Monday, July 24, 2006

An Immersion Report. . .

. . .or what I would write if I had to turn in an "official" report to my superiors.

I have to admit that I am very overwhelmed. I took in a lot of information in a short amount of time. So, I am having a bit of a hard time deciding how I will write some things up. When my A.D. asked if I had a "life changing experience," my answer was "yes, I have seen the light." Think of the scene in the film The Blues Brothers where Jake and Elwood visit the Reverend Cleophus's Triple Rock Church, and Jake sees the heavenly light and starts jumping. That's pretty close to the feeling of rapture I had as I came out of Immersion. So, here's the "official" stuff.
  • I attended and participated in general sessions. By this, I mean sessions for both tracks. Topics included information literacy, creativity, and assessment.
  • The teacher track sessions were more focused on teacher needs. Teaching techniques, learning styles, additional work on assessment, and leadership were among the topics covered.
  • I worked on a project based on one of my lesson plans. The plan was written before attending Immersion, and it was revised during Immersion to reflect new concepts learned. I also gave a presentation from part of the plan. The presentation was mostly designed to practice teaching techniques with peers and our faculty. The presentations were done in smaller cohort groups.
  • I did some networking, and I had the opportunity to meet with peers from various library settings. Talking to my peers and learning from them was a significant part of the experience.
  • (This stays out of the "official" report) And I had fun at the social events. A good balance is one where there are both work and play. The host's hospitality in this regard was very good.
In future posts, I hope to write up some specific session summaries. I would like to also write about some future plans regarding my teaching and classroom practice. What I learned during Immersion is not something that can just be posted briefly (ok, so by trying here I am sort of throwing that off); I will likely be reflecting, practicing, revising long after the events. This note is just a mere overview, like an executive summary without the bureaucratese. Since "official" reports usually give recommendations, here are mine, if I were writing an actual report:
  • A complete review and revision of teaching practices. We need to move away from lecture models as the primary method and integrate more active learning techniques in our lessons.
  • Train the other librarians. The idea is to make the work of integrating active learning and assessment into a collaborative effort. We need to work on enhancing our information literacy initiatives from within.
  • Review and revise efforts to reach faculty. Faculty and librarians have a common interest in student success. More work in communicating expectations and teaching with faculty is necessary. This may include looking at library procedures regarding faculty who "conveniently" do not attend classes in the library with their students. Exploring various collaborative opportunities would also be recommended. We need to work outwards to enhance our information literacy initiatives, but more importantly, we need to see how they align with other campus initiatives.
  • The library needs to send other librarians to Immersion on the teacher track. Any librarian involved in teaching can gain benefit from this. Off the top, I can identify two colleagues who should go. Maybe I can "talk" them into applying.
  • We need to send someone to the program track. Going through the teacher track and talking to people on the program track has made me very aware of institutional issues, mostly in terms of programs needing development. If we are going to grow in terms of campus involvement and make sure information literacy is an important part of student success, we can gain from participation in the program track. For me, this would be the next logical step to allow my outreach duties as well as my instruction librarian position to expand. Additionally, one of the administrators, preferably the one most directly involved in public services, should attend as well. If funding were an issue, then the administrator should be sent in lieu of the librarian. Ideally, both the instruction librarian and the administrator should go through the program together. This would allow them to work together on creating a campus action plan, which is a core of the program, as well as engage in the learning experience.
So, there you have it, some brief thoughts that would go in the "official" report, if I had to write one.

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