Social Sciences Advisory Group – Spring 2013 meeting notes

April 23, 2013
Attending: Barbara Hofer, Sujata Moorti, Bert Johnson, Brenda Ellis, Richard Jenkins, Steve Bertolino, David Stoll, Shel Sax, Terry Simpkins (notes)

We spent most of the meeting discussing various aspects of the MISO survey results.1) Only 85% of faculty reported being satisfied with the degree to which they can provide input regarding library and technology decisions that affect them.  Are there any specific instances where you were surprised by an LIS decision?

  • Etextbooks

    • initial email sent in Spring, but actual implementation/training occurred in August, which was too late to really expect Middlebury faculty to engage fully with the technology;

    • the training webinar was unimpressive and not tailored to Middlebury (e.g., expectation that faculty would annotate student texts or keep track of their reading progress);

    • it was not made clear that much of this discussion was around potential ways to use the technology, not expectations for all participants;

    • needed better communication in general – felt too last minute.

    • Ebooks affect pedagogy (ex. to refer to text in class, need to allow laptop use in class)

  • moodle

    • similarly, roll-out was too late (August) for faculty to learn and accept a new LMS solution.  Spring appears to be best time to alert faculty about impending changes for the following fall with training offered at various times in the summer, not just at the end of summer.

2) On the other hand, seems well-loved.  Brenda mentioned that is working on creating linkable video segments (currently you can only link to full courses).

This led to a discussion about the technological competencies of students.  Many students today do not seem particularly tech-savvy, lacking even basic skills such as using Google Drive effectively (uploading/sharing documents, etc.), or understanding that some web sites are not perfectly compatible with all browsers and students should therefore learn to try viewing sites that don’t display properly with multiple browsers. Some are reluctant to explore applications they are unfamiliar with on their own (ex. Prezi).

Questions from the discussion: What collaborative technology skills do students need to know for technological literacy?  Can we promote the use of workshops or for foundational tech skills such as these?  Do we model how to find answers enough to make students self-sufficient?  Are students sufficiently aware of technology security issues?

Possible action items for LIS/Liaisons:

a) Survey (or discuss via focus groups, etc.) faculty about what tech skills they think students ought to know;

b) Provide page of links (or YouTube, other resources, etc.) for most common basic technology questions;

c) Bert Johnson and Barbara Hofer indicated they would appreciate information on screencasting tools in order to create quick tutorials for their students to teach them how to use certain discipline-specific software. Create an LIS blog post with options (easy to sophisticated) so all faculty can be made aware.

3)  The MISO survey suggested that, while the most faculty are satisfied with the liaison program, only 55% say it is important.  Why?  What kind of support or information would faculty like to receive from their liaison?

  • Some faculty contact their liaison only at the immediate (usually urgent) point-of-need;

  • Others contact liaisons more frequently, especially when the liaison has demonstrated particular skill or expertise.  Carrie M. was cited as an example of someone who provides excellent interactive classroom presentations for students.

  • Faculty would like to have mechanism for providing feedback.

Possible action items for LIS/Liaisons:

a) Distribute reminders to all faculty, not just new members, of the various roles/services offered by LIS Liaisons, perhaps something like a most useful “top 10.” Send in early and late (e.g. Aug. 1) summer.  Use email, blog posting, eNewsletter, communication to department chairs.  Over communicate!

b) Provide liaison training for presentation/teaching skills to improve overall quality of classroom sessions

4) Shel asked whether faculty present backed up data.  Most did to varying degrees (external HDs).  Most did not use middfiles, citing the 2012 middfiles failure as reason for lack of confidence in the service.  Other faculty cited the inefficiency of using middfiles (i.e., one needs to make an active choice to save documents there, it is not an automated backup solution).

Possible action items for LIS/Liaisons:

a) Create document/info page/info email on data backup options, identifying various data backup options (including personal subscription options) for faculty.  Send to departments.

b) Should LIS investigate an enterprise automated data back up solution?  There seemed to be support for that among the group.

5) Brief discussion of copyright issues, while initially desultory, revealed some gaps in knowledge about best practices.  Terry talked about a “risk management” approach to using copyright exemptions such as fair use or the face-to-face teaching exemption.

6) Social science faculty indicated the best times for offering workshops during the year are:

  • First half of semester;

  • J-Term for faculty not teaching.

Thanks for reading,


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