30 July 2008

Immersion: Day 2

Bam. Bam. Bam.

The sound of synapses firing.

After only two days, I have 18 pages of notes, 3 full page lists of TO DO for when I return, new tools for assessment, activities for both my librarians and my classes, and about 25 different authors to look up and start reading. It's a lot to take in. I'm so glad I brought my running shoes so that I can get outside a little bit, and I mean little, to clear my head and process.

Day 2 has focused mainly on assessment, the element to IL programs in which I am most interested and in which I am in need of the most help. Deb Gilchrist is running the assessment show and she is wonderfully insightful. Assessment brings up a lot of questions and I have a tendency to be bogged down with the philosophical questions it often encapsulates but Deb has really helped me to focus my attention on the most important thing: the student. This is best demonstrated in the "5 Questions" we are using to develop outcomes:
1. What do you want students to be able to do?
2. What do they need to know to do this well?
3. What activity will facilitate learning?
4. How will the student demonstrate their learning?
5. How will we know that the student has done this well.

These are the leading questions in developing student learning outcomes and I think that we are well on our way at Champlain. However, there is more to it than that. The overall IL program needs outcomes too. That is what I am focusing on for the rest of the time here. I am trying, and I emphasize trying, to develop outcomes that are meaningful, reasonable, and transferable. Sounds easy, right. Yeah...not so much. Trying to capture all the things that we want our program to be and to do in a concise, impactful, measurable statement is really quite difficult. But it is wonderful to be working at tables with librarians that are struggling to do the same thing. The "5 Questions" I am thinking about at the program level are:
1. What do we want to achieve?
2. How will we know our outcomes are met?
3. What data do we need to gather?
4. What can we learn from the data?
5. What changes are necessary as a result of that learning?

I'm working on it.
One last thing that I have really been thinking about: measuring what is valued. We can measure all sorts of things through assessment but the true challenge is to identify and measure what's important.

I'm telling you...this is tough stuff to think about. I am loving it.

One last note: there was an earthquake in LA yesterday and we did indeed feel it here. It was my first earthquake, and pretty shocking. Immersion makes the earth move.

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