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May Update: Report from LOEX

Last week I was fortunate to get to attend and present at LOEX 2017, in Lexington, KY.  I’m excited to have joined the LOEX Board of Trustees this year and it was great to see familiar faces and meet new, energized librarians, too.

I presented a one-hour workshop where I walked participants through a comparison of two common types of results reports from large-scale assessments.  We looked at an example of a rubric-based assessment report and a report from the Evaluating Process and Authority module of the Threshold Achievement Test.  We compared them on the criteria of timeliness, specificity, and actionability, and found that rubric results reports from large-scale assessments often lack the specificity that makes it possible to use assessment results to make plans for instructional improvement.  The TATIL results report, on the other hand, offered many ways to identify areas for improvement and to inform conversations about next steps.  Several librarians from institutions that are committed to using rubrics for large-scale assessment said at the end of the session that the decision between rubrics and tests now seemed more complicated than it had before.  Another librarian commented that rubrics seem like a good fit for assessing outcomes in a course, but perhaps are less useful for assessing outcomes across a program or a whole institution.  It was a rich conversation that also highlighted some confusing elements in the TATIL results report that we are looking forward to addressing in the next revision.

Overall, I came away from LOEX feeling excited about the future of instruction in the IL Framework era.  While the Framework remains an enigma for some of us, presenters at LOEX this year found many ways to make practical, useful connections between their work and the five frames.

At NYU, Nicole E. Brown and Marybeth McCartin are getting librarians talking about the Framework’s role in instruction by building a community of practice that includes social learning (i.e., wine, cheese, and game-show activities) and bridges formerly siloed areas within the library.  This effort is part of achieving their strategic vision of strengthening librarians’ teaching role and includes participants from Data Services, Digital Scholarship, Collections, Outreach, User Services, and Reference.

At Drake University, Dan Chibnall, Carrie Dunham-LaGree and Sam Becker are teaching IL courses on a variety of topics using a wide range of core texts.  Among the three faculty presenting about their classes, some are focused on scholarship as conversation and strategic searching while others are finding more resonance with research as inquiry or authority is constructed and contextual.  This session really highlighted the Framework’s value as an inspiration for digging deeper into IL and reinforced the growing sense that we do not need to feel pressure to teach all aspects of the Framework in any single course.

Megan Blauvelt Heuer at Southern Methodist University and Jonathan Torres at Cornell University  both presented on IL and career readiness.  Blauvelt Heuer is asking tough questions about how to prepare our students to be IL-ready for the workplace and she is finding that the Frames of Authority is Constructed and Contextual and Information has Value are threads that weave throughout her workshops and problem-based activities.  In particular she is building learning experiences that strengthen dispositions like persistence and toleration for ambiguity.  You can read more about the badging program she has created.

Looking for a way to get students engaged in evaluating sources and considering the needs of their audience, Jason Ezell from Loyola University, New Orleans and Joyce Garczynski from Towson University came up with the concept of infoPlaylists and are partnered in successful collaborations with faculty who assign the infoPlaylists as an alternative to the traditional research paper.  They find that students are challenged and excited by the assignment since it incorporates a more authentic audience and requires them to consider authority and value in new ways.

Kristen Mastel and Amy Riegelman, two librarians from the University of Minnesota with deep experience teaching mindfulness showed us that the Framework’s emphasis on transformative learning, reflection, and resilience merge well with our concerns for students as whole people.  Through their interactive workshop we found harmony between creating radical hospitality in libraries and our efforts to strengthen students’ IL.

I’m looking forward to LOEX 2018, scheduled to be held in Houston, TX.