Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Information Literacy Badge: First Draft

To earn the Information Literacy Certificate, students usually must attend 3 library workshops.  Each workshop can be substituted with a specified online activity.  However, I am planning a workshop that will allow students to receive credit for the other 2 workshops and earn the certificate by completing badge tasks.

Most students complete the certificate for extra credit, so I need something that is strenuous enough that they learn something, but not so strenuous that they drop out. Below is my first draft of the Information Literacy Badge plan.  Because this is the first time we are doing anything like this, I am requiring participants attend an in-person workshop.  I hope to allow students to complete the badge completely online in the future.

Below is the first draft of my plan.  I still need to develop most of the details. Please take a look and provide feedback.  Is it feasible?  What am I missing?  Am I using the right tools?

The Information Literacy Badge: Social Media in School, Work, and Life


Social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram have integrated themselves into our daily lives, even into our schools and work.  Online badges, popular in online games, are emerging as another social media tool that could have a positive impact on education.  Students in this class will be among the first in the country to earn online badges using Passport by Purdue University.  Students who attend this session will be able to complete the remaining requirements for the Information Certificate online by earning badges.  This class focuses on social media and utilizes several social media tools.  This class is for self-motivated students with good computer and Internet skills.


Based on our General Education rubric for "Evaluate Information."
  • Students will be able to identify an appropriate research topic and develop a research strategy.
    • Determine the Extent of Information Needed: Capstone 2
  • Students will be able to access information in a variety of formats.
    • Access the Needed Information: Capstone 2
  • Students will be able evaluate an information source based on timeliness, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose.
    • Evaluate Information and Its Sources Critically: Capstone 2
  • Students will be able to prepare a source citation in the MLA format.
    • Access and Use Information Ethically and Legally: Capstone 2

Agenda for In-Person Class

1. Introduce students to online badges.
2. Explain how students will earn badges and the certificate.
3. Question Formulation Technique (QFT)
4. Set up Passport accounts.
5. Set up PBWorks accounts.



Badges Required for the Information Literacy Badge

Information Pursuer
  1. Create an Open Backpack.  Share link in the group’s Facebook page.
  2. Create bio page in class wiki.
  3. Develop a research question based on class QFT.
Information Searcher
  1. Contribute to search term brainstorming on the class wiki.
  2. Develop a search strategy.
    1. Select 3 different search tools.
    2. Develop search terms for each tool.
  3. Identify 3 relevant sources.
Information Evaluator
  1. Cite 3 sources in the MLA Format.
  2. Evaluate each of the above sources for timeliness, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose.
  3. Post citations and evaluations on the class wiki.

Optional Badges

Badge Pioneer
Awarded to all students who complete the Information Literacy Badge.

Check-in at the Richland College Library.

Tweety Bird
Post an original tweet to @amy_jane regarding something you learned while earning the Information Literacy Badge.

Facebook Groupie
Active participant in the class’ Facebook group.

Social Activist
Tell us about an additional social media outlet and how you use it.  Post your comment in the class’ Facebook group.

Make at least 1 blog posting regarding what you learned while earning your Information Literacy Badge.

Social Butterfly
Highest score in Klout.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Open Badges in Information Literacy

Merit Badges1
Merit Badges1 (Photo credit: stevejb68)
In my library, we offer an Information Literacy Certificate. There are three (80 minute) workshops in this program. Students who attend all three workshops receive the Information Literacy Certificate. Students also have the option to substitute specified online activities for one or all of the workshops. Many of our instructors require students to earn the certificate or award extra credit. This program is popular among faculty, has earned the library national recognigition and has been used as a model by other institutions. But it has some significant faults:
  • Student motivation: Most students attend for extra credit or because an instructor requires it. Very few attend just because they want to learn. 
  • Student engagement: Students have difficulty relating the workshop content to their coursework. 
  • Student accountability: Students only need to attend the workshops to earn the certificate. They do not need to demonstrate learning. 
  • Mixed audience: We’ll have students from several different courses at all levels of skill in the same workshop. 
  • Paperwork: We have to keep records of student attendance and the students need something to show instructors that they have attended the workshops. 

Learning Badges

I have been exploring badges in learning and I believe they have the potential to alleviate some of  these issues. A badge is “a special or distinctive mark, token, or device worn as a sign of allegiance, membership, authority, achievement, etc.” –Dictionary.com qtd. in Mozilla Foundation and Peer 2 Peer University.  Its a way to award students for minor achievements.

Online Badges

As I’m learning about badges, I am thinking about what it might look like in our program. I haven’t worked the details, but I do have basic structure in my mind. In my current vision, there are 4 levels of badges: Competence, Skill, Quest, and Activities. For each Quest, students would be able to select a number of specified Activities from a list of options, including in-person workshops, online tutorials and other challenges. Once a student completes all Quests for a skill, he/she will be awarded the Skill badge. Completion of all skills within a Competence level will lead to a Competence level badge. Each level of competence would build off the lower level, so completion of a higher-level Competence badge would require completion of all lower levels.

Not all Activities, but some Activities would require submission of work for review. There might even be an option for peers to review the work of others. We would no longer need students to submit paper sheets, because their work and progress would be tracked by the badge system. We would also not need to provide “proof of attendance” because instructors could log-in to the system and monitor student progress.

Hypothetical IL Badges

I only have a rough outline of what the badges would be and the badge titles need a lot of refining, but the structure might look something like this.

I. Competence
     A. Skill
          1. Quests
              a. Activities

I. Basic Information Literacy: Developmental courses, including Learning Framework (required for all new-to-college students) and ESOL
      A. Library Basics
          1. Library tour: online or in-person
          2. Library website
      B. Search tools
          1. Library catalog
          2. Library databases
          3. Search engines
          4. Other search tools
      C. Basics of source evaluation
          1. Author
          2. Publisher
      D. Plagiarism Awareness
          1. Spot plagiarism
          2. Avoid plagiarism

II. Intermediate Information Literacy: First year courses
      A. Sources
          1. Types of sources
              a. Reference sources
              b. Books/eBooks
              c. Periodicals
              d. Websites
              e. Others
          2. Finding books in the library: LOC classification
      B. Search Skills
          1. Searching library tools
          2. Searching web tools
      C. Intermediate source evaluation: source content
      D. Awareness of documentation/citation formats
          1. Most commonly used formats
          2. Citation Generators

III. Advanced Information Literacy: Second year courses
       A. Research Topic
            1. Developing an appropriate research topic/questions
            2. Identifying topic concepts and search terms  
        B. Advanced Search Skills
            1. Boolean
            2. Truncation
            3. Phrase Searching
        C. Advanced source evaluation: purpose of source
        D. Academic Integrity

 Information Literacy Guru: Completion of all activities. (Remember, students can select which activities to complete so it is possible to earn the Advanced Information Literacy badge without completing all activities. This badge would recognize the students who “go above and beyond.”)

There would also be additional badges, including some students could award to other students for things like posting a good answer to a discussion board question or submitting great work. Students would also be able to export their badges for display to Mozilla’s Open Badge Backpack, an ePortfolio, and social media sites like facebook. Of course, training would be needed. We would offer in-person workshops and online tutorials for instructors and students.

I’m not sure if and when we will adapt badges. If we do implement badging, it will likely look very different from the above.

Starting a Conversation

Hopefully the above is at least enough to get the conversation started. I am excited to see how other librarians and educators implement badging. If you know of a project or have an idea, please share it in a comments below!

Learn more about Open Badges and badges in Learning at the following sites.
Educause: 7 Things You Should Know about Badges
Open Badges FAQ
NYT: Beyond the College Degree, Online Educational Badges
More Links
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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Chronicles of an Info Junkie

This blog started as an information literacy blog. But as my life and I, myself changed, Info Lit Librarian primarily became a place for me to post my notes/summaries from professional development activities and not all were directly liked to information literacy.  It’s not that I am no longer interested in information literacy and library instruction.  I just don’t have time to sit and write down my thoughts.  Fortunately, Twitter and microblogging have kept me in the IL conversations.

I will continue to post summaries of professional development events, but those will go on my new blog: Chronicles of an Info Junkie.  For now, I plan to keep the Info Lit Librarian up and will post when I have the time and inspiration.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

E-Books and Access: Upholding Library Values: Part 1

I enjoyed the first part of Sarah Houghton's ALA TechSource workshop. See my notes below for an overview of the discussion. The slides and related readings are available at http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2011/12/continuing-the-conversation-e-books-and-access.html 


People know we have books, but don't know that we have ebooks.
What image are we projecting to the outside?
Are we projecteing our digital content?
Ebooks are more than digitiized text. Integrated media.
People expect it to work on any device.
Users are frustrated with downloading of ebooks.

The Big Players: Content 
These are the major ebook content providers at the moment.  The list changes frequently.  There are other content providers not listed here.
OverDrive: leader in popular ebook content.
3M Cloud Library: physical presence in library via checkout terminals
MyiLibrary: popular content
eBooks on EBSCOhost: This is one of the content providers we are currently using in my library
Safari: technology ebooks
Gale Virtual Reference Library: reference ebooks.  We use this one quite a bit at my library.
books24x7: a company to keep an eye on
axis 360: From Baker and Taylor, making a big play in market
FolletShelf: popular in school libraries
OneClickdigital: audio ebooks from Recorded Books

SH suggests posting ebook FAQ and device compatability on library website.

Free eBooks
Open Library
Project gutenberg
LibriVox: audiobooks of public domain books recorded by volunteers.  (I love this site, but the quality of audiobooks varies)
Many more...

Big players: Devices
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook
Sony Reader
+all tablets, smart phones, laptops and desktops (I use my iPad and iPhone but am considering a reader.)

The big players: Operating Systems

 The big players: Formats
ebook: EPUB, PDF, MOBI, TXT, RTF, HTML, Kindle, Daisy
eAudioBook: WMA, MP3
Advocacy with ebook providers is essential.

Corporate terms of service: company defined, overrides copyright law. Usually is what limits ability to transfer to device, etc.
Digital Rights Management (DRM): software that enforces the terms of service and copyright law.
Digital Millenium Copyright Act: makes it a criminal offense to circumevent technological measures that protect copyrihgted content, eg digital rights management. Penatly for violiting DMCA is greater than penalty for copyright violation.
Some libraries are negotating with content publishers directly, not providers.

What happens when your leasing, not buying?
Most library vendors only lease digital content. Some make it sound like you are buying but you are not. "bibliopocalypse:" We don't own it forever.
Overdrive marketing uses words like buy, purchase and sale, but contracts use words like license and subscribe.

Liscening terms to consider
Cost: platform, conent, add terms (min purchase), difference between cost to library and to consumer (provider charges much more to library than consumer for same content), difference between costs for pCopy (print book) and eCopy.
Accessility: some vendorrs have not made ebooks or platforms accessible. This is a potential legal problem for the library.
Collection access: access to entire or partial catalog. do certain publishers limit terms of access; can content be removed; what publishers and authors are not included?
Termination: Under whhat conditions? Pro-rated refund?
Some publishers are difficult to deal with: Simon and Schuster (doesn't sell ebooks to libraries), MacMillan (doesn't sell ebooks to libraries), Penguin (pulled content from overdirve), HarperCollins (limits number of checkouts)
Some people expect all books to be available as ebooks, but not all books are digital.
You can negotiate terms!
Contracts and prices are not confidential.
Terms of Service Terms of service can legally override copyright law. Companies can put anything they want into the terms of service.

eBook Readers
Considerations: Device rules (what collections will you be able to access on this device), Software rules (format compatibility, DRM compabitle), Content rules (will all pieces of content work?)

 Reader lending
From 4 scenarios outlined by Mary Minow
-You can lend an empty reader or a reader loaded with public domain content and/or content with permissions to share (creative commons)
-A decvice loaded with ebooks licensed from a vendor can be lended. Be sure you are following terms of service.
-Do not lend a device with unauthorized content
Considerations: initial cost +ongoing cost, cost of device + titles

Summary: Digital Collections
Digital collections provide access when you are closed.
Make users aware.
How DRM affects user access.
Device support

 SH's final thoughts: "Advocate for your users."

Friday, July 08, 2011

Tall Texans 2011

I recently participated in TLA’s TALL (Texas Accelerated Library Leaders) Texans Leadership Institute. The Institute took place at the Montserrat Retreat Center in Lake Dallas, Texas.
Maureen Sullivan, recently elected ALA President-elect, and Jack Siggins, University Librarian and George Washington University, facilitated the institute. Six of Texas’ established library leaders served as mentors: TLA President Jerilynn Williams, director of the Montgomery County Memorial Library System; TLA President Elect Sherilynn Bird, director of libraries at Texas Woman's University; Cindy Buchanan, systems administrator of library media services at Aldine Independent School District; Dr. Ling Hwey Jeng, director of the school of library and information studies at Texas Woman's University; Dr. Rhea Lawson, director of Houston Public Library; and Darryl Tocker, executive director of the Tocker Foundation.
What happens at TALL Texans?
We covered roughly 4 topics a day. Sessions were led by either Maureen or Jack. I will be posting my notes from many of these sessions. Most days also included Mentor Discussions, in which the mentors shared an experience related to a selected topic and answered participant questions. Each day ended with personal reflection, time we could use to reflect on and process the day’s learning. The next day began with a community review, a review of the previous day’s topics. Optional events were planned for each evening: Evening 1 – game night; Evening 2 – discussion of the shared reading*; Evening 3 – book discussion.
Learning Partners
On the first full-day, we formed learning partners, providing us each with somebody to discuss what we were learning and how we might use the new knowledge. Learning partners were expected to daily check-in with each other.
Personal Action Agendas
Each participant left the institute with 2 action agendas, an action for within TLA and a workplace action. There are really no restrictions or requirements for defining an action agenda. It can be as ambitious or as modest as you like. Example TLA Action Agendas are service on a TLA committee or presenting at a district meeting.
Scrapbook and T-shirt
Extra-curricular activities included the creation of a class scrapbook and the design of a class T-shirt.
Guidelines for learning

During the first session, Maureen introduced us to these guidelines to enhance learning:
  • Participate and contribute
  • Practice active listening
  • Expect, respect and work with differences
  • Venture out of your comfort zone
  • Question and test assumptions
  • Assume self-responsibility
  • Offer timely feedback
  • Maintain confidentiality
2011 Themes
A different participant will give you a different list of themes, but here are a few ideas that I saw pop up in multiple sessions.
Trust: It is the key to communication, relationships, collaboration, leadership, and influence.
Active Listening: Give the speaker your undivided attention. Don’t start forming your own response until the speaker is done talking. Confirm your understanding by paraphrasing what the speaker said.
Involve the naysayers: Really listen to their concerns and try to understand where they are coming from.
Overall, it was a rewarding experience. I encourage all Texas library employees and advocates to apply for the class of 2012!

*The shared reading was "Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis" by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky from the July/Aug 2009 issue of Harvard Business Review. The article full-text is available in Business Source Complete.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Information Visualization and Keyword Searching in Library Instruction

Matt Conner and Melissa Browne, University of California, Davis
May 7, 2011
2011 LOEX Conference

Download the Powerpoint Presentation
Visual Literacy is the ability “to produce and consume images.” Matt Conner and Melissa Browne promote the concept of Information Visualization, which “represents data with visual designs that assist comprehension and insight.” To illustrate the connection between vision and cognition, Conner used the example of the blind who have had their vision surgically restored, but are unable to process what they see (reminded me of the movie At First Sight).

Undergraduate Search Behavior
  • Search strategies: Undergrads use either single word or long natural-language search statements. This works in Google, but not in most library databases. Undergrads also use the same tools and strategies regardless of the information need.
  • Reading habits: Most students don’t read articles thoroughly, but prefer to skim.
  • Cues: Students also prefer to look at sources with more “graphical/visual representations.”

Their conclusion: “It’s more difficult than ever for students to translate subject knowledge into appropriate search strategies for scholarly research!” Their hypothesis: “Information visualization techniques improve students’ abilities to conceptualize topics and generate terms for academic online research.” Conner and Browne are currently conducting a study with Undergraduates to test this hypothesis

3 Pedagogies
  1. Keyword matrix: This keyword matrix is a little different than what I have used in the past. In this matrix the topic goes in the middle row and the student brainstorms general terms in the top row and more specific terms in the bottom row.
  2. Google’s Wonder Wheel: I’ve used the Wonder Wheel for concept mapping and development of research topics, but I haven’t tried it for keyword generation.
  3. EBSCO’s Visual Search: An alternative to the traditional search results display, Visual Search helps to narrow results with an emphasis on subject headings. Ebsco is one of the the few database providers that offer a visual search option. For my own research, I prefer the traditional view, but this presentation inspired me to try out the visual search option with students.

The Study
The presenters are currently conducting a study of the three pedagogies. As of the presentation, only about a third of the results have been analyzed. The following results are based on the data analyzed as of the presentation.
  • How students generate search terms: 1. Google 2. The topic itself 3. Course materials
  • The most difficult part of research: 1. Credibility 2. Narrowing (Information overload) 3. Relevance

Preliminary results of the study reveal:
  • No significant difference in the number of search attempts.
  • No significant difference in time spent searching.
  • Students “expressed great enthusiasm” for the term-generating tools.

Conner and Browne also made the following observations.
  • “Students did not rely on keywords.”
  • Students reacted to information. They used links instead of keywords to further their search.
  • “Adapted results to fit preconceived pattern for paper.”
  • “Wide variation is search strategies.” Examples of search strategies include “termers,” who frequently modify their search strategies, and “limiters,” who rely on database limiters to modify searches. Students were not using advanced search strategies such as phrase searching or truncation.
  • “Student’s assessment of search success did not match always match the investigator’s assessment.”

Based on the preliminary findings, the Conner and Browne state that “Information visualization techniques appear to help students with conceptualizing topics but don’t really impact keyword search strategies.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ensuring Valid and Reliable Assessments of Student Learning Workshop

Megan Oakleaf, Syracuse University
Thursday, May 5, 2011, 1:00pm - 4:30pm
2011 LOEX Preconference

The first part of the workshop focused on outcomes and performance assessment. The second part covered rubrics.

Megan Oakleaf briefly discussed the necessity for "clear, meaningful, transferable, learning outcomes." How will students be able to use what they learn in other contexts. Ensure that the outcomes are relatable, but not overwhelming.

There are a lot of different formulas for writing outcomes, but all good outcomes begin with active verbs. See Assessment-as-Learning.

Performance Assessment
Oakleaf stressed active learning. She briefly discussed the "Understanding by Design" approach before discussing performance assessment. Performance assessments “focus on student’s tasks or products/artifacts of those tasks.” These assessments “simulate real life application of skills.” I was surprised to learn that your instruction/learning tool can also be your assessment tool. It seems so obvious, but I had never thought of it that way. For example, observing students completing a class activity such as a database search can be an assessment. Develop a checklist and check off as a student meets the criteria. She used the example of tallying how many students locate an appropriate article. In our introductory workshop, we could keep track of how many students are able to locate on book on their own in our find-a-book activity.

Rubrics “describe student learning in 2 dimensions:” indicators/criteria and “levels of performance.” Oakleaf introduced us to the RAILS (Rubric Assessment of Information Literacy Skills) project: www.railsontrack.com.

Rubric Creation Process
  1. Reflecting: "why did we create this assignment/assessment?" "What happened the last time we gave it?" "What is the relationship between this assignment/assessment and the rest of what students will learn?"
  2. Listing: "What specific learning outcomes do we want to see in the completed assignment/assessment?" "What evidence can students provide in this assignment/assessment that would demonstrate their learning.". "What are our expectations of student work? What does it look like?"
  3. Grouping and labeling: "Can we group our brainstorms in categories?" "How can we label them?" The labeled groups are now the "criteria."
  4. Creating: Draft the performance descriptions. Define the highest level of or best possible student performance. Define the worst and other developmental levels as needed.
In order to avoid the most common rubric design flaws, describe what a student at that level ‘looks’ like.

Rubric Norming Process
Oakleaf recommends norming rubrics when multiple graders will be using the same rubric. This will limit discrepancies among evaluators.
  1. Think aloud about an example. Criterion by criterion, share how you came to your performance rating.
  2. Raters independently evaluate examples.
  3. Raters come together to identify similarities and differences in scoring patterns.
  4. “Discuss and reconcile inconsistent scores.”
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 new samples until consensus.
Closing the Loop
Based on your assessment, “Enact decisions to increase learning.” Assessment is useless if you don’t do this.