October 30, 2008

Learning Community Updates - SoTL, Publication, & Library eTools

The Center for Teaching and Learning is sponsoring 13 learning communities (LC) for the 2008-09 academic year. Below are brief updates from four of them, regarding their accomplishments and future plans.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning LC (Facilitated by Jackie Cuneen and Mark Earley)
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning LC read and discussed anthropologist Rebakah Nathan’s book My Freshman Year, an insider’s observation of modern college students focusing on the current state of academics and campus culture.
In addition, we examined other materials such as a 60 Minutes feature entitled Here Come The Millennials, and interacted with invited guest Professor Michael Coomes from the Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs, an expert on the Millennial student and co-author of Serving the Millennial Generation. SoTL LC member Colleen Boff collected information from the group and created a LibGuide (see http://libguides.bgsu.edu/millennials) containing a comprehensive listing of scholarly sources about working with and teaching Millennials. The LibGuide features a menu of “Classroom Activities,” and LC members will add activities to the menu throughout Spring Semester 2009. The SoTL LC will demonstrate the LibGuide at the CTL’s Teaching and Learning Fair on February 6, 2009 (watch CTL's website for more information on this event).

Publication LC (Facilitated by Allie Terry)
The Publication LC has met 4 times to discuss 6 Learning Community members' research thus far and has already built a "culture of accountability" for the publication process within the group. Each session, at least one LC member pre-circulates a publication in progress for critique and discussion by the group. During our meeting, we dissect the text, move it forward in terms of readers' comments, conceptual frameworks, and issues of style.

The culture of mutual trust and respect in the group provides an ideal environment of "safe critique," one in which the shared goal is to publish the research in the best form possible. Thus, the author understands that the critique is not aimed at intellectual failure, but rather at intellectual achievement in the eventual publication of the research. Our LC's current works-in-progress include: 21 articles, 7 book chapters, at least 4 book manuscripts, 2 grant proposals, and 16 conference papers. (Note: this LC has 10 members this year.)

Library e-Tools LC (Facilitated by Colleen Boff and Linda Rich)
The Library e-Tools LC has been having fun digging into EBSCOhost, a common search interface to dozens of library research databases covering a variety of topics and disciplines. Here’s what we are in the process of exploring:
  • Basic and advanced searching
  • Customization of the search screen
  • Saving searches and organizing research into folders
  • Sharing research folders with other users (e.g. students, colleagues, etc.)
  • Setting up automatic searches via email alerts/RSS feeds
  • Setting up table of contents alerts for favorite journals
  • Using EBSCOhosts’ Page Composer to easily build web pages
As we explore these different Web 2.0 enhancements, we discuss ways to use these value-added features with students in our teaching and for our own research and work with colleagues.

Pedagogy and Scholarship in Second Life Learning Community (facilitated by Anthony Fontana and Bonnie Mitchell) has been investigating various approaches to integrating SL into the BGSU learning environment and the issues involved. Members continually share their experiences, concerns, opinions, expertise and interests during group discussions and interactive dialog. The community consists of members from a variety of disciplines including Art, Interpersonal Communication, Intervention Services, the Writing Center, Computer Science, Psychology and Pop Culture.

The facilitators have shared the knowledge that they obtained while attending the Second Life Educators Community Conference in Florida and the Internet Research Conference in Denmark. As a group, the Pedagogy and Scholarship in Second Life Learning Community discussed issues related to research ethics and procedures, relevant and popular research topics in SL, and developments in virtual world technologies. Other meetings have focused primarily on teaching using Second Life and teaching experiences on the virtual campus.

For more information about these and other learning communities, visit the CTL's LC page or contact us at ctl@bgsu.edu or 372-6898.

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