Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Engineering Librarian Office Hours Finals Week

Didn't blog for a while because it was quiet over here.  Faculty were busy with course work and advising.  People came in and out, chatted, now and then promised a research question or workshop for later.

It's different today.  Already met with a senior doing a capstone project in industrial engineering and promoted a database as part of a friendly discussion with a faculty member.  And had a delicious cookie.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Engineering Office Hours Weeks 8-10

Got an actual question on week 8, a procedural one about a request for a database that I would love us to have.

Out with schedule conflicts on week 9.  I hate to be inconsistent like that, but both were very high priority items.  Normally I'm very protecive of my Engineering time.

Week 10: Not sure which was a bigger hit, the bowl of candy corn or the announcement of the George Boole exhibit.  The software engineering/computer science folks really liked having someone whose work was essential to the development of computers featured in the library.

Wednesday, got a joke to bring home and the possibility of a faculty workshop on library resources for next semester.  And all the candy corn was eaten so brought more.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Engineering Office Hours Weeks 3 - 7

It's been good to have a routine for every Tuesday and Wednesday in Engineering.  The faculty are getting accustomed to my presence and often stop by to chat.  In the beginning of the semester the faculty have been focused on getting courses started, getting labs set up, and helping students with their schedules.  I've had some interaction with Communications and FYS faculty who visit the area as well.

Today, some friendly banter led to two questions I *wish* I  could log and maybe helping find a standard.   The wish questions are, "what is the meaning of life?" and "why is it 42?" 


The toys are popular.   I need some variety.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Engineering Librarian Office Hours Week 2

Tuesday: Put up standup signs where I'm sitting.  Brought toys.  This went over well, although the 3D printer downstairs is said to be cooler.  I believe that!  I have time to take a look on Wednesday.

Discussed environmental databases with a faculty member.  Helped with some Sustainability Committee strategizing around Farmers' Markets. 

Discovered later Tuesday afternoon that UNC-Greensboro calls this "Satellite Reference."  I could have fun with that!
Wednesday:  I'm at a busy intersection of two low, semicircular desks, with traffic to both Engineering and Communications faculty offices, a big meeting room, and the kitchen.  A little more reaction to the toys today.  Met a few Communications faculty, and offered to help them as I can, and refer things beyond me to Bob and Matt, who are liaisons to School of Communications programs.   Fielded some directional questions - CCE is a very confusing building.  I see a big part of this as being part of the team any way I can, not just focusing on library questions.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Engineering Librarian Office Hours Week 1

Already relocated thanks to a faculty member and the department secretary. Now have a round desk area like a reference desk, no more bringing the TV table!  Said hi to a few faculty, explained my presence to one, as of a half hour here.  Showed up ahead of my publicity, and got permission for posters and temporary stand-up signs.  

Just realized that this is an awesome spot.  It's between the kitchen that I just discovered yesterday & faculty offices.

Talked to a faculty member about a research project and maybe a library/resource orientation for faculty.

Talked to two faculty in the first half hour.  One needs books, other will need engineering standards.

Busy here with faculty prepping for class and computers being set up.  Labs downstairs aren't ready for occupancy yet.  They were testing the fire alarm system before.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ideas for 2015 First-Year Seminar

Blogging got too behind in the end-of-semester crunch.   Big changes afoot (First-Year Seminar no longer QU 101, theme of Inquiry, not Individual in Community), but I re-read these notes and realized that they were about facilitation and process, not content.

As the Fall 2014 semester neared its end, I started collecting thoughts for next year.  Now, in a calmer moment, I reviewed and revised some, and here they are:

Students (in pairs) take turns at starting the class on time and doing general announcements.  This gets the focus off me and is a visible reminder of students taking the lead in their own learning.   This would require some contact with me and the peer catalyst ahead of time to share the day’s agenda.  It also provides a structured way for the quiet and fearful of public speaking to get their classmates’ attention.  I remember being in that mindset in fifth and sixth grade, and getting past it in part by leading the Flag Ceremony at the start of Girls Scout meetings.  That was mostly predictable and scripted, cheat sheets were OK, and it was Girl Scouts so you didn’t get graded on it.

Schedule cafĂ© hours for general conversation and questions.   

Allow one-on-one or two-on-one in-person visits to substitute for written self-evaluations? 

Journals – the majority of student find they help with focus and thinking through questions, relationships, and discussion points.  I find it burdensome to have to dream up questions, but love reading them.  Alternately, all but the biweekly self-evaluation could go into a blog and be shared with peers or the world.  Then the self-evaluation becomes an “assignment” in Blackboard, and there’s one less “place to put stuff” for those overwhelmed by Blackboard.

  • weekly citation of a reading/media object and why it’s important to our questions, building into an annotated bibliography
  • biweekly self-evaluation
  • alternate weeks from self-evaluation – write about whatever you want that’s course-related

For evaluation, I read in detail all the first citations/annotations and self-evaluations.  After that I sample from all students, all three kinds of journal.  I will have a count of how many were actually done in Blackboard.

Discuss classroom etiquette, teamwork, watching out for one another, and focus in the first week, even if other details get pushed aside.  Come up with a social contract that can go on big paper and be posted.

Barge into groups early and often.  Remind the students that I’m there to join their discussion, not to “judge.”  They tend to clam up and say everything's "fine" instead of sharing their conversation, even when they are on topic.  For me it feels like trying to join a group conversation in high school, so I need to remember it's an entirely different situation and purpose.

Make everyone aware that I do “observe a lot by watching,” both the positive and the negative.

Have a way to get attention with an odd but adult sound, since my voice doesn’t carry well, and the talking quietly trick doesn’t work for me.  Tin whistle? Cowbell? Giggle tube? Clicker?(do any nuns still use those?)

Be firmer about not quickly answering questions that are answered in Blackboard like “what’s due this week?” - often asked multiple times when someone gets his/her eyes off the phone to realize we're talking about due dates.  Encourage students to get online and check.  That could lead to more “Get the app, bro!” moments.