What I took away from AzLA

I went to the annual AzLA conference this week held in Mesa, AZ. I was really impressed with a number of presentations I was able to attend. Here are a few highlights:

  • Who Is Driving the Higher Education Train? Including the Academic Library in the Assessment Process
    • Presented by Trevor Smith, my former Intro to Information Technology (IRLS571) professor, & his colleague Gail Staples. This was a discussion of assessment of information literacy at the program level; librarians at Cochise College developed an assessment plan based on the college’s structure assessment process that involved looking at the bibliographies found in student research papers.
    • Results showed use of overwhelmingly poor information resources. Steps were taken to improve library instruction and over the past few years results of the assessment have shown significant improvement.
    • Key lessons learned: assessment can be done using few resources if we partner with faculty to assess assignments that have already been created and/or graded; a key way to improve the effectiveness of information literacy initiatives is to create a structured assessment plan; assessment has the benefits of increasing the visibility of the library’s role on campus, enhancing faculty support of library instruction in classes at all levels, and building stronger relationships with faculty and how information literacy can be incorporated into the curriculum.
  • Library Magic: Getting and Keeping Your Students’ Attention during Instruction
    • Presented by Mary Evangeliste & Leslie Sult, my two favorite UA Librarians (see my other recent post on their presentation at SIRLS). They discussed how to utilize classroom management, incorporate different learning styles into your instructional strategies, and use modeling and demonstration to improve student learning outcomes. They covered a number of things. Some key points are – don’t overload your students; when you only have an hour or even less be sure to just pick two or three things you want them to walk away with. Also, don’t just teach content; teach your students how to apply that content by allowing them to practice.
    • Key Lessons Learned: remember why you got into librarianship in the first place, know why you are teaching the students & and have a passion for doing what you’re doing; read The First Days of School and The 11 Commandments of Good Teaching.

  • Podcasting 101/InfoTech Interest Group Meeting
    • This presentation by ASU’s Tammy Allgood & Matthew Harp demonstrated how ASU has created podcasts for a number of purposes for distribution through its Library Channel, including virtual tours of the libraries, exhibit information, and interviews with librarians and other players on campus.
    • Key Lessons Learned: podcasting is really very simple and requires minimal equipment and technical skills; placing podcasts on a blog as ASU has done is an effective way to enable their syndication; podcasting ought to be utilized as a technology for marketing the library’s resources and events; it has the ability to improve the library’s image as a fun and relevant place for its users.

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