lovely walk along the river last Sunday and I went to a spinning class last night. So the total challenge is over about 10 weeks. If I could lose 10kgs in that time I reckon I'd be laughing. 5 might be more realistic though. Hmm I might need to go back on Weight Watchers too. I wonder if that would be considered cheating for the prizes?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Information Literacy Tips

When teaching a Library Skills class, ensure you have a whiteboard marker handy.

Do not, under any circumstances, use the miscellaneous marker that is left in the whiteboard's vicinity without checking what kind of marker it is.

Failure to follow this instruction may lead to the use of a permanent marker to draw a Venn diagram on the whiteboard, and to illustrate truncation.

A failure of this magnitude will leave you cleaning the whiteboard for half the time that the class went for. Of course, if you were planning on going to the gym, this counts as exercise so you can skip it and have another Caramello Koala instead.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I learned from my hideous EndNote class

OK, so I bitched & moaned about the evilness of the class I had to teach this morning. It was primarily evil because the technology was of the suck. But I was also very nervous about teaching EndNote because I'm not a big user of it myself. I try. And in theory I can see that it's a great concept. But in reality? Bugs, bugs and more workarounds for the bugs.

But that's not what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to do some positive reflection.

What I learned from this EndNote class was:
  • I can teach even when the technology fails me - even on a platform as reliant on the technology as EndNote
  • The use of other (old school) media like a white board, can really save you when technology fails :-)
  • having a handout with even a very basic layout of what you're going to teach is invaluable
  • Being forced away from the computer and out from behind the podium can really enhance your teaching - you engage more with the class and can show them individually how to get to things HOWEVER the downside is this can be very time consuming
  • EndNote really isn't intuitive. File - New doesn't give you a new reference. It's References - New Reference. Which you don't know if it's not in front of you and you're not an EndNotePhile.
  • I know EndNote better than I thought I did
  • I know EndNote better than the students learning it from me
  • MPOW has EXCELLENT EndNote resources
  • my colleagues are very supportive
Also, I think I'm going to do a Cert IV in Training. That is all. I have to go to the gym. And get skinni.

EndNote: The New, New Evil

A selection of tweets from my (now protected) account. In the box of "be careful what you wish for dread":

But I don't FEEL like teaching a three hour EndNote class! #tantrum

I have 18 students enrolled in EndNote & I'm not sure I'm competent. #crisisoffaith #hyperventilating

@Suelibrarian @rockchicklib @haikugirlOz thx. yes. Breathe. I do know more than they do. I am smarter than endnote.

@fionawb I *hate* endnote. Passionately. Why oh Why did I say I would teach this class?

@andvanessa nope. it's a 3 hour special class coz they asked me to.

@andvanessa it's my first one flying solo is all. I usually have a safety net. But I organised this one at short notice & no backup

Well, that #endnote class wasn't nearly as evil as expected. It was so much more evil you couldn't have dreamed up a more evil situation.

#EndNote #Evil Part 1: Overhead Projector of Computer Screen goes kerfluey, have to do first hour without visuals.
#EndNote #Evil Part 2: Half the class have brought their own (Mac) laptops which don't download export files the same way as windows

#EndNote #Evil Part 3: 1/2 class w Mac laptops don't follow along when I show them how to download filters so when we export they're lost

#EndNote #Evil Part 4: While I'm teaching with no visuals I have an IT guy failing to fix comp asking inane qs like "where's the remote?"

#EndNote #Evil Part 5: A couple of random undergrad science students decide to join the specialised database session I'm doing for PGs

#EndNote #Evil Part 6: Those random UG science students don't know how to search databases or reference. EndNote is kinda about those things

#EndNote #Evil Part 7: Did I mention the computer went kerfluey because my colleague tried to make it better? #trainingroomfail

#EndNote #Evil Part 8: Students are told to use EndNote. EndNote is not intuitive, nor usable. So we have to teach it.

#EndNote #Evil Part 9: EndNote classes normally go for 3 hours. This was an additional class for students who had 2 hours. Over lunchtime.

#EndNote #Evil Part 10: Due to rush, we had fifteen minutes to cover using word for referencing and in-text citations. #sigh

@malbooth I know. was in a mtg last week & future of libraries discussed. Someone said "if our future is teaching endnote we have no future"