DigiCamp 2014

I attended the ACRL NEC ITIG DigiCamp 2014 held at Simmons College on Friday, March 14 (Pi Day! except there wasn’t any pie). I met some interesting people and had some interesting conversations. Highlights:

  1. Massively Out of Control?
    In this session, we talked about MOOCs and how they have affected libraries. If we see MOOCs as another learning object, then it’s just another resource. Someone pointed out that picking a textbook shouldn’t be any different than picking a MOOC as the structure/backbone for a course. It’s just a different format (text vs video), but there’s something threatening about MOOCs. Most of the participants have tried taking a MOOC and only one has successfully completed several.
    Note to self: look into taking a grant writing MOOC
  2. Open Sesame!
    This session focused on open educational resources (OERs). We talked about MOOCs, learning objects, and open textbooks. The following were mentioned: FemTechNet’s DOCC, Bryant University Library’s Virtual Tour, and Arizona’s Guide on the Side.
    Note to self: look into Articulate Storyline and Internet Archive BookReader
  3. Direct Deposit
    This one was the major heated discussion I was actively engaged in. Its focus was on open access and institutional repositories. People had varying opinions about how librarians should promote it (or not). Some people were ready to propose a working group to ACRL National that would put together a list of the official top open access journals. Many participants’ institutions were using the Bepress repository software and SelectedWorks to build faculty profiles. I mentioned Dartmouth is probably going with Fedora/Hydra and Symplectic Elements (no one had heard of this one). An idea came up to have workshops for tenure committees to discuss the benefits of open access. The discussion wandered into the philosophy of teaching information literacy and we didn’t all agree if teaching students how to discern good information is even part of it. I firmly believe in teaching critical thinking skills to students rather than simply giving them a list of resources and telling them how to use the databases. Even for vetted material, bad information inevitably that slips in. Someone did point out that librarians are quick to point to the major paid for databases rather than start at the freely available ones. And why is that? (Need usage stats for budget justifications?)

Once they post the notes, I’ll link them here. The facilitators at each of the sessions I attended did a great job getting the conversation going. I liked that it was an unconference model and really emphasized conversations and information sharing.

2 thoughts on “DigiCamp 2014

  1. Yes, but did you get a t-shirt?

    In all seriousness, though, I’m glad you could attend. Thanks for posting your notes.

    Regarding the MOOCs, it seems that for many librarians, the traditional role of engaging with students is largely absent, and I’m not quite sure how anyone would expect to scale up that role to MOOC size. However, I wonder if what is absent from this conversation is the potential for library liaisons to play a greater role in helping to actually build and shape the course? I think that is the model that Josh Kim is trying to imagine. Building a MOOC is already a boutique undertaking, is there a role for librarians to enhance the research components of a specific course?


  2. “I firmly believe in teaching critical thinking skills to students rather than simply giving them a list of resources and telling them how to use the databases.”
    Amen, Sister. Most of them are fairly decent searchers, and if they aren’t they think that they are. In either case, they snore through the class. It need not be either-or, as long as you can actually help them learn a resource or search technique that is valuable to them (why point of need instruction trumps classroom instruction every time). But the job is only half done when they find information. Then it is the critical appraisal and the considerations of the applications that need to come.


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