Bouquet of sharpened pencils

coloured pencilsIn the 90´s movie called “You got mail”, the male protagonist exclaims that autumn always makes him want to buy school supplies, and if he knew the female protagonist he sends e-mails to in person, he would get her a bouquet of sharpened pencils. I get that. August, though technically still summer, has that effect on me too.

The new semester has not formally started yet. We will receive our new students next week. Still, the light rain today got me into work mode, and I got the strong feeling that summer is over (noooo!).

There are so many things to get ready for the new students, and the returning students and staff members. I will give more open courses this semester than ever before, and I try to navigate the changes in study programmes etc. that the merger a few years back made here at our campus. Study programmes are being merged, some are shut down or changed significantly and others are new. In June, I discovered that some of the students I will be teaching this semester had been transferred to another programme and that some were still finishing their programmes according to the old models. Very confusing! What makes it even more difficult is that so much of the information is spread out over many different platforms. Some information is available on the open web, some on the intranet, some in the LMS rooms. The latter is a significant stumbling block for me, seeing as I am usually just a “visiting professor” in most courses, and the administrators very often do not think of including me in the list of people who should have access to the rooms. Therefore, a lot of information that could have been useful to me is not available until I ask directly for access. I am not writing this to complain – it is just a little frustrating to try to puzzle the pieces together on my own. No matter what I read about or write about concerning teaching librarians, I keep coming back to the point that without a well-working teacher-librarian collaboration, we are lost.

There are so many exciting things happening on campus, and I wish I had more time and a better overview of everything. The control freak in me is not happy unless I feel I know what is going on:). I recently had a tip from my former manager of a journal article about how libraries tackle the rapid shifts in higher education with regards to our services. I haven’t had time to dig into it yet, but it is a fascinating subject. Seeing as my main task is to teach, I have maybe not been as involved as I should have been on thinking about changing our services, but I have thought a lot this spring and summer about changing the way that I teach. Every now and then I get stuck in a pattern, and I stay that way until I am aware that I am stuck and then have mustered up enough strength to get out of it. I am a little ashamed to say that this time, I have been stuck (unaware of the fact) for a while, but I am determined to freshen up a little this semester. I have read more about critical pedagogy, and I was inspired by the people I met at LOEX this spring, and I will try some of the principles for students in the nursing department soon. More active learning, less lecturing – those will be some of my guiding principles this year. Fingers crossed!