Workshops for nursing students

Student asking questionIt is that time of the year again – oh, yeah! Bachelor`s mania. It is stressful for us, for the students and for the guidance counsellors, but it is also fun to work with the students on their theses. Most of them are really into it. They all want to get a good grade, of course, and maybe that even is the main reason to work hard for many of them. But many also seem genuinely interested in their subjects, and that kind of motivation is always easier to further encourage, of course.

The nursing students who are writing their bachelor`s theses are organised into groups of 2-4 students. This year there are 75 or 76 groups, I think. A few years ago we decided to offer workshops for nursing students, as they were just too many to handle on individual sessions for our staff. Students who are interested in tutoring from the library can sign up for a workshop at a given time (usually we give them four, two-hour sessions to choose from), and I team up with guidance counsellors from the institute. I use Google Forms for the sign-up forms, and then I divide them into their sessions. The students state their research questions/ purpose when they sign up, and that gives me an opportunity to check out some areas of research beforehand. When the deadline is up, then “the ship has sailed”, and the students who did not sign up will receive no offer of tutor sessions from the library during the work with their bachelor`s thesis. Troubleshooting? – yes. Help with searching strategies etc.? – no. It`s just a survival thing.

This year, 36 groups signed up for the sessions before the deadline. The workshops took place in a computer lab, and there were nine groups per session. I got help from four guidance counsellors, though not all four in every session – usually two helpers in each session. The students sit in groups and search for articles for their thesis, and I work my way through the groups until I have seen them all. Some need help finding search terms, some need a little help with narrowing down their searches, some need help to identify sources, some need a little encouragement, some need some guidance when it comes to methodology and so on. It really is great to meet them this way. I learn a lot, too.

I really find it interesting to work this way, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to do this together with the teachers/ guidance counsellors. We all learn from each other, and I wish we could do the same for all the other students and institutes, too. It is really intense, though, so I went to bed at 9.pm both days, totally exhausted:) Well – thats Bachelor`s mania for you!

Mini spring seminar

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Image from “library selfie day”

When we held our annual seminar in December (planning the year to come), we decided that we would also hold a spring seminar in 2017. We have so little time in our busy workdays to get together and really discuss things, so we usually just do a quick discussion with our daily 10 minute “quiz and coffee break”. However, now that we are even busier than normal, with the director out and another on sick leave, it`s important that we get together and discuss things. And on Thursday, we did just that.

Mari and I was in charge of the seminar, and we had put together a program to bring us all a little more up to date on databases, important sites for academic writing, open access (new guidelines and policies for NTNU), the OA archive and a few issues on EndNote. We thought it a good idea to focus on this now that spring is upon us and the students are busy writing their theses.

We got the student assistants to staff the circulation desk, and we had a look at some of the databases first. Some were familiar to all, and some were new. We had a look at basic searching and refining features as well as general content and export features. The databases we had a look at were: Cinahl, Medline, Scopus, Business source complete, Emerald, Technology research database, ACM digital library, IEEE Xplore, SAE digital library, and ScienceDirect.

We looked at the new NTNU site for academic writing, talked about citation styles examples, important Innsida (intraweb) pages for writing etc.

Mari explained to us the new policies for Open Access work and the integration between Cristin and NTNU Open (dspace) archive is supposed to work, as well as what the new policy will mean for the library. It was very interesting.

We finished off by talking about some disparities between the EndNote style for the Harvard citation style and the examples on the academic writing page, and what is being done about it. Finally, we gave ourselves a good pep talk to gear up for the “spring marathon”.

Of course, I know that I work with some really great people, but I am still impressed by their various skills, competencies and passion for what they do. I think we make a pretty good team:) There is always room for improvement, and we are waiting for our team to be complete – and we`re excited about the process to get a new director in place. For now, though, I am feeling confident that our patrons are getting the help and support and service they need to get their jobs done. Whoop, whoop! Here we go!

Teaching Information Literacy Reframed

teaching information literacy reframed

Teaching Information Literacy Reframed

I have been working on a small project recently. I think it`s about time that librarians in Norway discuss whether or not we should try to use a standard or a framework in our information literacy classes, and I have been working on translating the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to Norwegian and tried to see if I could somehow find some practical uses, through describing learning outcomes and learning activities to match them.

The framework itself is conceptual and quite hard to understand, and I came across a great book that I would like to recommend to those who seek to understand the framework. It`s called “Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information-literate learners” and is written by Joanna M. Burkhardt.

Burkhardt has analysed the six frames in the ACRL framework and has tried to find leaning activities to match them. The activities themselves are perhaps not easy to use in Norway, as quite a few of them are very adapted to American society and history, but as inspiration they are great. In my little project, I could not use any of the activities from the book directly, but they made me think more broadly on the subjects and activities that better match the classes that I teach. Many of the activities described in the book are perhaps easier to use in classrooms and smaller groups, rather than in a lecture hall, but maybe one could use this book together with the ideas of a book that I have written about before: “Hvordan engasjere studentene” [How to engage students]? Using ideas from both books might work in lectures. 🙂

Anyway – I`m often impressed by how much interesting and good literature there really is about teaching information literacy. Now if we could only take the time to read and to discuss the ideas with other teaching librarians we could make some real changes..