Saturday, 26 March 2011

13 Things for Curriculum Design

I participated in the 23 Things course for librarians in Cambridge last summer, learned so much and got to know more of the community of librarians here, so when I spotted Emma's tweet about this 13 Things course last week I was curious to see what would happen with this programme.

To answer the questions - before becoming a librarian I qualified as a secondary school teacher in Ireland.  I have experience of teaching music and German privately and in classes of up to 30 students.  The curricula for Junior and Leaving Cert state exams were set by the State Examinations Commission, but the Transition Year programme (for 15-16 year olds) was less formally structured so I designed the programmes I taught for that.

Librarians have a very important role in teaching and training within the university context.  We teach the students about managing their information, referencing, finding and using resources (both in print and online) and critical appraisal of these resources.  We don't currently have a structured curriculum for information literacy in Cambridge, but this is something that some other universities offer already and I believe there's an Arcadia project starting soon to design one here too.  I'm planning to watch what's happening in the 13 Things programme to see what tools are suggested but more importantly to get an insight into what others are doing in curriculum design in the university.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

#lisbkchat: Librarianship book discussions online

I "listened" with half an ear to the #catbkchat Celine took part in last week on Twitter.  Although I haven't read the book so wasn't really following, I think it's a great idea and was wondering if any librarians/info pros out there would be interested in doing a more general #lisbkchat?  The idea would be that we pick a book to read, pick a day to discuss it and basically have an online librarianship book club.  My personal vote would be to start with something related to information literacy since I'll be eating, sleeping and breathing that stuff over the next few months for my dissertation anyway.  Anyone up for it?  And if so, any suggested book titles to start with?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

LibTeachMeets on the CILIP Update Blog

This post was originally written for the CILIP Update blog.  This version has been edited for clarity and to include information about other LibTeachMeets I've heard about since then.  Thanks again to Matthew Mezey for accepting the original and for giving the go-ahead to republish it here.

Last summer while browsing through 23 Things blogs I came across a post by Isla Kuhn talking about a certain format that school teachers use to share teaching advice and experience in an informal setting.  Isla wondered aloud whether this 'TeachMeet' idea would work for librarians too, and got immediate enthusiastic responses from several Cambridge librarians.  We held our first LibTeachMeet back in September, are now planning our second one, and other similar events have been popping up around the UK.

What are they?
TeachMeets are relatively small, informal events - we've had 50-60 attending ours.  Attendees sign up using a wiki or bookings form to give 2 Minute Nanopresentations, 5 Minute Micropresentations or to attend as an Enthusiastic Lurker. Talks are two or five minutes long and the order is usually randomly selected on the night.  These talks may be complemented by networking activities - the recent Huddersfield TeachMeet included a speed networking session.  The bite-sized talks mean that librarians can get lots of ideas in a short space of time, and the informal approach makes it a less daunting format for new presenters.

Upcoming LibTeachMeets

Huddersfield Librarian TeachMeet (#hudteachmeet) took place last month and there are plans to organise TeachMeets in London (@_moo_), Oxford (@gallagherliz), Bournemouth (@CarolineCooke) and Bristol (@tomroper/@wigglesweets).

What's involved in planning a TeachMeet?
TeachMeet planning can be as formal or informal as you choose.  For our first one we took a very casual approach and we were booking up before even announcing a venue!  Second time around we've been much more organised.  We announced date and venue details well in advance through mailing lists, blogs and Twitter and were booked out within hours of opening bookings.  For more advice on organising your own TeachMeet please visit our blog or contact us directly,

How to find out more:
edited to add Bristol 19/3/11