Author Archives: Carrie Macfarlane

26th Annual Writing and Teaching Retreat

Last week, LIS liaison librarians Brenda, Stacy and Carrie attended a 2-day writing and teaching retreat for faculty, organized by the CTLR and held at the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. Along with Shawna Shapiro from the Writing Program and Adela Langrock from the Office of Planning and Assessment, we led a session called “Undergraduates as Researchers,” in which we reviewed the results of our 2012 assessment of student research and technology skills and discussed best practices for helping students develop strong research skills.

We  also attended workshops on syllabus design, developing and grading writing assignments, peer feedback, and foreign language pedagogy. We each were able to spend a few hours sharing assignment ideas and suggestions in small-group syllabus workshops, and we had plenty of time to talk with faculty and colleagues individually too.

Here are just a few take-aways from the event:

  • Some faculty expressed interest in community-based, collaborative research projects. It will be interesting to look for models (a few come to mind already!) and elaborate on technology options for these faculty.
  • If piloting a new initiative, program, or pedagogical technique seems daunting, try starting with a “lite” version. If that’s successful, you can scale up the next time around.
  • When assigning small group work during class time, ask each group to report out at the end. This could be an effective way for students to share their research success stories and challenges.
  • Writing is communication. When you write, take the time to imagine, understand, and speak to your target audience; ask students to do the same.
  • Peer feedback on writing is most useful when it asks questions about sections of a text, or raises big issues such as clarity and purpose. Line-by-line editing (in effect, telling the writer, “this is exactly how I would say it”) is less effective because the writer implements the directed changes without needing to re-envision the paper from the reader’s viewpoint.
  • Be intentional and design backwards.  Think of what you want students to be able to do and then provide the steps or “scaffolding” to develop the skill by sequencing assignments and instruction to achieve the goal.  This applies to research as well as writing skills.

Divisional Faculty Advisory Groups – Spring 2013

Divisional Faculty Advisory Groups meet once or twice per year to discuss library and technology issues and interests. Three groups met in the spring semester. Notes on their discussions are available on the LIS Advisors blog [shortcut: go/lisadvisors]. Here are the links:

Social Sciences
A few highlights: In response to the question, “Are there any specific instances where you were surprised by an LIS decision?” faculty talked about the e-textbook pilot and the Moodle launch. tutorials are useful! There is interest in LIS support for storing and streaming media, and for screencasting.

A few highlights: Faculty are preparing for the analog sunset, and they ask that for classrooms being upgraded and losing VCRs, we notify the faculty who are using those classrooms. tutorials are useful! There is interest in LIS support for storing and streaming media.

Arts and Humanities
A few highlights: Faculty noted that they use their liaisons for their own research needs as well as direct students to them, though they do think faculty can direct students more often to liaisons, and liaisons can do more to remind/encourage faculty about this. There is interest in LIS support for storing and streaming media.

New Research and Instruction Librarian

I am very happy to announce that our new Research and Instruction Librarian, Stacy Reardon, will be joining us here at the Davis Family Library on July 8. Stacy was most recently a Learning Management System Analyst at Simmons College. She attended the Middlebury College Chinese Language School. Her office will be behind the Research Desk, LIB207.

Liaison Discussion: Understanding Fair Use

Topic: Understanding Fair Use. Led by Kellam Ayres.
Who’s Invited: All liaisons, and anyone else who might be interested
Who’s “Required”: Primary liaisons, please try to attend if you can. Sorry in advance for any conflicts.
Where and when: Tuesday, July 9. 10:30-11:30 am. LIB 145.

Description: Want to learn how to confidently make Fair Use evaluations for copyrighted materials? I’ll walk you through the Four Factors and then show you a few online tools to help resolve even the trickiest questions. (This is a repeat of Kellam’s 2013 LIS In-Service presentation.)

“Liaison Discussion Section” meetings address research and/or technology topics of interest to liaisons. They can be conversations, or presentations, or both. They take place most often on the 3rd week of the month, but in order to allow people who work different hours to attend, they’re sometimes scheduled for different days/times.

Friday Links – June 21, 2013

Public Libraries Outnumber McDonald’s
Institute of Museum and Library Services statistician Justin Grimes mapped all 17,000 public libraries in the United States, revealing the reach of our library system…

The Library of Congress reorganizes its reference services. “Creating a central service hub would not dilute a ‘vertical’ or dive-deep approach, she said. But it would create ‘a lot more opportunity for horizontal exchange of information, which we don’t have with these multiple reading rooms spread across three buildings,’ [Associate Librarian for Library Services, Roberta Shaffer] said.”

The Seattle Public Library breaks world record for longest book domino chain: It took a total of seven hours of setup and five tries, but at around 11 p.m. Friday, May 31, The Seattle Public Library set the world’s record for the longest book domino chain. See it on YouTube: Book Domino Chain World Record. Bravo Luke Greenway, ’15!
(Also shared on the Midd LIS Facebook page.)

The pros and cons of giving a TED talk - in case you’re asked. “… Specifically, the study found that giving a presentation at TED, an annual conference on technology and society, appears to have no effect on the number of citations a scholar’s work receives after a video of the presentation goes online. …”

Friday Links – June 7

Commencement Address
Watch author Jonathan Safran Foer’s commencement thought-provoking address. Then, congratulate Media Services and LIS staff responsible for capturing and streaming this event! And finally, read one of Safran Foer’s books from our library collection.

Google Reader Replacement
Attention, people saddened by the July 1 demise of Google Reader: I found a replacement that I (Carrie) like! The Old Reader. It’s in beta, but hopefully if enough people use it, it’ll last at least as long as Google Reader. :) I tried NetVibes but found it wasn’t syncing frequently enough. I tried Feedly but found that within categories, I wasn’t able to sort feeds manually (they sort alphabetically and it seems that can’t be changed). Here’s one blog  (among MANY) that describes these readers: LifeHacker: Five Best Google Reader Alternatives.

Open Access
The fox offering to guard the hen-house?
Jennifer Howard. “Publishers Propose Public-Private Partnership to Support Access to Research.”The Chronicle of Higher Education. Wired Campus, June 4, 2013.

JSTOR for alumni

jstor_logo_1Reunion weekend is coming up, and alumni are asking how to log in to JSTOR.

To access JSTOR for Middlebury alumni visit (go/jstoralum). Once you’re there, you’ll be instructed to log in with your alumni username and password.

(Note: The alumni username/password is different from the midd username/password used for students’ email accounts. If the alum hasn’t yet created an alumni pasword, look for the link: “Not yet registered for the community? Click here to register now!” ). Then, enjoy!

JSTOR is a full-text archive of over 1000 scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. All Middlebury alumni can access our JSTOR archived journals, dating up to five years ago.