Thursday, April 26, 2012

UM Faculty and Choice Reviews Online

UM Faculty,

Have you missed those (paper-cut inducing) Choice Review cards appearing in your mailbox every month? Please visit Choice Reviews Online! Once there, you can look at the most current reviews, search for specific subjects, create a profile to receive emails about new resources, and email lists to your colleagues and the library! For more information about how to use Choice Online, go HERE!

Amanda Melcher
Collection Management Librarian

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Flowering of Multi-Modal Learning

At Montevallo, it's the last week of classes, otherwise known as the Week of Reckoning, or a frenzied time when students turn in final projects and are held to account by end-of-semester exams.  Is this a good time for learning?  As David Jaffee of the Chronicle of Higher Education says, traditional academic exercises like final exams often do not encourage or capture meaningful knowledge development.  When we stress familiar models like exams, Jaffee writes, we inadvertently suggest that "the process of intellectual inquiry, academic exploration, and acquiring knowledge is purely an instrumentalist activity--designed to assure success on the next assessment."  In reality, these exercises facilitate temporary acquisition of knowledge.

At the Carmichael Library, the Digital Media Lab is doing its part to foster new kinds of learning that correspond to the new literacies required of learners in the digital age.  Students from English composition, social work, communication and science disorders, sociology, and other disciplines are engaged in collaborative video and audio projects of many kinds.  Each of these project require students to represent arguments and evidence in multiple media formats, something they will increasingly be asked to do as professionals and citizens.

Students in Laurel Hitchcocks' SWK/SOC 373 Social Policy students have been engaged in a semester-long project of editing and producing a video that informs potential clients on the impact of important social policies in the United States.  You can visit the University of Montevallo Social Work program YouTube channel to see all of the videos, but we wanted to share some of the highlights here.

Laura Tracy, Becky Stoltz, Mary Ashley Jayne and Staci Sample came up with this video, which highlights the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

Each of the videos educate an audience on why social policies matter.  They are the culmination of many conversations, readings, and questions, and they distill knowledge about American society into a meaningful and compelling form.

In English 104 with Lee Rozelle, students were asked to create a video that reviews or critiques a local establishment, recent film, or general cultural artifact.  One of my favorite videos is this review of Joe's Italian in Alabaster, AL.


The students logged their production efforts on a blog, which they titled Italy in Alabaster.  At its best moments, the video critiques not only the quality of Joe's food, but also the degree to which it tries to fabricate an "authentic" Italian cultural experience in rural Alabama.

These students should be commended for the work they have done.  They've synthesized personal experience, cultural analysis, and public advocacy of some kind.  Furthermore, they've taken advantage of the space, resources, and people at the Carmichael Library's Digital Media Lab.  We're always here as a resource for anyone who is working with audio, visual, or digital projects of any kind.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Extended Hours for Spring 2012

Photo Credit: Jim Roberts/Flickr

Carmichael Library will again offer extended hours for our students on the week before finals and during final exam week. The extended hours will begin this coming Monday, April 23.

Week Before Finals

Sunday, April 22
2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Monday, April 23 – Thursday, April 26
8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Friday, April 27
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 28
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Finals Week

Sunday, April 29
2:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Monday, April 30 – Tuesday, May 2
8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Wednesday, May 2
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.

Thursday, May 3
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Friday, May 4
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 5 – Sunday, May 6

Stop by, stay late, and make use of all that we have to offer at the library. Good luck, students!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

ILLiad Resource Sharing

Carmichael Library Interlibrary Loan Joins Free Resources Sharing Groups!

The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) department is proud to announce that we are now a part of two distinctive free resource sharing groups: Libraries Very Interested in Sharing (LVIS—pronounced like that hip-shaking, peanut butter & banana eating, heartbreaker Elvis) and LYRA. These groups are committed to the free exchange of information and materials.

What’s the big deal, Jill?

Hey, thanks for asking! Since no library can supply everything, it’s important that we make use of ILL to get the books and articles you need from other libraries. Like everything else, these things cost money and Carmichael is always trying to keep costs down. BTW, some libraries actually charge their faculty and students to use ILL, and some institutions charge other libraries to use their materials. Carmichael doesn’t charge for ILL services and never plans to. Those costs can add up and, well, be down-right annoying, but now we have over 2,000 libraries, worldwide, that we can borrow from—FOR FREE, y’all!!

In other ILL news: There’s a survey out to see what you think about ILLiad. If you haven’t taken it, please do:

As always, you can contact Jill Deaver for help with ILL and research.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Library Murder Mystery

What:  Library Murder Mystery
When:  April 10, 2012
When:  10 PM-Midnight
Where:  Carmichael Library

Once again, we have synergy between the University of Montevallo Game Studies Program (or here for their vibrant Facebook page) and the Carmichael Library!  As it turns out, there's much overlap between the concepts of game theory and the process of seeking and evaluating information.  Fun may be the unifying principle.

Photo designed by JR Burt

We encourage you to join us next week, April 10 and under a shroud of darkness at the Carmichael Library, to delve into a murder mystery.  You'll engage in some fact-finding, information discovery, database navigation, and critical thinking to help resolve (or at least illuminate) one of Montevallo's most notorious murders.  UM's own library faculty and game studies students have designed an experience that will change the way you think about accessing knowledge.

How is a murder mystery event related to game studies?  As I have mentioned in other posts on this blog, gaming imparts many lessons that are valuable for learners.  Games help us accept failure as a normal part of the learning and information-seeking process.  They reward critical thinking and collaboration, and they teach us that an ethic of play is one of the most important aspects of addressing life's challenges.  These benefits have been noted since the early days of game studies scholarship.  For instance, in a 2004 article in Game Studies, Stewart Woods argues that "social simulation" games like murder mysteries have immense potential to facilitate learning in ways that traditional modes of education do not:
Simulations offer the player the opportunity to engage with a dynamic system from an experientialperspective and a significant amount of this direct involvement is provided by the freedom to interact with, and have control over, the simulated system.  Indeed, there is consistent agreement among designers and researchers over the important role of interactivity and control within games as a factor which delineates them from most other media forms. 
In other words, games create an immersive environment in which participants can encounter and process problems with unique focus, dedication, and collaboration.

Of course, this murder mystery would not be a good game, or a good use of game theory, if it did not promise lavish rewards.  There will be prizes, food, and awesome T-shirts available to those who participate.