Rebooting teaching

I am thinking about my teaching strategies these days. Well, I often do, and I write about it and read about it, but how often do I actually really renew my own practices? I am guessing.. not often enough. I do really try to shake things up every now and then, and often times I feel like I don’t have to make huge differences to make everything just a little fresher.

I have to admit, though, that one obstacle that keep me from trying a complete reboot is time. Most people I know have to run faster and work more, so this is nothing new. Still, most times when I am going to teach, I have to work very efficiently when I am planning it. Especially during peaks in the semester. I have to make do with trying just a few minor things when I have the time, like using One-minute paper for some classes, pop-quizzes for other classes. It is usually just something I can do to mix things up a little.

I am working on a few things right now, and I am thinking I’ll try to use a few new (new to me) methods or tools this year:

  • Socrative – the space race (quiz competition with teams)
  • Twitter – for example: compose a tweet about what you will remember from this class, and tag me or a friend OR the newest tweet with this class’ hashtag receives a piece of candy (I know, I know.. external motivation)
  • “Peer-review” where the students assess their student partner’s search strategies
  • The Boolean game

..and I think I will try to persuade a few teachers to give their students annoted bibliography as a term paper, and then ask if I can help with the assessment.

I love teaching (most days):). I just need some time to reboot..

New course on writing systematic reviews

In June 2018 I started working on a structure for a course in systematic reviews. It started because some of the PhD students at our Gjøvik campus wanted to have a similar course (on campus) as PhD students and researchers were offered at the library for health and medicine at Øya Campus in Trondheim. I started thinking that we should offer an online course (in Norwegian) as a support for the campus course, giving the participants an opportunity to prepare for the campus course, to revisit some subjects from the course, and to give off-campus students and researchers a place to learn some techniques presented in our campus course without having to come here. The librarian at Øya campus that had developed their course generously shared his slides so that I could see what he had done there.

I needed to prepare this new campus course, and I thought “Why not kill to birds with one stone here?” (thinking about making the campus course and an online version at the same time). I started a blog that I used to structure and added information to the various parts of the campus course, I watched videos and made my own, I read books and used the information to build the new structure. When I started my vacation in July, the structure was in place, and I had figured out a way to move on.

After my vacation, I started to produce more content, and to revise some of my previous content. I added a lot of information and had my colleagues help me look for errors. I sent out an open invitation to libraries that support students in health and social studies, and asked them if they were willing to do an open peer review. In the end, six librarians came onboard and gave me valuable input and feedback. I then spent a couple of months making revisions and producing updated videos etc., and the course was launched in January 2019. I have so far had lots of positive feedback, and I am so thankful for the input everyone has given me. I think the course will run for a while now, and then I’ll do another round of revisions later. Thank you all!

The course can be viewed here: