AMICAL Workshop (2015)

It Takes a Campus: Creating Research Assignments that Spark Curiosity and Collaboration (Invited Workshop)

You may be familiar with the old story about a group of blind men trying to identify an elephant? Each person in the story can only ‘see’ a small part of the whole. And each one tries, and fails, to extrapolate from that limited perspective to the big picture. Sometimes, this is what information literacy instruction feels like. Learning how to learn from information, to stay open to new ideas and to use information to solve problems and make decisions — this is a big picture that is hugely complex, doesn’t happen all at once, and doesn’t just happen in the library. Librarians, classroom faculty, technologists and students all share this goal, but none of us control the whole picture.

In this workshop, we’re going to think about the big picture — the cognitive, affective, and practical conditions that affect how our students approach research and inquiry and the cognitive, affective and practical skills they need to be successful with those assignments. We will work together to design activities that consider the whole student, and the complex information landscape they have to navigate.

  • 13:30—15:00. Designing Effective Research Assignments
  • 15:00—15:30. Break and Reflection.
  • 15:30—16:30. Encouraging Curiosity and Creativity in the Research Process.


No Training Wheels, Revised — I wrote this blog post about an insight that came to me in a conversation at the AMICAL Conference. I learn so much from these events.

Connecting the Dots: Curiosity, Motivation, Affect — Lori Thompson’s blog post following the conference connects my workshop with her keynote, and other conversations around the conference.



First-Year Experience @ USF (2015)

In April of 2015 I went to the University of San Francisco to have some conversations and facilitate some workshops with faculty and librarians involved with USF’s first-year seminars. This was a follow-up visit; I was also there in the spring of 2014. This trip was action packed – two workshops and a lunchtime talk/discussion with faculty and librarians, and visits to three different first-year seminar classes. This is a great group of people, doing really interesting work.


Culture is what people do — I wrote this blog post about an insight that I had during these talks.

Thursday in the park with students — Barbara Fister’s reflection on her visit to this same group in 2015, and the ways that curiosity and authenticity are still baked into their FYE program.