User Education

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Course Assignments Fall 2012

Assignment Description Due Date Possible Points Total=100
In-class participation Your participation in class is critical to the success of this class. Contributing your ideas, reactions and questions to the topic at hand will nurture you skills and comfort at presenting your thoughts orally. In addition we all benefit from a dialogue that includes diverse and even occasionally conflicting perceptions.

*Please see the Participation Grading Rubric for details on expectations

Every class 15
Discussion questions Select 3 different assigned readings from the course schedule and craft a question or comment that would prompt further discussion among your colleagues. These discussion prompts should relate to the reading in some fashion but feel free to follow tangents, point out inconsistencies or conflicting information, agree or disagree, integrate ideas from other classes, find examples of practice, make predictions, etc. Prompts should be well thought out and may even be provocative. But they may also express tentative and exploratory thoughts - we won't hold you to any hard and fast opinions.

Each of the three discussion prompts are due by 6:00 PM on the day before the reading is to be discussed for the first time. You are expected to read and reflect on all of our readings - but you choose the three readings to which you will address your prompt.

3 times during the semester 6
Classroom discussion facilitator You will need to sign up to lead and facilitate one classroom discussion during the semester focusing on the reading for that day. Look over the class schedule and assigned readings, select one of particular interest to you and let Rachael know. If you find an additional reading of extreme interest with relevance to our class, you are welcome to inquire about using it instead, talk with Rachael for permission.

Expect to lead a constructive and engaging discussion for approximately 10-15 minutes; visual aids are not required but certainly not forbidden. Please view this as an opportunity to try a new (to you) format of discussion if you'd like.

1 time during semester (sign up with Rachael) 9
Teaching philosophy statement This preliminary statement should express your thoughts and convictions about learning and teaching. You might describe particular ways you have learned things in your own experience and how you intend to incorporate those elements into practice. You may wish to comment on strong or weak teaching practices you have observed, or ideals of the classroom that matter to you. You may include concrete examples of what you do or anticipate doing in a teaching environment. You might comment on the significance of information literacy, information literacy standards, putting theory into practice, professional development, innovative techniques, and/or the role of instructional technology.

Use this statement to start a user education portfolio for yourself. Keep useful materials here - articles, lessons, examples - it will be useful when you are asked to prepare presentations for potential employers.

We will discuss this in greater depth during class and but an excellent tutorial is available through the University of Minnesota's Center for Teaching and Learning to guide you through the process of drafting a teaching philosophy statement. In addition several sample statements are linked from the resources section of our website.

Please provide this statement (aim for 1 single spaced page but no more than 2) to me by September 24. I will provide feedback to you and then ask you to revisit it at the end of the term.

Sept 24 10
Observation, review and reflection of outside instruction experience The intent of this assignment is to:
  1. give you the opportunity to experience user education in a context of interest to you or explore a context you know nothing about
  2. prompt you to think about how you learn
  3. prompt you to think about how you might teach others
Any number of instruction/training sessions occur on campus and in the community; a growing list of opportunities is linked from the resources section of our website.

You should make arrangements to attend a face-to-face instruction session or participate in an online instruction tutorial. Feel free to talk with Rachael about other possibilities.

After you attend the session please write about your observations and reactions (in 3-pages or less). Address points such as:
  1. The purpose of the session as you understand it
  2. Describe the audience and your perception of their expectations
  3. What sorts of teaching styles and techniques does the instructor/librarian utilize?
  4. What instructional technology is used in the session? What seemed to work effectively? (or not?)
  5. What elements will you try to incorporate or avoid in your own teaching style after experiencing the session?

Nov 14 10
PechaKucha Presentation Information technology in the classroom is neither new nor guaranteed to improve instruction however in the right hands and with a real purpose technology can help immensely from engaging participants to reaching multiple learning styles to adding some flair and stickiness.

For this assignment we will work in groups of two or three. With your partner you will select an information technology "tool" to investigate and share with the class in the form of a PechaKucha (presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 slides x 20 seconds). We'll discuss details in class.

Oct 31 or Nov 5 10
Instruction experience You will research, design, craft, conduct and assess a user education experience in a context of particular interest to you, again, giving you the opportunity to take the content you are learning in class and try it out in the real world. Throughout the semester you will be building the pieces of your instruction experience with plenty of opportunity for feedback, redesign, reflection and experimentation.

I encourage you to actively explore and pursue venues, people and opportunities that are closely aligned to the user education contexts you find most engaging. I am happy to assist in any way I can in terms of talking to the right people, brainstorming options, etc.

This assignment as several components each worth 5 points (except for the initial pitch to colleauges in class)
  1. Pitch idea to colleagues / brainstorming (in-class exercise)
    Sept 19
  2. Context description and needs assessment
    Oct 22
  3. Learning objectives for instruction session and rationale for instruction design
    Oct 29
  4. Practice a slice of your instruction presentation or demo your digital product in class
    Prearrange to support your project
  5. Instruction delivery or completion of digital product (outside of class)
    Before Dec 3
  6. Self-evaluation: 1-2 pages
    Dec 5
    • Written explanation of the instruction experience you designed and produced
    • Self-assessment and reflection on feedback from colleagues
    • Thoughts on whether/how you might revise the experience

Instruction assessment and feedback for colleagues Supporting colleagues with constructive feedback is an extremely valuable skill but not always easy to do. We will be using a format called The Tuning Protocol that involves engaging in the role of Critical Friend. Through in-class oral and written feedback we will develop our skills and styles of exchanging professional, objective, substantive and thoughtful feedback.

We will discuss further in class the expectations and parameters of this feedback exercise.

TBD 10
Revision of teaching philosophy statement This final writing exercise will prompt you to reflect on the teaching philosophy that you composed earlier in the semester. You may rework it based upon things you have learned through the course and in particular your instruction experience.

A polished version of the 1-2 page document is due by Dec 10.

Dec 10 5