The LOEX Conference is the premier national information literacy conference though attendees came from many other countries, including New Zealand, Great Britain and Qatar. The University of Kentucky was well-represented at the annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan which took place May 8 – 10. The conference presentations are well-known for their quality and it is an honor to be selected. This year, several UK information professionals shared their knowledge through presentations supporting the theme of Creative Visualization: The Art of Information Literacy. Presenters and topics included:
· “The Writing is on the Wall: Using Padlet for Whole-Class Engagement” - 50 minute presentation by Beth Fuchs (Undergraduate Learning Librarian) – which demonstrated a free active learning tool called Padlet that provides a free, multimedia-friendly wall which can be used to encourage real-time, whole-class participation and assessment. She shared her experiences with using this tool in her information literacy sessions to grab the attention of the students and to promote excitement about learning together.
· “Mixing in New Colors: Using the Train-the-Trainer Model to Create Information Literacy Co-Instructors” – 50 minute presentation by Valerie Perry (Head of Agricultural Information Center), Renae Newman (recent graduate intern) and Patricia Hartman (former graduate intern now at Auburn University) – which highlighted the creative way we have extended our reach in support of undergraduate biology lab students by training their Biology Teaching Assistants to be co-trainers with us in the classroom so over 600 undergraduates per semester develop lifelong skills to find relevant and reliable information. This model program extends the reach of libraries without increasing full-time personnel.
· “Free and Easy Tech to Help Your Instruction” – poster by Alexa Clark (former library employee) and Angelia Pulley (library graduate assistant) – which showcased innovative tools which help you captivate your audience and engage them in active learning through animation and interactive tutorials
Jen Martin, student trainer and supervisor in Young Circulation, and also standing member of the Information Literacy committee, attended this conference with the vision that LOEX 2014 would provide ample resources and ideas which would support UK Libraries mission and commitment to information literacy at the same time supplementing her essential job functions as a trainer of approximately 30 library student assistants. Jen is also one of the several support staff that assist with library instruction of first year students.
Of particular interest and importance was a session conducted by Lindsey McLean of Loyola Marymount University on "Designing Effective Online Tutorials”. Hired to spearhead a first-year information literacy tutorial, McLean demonstrated best practices in instructional design focusing on visual and technical elements of creating online tutorials and was candid in the successes and failures of the first initial design. Online tutorials can be a beneficial resource in library instruction or any training but a single tutorial can take up to two months to complete. Jen wishes to pursue online tutorials in the training of students and McLean's session provided many troubleshooting and time-saving tips.