Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Finish Line : )

Well, I've reached the end of this semester and the end of my MLS degree. This comes with great relief and great sadness. Relief because I will no longer have homework until I decide what my future will entail. Sadness because I relish opportunities to discuss my passion for learning about how people learn. My current line of thinking is that I will take a little time after graduation to decide where to go next.

The last activity of this course was to update my resume.

I also updated my electronic portfolio at:

I originally thought that I could probably submit the resume I had previously developed and be done with it. I was wrong. I had not updated my resume in such a long time I had great difficulties remembering the new activities that needed to be added. I had to scour the Internet to relocate info about conferences I attended. I also neglected to update my recent publication and decided to link out to the journal websites and the UB Library links.

I had a number of broken links on my website due to sheer neglect quite some time. I also took the opportunity to update personal sections of my site that have long been neglected. Usually, the only time I update my resume is because of a shake up or dissatisfaction at work. It's good to be prompted to keep up on this important task.

So, I've made it to the end of my degree. Somehow, I still don't feel very librarian like. Ask me again in a few weeks. I just ordered a new pair of bifocals. No, they're not the horn-rimmed variety, but they will at least make me look more like a librarian.

Thank You - for listening.  :  )

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Running in place

I just noticed that this will be my second last entry to this blog for the class requirements. This is a welcome realization. As much as I'm dreading the end of this semester, and therefore also the end of my MLS degree, the next few weeks seem so far away and way too soon. I feel as I'm crawling toward the finish line and at the same time I'm running very fast, but I'm running in place.

As I try to imagine a life as a non-student I realize how difficult it is to keep up the pace of a student. It is for this reason that I will keep this second-last post short. This last class of my MLS program has been very rewarding. I have had numerous opportunities to learn along with a great group of individuals who have similar interests to my own and who are asking questions and undergoing self-discovery about a number of topics that I'm also interested in.  I would like to find opportunities to continue this form of lifelong learning.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Actual conference participation

This week's post will reflect on the recent SLAWNY Spring Sharing event I attended. Overall, I enjoyed the conference and felt I learned useful information. However, I felt that I was out of my element. In my career I have come very close to working in the K-12 commuinty, but it has always been just out of reach. My initial interests involved developing educational multimedia for young children. I continued my interest in education and pursued a dual masters degree in communication design and education. I had vast exposure to the needs and desires of young learners. In my early career at UB I was closely involved in K-12 endeavors through my affiliation with the Graduate School of Education. Lately, my career has rarely involved K-12. I explored applying to the SLMS program but instead chose to pursue an MLS. The reasoning for this was that after nearly ten years at UB it's best to stick it out on the path that I'm currently on. Much of my life is invested in SUNY and I have a large accumulation of benefits and a sense of security that is very rare these days.

There are a lot of similarities between teaching in a K-12 environment and teaching in higher ed. A large portion of what I'm learning in this class is very applicable to the needs of a college classroom. However, there are many differences when considering learning and instruction in higher ed. I realize that life can always take unexpected turns, and who knows what might be around the corner. I'd like to be prepared for a possible unexpected turn. Will the road I'm on branch towards the libraries or to K-12? Time will only tell.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Virtual conference participation

I enjoyed the experience of taking a virtual travel trip to an online conference as a mid-semester break activity. Considering that virtually all my department's travel funds have been eliminated with a tight budget, it's good to know that there are plenty of very well done online conferences and professional development opportunities available. The K12Online conference was a great mix of presentations focusing both on technical aspects and non-technical aspects of the day-to-day aspects of integrating instructional technologies. I often view and listen to a number of online professional development presentations. This is one way to keep up with the ever changing landscape of instructional technology. My department at UB has also created and posted a number of online presentations. The presentations through the K12online conference had some post-production processing added to enhance the presentations as compared to the raw presentations that are often posted on the TLC website. The enhancement through the added use of visuals, and in some cases digital storylines, enabled their presentations to have an edge that successfully captured my interest.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Becoming a Librarian

I've elected to use my blog posts for this course to mostly reflect upon my fast approaching completion of my MLS degree and less on the specific topics of this course. I hope that this use is satisfactory. Since my MLS degree is less than two months away I'm finding that I am very often reflecting on this accomplishment and trying to make sense about what this means to me. This is not the first time I'm mentioning this, but I mainly took the courses in LIS so I could continue to learn about how and why people learn and less because I wanted to become a librarian. In the course of my LIS studies I have vastly increased a number of abilities that could be said to be attributed to being a librarian. For example, I now look very critically at information in order to determine its validity and authenticity. I feel my search strategies have vastly improved. I know the value of various search tools, but I still have difficulty understanding why true federated searching is not the norm.

Although I did not enroll in the MLS program to become a Librarian, now that the end is nearly in sight, I'm very proud that I will join this important and elite group. I feel that my abilities have matched those of what are desired by the profession. It is unfortunate that in my career there seems to be an unlikely prospect in the near future of my job responsibilities becoming more in-tune with those of  the librarian profession.

One thing I would like to point out is that I clearly see my job as an instructional designer for the University at Buffalo to be extremely similar to the responsibilities of a school library media center. The main similarity is the need to collaborate with instructors to assist them in their quest to help students towards achieving a maximally effective learning environment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

To the movies

I'll be going to view the movie "Hollywood Librarian" at UB very soon. I'm interested to see what the movie has to say about the librarian profession. Considering that I'll be a "Librarian" in just about two months it would be good to see this movie. Although I've been in LIS for a number of years going to classes one at a time, I find it difficult to picture myself as a librarian. I like my role as an instructional designer. I pursued an MLS to improve my knowledge and skills in this area. I feel I've been very successful doing this. I do think that life is capable of taking many unexpected turns. It is possible that a position could open up in a library that may entail many responsibilities for the utilization of my background. So, I'm off to watch the "Hollywood Librarian" to preview what possibilities may be in my future.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My strength

This past week I was able to draw on some of my strengths and knowledge about web design. This is an area that I feel I have a strong understanding of. Considering that I have taught a course for the Informatics program titled Collaborative Web Design I should be in my element when discussing website usability. It was not much of a stretch to take my existing knowledge about website design and usability and apply it to the needs of a library website catalog.

In contrast, when I need to rely on my knowledge about information literacy I am much more out of my element. If I'm asked to instruct someone on how to evaluate whether or not a website's content is valid and authoritative I am able to provide a few general pointers. However, in my own searching needs I can say that I am often swayed to trust sites that I should be much more doubtful about. I'm a member of the Information Literacy Task Force under the UB Libraries, but the team (which has a number of librarians on the committee) also has a hard time providing clear instruction to others about how they should evaluate the content they find on the web.