On June 12, I traveled as the lone emissary from ZSR to NC-LITe, the twice-annual mini-conference loosely focused on instructional technology in libraries. We had it here in ZSR back in December, if you recall.

This time we gathered at the D.H. Hill Library at NC State, where they’ve recently undergone a few changes, the most notable of which is a brand-new makerspace. (We got a sneak preview the day before it opened!) This is a purpose-designed space to the left of their main circulation desk, and it is pretty fantastic.

David shows the group the new makerspace
David shows the group the new makerspace

Campus updates

As with most NC-LITes, we started with some campus sharing. Among the most notable updates:

  • NCSU’s Library Stories project is a great example of a library being ahead of the game in sharing ways they can help faculty and students enhance their teaching and learning.
  • NCSU continues to churn out their popular “Teach Yourself” tutorials. They’re really carrying a lot of weight for the entire library instruction field: we use the heck out of their videos, including in our online LIB100 course. They added a new one on source evaluation. There was much rejoicing.
  • A representative from Davidson College joined us for the first time! It was great to connect with her, as Davidson is the closest cousin to Wake in its emphasis on teaching. Davidson is also interesting in that they’ve been doing MOOCs with edX for a few years now. The library has recently been involved in developing a new course on Electronic Literature that starts in October (join me!)
  • UNC Chapel Hill just hired a new digital scholarship librarian, who will be teaching a series of digital humanities workshops out of the library.
  • Duke just opened a new commons for technology, research, and collaboration that they call The Edge (er.. sorry, this is the actual link).
  • Kim Duckett, formerly of NCSU, a founding participant of NC-LITe, and an all-around awesome person, recently took a new job at Duke as their Head of Research & Instructional Services.

Lightning talks

We also got a few in-depth looks at some recent projects. These had the greatest takeaways for me.

Katy Webb of ECU shared how their reference department went to Youcanbook.me and a shared Google Calendar for patron-driven scheduling all of their personal research sessions. Youcanbook.me presents users a calendar with available time slots, allowing them to select the time that fits their calendar, eliminates all the email back-and-forth, and pushes the “messy” end of scheduling to happen behind-the-scenes. They call the service “Book a Librarian” and it seems like a great enhancement to their user experience! Check it out.

Hannah Rozear of Duke talked about a collaboration she’s part of with their writing program, in which she’s integrating critical digital pedagogy to make her instruction more student-centered and inclusive of diverse voices, and to challenge students to think critically about the online sources they use.

Rebecca Hyman at the State Library of NC and I shared our experience with developing and running RootsMOOC. We were (and still are) a little exhausted from a year of running the project at full-steam, but the course evaluations are in and and I promise to give the project a proper write-up soon!

Ideas from breakout sessions

I didn’t take copious notes during our breakout sessions (they’re loose, informal discussions), but I did jot down some ideas I wanted to share.

I maintain that Open Educational Resources will be an increasingly important part of the higher educational landscape as the traditional textbook model breaks down. Several libraries are offering grants to faculty who are interested in OER–small ones for attending OER workshops, larger ones for developing their own OER or integrating OER into their classes. As an institution, I don’t think we’re quite there culturally, but I’m keeping my eye on this. See also UNCG, Emory

Lots of people shared frustration with boosting workshop attendance. (Can I get an amen?) I heard some great ideas:

  • co-develop workshops with other groups on campus (example: a “Designing effective research assignments” workshop through the TLC);
  • host webinars instead of f2f workshops (and record the content!);
  • send personal invites to known partners and influencers in the academic departments (even better if there’s a lunch or coffee)
  • rather than advertising the thing you’re going to teach (eg, Zotero), advertise the compelling use case (Hey, grad students, come learn how to do a lit review!)

Always lots of good ideas from NC-LITe. Looking forward to next time!