You can tell when you’ve attended a great conference presentation when someone in the audience admits that the talk has sparked an ontological crisis and caused him to question who he is.
I attended such a presentation today at LOEX of the West. Kate Groenmeyer and Anne Marie Dietering gave a talk tilted: Peer Review 2.0 about teaching evaluation skills and the processes of academic communication to undergraduate students with an eye to the collaborative communication tools that come with Web 2.0. It really spoke to the information geek in me and confirmed that I’m in the right profession because we get to think about some damned interesting topics and our job of teaching students to handle information is important, vital, and fun.
A LOT of great information is available from the presentation on Anne Marie’s most excellent blog: info-fetishist.org. So by all means run, don’t walk, there to check it out. Kate is a contributor at infodoodads.com, which is going into my feed reader as I type.
This conference has been a good one for content. Conferences tend to be full of meetings for me, so I don’t typically have time or energy left to try and find the best sessions. Here, there is a surfeit of great content. Yesterday I attended Kaijsa Calkins’ wonderful case study of a project at the University of Wyoming that embedded a librarian in a learning community of at-risk (conditionally admitted) first year students. I’ve been a bit struck by Professor X’s bleak but enlightening and seemingly right-on-the-money article about the challenges of teaching students who are not prepared for the rigors of college work in The Atlantic, so this look into ways of intervening in the work of at-risk students was timely and appreciated. I also enjoyed a well organized presentation by Paul Waelchi & Sara Holladay. Paul and Sara talked about using fantasy sports as a hook to engage students athletes and other students into information literacy activities. I’m very much on board with attempts to highlight information literacy and critical thinking activities that take place in the non-academic lives of our students and using them to bridge the gap between new college students and the daunting culture of the academy. Sara and Paul had some good structures for bridging this gap and some excellent techniques for structuring lessons, engaging with faculty, and convincing administration and faculty that talking about leisure activities can lead to real learning.
It has been a great conference so far. I have high hopes for my presentation, but I have yet to give it so wish me luck!