On May 9th, Kyle, Kathy, Meghan and Hu attended the 5th annual TILC (The Innovative Library Classroom) Conference at Radford University and facilitated a session on Specifications Grading titled “Not Missing the Point(s): Meaningful New Approaches to Assessment.”

Kyle at TILC

Y’all, TILC is my favorite conference. It’s super small, super close, and just super duper all around. They have great content and it’s always nice to catch up with area instruction folks and hear about the awesome instruction-related stuff they’re up to. Now, normally I’m able to pull out some overarching theme or some kind of meta-takeaway, but for some reason I wasn’t able to shut my brain off the night before I was supposed to drive up to Radford. So, operating on approximately 90 minutes of “sleep,” this year I took some foggy notes and somehow pulled out a semi-coherent performance alongside my amazing, well-rested, fully-coherent colleagues. (And seriously, they’re amazing. I’m writing my piece last, and none of them wrote about our presentation, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t say what a pleasure it was to present with them. We designed a fun and engaging activity that I think really got folks thinking about Specs Grading from the student’s perspective. We got a bunch of good questions and had quite a few folks catch us afterward for discussion. Kathy, Meghan, and Hu were magnificent!) My biggest takeaways come from the “Dear Instructionista” Q&A session that Kathy describes below. A few notes with big stars next to them: 1) Digital Badges at Penn State. Rebecca K. Miller (Penn State) shared that they’re building targeted information literacy instruction into foundational courses via their digital badges platform. This lets them sustainably scale up IL instruction at their NINETEEN different campuses. Go ahead and sign up and see some of the lessons they’ve put together–there are badges like “Questioner of Information,” “Savvy Searcher,” and “Organizer of Information.” 2) Google’s re:Work project. Candice Benjes-Small (College of William & Mary) just briefly mentioned some management research you might have heard of called Project Oxygen. This has next to nothing to do with information literacy or instruction, but there’s some great stuff there about goal setting, managing teams, unlearning bias, etc. 3) John Swales’ (2015) “Create a Research Space (CARS) Model of Research Introductions,” a short but sweet chapter to which I’m definitely going to refer in all of my future personal research sessions.

Kathy at TILC

This year’s TILC was mostly about presenting for me! In addition to my presentation with my ZSR colleagues, I presented on disciplinary frameworks for a second time with my co-presenter from LOEX, Rebecca Lloyd (Temple University). I did manage to make it to a couple other sessions, though, as well as the opening keynote (Jennifer Ferretti of Beyoncé LibGuide fame was fantastic). I attended a session on a collaboration between a librarian (Jennifer Resor-Whicker from Radford) and an English faculty member to integrate elements of the ACRL Framework into an Honors English course. I have never attended a live “Dear Abby”-style session before, but that’s exactly what I did during “Dear Instructionista”, where people could ask or tweet questions for a panel of experienced librarians to get their takes on everything from making time to reflect, advocating for information literacy, and getting students to attend research workshops. During the lightning talks, Maggie Murphy from UNCG shared an activity that she uses with students in an art history course that encourages them to question the authoritativeness of scholarship. In this particular scenario, they are looking at older scholarship around non-Western, “primitive” art and discussing whether or not they would use it in their paper. It gave me some new ways to think and talk about authority with students, especially when discussing the scholarship around a marginalized or underrepresented group.

Meghan at TILC

This was my first time attending TILC, and I was very pleased with the quality of the presentations and the convenience of the conference’s proximity to Winston-Salem! I was thrilled to hear Jennifer Ferretti‘s keynote presentation, “Art is Information: Countering the ‘Neutral’ Classroom with Pop Culture and Social Justice”. Ferretti is the Digital Initiatives Librarian at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her professional practice is guided by critical perspectives and an examination of socially engaged art. She has made some amazing LibGuides to support research questions based around art and social justice issues (see Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ and Information Resources and Understanding Civic Unrest in Baltimore, 1968-2015). Her keynote address reflected upon research challenges for artists, and related issues with library instruction and information literacy techniques. I appreciated her reference to Eloise Sherrid’s powerful documentary, The Room of Silence, which shares the experiences of students of color at a predominantly white art school.

Two sessions I attended– “Exploring Genre: Information Creation as a Process and Scholarship as Conversation in First-Year Composition” and “There is No Logical Progression: Using the Framework in a Full Semester First Year Seminar Course” recommended course activities and assignments to help students make the big leap from guided learning to more independent, creative learning that connects with academic conversations. Samantha Guss and Carol Witting of University of Richmond shared an assignment (Wrong on the Internet), that I am interested in adapting for my LIB 100 classes.

Hu at TILC

This was only my second time attending TILC, but it’s now on my list of favorite conferences. It’s only one day in length and just two hours away. When you combine the convenience with the amazing presentations, it’s well worth the effort to attend. There is a poster session and opening reception the evening before the conference and I came away with new ideas for integration and synthesis of sources in one-shots and LIB210, ideas for assessment using sticky notes, and ideas for incorporating drawing activities in one-shots. Two sessions I attended were, “Who’s Driving Your Design? How to Use Audience Analysis to Engage Learners”, by Mollie Peuler & ​Amy Burns from Central Piedmont Community College which had great tips for gaining insight into your audience that can facilitate instruction, and “Librarians Teach ​Fake News – You Won’t Believe What Happens Next” by Andrea Kincaid & ​Amy Burns of Central Piedmont Community College. I’m seeing trends in how librarians address the topic of fake news which will add greatly to the LIB290 class I’m co-teaching with Rosalind Tedford.