By the end of my field experience with NCSU, I created three video tutorials. The first, was an introduction to using Summon. The next two are advanced searching with Summon, and getting to article databases. I hope these videos prove useful to NCSU students!
Every five years, the Provost conducts a review of the Libraries at NCSU. Today marked the major day of review, with library director Susan Nutter giving an open presentation, and holding two closed sessions to discuss library performance. I was able to sit in on the presentation, and learn about how the Libraries have progressed the past few years. For the most part, NCSU has improved and remained a major player in innovation and service among its peers. The only place where the library seemed lacking was in its collections, where it is unable to financially keep up with its peers, and Duke and UNC. However, it’s clear that services, and an exceptional staff help make up for the difference.
Something I found troubling however, relates to the rising cost of scholarly information. Currently, NCSU, UNC, Duke, and NCCU collect materials collaboratively. Currently, 71% of the materials among these four schools are held only at one institution. With a unique borrowing system, members of each university community can borrow materials from any of the other three at no cost, and quite easily. But with the move towards more and more electronic resources, this system may become difficult to maintain. Licenses that allow for multi-institutional use are far out of the price range of the TRLN system. If costs do not go down, it will be increasingly more difficult for the system to work because the libraries cannot currently share electronic materials.
Today I met with a Ph.D. candidate to help her with some research. She needed to find all the qualitative methodology books published in the last ten years. After chatting about her project, I discussed subject headings, how to find them, and how to use them, and searching in WorldCat. I explained that there will be thousands of books, and she would probably need to talk to her professor about how it should be narrowed down. But she can at least have an easy time populating the list by just exporting results into RefWorks!
This week I created my first video tutorial for the Libraries. I made a new version of a video that was already posted, but needed updating. I had the original text to start with, but with Kim and Anne, we revised the script to make it shorter, and more relevant. Once that was done, I recorded the audio using Audacity, and recorded web movements using Camtasia. Camtasia was also used to put together the audio and visual tracks, and create the final product. This video is a basic introduction for article searching through Summon.
This week I taught a class on Communication and Research in the Sciences, an upper level English course geared towards science majors. The course covers a lot of scholarly communication topics, and trains students in writing and researching scientific topics in a scholarly fashion. This class was more advanced and more complex than the other classes I’ve taught with Kim so far. This time, instead of a basic introduction to the library, Kim spent the first half of the class discussing scholarly communication, particularly in relation to scientific information and communication. It was very interesting since this is currently a hot topic, with legislation like PIPA, SOPA, and the Research Works Act in Congress. Additionally, Kim discussed the Faculty Boycott of Elsevier, to demonstrate that the cost and system of scholarly information is getting out of control. However, I was able to tell Kim the very morning that we taught this class, that Elsevier had withdrawn support for the Research Works Act, so Kim was able to further demonstrate that researchers and writers can make a difference when there is a major issue going up against powerful companies. During the second half of the class, I demonstrated using the library website, a specialized science database, and Google Scholar. These were all things that I have done before, but not specific to a scientific research class, so it was a little challenging to make sure that the information and examples I was giving them was relevant. I used the topic, “the transfer of mad cow disease to humans” as an example in AGRICOLA.
I have been doing a lot of teaching this semester, and since I am teaching sessions that are new to me, I have to spend a lot of time preparing for them. I have also been working on a video for advanced searching techniques (basically Boolean), but my supervisor and I have been thinking about changing that topic. Teaching Boolean search strategies might be too large of a scope for a short video, so I may be switching to a different topic for a video. We haven’t figured out what to do on a smaller scale yet, but we will focus on that more once the teaching part of the semester dies down.
This past Monday, I helped run two scavenger hunts in the library. The scavenger hunt is a program to orient students to the physical layout of the library. They get a brief introduction to the activity, instructions, an iPod, and a map. After the activity, the rest of the period is spent on traditional library research instruction. For this class, the instructor sent an email just 30 minutes before the first class, asking that we do some instruction on research on film. After a few minutes of brainstorming, I volunteered to teach the class. After thinking up a few films to research, I came up with Star Wars, thinking that there would be a lot of varied literature on it. I was right, and was able to show a good example to the class. It was fun and challenging to teach a class on the fly!
Today I spent most of the day preparing for online sessions I am co-teaching with Kim Duckett. We did one session today, and will do another one tomorrow. One of the great things about teaching online through Elluminate is that even the instructors can be in different places. Kim was at home, and I was at NCSU for the session, but we were both able to moderate and conduct the session. Today we did a session for Family Life and Youth Development, and tomorrow we are doing a session for an Adult and Higher Education class. Not only are these my first experiences teaching online, but they were the first classes I’ve taught to graduate students. Teaching the content can be challenging enough, but throwing in the application for teaching online adds a whole new dimension. But now I have experience teaching basic and advanced research skills, instructing both undergraduates and graduates, and teaching in both physical and virtual classrooms!