Welcome to my Learning Log!

 

library

This learning log serves as a requirement for the M.E.T. degree at Boise State University.  The purpose of the site is to present the projects and assignments that I have completed as well as display the reflections and thoughts of my journey through the EdTech program.  It is my hope that this journey will give me the knowledge and more formal understanding of the various technology applications that I can apply to my career in librarianship.  I am also eager to learn how to better help faculty learn, use, and integrate technology into their face to face and online classrooms.  I know that these courses will put me in a better position to serve my institution and to contribute to the academic success and retention of our students.

 

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EdTech 543 Final Reflection Blog

Social Networking Learning was my ninth course at Boise State.  I chose this course as an elective because it provided a natural continuation of the Blogging in the Classroom course that I took over the summer.

As a person with only minimal experience with one platform, namely Facebook, I really relished the chance to further explore social networking tools.  I wanted to take a deeper look at how these tools could be used for educational and professional development purposes.  I never in a million years thought that I would sign up for a Twitter account.  Now I can’t imagine not having one.  Throughout the course, I discovered just how much Twitter can be used for professional development.  I found several Twitter feeds related to librarianship that I want to continue to follow.  I found specific librarians whose tweets I would like to read.  One of the newest programs at my institution is nursing.  I found a librarian on Twitter who is a librarian specifically for the nursing department at her institution.  Following her Twitter feed will help me figure out ways that I can support this new program on my campus.  I can honestly see myself doing some Twitter chats in the future.  I really enjoyed the camaraderie and the experience of learning from others in the chat.  I was overwhelmed by the encouragement I received from the participants when I told them it was my very first chat experience.

The curation-related assignments were some of my favorite in the course.  As a librarian I love to do research.  I enjoyed learning how to use ScoopIt! and Pearltrees to curate two topics of my choice.  I was grateful for the chance to explore a topic related to academic librarianship as well as a topic related to higher education.  These assignments gave me an easy and fun way to explore a variety of sources on issues that are important to me and my career.  Additionally, I must admit that I had one of the best group project experiences of my educational career with the criteria for curation assignment.  I used Google Hangouts for the first time to meet with my PLN.  Even though we came from entirely different career backgrounds, we talked, shared ideas, and very easily put together our curation criteria.  Through the process, I enjoyed learning from the members of my PLN.

After the Blogging in the Classroom course this summer, I decided to turn the formal paper assignment in my first year seminar course into a series of blog posts.  Within the class WordPress blog, students wrote several blog posts and commented on their partner’s blogs.  They essentially did everything in these posts except write a formal paper.  To be honest, I’m not really sure yet how or if I will incorporate more social networking platforms into my first year seminar.  I will, however, use platforms such as Twitter to follow other experts in my field and pursue free professional development activities.

Throughout the semester I did a nice job of reflecting on assignments and addressing  various topics with my blog posts.  I did not, however, add any extra posts other than what was required for the course.  I only offered a few comments on blog posts of other students in the course.  For these reasons I feel like I should receive at least a 70/75 for the additions to my WordPress site.

 

 

 

 

Campus Social Media Policy

As an institution of higher learning, we believe wholeheartedly in the the concept of academic freedom and freedom of expression.  As such, the following social media guidelines are here to help enhance that freedom, not curtail it.  This policy is designed to help ensure that all members of the campus community feel safe, welcome, and respected.  The policy takes into consideration the larger rules and regulations with which institutions of higher education must comply such as Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines.  Additionally, this policy follows the the letter and intent of the institution’s Honor Principle, the stipulations of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), as well as the branding and identity guidelines of the Communications Office.  We respectfully ask that all campus community members adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. While all campus community members have the right to put forth their opinions and ideas, social media is not to be used to intimidate, threaten, belittle, harass, or otherwise cause harm to any individual based on their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation/identity, or other characteristics.
  2. Posts must respect the privacy of other social media users.  FERPA requires a higher degree of privacy when dealing with student information.  As such faculty, students, and administrators need to pay special attention to social media posts that may violate FERPA.  Information regarding a student’s personal information, grades, and overall educational record should not be shared through social media platforms.
  3. If individuals are posting the work of others full attribution should be given.  Proper citations should be included as per discipline and assignment guidelines.
  4. All campus community members should show respect for the fair use of the material of others.  As such, copyright and fair use clauses should be upheld by all community members.
  5. The anonymity and confidentiality rights of research subjects must be adhered to in social media platforms as per IRB policy.  Please refrain from posting private information about the progress or results of research studies on these platforms.
  6. The college asks that individuals refrain from using the institution’s name and logo on personal social networking platforms.  If, however, you must identify the institution, please refer to the Branding and Identity Guidelines provided by the college.
  7. Always strive for excellence.  Check individual posts for spelling and grammatical errors.  Before sure to evaluate the information and check your facts before you post.
  8. Use common sense.  If you would not say something in a face to face situation, do not post it online.  You have the right to express your opinion, but remember your opinions can quickly spread and be easily taken out of context in an online environment.  When in doubt, don’t post.
  9. When engaging in debates on social media platforms stick to the facts.  College is a time to formulate who you are and what you believe in.  Take issue with ideas, but do your best to avoid personal attacks.
  10. This campus social media policy will be periodically reviewed and amended to meet the changing needs of the campus community.  For more information about this policy, please check the Social Media page on the website for the names of the current representatives on the Social Media Policy Committee.

Steps to Creating a Campus-Wide Social Media Policy:

  • The campus forms a Social Media Policy Committee of various campus constituents.  The members of the committee should consist of faculty representatives from each division, members of the student development team, a member of the Communications Department, and a representative from the campus IT department.  The committee must also contain a student representative from the student government association.
  • The committee drafts guidelines and takes the draft to various groups for feedback and approval.  The committee must first receive approval from the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association.
  • Once it passes through these groups, the social media policy must be approved by members of Cabinet.  The document is then brought to a vote at the next Board of Trustees meeting.
  • The social media policy is periodically reviewed and revised based on the feedback and changing needs of the campus community.

References:

Drake, P. (2014). Is your use of social media FERPA compliant. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/2/is-your-use-of-social-media-ferpa-compliant.

Pasquini, L. A. (2016). Setting the course: Strategies for writing digital and social guidelines. New Directions for Student Services, 2016(155), 91-104.

Pomerantz, J., Hank, C., & Sugimoto, C. R. (2015). The state of social media policies in higher education. PloS  ONE, 10(5), e0127485.

Using Social Media Platforms in College and University Courses

I began this assignment by first trying to find 10 examples of librarians using social media platforms in information literacy assignments.  I found one librarian who came up with a really cool activity that involved student analysis of Trump’s tweets.  While this was a really neat activity using the Twitter platform, it was the only direct example I could find that was created by a librarian.

As a librarian I spend most of my time teaching information literacy sessions. In these sessions I provide students with information that directly supports their successful completion of course assignments.  Additionally, as a librarian I often provide faculty with assistance in designing course assignments.  Because of these reasons, I figured it wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to look at the use of social media platforms in college-level courses.

Many of the studies that I read mentioned that faculty need to work on scaffolding assignments.  They need to make sure that they give students instructions on how to use the technology tools as well as instructions on how to complete all steps of the assignment.  I think there is a tendency among faculty to assume that today’s digital natives know enough about various social media tools to be able to use them for academic purposes.  The reality is that this is not always the case.  I see students every day who can not use the basic functions of Canvas.  Some of them have trouble sending emails.  Students know the basics of different platforms to get by, but they may not be familiar with advanced features.  Students do not necessarily possess the digital literacy skills that provide them with the wherewithal for experimenting with tools until they figure out how to work with them properly.

One of the other really important ideas that came out of my research was the idea that faculty must take assignment goals into account before deciding what technology tools or platforms to incorporate into course activities.  Throughout my courses at Boise State we have often talked about using the hazards of using technology for the sake of using technology.  We as educators must make sure that there is a positive academic advantage for using specific technology tools in classroom settings.  In some of the case studies the faculty discovered that the platform that students used to complete the assignment may not have been the best tool for the job.  It is very important that faculty critically examine assignment objectives before deciding on what tool or app to use.

Directly related to examination of assignment goals is the idea that faculty need to think about their assignment prompts.  I often meet with students for research help and in this meeting they tell me that they don’t really understand their assignment prompt.  They can’t answer some of my questions about their specific research needs because the instructor has not laid out the specific details about the sources they expect students to use.  Faculty need to make sure that they create assignment guidelines that completely lay out goals and objectives.  The prompts need to explain all of the steps and requirements in detail.  Additionally, in reading these case studies, it became very apparent that instructors need to explain the real-world application of an assignment when assigning it to students.  Students today want to know how their assignments will benefit their learning.  The theory of andragogy from Knowles tells us that adult students want to see the real-world advantages to their assignments.  They want to know that there are practical applications for what they are learning in the classroom environment.

Throughout this assignment I saw several interesting applications of social media platforms at the college level.  There are many ways that social media platforms can enhance the educational experience of today’s students.  Social media tools can be used to supplement material learned in the classroom, encourage peer collaboration, and foster instructor-student engagement.  Social media tools can be used as career development opportunities.  Students can use these platforms to connect with others in their field.  They can use social media platforms to find information for research purposes.  Most importantly, they can use social media platforms to contribute their thoughts and ideas to the scholarly conversation.  All of these applications for social media tools positively contribute to the teaching and learning environment on campus.

Here is the link to my curated topic on Using Social Media as a Teaching and Learning Tool in Higher Education through Pearltrees.

 

 

PLE Reflection and Comparison

A Hike Through My Personal Learning Environment

I didn’t have to think very long about the image that I wanted to use to display my Personal Learning Environment (PLE).  When I hear the word “environment” I almost always think about hiking.  I used trail signs to list my PLE criteria.  As I walk through this PLE I meet different people, pick up different tools, and gather more professional development opportunities along the way.  There are a couple different paths that I can take along the way.  For me, this was a very appropriate way of illustrating how our PLE can change over time.  As one takes a different path or moves in another direction he or she can pick up different tools and resources to add to his or her PLE.

The Social and Professional Networking trail sign definitely illustrates what I have learned in EdTech 543 so far.  I had never used Facebook and Twitter for professional development before.  Now I see the benefits of using these tools as well as tools like Google + and WordPress for learning and sharing knowledge with other library professionals.

As a librarian, research tools are extremely important for me.  They have definitely become part of my PLE over the years.  I use these tools for my own professional development and research.  More importantly, though, is the inclusion of all of research appointments with students as part of my own learning.  Every day I have the opportunity to learn about various topics as I help students with their research assignments.

In my job we use email and meetings as the primary tools to communicate with students, coworkers, and many other people on campus.  The library staff uses Google to create and share documents.  I included our Canvas LMS as part of my PLE as I use Canvas to share documents and communicate with students.  Additionally, I use Canvas to post videos and have recently starting using Canvas to bring live library database instruction to online students.

Professional development is an extremely important part of my PLE.  I gain knowledge, tips, and tricks through conversations with my coworkers.  I use videos, webinars, presentations, blogs, and conferences to help me become the best librarian I can be and improve my instruction techniques.  Finally, I would be remiss if I did not include the learning that I gain from working with students and collaborating with faculty.

Thoughts on the PLEs of my classmates:

  • Jake Lee did a fantastic job with his PLE illustration.  I like how he took his PLE to the next level.  Instead of just including the tools, he included the names of the online communities and twitter chats he participates in.
  • The graph paper on Susan Shannon Davies post was so appropriate!  Susan included friends, family, and church in her PLE.  The inclusion of these groups was a great idea and I definitely should have included these groups on my own diagram.
  • Rob Blackston included very specific tools and resources associated with his surgical technology field.  Rob included professional organizations in his PLE.  This is an element that I definitely should have included in my PLE.
  • Sarah Frances included some of the same tools in her PLE as I did.  She included VoiceThread on her PLE, which is one tool that I have not yet incorporated into my PLE.  I just haven’t used this tool very much.  A couple of my courses through Boise included the use of VoiceThread, but I haven’t used it in my job yet.  I know that there is an add-on for Canvas that includes VoiceThread so I may have the opportunity to make use of this tool very soon.
  • Jennifer Pollock’s PLE is really neat.   She designed a very creative illustration of her PLE using Visme.  She included Canva which is one resource that I started using a couple months ago.  I could have easily included this tool in my PLE.  Jennifer also included LinkedIn.  I have thought about this tool.  I often get invitations to connect with others via LinkedIn, but I just haven’t jumped in yet.  Jennifer included Real Appeal and MHE HealthyU.  I have never heard of either of these tools that she uses for interacting with her peers.
  • Tina Bentley designed a really creative PLE with a shoe organizer as the backdrop.  The one thing that makes Tina’s PLE stand out for me is her use of the hanging organizer on the side.  She included all of the Microsoft applications in this part of her PLE.  Tina also included Podcasts, which I really haven’t explored up to this point.

Professional Development – Live Webinars and Twitter Chats

For this project I looked for live webinars and twitter chats in my field of librarianship.

Here is a list of the webinars I attended with some comments:

#1 A Generation Apart: The Changing Expectations of Modern Researchers – provided by ACRL and Choice; sponsored by ProQuest

In this webinar, the presenters talked about the current direction of student research and how these research habits are affecting the ways in which librarians do their jobs.  The presenters spent a good deal of time talking about the user experience with physical library collections as well as electronic resources.  They wrapped up the webinar by focusing on the growth of social media tools and how information found on these platforms can be used for research purposes.

This webinar had an extremely active chat.  I definitely noticed that I was not prepared for this experience.  I did not know the etiquette or the format with which to respond to posts.  I learned very quickly that people used the @ sign to respond to each others posts.  I also responded to the wrong person the first time.  I have always thought I was good at multitasking until this experience.  I had a difficult time following the chat and listening to the presenters at the same time.

My biggest observation with this experience is that I think some use the back channel as a means to connect with others in the field.  They don’t really come there to listen to the presentation.  There were many times where the posts seemed to be unrelated and almost completely off-topic.  At times, I felt like we were having our own little conversation and the presenters were just a side show.  This is not very fair to the presenters who spent time preparing this event. At the same time,  it is a quick and easy way for those who have very few opportunities to talk to other library professionals to get their questions answered.

#2 Accessibility and Libraries – provided by the American Library Association

I was really excited about this topic as I strongly believe that we as librarians have to be constantly vigilant about making sure we address student disability and learning styles needs in our services.  The presenters in this webinar focused on the use of screen readers and other types of adaptive technology.  Additionally, the presenters mentioned website accessibility and facilitated a discussion on appropriate colors and contrast.  The most important part of the webinar though was the discussion about how we as librarians needs to be inclusive.  We need to design our programs and services with the needs of everyone in mind.

I really enjoyed the chat in this webinar as I was better able to participate in the chat and listen to the presenters.  I think this skill just really takes practice.  I discovered in this webinar that the presenters have some choice with the chat.  With this webinar we didn’t just chat in the back channel about what the presenters were saying.  The presenters addressed the audience and wanted us to answer their questions in the chat box.  I have seen many webinars where the presenters use the polling feature for this, but this was definitely a much more authentic way of including the audience in the conversation.

#3 A Conversation with 3 Debut YA Authors – provided by School Library Journal; sponsored by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

The presenters in this webinar all focused on their writing and publishing journeys.  These authors were extremely candid with their remarks.  One author talked about how she believes that authors take what they have heard and read about over the years and basically grind it all together to make a new story.  One of the other authors talked about how her visits to the public library as a kid strongly influenced her writing career.

The email about the webinar mentioned using Twitter and so I assumed that there would be an active back channel.  I had spent an hour watching another webinar that had a Twitter feed but not one used it and so I really wanted to make sure that the same thing didn’t happen again.  There was a chat box in the webinar, but there were only a couple people on the chat.  Additionally I realized very early on that the tweets were monitored and posted after someone read them first.  This took away from the spontaneous function of the chat.  As it was, I responded to what the authors were saying and to others in the chat box.  These tweets came up a couple minutes later on the screen.

#4 Defying Definitions: Top Graphic Novels for Fall – provided by School Library Journal; sponsored by Diamond Book Distribution and others

This webinar was presented by several people in the publishing industry.  The focus of this webinar was really to highlight that the graphic novel genre is currently one of the fastest growing subsections of the publishing world.  The webinar included representatives from the creative, marketing, and sales divisions.  The panelists used the time to talk about the recently published graphic novels.

The back channel for this webinar was essentially the same as in the webinar described above.  Tweets were monitored and published a couple minutes later.  I tweeted my thoughts as the presentation was taking place and responded to a few tweets from other attendees.  Through the chat I was able to see how others used the webinar information in their day to day responsibilities.  One attendee announced that he was building his library collection with the books that were mentioned throughout the presentation.

#1 Twitter Chat – #edtechafterdark on September 25

Before I did this chat, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I had never used Twitter before and had certainly not thought of using it as a professional development tool.  I found this chat through another classmate (thanks, Jake Lee) and decided to give it a try.  In the beginning I told everyone that this was my first Twitter chat.  The moderator instantly reached out to me and told me to let him know if I had any problems or questions.  Everyone was very welcoming and respectful of each other’s opinions.  This chat focused on attendance issues from a primarily K12 perspective.  Even though I work at the college level, I was still able to participate in the chat based on my own thoughts and experiences.  Some of the participants acknowledged that there were college-level educators in the crowd and asked for specific comments from our point of view, which I thought was really neat.  I had trouble keeping up at first.  I wasn’t sure about the proper etiquette or format for my answers, but I caught on pretty quickly.  Overall, this was just a great experience for my first chat.

#2 Twitter Chat – #LISprochat on October 2

This chat focuses on career and job-seeking issues in the field of librarianship.  The topic of that night’s chat happened to be professionalism.  I discovered with this chat that some moderators and groups put the questions up ahead of time on their blogs or websites.  That is interesting as it gives time for the participants to reflect on the answers that they might give before the chat begins.  On the other hand, it takes away a little bit of the spontaneity.  I noticed in this chat that people tended to get off topic a little bit and have side conversations amongst themselves.  Some people spent a lot of time talking about their own taste in clothes and what they specifically wear to work.  I would have appreciated a bit more of a discussion on professionalism in the sense of how we treat and collaborate with coworkers.

#3 Twitter Chat – #critlib on October 3

I decided to attend this chat since it was about Open Educational Resources (OERs).  This is a really hot topic right now in the library field and in higher education.  The moderators of this group were extremely well-organized.  This group has its own website.  On this website, the group lists the moderators of each chat, the questions that the moderator is going to ask, and a list of articles and websites that participants can read before the chat begins.  This was my least favorite experience with Twitter chat though.  Unlike in other chats, the moderator did not comment on people’s comments or help to keep the discussion moving.  She acted as one of the participants and basically had a conversation with herself instead of engaging with us.  This could be the way that the group decided to structure their chats, but it seemed it a bit strange that we got very little in the way of feedback, likes, or comments from the moderator as the chat progressed.

#4 Twitter Chat – #BunceeChat on October 5

I had tried to find library-related chats for this project.  However, that proved to be difficult.  I found lots of websites with lists of chats; in the end, however, it seemed that most of the ones I found no longer take place.  I was getting desperate.  One of my other interests is digital citizenship.  I view it as connected to digital literacy which is ultimately tied to information literacy.  So I jumped at the chance to join BunceeChat.  Clearly, I did not know enough about it other than that it was somehow connected to digital citizenship.  After doing the chat I know now that this is a specific storytelling tool used by K12 teachers to teach digital citizenship skills.  I tried to answer the questions as best as I could from a digital citizenship standpoint and not from a user standpoint.  I ended up enjoying this chat immensely because everyone in the chat treated each other like family.  I gathered that this chat consists of the same people every time.  They talked to each other as if they worked with each other on a daily basis.  In addition to talking about the technology tool, the participants enjoyed conversing with each other on a more personal level.  This different dynamic made the chat an extremely interesting and worthwhile experience.

I really enjoyed exploring the professional development opportunities using Twitter over the last couple of modules.  To see evidence of my participation in each of the webinar and twitter chats click on the Word document below.

543webinarsandtwitterchats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criteria for Effective Collaboration – Mini PLN Project Reflection

I have to admit that when I hear the words group project I often get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.  After all, the reason why I, and many others I’m sure, chose this online EdTech program through Boise State is because of the flexibility it would give me to work on my coursework in between caring for my four children and fulfilling my obligations as a librarian at a small liberal arts college.

I quickly realized, however, that I had nothing to worry about with this project.  We chose Google Docs as our platform very early in the process.  This made it very easy for me to get my ideas down on paper and share them with the rest of my mini-PLN.  Once we finished with that part, we chose to meet on Google Hangouts.  This was rather exciting for me as it gave me the chance to use a collaborative tool that I had never used before.

Our Google Hangouts session was very productive.  We chose several overarching categories for our criteria and placed at least one or two checklist items under each category.  As we were working we were able to talk about how each us found sources that related to the categories or checklist items that we chose.  As we ended the Hangouts session we discussed what each of us would do next in order to make sure that we finished the project by Sunday.  We used the comments function in Google Docs to finalize the last details of our project.

I have participated in several group projects for Boise State and I have to say that this ranks as one of the best.  We worked really well together and had very similar ideas about our project.  After the Google Hangouts session I felt good about what we had accomplished.  I knew that our project would not only reflect what we learned about effective curation projects, but would also be something that I would be proud to turn in as part of my mini-PLN assignment.

Check out our Effective Curation Criteria project!

 

Thoughts about Digital Footprints

I know several people who do not use social media.  They will not allow photos to be taken of themselves especially if they know there is a chance that these photos will be shared online.  I certainly have respect for these people and admire their decision.  But can these people really make sure that they don’t have a digital footprint.  People can share photos very easily without their knowledge.  Information about events they attended can be posted online.  In fact, when I Googled myself I found a photo that I didn’t know existed.  After reflecting on digital footprints throughout this module, I fully believe that digital footprints are inevitable, but not necessarily negative.  We must work to make sure that our digital footprint paints a picture of our story in a positive light.

As a librarian I teach students how to develop good information literacy skills every day.  I show them how to find, use, evaluate, and ultimately share their information with their professors through either a traditional research paper or some other type of project.  In today’s world so much of the information that I lead students to is available online in a digital format. This ultimately means that I am helping to develop student digital literacy skills as the same time.

Having good digital literacy skills helps us to create and maintain a positive digital footprint.  It shows that we can find, use, evaluate, and share information ethically and responsibly.  It is important that we work to create the image that we want for ourselves online.  It can be difficult to manage our digital footprint as other people can tag and share information about us.  What we must do is help to shape what information is shared about us.  If someone shares something without our knowledge, we are automatically prepared as everything we do and share portrays us in a positive light.

One of the things that surprised me the most from the research that I did for this assignment was that having a very small footprint or no digital footprint can be a detriment to your career and future endeavors.  Employers and colleagues want to see that you are an active participant in CoPs and PLNs.  They want to see what you have written on your blog.  They want to share and retweet interesting tidbits of information they you put on Twitter.  They may choose someone else over you for a promotion or job because that person shows evidence of being very active in his or her profession.

I have to admit that I didn’t have much a digital footprint before I began this EdTech program.  The first thing that came up on the page when I Googled myself is the page from work where my contact information can be found.  As I looked down through the list I saw my Boise State WordPress site.  On the next page, I ran into my Twitter, Diigo, and Pinterest accounts, all of which I created for a Boise State class.  Coincidentally, I found a link to Facebook profile for a woman with the same name as me who lives only a short 50 miles from me.  I only found one image in Google and that was in a presentation that was created by the college where I got my undergraduate degree.  I had no idea that the library staff was going to post the interview about my internship online.  I was able to find a picture of myself online that I didn’t even know was there.

This exercise on digital footprints has opened my eyes to more about what it means to be a good digital citizen.  Building a digital reputation is about give and take.  You take the information that you need and use it wisely and then you become part of the conversation by posting information in response.  It is up to you to make sure that your reputation is reflected in a positive light.