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Evaluating Who is Learning with Real Learning Connections. Nora J. Bird Assistant Professor LIS Dept. Michael Crumpton Assistant Dean, University Libraries. AGENDA. Motivation and Theory Research Questions and Models Setting and Participants Sources of Evidence Results Students

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evaluating who is learning with real learning connections

Evaluating Who is Learning with Real Learning Connections

Nora J. Bird

Assistant Professor LIS Dept.

Michael Crumpton

Assistant Dean, University Libraries

Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching 2013

  • Motivation and Theory
  • Research Questions and Models
  • Setting and Participants
  • Sources of Evidence
  • Results
    • Students
    • Faculty and Program
    • Librarians
  • Future Directions

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The LIS Department has a mission of educating future librarians

The University Libraries has many work/study opportunities for LIS students

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Cooperation might provide:

1) Students with jobs but no tuition assistance

2) Help to tenure track librarians with publishing requirements

3) Re-education for LIS faculty without recent practice experience

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theory and background

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donald sch n
Donald Schön
  • "In some fields, the question of professional artistry has come up in the context of continuing education. Educators ask how mature professionals can be helped to renew themselves so as to avoid 'burnout,' how they can be helped to build their repertoires of skills and understandings on a continuing basis.“

Educating the Reflective Practitioner p. 15

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build or re build their repertoire of skills and understandings
“Build or re-build their repertoireof skills and understandings…”
  • How does that work for faculty especially in disciplines that are tied to practice like:
    • Librarianship
    • Business Administration
    • Counseling
    • Architecture and Design

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sch n again
Schön again
  • "In the terrain of professional practice, applied science and research-based technique occupy a critically important though limited territory, bounded on several sides by artistry." p. 13

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faculty renewing artistry
Faculty renewing artistry..
  • Where do theory and practice meet for faculty members?
  • How is that related to community engagement?

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experiential learning
Experiential Learning
  • Creating meaning via direct activities
  • Learning through meta-reflection
  • Engaging the full person
  • Facilitating learning through experience

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them."[--Aritotle

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david kolb on experiential learning
David Kolb on Experiential Learning
  • Learner must
    • be willing to be actively involved in the experience;
    • be able to reflect on the experience;
    • possess and use analytical skills to conceptualize the experience; and
    • possess decision making and problem solving skills in order to use the new ideas gained from the experience.

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education is not training
Education is not training
  • Education is for the long term
  • Training are the skills to accomplish the present task
  • What is the epi

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research questions and model
Research questions and model

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  • R1: Is there a better, more connected model to describe the internship relationship in LIS?
  • R2: What are the benefits to all participants in the internship?
  • R3: How can the model be extended to other learning opportunities?

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Student Employee* Model

  • Learning goals defined by the practitioner
  • *or students working while in school

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  • Student
  • Faculty
  • (research)

Traditional Model of Internship/Practica

  • Reflection on process is primarily done by the student

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Current Theory

and Research



Practical Work Experience





Academic Content

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setting and participants
setting and participants

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  • The University of North Carolina at Greensboro LIS Department and University Libraries
  • Collaboration between these fostered by
    • grant projects
    • alumni on staff
    • students employed in paid and unpaid positions

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some definitions at uncg
Some definitions at UNCG
  • Practicum – working for class credit only. Usually project driven and goals satisfy curriculum
  • Internships – student workers paid by the hour and task driven. Additional training and experience are provided by librarians.
  • Graduate assistantship – Stipend plus tuition, work for the department as research assistants, etc.

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rlc internships practica
RLC Internships/Practica
  • Stipend paid by Libraries
  • Tuition subsidy paid by LIS Department
  • Projects were proposed by various departments in the Libraries and only some were funded
  • Students chosen by LIS Faculty and Chair and Libraries Assistant Dean and Dean in consultation with project librarians.

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participants process
  • Projects were advertised to last during an academic year.
  • The second year more applications and an interview process
  • Third year most applications were from students new to the program
  • One faculty member involved in all 3 years; others depending on projects
  • Member of library administration involved in coordination

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over the years
Over the Years

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sources of evidence
Sources of Evidence
  • 2 years of sporadic journal entries
  • 3 years of learning objectives from faculty, students and practitioners
  • 2 1/2 years of summary reports from faculty, practitioner, and students
  • 2 administrative reports

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project learning objectives
Project Learning Objectives
  • Each project was designed with learning objectives for all participants.
  • Self-assessment was done in the form of evaluations of the success of the projects and meeting of goals.

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sample learning objectives
Sample Learning Objectives

From Year 2.


  • Will understand selection criteria and other practical considerations surrounding the use of archival materials.
  • Will become familiar with technical standards and formats for digital projects.
  • Will become familiar with metadata schemas including technical, administrative, and descriptive metadata.
  • Will gain experience using digital collections management software.

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learning objectives sample con
Learning Objectives Sample (con.)


  • Will benefit from research into comparable projects that the student will complete during each phase.
  • Will be exposed to theoretical material being taught in courses such as LIS 631 (Emerging Trends in Information Access), LIS 640 (Organizing Library Collections),  

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learning objectives sample con1
Learning Objectives Sample (con.)

Teaching Faculty:

  • Will see practical examination of theoretical concepts related to digitization and metadata for a digital project.
  • Will have the opportunity to examine issues of interdepartmental collaboration and communication.

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summary reports
Summary Reports
  • Written from separate perspectives.
  • Cumulated in the administrative reports

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student learning
Student Learning

1st Year

  • More than a Graduate Assistantship
    • Practical experience while learning “the basics” of library studies
    • Networking alliances
    • Academic financial support (Student)
    • Communicate academic initiatives and needs
    • Practitioner viewpoint encouraged
    • Collaborative and open – no hierarchy
  • Archives are a different discipline that require humility

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student learning1
Student Learning

2nd Year

  • Ethical responsibilities of archivists especially in oral histories
  • Assessment methods and applications and the power of analytics
  • Collaboration in digital projects

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student learning2
Student Learning

3rd Year so far

  • Teaching is not presentation and there are a million software programs
  • Conceptual framework for artifact collection.
  • Cloud computing and the impact on technical services

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a depth of student learning
A depth of student learning

“The discussions surrounding these artifacts were some of the best learning experiences of the project, because they helped me to connect the conceptual aspect of the object with the people who would potentially come in to view the artifact.”

-3rd year student participant

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faculty learning
Faculty Learning

2nd year

  • Role of Oral Histories in academic archives
  • Oral Histories as digital objects (transcription, abstracting, tagging)
  • Creation of a digital project – conception through implementation in ContentDM
  • Academic library assessment activities – is it research?

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practitioner learning
Practitioner Learning
  • Learning goals
    • Relive LIS school lessons that get lost in the “chaos of work”
    • Recognize the need for learning something new while maintaining existing routines
    • Revisit their own learning activities

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practitioner learning1
Practitioner Learning
  • Working with student in this way
    • The student’s experience is a reminder of what it takes to process new information. In the midst of work this can be considered natural or forgotten completely.

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some products
Some Products

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beyond the participants
Beyond the participants

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lis department learning
LIS Department learning
  • Restructuring of LIS 650 to include more management
  • Incorporating more alternative formats
  • Cooperation among archives, cataloging, digital projects
  • Enhancement of Archives education experiences

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learning for lis education
Learning for LIS Education
  • The Real Learning Connections model shows the impacts that can occur on practice, preparing students, and curriculum.

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learning for library organizations
Learning for Library Organizations
  • Renewal of learned theoretical concepts not used since academy
  • Bridges for expanding current practices
  • Insights into efficiencies and “better” practices
  • Collaborative and learned solutions
  • Higher level of sharing an experience
  • Better partners for LIS internship support

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future directions
Future Directions
  • Toolkit with self-guiding instructions for the librarian supervisor for implementing RLC practica
  • Partnerships with other institutions
  • Changes in “regular” practicum
  • Considerations for interns hired outside of project environment
  • Future project oriented methods of work

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Ash, S. L. and Clayton, P. H. (2004). The articulated learning: An approach to guided reflection and assessment. Innovative higher education, 29 (2): 137-154

Diambra, J. F., Cole-Zakrewski, K., and Booher, J. A. (2004). Comparison of internship stage models: Evidence from the intern experiences. Journal of Experiential Education 27 (2), 191-212.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Moon, J. A. (2006). Learning journals: A handbook for reflective practice and professional development. London: Routledge.

Schön, D. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Stauffer, S. (2006, November). A framework for a "Teaching Library": A preliminary study. Paper presented at the NYLA Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY.

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