Information technology, pedagogy, and the education of information professionals
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Information technology, pedagogy, and the education of information professionals Howard Rosenbaum <[email protected]> 10.10.01 http://www.slis.indiana.edu/hrosenba/www/Pres/webdevshare_01/ I. Introduction • A challenge

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Information technology, pedagogy, and the education of information professionals

Howard Rosenbaum

<[email protected]>

10.10.01

http://www.slis.indiana.edu/hrosenba/www/Pres/webdevshare_01/


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I. Introduction information professionals

• A challenge

II. Teaching, information problems, and the “real” world”

• Collaborative technology and pedagogy

• Simulations and learning

III. Teaching ecommerce with a virtual economy

• Using PBL in the VE

IV. PBL, information technology and the education of information professionals


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I. Introduction information professionals

• A challenge

We spend many hours at work immersed in digital environments using information and communication technologies (ICTs)

This is extending into our social and private lives as well

We expect that our students are going to spend many years working in networked organizations

What are the most effective ways to prepare our graduates for work in these environments?


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In the discourse on socio-technical trends in higher education, we find that

Schools are increasing their investments in ICTs and are integrating them into their curricula

They are offering instruction in different formats to provide students with more flexibility

More curricula are beginning to focus on a range of information environments and information problems

What do these trends mean for the ways in which we educate our students?


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One implication education, we find that

We are finding ourselves in a situation where we are rethinking the ways in which we combine ICTs and pedagogy

One suggestion

An important focus should be on the investigation of information problems in organizational environments

Pedagogical strategy and the socio-technical infrastructure that supports it should immerse students in these problems


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I. Introduction education, we find that

• A challenge

II. Teaching, information problems, and the “real world”

• Collaborative technology and pedagogy

• Simulations and learning

III. Teaching ecommerce with a virtual economy

• Using PBL in the VE

IV. PBL, information technology and the education of information professionals


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II. Teaching, information problems, and the “real world”

• Collaborative technology and pedagogy

Our Masters of Information Science program emphasizes teamwork

Teamwork is grounded in situated learning

Situated learning assumes that learning and cognition require social interaction and physical activity

“Communities of practice” form where learning is constituted through the sharing of purposeful and patterned activities

Roschelle, J. (1995)


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“The activity in which knowledge is developed and deployed … is not separable from or ancillary to learning and cognition. Nor is it neutral. Rather, it is an integral part of what is learned.

Situations might be said to co-produce knowledge through activity. Learning and cognition, it is now possible to argue, are fundamentally situated.”

Brown, J.S., Collins, A., and Duguid, P. (1989)


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Assume that learning takes place during mutually constructed experiences

How technology can support these experiences?

Collaborative technology enables people to engage jointly in producing shared knowledge

It helps generate communities of practice

It is a tool for the mutual production of new practice

It allows groups to transform problematic situations into experiences that they can handle routinely


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faces a experiences

which faces a

and uses

leading to a

reinforcing the

Situated learning and collaborative technology

A group

Problematic situation

Community of practice

Collaboration technology

Successful resolution


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A good collaborative technology is a highly visible part of the shared experience

Group members use it to interact, communicate, and work

It supports

Communication Interpersonal interaction

Distributed systems Distance education

Cooperative work Telecommuting


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• Simulations and problem based learning the shared experience

Can a complex simulation provide students with a real world experience?

Can collaborative technology be used as the basis for such a simulation?

What has to change in the pedagogy of a course built around a semester-long simulation?

How will this affect teaching?

How will this affect learning?

Technology and pedagogy can be used to bridge the gap between “knowing what” and “knowing how”


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The importance of problems the shared experience

We routinely deal with problematic situations

Information problems arise because we perceive that the elements of our environment connect in an unsatisfactory ways

This situation is also is a setting within which we seek resolutions

We do this by drawing upon the salient features of our organizational and social context

This includes rules, resources, and social networks


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Problematic situation the shared experience

Communities of practice

Problems

Information needs

Information behaviors

Collaboration technologies

Problem resolutions


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Information professionals learn how to recognize the typical problems that arise in their workplaces

They develop a repertoire of information behaviors that allows them to efficiently resolve these problems

In many organizations, information technologies are important resources in this work

How can we provide students with learning experiences that will prepare them to enter this world?

How can we help them develop a deep understanding of the connections among people, ICTs, and organizations?


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How can we create a class that will require students to spend an extended period of time grappling with a difficult problem?

Are there pedagogical approaches that focus on problems ?

Is there a reasonable way to simulate the complex organizational information environments that they will face upon graduation?

Can we create a situation that requires them to take greater responsibility for their own education?


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One useful approach is problem based learning (PBL) spend an extended period of time grappling with a difficult problem?

It assumes that learning is situated

What we know and understand is a product of the learning situation and the nature of the learning activity

Learning takes place in the context of social interaction and not simply in the learner's head

Learning tasks should be embedded in the target context and require the kind of thinking that would be done in real life

(Abdullah, 1998; 1)


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PBL is a learner-centered approach that foregrounds “the problem”

Learning is motivated by a problem that should resemble one students might face in the workplace

It is important that the problem is complex and ill structured

There should be no clear-cut and easy answers

There should be nuances and subtleties not apparent upon first analysis

It should have relevance to students who can analyze it using prior knowledge and experience


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PBL reverses the traditional approach to teaching and learning

As they work on the problem, students propose plausible explanations or hypotheses

They develop plans and strategies to resolve the problem

They gather data that to test their hypotheses or critically evaluate their explanations and plans

The role of the instructor is important because he/she provides relevant information, but only if students can give a good reason for wanting it

(Margetson, 1998; 194)


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Using PBL, students learning

Take responsibility for their education

Learn about problem solving in situations that resemble those they will face in their professional careers

Learn to recognize and analyze problems, taking into account their contextual and dynamic natures

Develop, evaluate, and select among alternative resolutions

Engage in self-directed study resulting in knowledge that can be used in problem analysis

Present and defend their ideas in front of their peers


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I. Introduction learning

• A challenge

II. Teaching, information problems, and the “real” world”

• Collaborative technology and pedagogy

• Simulations and learning

III. Teaching ecommerce with a virtual economy

• Using PBL in the VE

IV. PBL, information technology and the education of information professionals


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III. Teaching ecommerce with a virtual economy learning

Challenge: to design and develop an inquiry-based learningenvironment for teaching ecommerce

Objective: providestudents with a challenging, novel, technology-focused, and learner-centered educational experience

They learn by “doing” ecommerce instead of listening to someone talk about “doing” ecommerce

Technology: a working, robust, and web-based virtual economy (VE: Web, Cold Fusion, and Oracle)

Syllabus: http://www.slis.indiana.edu/hrosenba/www/L561/syll/syll6.html


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learning Using PBL in the VE

The problem is how to starting up, designing, and managing a web-based ebusiness

This is complex, messy, and ill-structured

Working in small, self-directed teams, students investigate issues involved in creating web-based ebusinesses

They determine what they need to learn to develop and manage their stores

They draw upon a range of disciplines to resolve the problems they face


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Student work is evaluated against real-world benchmarks learning

Sales, repeat customers, traffic analysis, and customer feedback

Students apply what they learn to the basic problem as it evolves over time

This is “authentic learning” because “students publicly exhibit their learning, and there are often real life standards of quality”(Gordon 1998: 391)

Outcome: “higher levels of comprehension, more learning and knowledge-forming skills, more social skills”(Rheem, 1999)


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Structure of the course and timeline for the VE learning

Week 1: Introduction: Developing a start-up company

Week 2-7: Design, build, and test the site

2: Present business plan, begin content development

3: Database population, evaluation of sites and development of initial prototype

4: Development of advertising and marketing plan

5: Final design; online ad auction

6,7: Presentation of customer service and support strategies, testing and redesign

Week 8-15: Operate the storefronts


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There are several ways that the simulation becomes more real to the students

There is competition: bonuses added to the final grade for the most profit and the most traffic

They never meet the shoppers face to face

Real digital products are being sold for real purposes

There is initial investment, but there are costs that have to be managed

The banner auction

Web hosting

Consulting ($125/hr)

Market research (~$400 for a report)


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The virtual economy to the studentsis a distributed digital marketplace

It is a simulation of a competitive environment for buying and selling digital products

Activities

Students confront and resolve a series of problems related to the larger problem of managing an ebusiness

They start up, design, and operate e-businesses which compete in the VE

Shoppers use digital money to purchase information products and services


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Structure of the virtual economy to the students

Store 1

Store 1

Store 2

Store 2

Bank

Portal page

Store3

Store 4

Store 3

Store 4

Flow of digital money Traversal to store To portal

Shoppers


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The VE is based on HTML, Cold Fusion, and Oracle to the students

It uses no pre-existing code and is a proprietary design that has been written to be transparent to the participants

No programming knowledge is required for students to set up storefronts or to shop in the VE

The programming is modular, portable and currently runs on a Solaris platform on a Sun Enterprise 250 server

Cold Fusion has the ability to encrypt the code for the primary functions (product catalogs, shopping cart, and digital bank), so the VE is relatively secure


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The VE is a collaboration technology to the students

It provides a shared work space for store teams to develop their businesses

Each team works out its own norms of interaction and rules for working together

It also provides a means for store teams to engage in customer relationship management as they attempt to initiate and build relationships with the shoppers

In past iterations of the VE, this has involved the use of email newsletters and chat rooms



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Synergia: information services to the students

Vegas Casino: entertainment

GetBusy: information, services

DigiTeam: collaboration services

SWOT.com: information

GetBusy

Business Bistro: bundled information

Succinct: subscription


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I would like to thank my faculty colleagues and collaborators:

Australia: University of Canberra: Ric Jentzsch University of Queensland: Sophie Cockcroft

UK University of Bath: Richard Vigden, Joe Nandhakumar University of Greenwich: Margaret Lennox

US The Citadel: Janette Moody Duquesne University: A. Graham Peace, William Spangler Kennesaw State University: Martha Meyers Lehigh University: Catherine Ridings Georgia College and State University: Ric Bialac

I also received assistance from talented SLIS students, some on the payroll and some with independent studies


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I. Introduction collaborators:

• A challenge

II. Teaching, information problems, and the “real world”

• Collaborative technology and pedagogy

• Simulations and learning

III. Teaching ecommerce with a virtual economy

• Using PBL in the VE

IV. PBL, information technology and the education of information professionals


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  • PBL, information technology and the education of information professionals

  • This combination of pedagogy and technology is a useful way to prepare students for their careers in IT

  • They learn that their implicit knowledge is legitimate and useful when facing apparently unfamiliar tasks

  • Because of the range of problem resolutions, they learn that heuristics are not absolute

  • Students generate their own solutions, which makes them creative members of a culture of problem- solving and community of practice


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They acquire new cultural tools information professionals

A shared vocabulary

Workable methods of problem analysis

Collective problem solving

The means to discuss, reflect upon, evaluate, and validate community procedures in a collaborative process

Groups give rise to insights and solutions that would not come about without them


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Displaying multiple roles information professionals

Successful problem resolution helps them learn about the many different roles needed for most cognitive tasks in the workplace

They can confront and discard ineffective strategies and misconceptions

They refine their collaborative work skills

They learn about project management

They learn that ecommerce is hard work!


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Abdullah, M.H. (1998). Problem-Based Learning in Language Instruction: A Constructivist Model. Eric Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication, Bloomington, IN.

Brown, J.S., Collins, A., and Duguid, P. (1989) Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning, Educational Researcher, 18, pp. 32-42. http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/ilt/papers/JohnBrown.html

Gordon, R. (1998). Balancing real-world problems with real-world results. Phi Delta Kappan, 390-394.

Margetson, D. (1998). What Counts as Problem-Based Learning? Education for Health: Change in Training and Practice, 11(2): 193-202.

Rheem, J. (1998). Problem-Based Learning: An Introduction. The National Teaching and Learning Forum. 8(1).

http://www.ntlf.com/html/pi/9812/pbl_1.htm

Roschelle, J. (1995). What Should Collaborative Technology Be? A Perspective From Dewey and Situated Learning. http://cica.cica.indiana.edu/cscl95/outlook/39_roschelle.html


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Information technology, pedagogy, and the education of information professionals

Howard Rosenbaum

<[email protected]>

10.10.01

http://www.slis.indiana.edu/hrosenba/www/Pres/webdevshare_01/


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