Posted by: char booth | 13 May 2009

out of context.

Because of my dislike of one-shotters, and with the caveat that my slides don’t make a lot of sense without narration, I wanted to share a couple of presentations I have given in the past few weeks at Berkeley. The first, directed to library staff in a panel on emerging library technologies on the library site, introduced the local UCB Library FAQ knowledgebase that I developed with a few colleagues recently. Originally Chad’s bright idea back at Ohio University, the dynamic/interactive/much improved Library FAQ runs on free/open source software platform KnowledgebasePublisher, super easy to install and customize:

(Big aside here, but if you use KBP and are wondering how to automatically track extant and new entries via Google Analytics – add your GA snippet to the /client/template.txt file above the </body> tag of whatever template code you are using. Works like a charm, and when you enable site search tracking in GA can provide a powerful usability meter for both the FAQ and a library site overall.)

The second was a 5-minute “lightning talk” given at a library Instructor Development Program event. It’s called “Deconstructing the Learning Pyramid,” wherein I attempted to debunk a popular instructional graphic on active learning that is basically mythical (see Lalley and Miller, 2007, for context):

The learning pyramid is worth challenging because, while based in the absolutely sound idea that learners should be engaged at the point of instruction, it is totally not supported by research and manages to accomplish two unfortunate things: 1)  defines “active” and “passive” without giving consideration to instructional context and learner needs/experience levels, and 2) discourages instructors from playing to their own strengths, if those strengths happen to be at lecturing or something on the more “passive” end of the spectrum.

I believe in stretching onesself and trying new approaches as much as the next teaching librarian, but  it’s a lot better to excel at sage-on-the-stagedom than to fail abjectly at guide-on-the-sideitude (if it isn’t a comfortable form of instructional delivery, that is).


Responses

  1. Glad to see you got the FAQ up and running, Char. We’ve been using Libstats since January (only in reference for the time being, with hopes of moving it to all the other desks soon). Mike has been pulling questions out of Libstats and putting them in the FAQ, which makes for some more updated, timely, and relevant content.

    • nice on libstats, chad – how did folks adjust to the change? i’ve got the faq comment form feeding back into e-ref q/a loop, and am on a campaign to get library staff to submit quesitons via the faq comment form… going well so far. hooray for the knowledgebase mentality. (ps, loved the office birthday video. got me all teary-eyed.)

  2. Nice slide designs on that pyramid presentation.

    And I’m intrigued by the kb/libstats combo possibilities. I’ve been looking for alternatives to one of our current systems and this might fit the bill and provide tons of extra functionality.

    • i’m also thinking about similar possibilities, but using a help ticketing system or something of the like – anything to capture/save institutional info instead of sending it to the ether. thanks for the design feedback – serious compliment coming from you.


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