Wednesday, 14 October 2009

German universities are becoming an "University2.0"

The University2.0 is the most ideal way of accessing and sharing information. Moreover the University promotes itself by showing how research is done, how it proceeds and offering results and various documents for free and in one virtual place as a one-stop-shop.
In response to the need to acquire, to index, to store, and to provide documents which are increasingly only available in digital form, the Thuringian University and State Library (ThULB) and the University Data Processing Centre (URZ) began in 1999 with the composition of a digital library called UrMEL (University Multimedia Electronic Library). UrMEL will make it possible to combine the Friedrich Schiller University's (FSU) various activities for the provision of multimedia and historical documents. Since UrMEL can already integrate different projects and serve as a project platform for them, it forms the basis for the integration of further institutions in Thuringia. This is true not only of libraries, but also of museums, archives, and other cultural institutions.
Already realized are the following projects: University@UrMEL, Journals@UrMEL, and Collections@UrMEL.

  • University@UrMEL

    Within the scope of the Digital Library Thuringia University@UrMEL provides online access to university documents such as doctoral theses, dissertations, research
    reports, and lecture scripts. It serves as a platform for accessing course materials. Audio and video recordings in different formats are also available at University@UrMEL.
  • Journals@UrMEL

    Journals@UrMEL provides access to electronic journals. Via digitalization, historical journals are made more easily accessible, and are at the same time prevented from decaying. In cooperation with scientific publishers and societies, the ThULB increasingly also publishes online journals itself. In addition to this, the ThULB also purchases online journals from publishers, stores them, and makes them accessible on its own servers.
  • Collections@UrMEL

    Within Collections@UrMEL, we work together with scholars from different areas to develop special applications for the digital and multimedia editing and indexing of valuable stock from archives and manuscript collections.

For more information please visit the project's website

On Novenber the 10th there will take place a special symposion about UrMEL. According to the program it really looks like as if the institution's libraries are fully integrated into digitazation, multimedia editing and indexing documents.

Let's hope this project leads to reshaping german universities into a real "University2.0" - which is more than only storing data and information in one place.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Becoming a good/ better instructor

Some quotes of other instructors:
There are many dimensions to being a great library instructor. Teaching regularly can certainly help to keep those skills sharp, and it affords the needed opportunity to experiment with learners, to try new things, and to stretch one’s capabilities in the classroom.

(taken from ARCLog:"Maintaining your instruction Mojo")

It’s all about adding value to the learning process. He is spot on when he says that students can now go anywhere to simply hear a lecture by a talking head that is attached to a series of slides. That describes a good deal of online learning and open education resource experience. You go to a web site or a course delivery system and just tune in to a lecture/presentation. But where’s the added value that comes from the dialogue between the teacher and the student? I believe what Bowen is really afraid of losing at his school is what makes the learning experience truly unique – the engagement between the instructor and the learner.

Academic librarians need to be mindful of the same challenge. We know that while we offer high quality information resources, our students and faculty can obtain information from a wide variety of resources. And there are times when they are accessing our subscription content through free search engines and are not aware that the content is delivered by the library. Those are well known issues. If the boundaries between information sources are becoming increasingly blurry to the end user, what is it that distinguishes what the academic library does for them? Finding the answer to that question is part of the challenge we face, just as our faculty colleagues will need to make clear to future students the value that they add to the learning process. Otherwise why bother with the huge investment in a traditional college education.

(taken from ARCLog: "We have to add the Value")

There are (at least) 5 key characterists an instructor has to follow:
1. Relevance – The big challenge is to connect course content to the current culture – learning has to be relevant to them.

2. Rationale – Today’s students were raised in a non-authoritarian manner. They won’t comply because the instructor is in charge, but will be more likely to do so when given a good rationale.

3. Relaxed – They thrive in a less formal environment in which they can interact informally with the instructor and each other.

4. Rapport – More than previous generations they are used to having adults in their lives and show interest in them. They appreciate it when instructors show interest as well or when we connect on a personal level.

5. Research-based methods – Millennials have grown up constantly engaged so they can tend to bore easily, so be prepared with active learning methods

(taken from "Why don't my students think I'm groovy")

The new Library2.0-Manifest (by Zukunftswerkstatt - in english: future lab)

The project "Zukunftswerkstatt" (in english: future lab) names the objectives for the libraries' future. The librarians are called to go playing: playing with web2.0-services, playing within (information literacy) instructions etc. I fully agree with that, cos libraries are still seen as old fashioned institutions. Libraries ARE already online - they only have to show a bigger presence at multiple channels: The doors have to be open, librarians aren't the gatekeepers any more.
Please watch the presentation (unfortunately only in German) to get a better impression of what is meant with "go playing":

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