One of my most popular offerings is a simple introduction, and it's one where I never fully know what to do. Sometimes I'm asked to show off the library website--and then usually I show where OneSearch lives, how to book a study room, and where my information can be found assuming that they'll remember maybe one of these things--all in a roughly 15 minute session. While it isn't my preference to do simple demos, I'm never sure how to make something active in the space of a lightning talk.
My approach is ultimately to just bring my energy. I explain what a librarian does and I give them a quick tour of the home page. My performances this semester have been a little chaotic, but if my main learning objective is "Larry is cool and not scary, you can come talk to him" a little messiness is probably a good thing. I worry that I undermine my own credibility in these shows, but at the same time I think I'm ok with that. As usual, if one student decides that they can reach out with a question because I've made it clear that I'm just a guy then I've done my job.
This fall I was asked to teach in a Digital Cultures Art History/Visual & Performing Arts class. The students were prepping an assignment that could be a research paper or a research-informed creative project. The professor also mentioned that covering digital archives, digital humanities, and copyright were on the table for her, so I had both a lot of leeway and a lot to cover. As I planned this class, the final plan had a pretty dramatic gear shift in the middle of the session.
I don't drive stick.
We recently did a survey in my department that talked to students in the first year rhetoric and writing program about their experience with library instruction. No spoilers for the rest of the results, but something that stuck with me is that students really want rules to use when they're evaluating sources. Personally, I hate rules. Mostly I mean that in terms of library stuff, but it's also kinda true more generally. However, in this context, I do also believe in giving people what they want.
To make rules more fun and more active, I turned to an article on Cult of Pedagogy on "finding the funk" (Seale, C. Finding the Funk: 3 Ways to Add Culturally Responsive Critical Thinking to Your Lessons. Cult of Pedagogy. https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/funk/). The rulemaking excercise under Strategy 1 really spoke to me. I decided to pilot something like this for my TCID 2080 classes. I also find Theatre of the Oppressed really influential in my teaching (I know, everyone says Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and that too. But also the theatre kid in me is irrepressible) and I use the Analytical Rehearsal excercise to frame some of my activities. In this exercise, participants rehearse a scene entirely directed in their choices by a single motivation. These are the will, the counter-will and the dominant will. The first is the main motivation, the second is what unpacks and contradicts the will, and the third is the union of the two. This dialectical approach walks students through the ideas that they enter the classroom with, the ideas I want them to leave with, and a synthesis of the two.
This semester I also had the opportunity to upgrade my Academic Honesty Slide Annotation for a higher level class. This time, I wanted to explore citation in greater depth.
The core question for the upper division class was, "what do we cite?" The professor for this class is always open to me getting weird with the topics she asks me to cover, so I went full bibliography goblin for this class. We first looked at the anatomy of a citation asking what elements are always present. I introduced the WEMI model to the students to unpack how we cite in greater depth. Throughout, we used the slide annotation process to highlight the different parts of a bibliography entry to think through how we engage with the works and ideas of others in our work.
And it went great! The students were really open to these new ideas and ways of thinking about the power inherent to the act of citation. They ran with and deeply explored the knowledge organization concepts I presented.
I had the opportunity to present this project for the 2022 Innovative Library Classroom Conference, which you can watch here if you're interested in hearing more.
This semester, I was invited to present in the class geared toward creating the annual issue of the student literary and arts journal at UCCS, riverrun. I was given free rein to cover whatever I thought the students should know, and I took the opportunity to do a class I've been hoping to take for a test drive: IS! THAT! FAIR! USE!
In Fall 2021, I participated in the UCCS Faculty Resource Center's Online Course Design Badge class. This program is designed to certify faculty to design fully online courses, which doesn't really align with the kind of teaching I actually do (1-2 shots for my liaison areas and ENGL 1410 themes), but I felt like my online teaching strategy had been a little more ad hoc than would be ideal. So I signed up!
Overall, I think this was a really helpful course. It was a lot of fun to design a semester-long info lit class, and I also feel like it taught me to navigate the way a lot of the faculty I work with have set up their Canvas Courses (there were quite a few instances at the start of the pandemic where I had to send very confused emails to people while I tried to find relevant docs to better inform my one-shot instruction). In this post, I'll go through the modules in my mock class and a little about the process of the badge course.
The director of the UCCS first year rhetoric and writing program is running a sabatical blog and she invited me to write a 'who I'm talking to' post! I wrote about my teaching philosophy, teaching persona, and teaching injuries. Check out that post and the rest of the blog here:
Yes, 3.0! This activity is now on its third iteration, and it just keeps getting better and better. You can read about version 2.0 here.
This year, I had to back away from padlet due to user interface changes they made on their end. I thought I would be able to do the activity in person on our classroom whiteboard. However, as it has in so many things, COVID interfered. I was exposed in a class I'd taught the week prior and hadn't gotten my test results back before I was due to teach a different course. The test did ultimately come back negative, but in the moment I had to quickly pivot my plans from in-person to online. To do that, I ended up pivoting to a tried and true old friend: Google Forms.
2021 marked the sesquicentennial of the founding of Colorado Springs, and instead of marking Colorado Day (Aug. 8) this year I wanted to put together an exhibit that celebrated the direct community context of UCCS. This celebration involved photoshopping a lot of clip art party hats on municipal buildings.
To look at our immediate vicinity, I decided to look at the sister cities program to see who might "come" to a birthday party for Colorado Springs. It was great to have (well, make) the opportunity to weave federal docs, state docs, and international local docs together in one exhibit.
This spring semester, I had the opportunity to work more closely than I ever had before with one of my English faculty. She taught an asynchronous online course entitled “Speculative Fiction and the Environment,” and I got to have discussions with her about the class as early as October 2021, which really set us up for success. Together we were able to hash out her dream exercise for the class: an annotation project where students would take a short excerpt from each of their four texts and add annotations linking the fiction to newspaper articles contemporary to the writing of the novel or to some other thematically resonant content.
Interested in any of these? Use the Contact tab to be in touch!
You can also view the current state of these activities on my instruction menu: