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Meet Emily Z. Brown, unCOILed Presenter!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Remember, Preregistration for unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled is now open!  Sign up to see these wonderful speakers in action.

Welcome to the Database Derby: Beyond Lecture into Bibliographic Pandemonium

Have you ever had a class that just seemed to lose interest with every passing database or website?  Emily Brown and Jason Cimock have devised a devilishly fun game to keep those hum-drum classes on their toes and using their brains.

The Database Derby pits teams of students in a race to the finish, where the winners get chocolate and the losers sometimes also get chocolate.  After Librarians demonstrate the databases, they divide their students into teams and ask them to use what they learned to compete in a relay race. The team that learned the most usually comes out on top.

Emily and Jason will talk about the origins of the Database Derby and teach you how you can keep those students interested, working hard, and having fun!

*Emily will be presenting with Jason Cimock, who we highlighted last week.

A little bit about Emily:

Emily Z. Brown has done a little bit of living in a lot of places.  She is proud to have called several states home (Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma).  Emily completed her BAS in History in 2002 and her MLIS in 2005, receiving both degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.  She has worked in a library in some form or another since 1998 when she got a job as a student worker at Pitt’s Hillman Library.  Emily came to Oklahoma in late 2006 for a position at Northeastern State University, but is now a member of the University of Central Oklahoma’s illustrious Department of Reference and Instruction.  Emily has been active in COIL since 2007 and has acted as Secretary, Chair-Elect and is the 2011 COIL Chair.

We asked Emily a few questions:

1.  What made you want top present at this years unCOILed workshop?

I wanted to present this year because I’m really excited about what’s going on here in the Reference and Instruction Department at UCO.  I am lucky to work with some very creative people in a positive environment and I feel that our presentation might help spice up some instruction sessions!

2.  How long have you been a librarian?

I have been a librarian, officially, since 2006.  Before that I considered going into archaeology and briefly day-dreamed of becoming a tug-boat captain.

3.  What is your favorite thing about instruction?

I used to be a very nervous public speaker, but the more I’ve taught the more chances I’ve had to realize the reward that comes with helping someone find the information they need.  I also appreciate the anecdotes I can amaze my non-library friends with after particularly interesting instruction sessions.

Thank you, Emily!  We’re looking forward to your presentation on July 22nd, at unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled!

Meet Jason Cimock, unCOILed Presenter!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Remember, Preregistration for unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled is now open!  Sign up to see these wonderful speakers in action.

Welcome to the Database Derby: Beyond Lecture into Bibliographic Pandemonium

Have you ever had a class that just seemed to lose interest with every passing database or website?  Emily Brown and Jason Cimock have devised a devilishly fun game to keep those hum-drum classes on their toes and using their brains.

The Database Derby pits teams of students in a race to the finish, where the winners get chocolate and the losers sometimes also get chocolate.  After Librarians demonstrate the databases, they divide their students into teams and ask them to use what they learned to compete in a relay race. The team that learned the most usually comes out on top.

Emily and Jason will talk about the origins of the Database Derby and teach you how you can keep those students interested, working hard, and having fun!

*Jason will be presenting with Emily Brown, who we’ll highlight next week!  Stay tuned!

A little bit about Jason:

Jason Cimock graduated with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University in 2004 and an MLIS from Wayne State University in 2006.  He has served as an Adjunct Librarian at Grand Rapids Community College and is currently employed as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at the University of Central Oklahoma.  Jason is currently pursuing an MA in English Literature with an emphasis on Creative Writing.  He has also served as a board member for the Oklahoma chapter of ACRL from 2006 to 2008, as the board’s secretary in 2009, and is the current president-elect.

We asked Jason a few questions:

1.  What made you want to present at this years unCOILed Workshop?

I wanted to present at COIL because I heard it was the quickest way to get rich.

2.  How long have you been a librarian?

I’ve been a librarian since 2006, but if we’re counting past lives, 867 years.

3.  What is your favorite thing about instruction?

My favorite thing about instruction is the opportunity to raise my voice and use lots of hand gestures.

Thank you, Jason!  We’re looking forward to your presentation on July 22nd, at unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled!

Meet Ona Britton-Spears, unCOILed Presenter!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Remember, Preregistration for unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled is now open!  Sign up to see these wonderful speakers in action.

Presentation Style: What’s Hot and What’s Not!

“I would like to propose a session on presentation do’s and don’ts.  This session focuses on elements of public speaking style, such as eye contact, voice pitch, and transitioning between showing material on a computer screen and talking to a group.  It will also cover some elements of creating effective visual materials such as Powerpoint slides or handouts.  New instructors and some more seasoned often make similar mistakes on these elements when they present.  I propose doing a humorous mock presentation incorporating many of these problematic behaviors.  Then I will have the attendees identify the problems and in groups devise ways to fix the problems.  This session should be both entertaining and instructive.”

Here’s a little bit about Ona:

I am Ona Lou Britton-Spears.  I have a long name and a long title, Coordinator of Reference and Instruction at the Max Chambers Library at UCO.  I have the honor coordinating a fine group of public servants guiding patrons through the slings and arrows of the Internet Superhighway.  Our mission, and we do choose to accept it, includes a very busy library instruction department with lots of classes.  When not making the highway safe for human knowledge, I sing a lot and run quite a lot but not a lot.  I like to travel and read, often at the same time.

We asked Ona a few questions:

1.  What made you want to present at this years unCOILed Workshop?

I have been teaching since 1988, and doing library instruction sessions since 1997.   I have seen many many presentations, and I felt I could contribute.

2.  How long have you been a librarian?

Going on 16 years, at UCO for 13

3.  What is your favorite thing about instruction?

I like to have people come back and let me know the instruction was helpful in completing their assignments.

Thank you for your responses and your sense of humor, Ona!  We’re really looking forward to you presentation on July 22nd, at unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled!

Meet Jessica Moad, unCOILed Presenter!

Friday, July 15, 2011
Remember, Preregistration for unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled is now open!  Sign up to see these wonderful speakers in action.

Five Birds with One Stone: Long- and Short-term Planning for Library Instruction

Paul and Jessica will discuss the various issues that arise while planning for instruction sessions, including communication with professors, script writing, creating assignments, and using blogs, LibGuides, and wikis. Attendees will split up into groups, be given several scenarios, and will plan for those scenarios.

*Jessica will be presenting with Paul Stenis, who we’ll highlight next week!  Stay tuned!

A little bit about Jessica:

Jessica Elaine Moad comes from the Great Plains, but considers herself a citizen of the world. In 2010 she obtained a MLS from Indiana University with specializations in Digital Libraries and Archives and Records Management. After obtaining her degree, she returned to the Plains and to her love of teaching and helping others by working as a Reference and Instructional Services Librarian at her alma mater, the University of Central Oklahoma. Jessica enjoys lots of things, like painting, beading, playing tennis, photography, writing short stories, digitizing her collections, playing with her family and dog, traveling, and analyzing advertising, books, music, historical documents, and film.

We asked Jessica a few questions:

1.  What made you want to present at this years unCOILed Workshop?

I decided to present at this year’s unCOILed workshop because as an instruction librarian, I really enjoy teaching, and this year’s unCOILed workshop is a great way to spread the knowledge that I have gained as a new librarian.

2.  How long have you been a librarian?

I think I’ve been a librarian since I was about five years old, but I’ve been paid as one for less than a year.

3.  What is your favorite thing about instruction?

I really enjoy learning new things every time I teach a session.

Thank you, Jessica!  We’re looking forward to your presentation on July 22nd, at unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled!

Mission statement malaise

Friday, July 15, 2011

Be honest.

Who really likes a mission statement? Most of them are unreadable. Something Virginia Woolf supposedly said about something else: “My mind feels as though a torrent of weak tea has been poured over it.” That’s how I feel when I see a mission statement.

You have a mission statement because you’re trying to make a public statement about what you are doing and why. You’re telling the world that you know what you’re doing, and this is it.  It is a tradition, and in my opinion good practice, to make some kind of explicit statement about what you’re going to do when you embark upon a new project. Well, you don’t have to, but if you do, you’re probably going to get better results. You can have some vague and amorphous clouds of something or other floating around in your head and call it a day (and many do). But I once heard a design instructor say, “You’re not thinking unless you have a pencil in your hand.” Which I took to mean, get it out of your head and on the paper. It’s all potential in your head. In our heads, we are all rulers of the universe. It’s on paper, and in the world, where our real status is exposed.

When you’re trying to articulate what to do, the particular is better than the general, and usually more interesting. For example, you can say “I want to be more alert and productive at work.” But until you also say, “Tonight I’m going to get eight hours sleep and follow that up with a veggie omelet for breakfast, and I will NOT run down to the breakroom for donuts and gossip,” the idea of your future alertness is not very well-shaped.

Yet…most mission statements I’ve seen are the opposite of specific. It’s as if someone took those vague puffy clouds of intention out of their heads and plopped them onto a piece of paper. “The University of Tumbolia’s mission is to be a center of educational excellence in the 21st century and provide its students with the core skills for lifelong learning and success.” A lofty mission, and as hard to grab hold of as a summer cumulonimbus three miles up in the air.  Frankly, reading things like that makes my head feel like it’s full of weak tea.

So I’m torn. We decided we needed a mission statement for our information literacy program, not just because everyone else has one, but because we thought it would help focus our energies. But writing a mission statement turns out to be an energy-sapping experience, leaving us with no raw materials for any focusing activity. We ended up by saying things like, “At OU-Tulsa, all students will receive information literacy instruction” or “All students will be information literate” or something like that. We’re back to the amorphous clouds of weak tea vapor.

We want a mission statement that differentiates us from the herd, something that tells the world, “This is why we are such an awesome institution!” At the same time, we want a mission statement that reminds us what we are trying to do, something that will help us snap back to our real task when we find ourselves, inevitably, mission-creeping in another direction, pulled by exigencies and emergencies into areas where we really didn’t intend to go, or even worse, going back to the old routines because it’s easier and we’re exhausted.

The difficult arises partly from our inability to identify a real, solid, particular outcome that applies to all our students. There are a dozen or more separate curricula on campus. We don’t have many undergraduates. We have distance students. We have medical students. We have social workers and engineers. There is no course that all students, or even a majority of students, take in common. Any precept we lay down for one program might be utterly irrelevant for another. So…we can’t be specific. How, then, do we write a short, sweet, interesting, useful mission statement about our information literacy program? Should we even try? Is there some other way we can say to ourselves, our students, our faculty, and our colleagues, “This is our mission!” without sending everyone to sleep?

Meet Paul Stenis, unCOILed Presenter!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Remember, Preregistration for unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled is now open!  Sign up to see these wonderful speakers in action.

Five Birds with One Stone: Long- and Short-term Planning for Library Instruction

Paul and Jessica will discuss the various issues that arise while planning for instruction sessions, including communication with professors, script writing, creating assignments, and using blogs, LibGuides, and wikis. Attendees will split up into groups, be given several scenarios, and will plan for those scenarios.

*Paul will be presenting with Jessica Moad, who we highlighted last week.  

Here’s a little bit about Paul:

By night Paul Stenis is a champion of the library and an information science super hero. By day he teaches info lit at the UCO Library. Previously, he had heroic stints as a freshman comp teacher, technology trainer, and textbook editor. Unlike other librarians, he likes to read.

We asked Paul a few questions:

1.  What made you want to present at this years unCOILed Workshop?

The unCOILED workshop is a great opportunity to share ideas, learn from colleagues, and try out new jokes.

2.  How long have you been a librarian?

I’ve been a librarian since 2009. My family has not yet intervened.

3.  What is your favorite thing about instruction?

I love interacting with students; the more I do that, the more I learn. When the booing is finally over, the emotional scars heal in time.

Thank you for your responses and sense of humor, Paul! We’re really looking forward to your presentation on July 22nd, at unCOILed 2011: Get Schooled!

 

Meet David Oberhelman, unCOILed 2011 Presenter!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hello! We are going to lead up to the workshop by reintroducing all of our wonderful unCOILed Presenters.  Preregistration is now open, so let us know if you plan to attend this exciting event on back-to-basics instruction.

The Ethos, Logos, and Pathos of Library Instruction, or How to Engage your BI Audience Persuasively

I will draw upon speech and communications concepts and techniques for public speaking and give tips on how to apply them to a library instructional setting.  This talk will cover methods to break the ice, keep the class’s attention, engage a class during demonstrations, and how to use effective persuasive speaking techniques to convince students of the need to master information literacy skills and help them see the connections between effective research skills and academic success.

A little bit about David:

David Oberhelman is a professor in the Humanities-Social Sciences Reference Division of the Oklahoma State University Library where he coordinates the for-credit information literacy course for undergraduates.  He has been past chair of COIL, past president of OK-ACRL, and currently is active in several ACRL national sections, especially the Literatures in English Section (for which he will serve as member-at-large next year) and the Instruction Section.  He came to librarianship after teaching English on the faculty at Texas Tech University, and has been a classroom instructor since 1988 when he began as a teaching assistant at the University of California, Irvine.  In addition to having spent many years in front of classes, David was an avid debater and competitor in speech (forensics) tournaments from the tenth grade through his senior year in college, and in those competitions he learned many of the valuable public speaking theories and techniques that have helped him through his teaching career.  When not busy being a librarian, David entertains himself by reading fantasy and science fiction, and he is trying to teach information literacy concepts to cats—not very successfully so far.

We asked David a few Questions:

1.  What made you want to present at this years unCOILed Workshop?

The idea of a “back to basics” COIL workshop theme was very appealing to me since as much as we use technology for enhancing the instruction experience, it is still important to focus on the interpersonal dimensions of instruction.  I especially thought it would be interesting to talk with COILers about the public speaking aspects of face-to-face library instruction after having presented on online instruction in previous years.

2.  How long have you been a librarian?

I came to the OSU Library in 1997 after many years of graduate school and then faculty teaching positions in English, so librarianship is a second career for me, but still in the same ballpark as my first as a university-level educator.

3.  What is your favorite thing about instruction?

The interactive part of instruction—the give-and-take between the librarian and the students as well as the instructor—is what I value the most about live class sessions.   The most successful instruction sessions are the ones in which the students become active participants whose feedback can help me shape the session to be more productive and informative for all.  I love coming out of a BI having learned something myself in addition to hopefully having given the students new ideas on how to find and evaluate information.

Thanks, David!!  We’re looking forward to your presentation on July 22nd, at unCOILed: Get Schooled!