ACRL Immersion is a one-week long intensive training for those who teach in academic libraries. The 2018 Immersion program was completely re-designed to focus on critical reflective practice.
I didn’t really know anything about Immersion, but my manager was very enthusiastic and supportive of my attendance so I dove in. There was quite a bit of pre-work for Immersion: interviews, readings, and self-assessment quizzes. The range of the assignments was broad and I definitely didn’t know what I was getting into when I arrived at St. Thomas University in St. Paul for my week of becoming immersed in critical reflective practice and pedagogy.
But through a week of workshops, writing, and using a lot of craft supplies, something slowly began to build. That something was a plan. Really… a design, not just for the instructional challenges that had brought me to Immersion, but for my career, supported by personal reflection, conceptual models, and the new community of practice that I had built. It was truly a transformative experience that has changed the way that I look at my goals.
It took a lot of patience and work, but I would recommend taking the leap.
For librarians, ALA Annual is THE place to see and be seen, to present, to network, and to fill a tote with free swag. But it is a big, busy, and intimidating event for a first-timer. Here are a couple of things I learned this year in NOLA.
- You will miss things that were on your list. It’s just too big and sometimes I couldn’t keep up. But I learned not to fret too much about it because I had to run to the next session on my list!
- Presenters are running somewhere too. I didn’t always get the chance to ask a question during the session. But it was just too bad for me because that presenter was running out the door to the next item on their own agenda.
- Get to Happy Hour early! It was my chance to meet the people that I couldn’t talk to during the conference. But you have to jump in before everyone has had one too many adult beverages.
For me, it was a bit difficult to meet people with similar interests. I went to the sessions, heard all about the research and projects, but when it came to actually talking to someone about all these interests, I failed a bit. I learned that it’s hard to break into ALA. But I’m confident that I’ll keep meeting people and eventually I’ll have an old friend to run into there. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.
Today I am taking part in the Creative Assignments Faculty Institute at Lied Library as one of the presenters. This two-day event allows instructors to participate in workshops which focus on creating assignments which are not a research paper. The workshops include data visualization, oral history, service learning, Wikipedia editing, and my own workshop; smartphone video creation. Over coffee and pastries, one of the facilitators had us participate in the least obnoxious icebreaker I’ve ever tried. It was actually a lot of fun and I am definitely going to try it out at one of my own workshops.
It is the Three Minute Self Portrait. Here’s how it works:
Participants are given three minutes to create doodles that represent them. For this event, we were asked to create doodles which describe our personal life, subject area, and teaching philosophy. Overachievers were welcomed to include an actual self-portrait. I am, of course, an overachiever. I sketched a headset with microphone for my personal life because I am an avid gamer and spend a lot of time online. For my subject area, I drew a pot of soup. I feel like it’s my job to dip into the pot of emerging technology to see what can be useful for learning. I also drew a very crooked Nike swoosh to represent my teaching philosophy. Since I show people how to use tools, I usually take a “Just Do It” approach to learning.
What would your doodles be?