ePortfolio, what is it good for?

I have spent a fair bit of time over the last 4 years working on and off on my ePortfolio. I have created posts, pages, menus. I have changed themes, images, fonts. I have added videos, links, documents and other blogs to it. And in the end I am still only scratching the surface of this rich resource.

By creating this ePortfolio I have learnt a lot. Not only in the creation of a WordPress site but also in regards to information management, knowledge management, information organisation and accessibility of information. I have had to think about what knowledge I wanted to share and was relevant and how to best present it. This definitely built on my knowledge management skills as I had to select which knowledge was relevant for my own professional development purposes and also that fitted the requirements of the assessment brief.

Managing the information I included and making is accessible was a challenge. There are a variety of ways you can do this on WordPress sites and the variety of options was sometimes overwhelming and made the decision hard. In the end though I was able to use skills I had developed from the course of my Masters and pick a method that I feel allows people to easily navigate and find the information included within my portfolio.

The biggest strength of completing this portfolio is the chance it has given me to reflect on my own experiences. Instead of letting ideas, knowledge and skills I have learnt fade into the background I have been forced to think, reflect and record these experiences. This has been an amazing experience as I could fully understand what I had learnt and how I could relate it to being a Library and Information professional. It has also allowed me to easily recall training I have done, skills I have developed and new knowledge I have gained. For instance, I have reflected on each new job I have had over the last 4 years and how each of them has helped me grow as an Information Professional. This will and has helped me immensely in my career as I have a record of what I have done to show current and prospective employers. It also means I won’t easily forget the skills I do have, how I can use them and perhaps what skills I still need to work on.life-is-beautiful-905868_1280

Overall, the experience of creating and maintaining an ePortfolio has been greatly beneficial. I aim to continue to use this as a way to record my experiences as an Information Professional and also as a tool to demonstrate my skills and experience to employers. Going forward I know this will be a valuable resource for me  and am looking forward to what the future may bring for me as a librarian and an Information Professional 🙂

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities

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Authentic Assessment Workshop

Recently I attended a workshop on authentic assessment. It was really good for my professional development as it allowed me to see how really practical and useful tasks can be created for students. Some of the key points I learnt were –

–          All QUT units must have at least 1 summative authentic assessment task.

–          Authentic assessment is meaningful, applying knowledge, an open task, no one right answer, exposes them to

real world and the messiness it entails, simulate or replicate what is done and asked of professionals.

–          Use authentic assessment to prepare, engage, give perspectives, problem solving, apply knowledge, expose

students to industry.

–          Supports learners making a successful transition into professional environments & develop professional identity

and reflective practice.

–          Use ADT framework as basis for building authentic assessment which includes

.  Cultural context: purpose & type of text

.  Social context: subject matter, mode, medium, role and relationship

–          Roles part of framework is really important if you want to argue that it is authentic i.e. from the perspective of a

lawyer, conservationist, teacher etc.

–          Enhance by considering – Roles or practitioners in chosen profession, purposes they achieve, formats/ texts they

use to achieve purposes, subject matter, modes used to communicate and audiences of their texts.

–          An example of authentic assessment exam – group discussion. Given background information prior, time limit

and marker for each person. Good but difficult to set up.

–          Put authentic assessment in unit outlines; use all the terminology so people know what it is.

–          More workshops being run in September with Part B added (more individual support).

Authentic assessment relates to information professionals as we are all about how to engage information with users. These types of assessments are successful and mandatory in universities because they do engage with students and allow them to gain information knowledge and apply it in professional settings and thus make them more prepared for the real world.

I am really glad I was able to attend this work shop and learn about how to create authentic assessment tasks. I think this will aid me professionally as a librarian as I can understand assignments that students need help with and also potentially help design assessment tasks in conjunction with lecturers, or at least offer knowledgeable advice to them.

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities

Learning and Research Desk Training

To gain some further knowledge and develop my skills as a Library Adviser for QUT I attended two and half days of Learning and Research Desk Training. During these days I developed my skills in searching for information, helping students with study problems and how to deal with emotional clients. By completing this training I have grown as an information professional by improving my customer service skills allowing me to better help users and their library experiences.

One session taught was about searching for information and the tools available for students regarding studying. This was a valuable class as it highlighted to me that various searching techniques that are useful such as searching for synonyms by putting all similar words together inside brackets. I was also unaware of using questions marks as wild cards within words when words could be spelt differently in different countries such as searching for colo?r. It was also useful to see all the study skills resources QUT has available to their students such as CiteWrite, Studywell & Study Smart tutorials. The most enlightening aspect I took away was that as a first tier point of contact for users of the QUT Library my job is about pointing users to these resources and skills and explaining how to best use them, promoting independence and allowing the users to develop their own study skills.  Overall this session has allowed me to develop my searching skills further and define my professional perspective on how to best help and empower users to utilise the library resources.

Learning about dealing with emotional clients has really allowed me to improve my customer service skills and thus grow as an information professional.  We listened to a speaker from QUT Counselling services who explained when dealing with an overwrought clients it is best to empathise, stay calm and advise them of the options available to them such as counselling services, financial services and academic language and learning services. We should empower distraught clients to help themselves. When dealing with irate clients staying calm is best and this was reiterated by counselling services and from the Library Services Manager, Nicole Clark. Knowing how to deal with emotional clients is vital as these people usually need the most help. By learning these techniques it has allowed me to grow as an information professional as customer service is crucial role played by many information professional roles.

By attending these training days I have been able to grow as an information professional.  I learnt that as a first tier point of contact for library users it is my job to show clients the many options they have available to them for the study, financial and emotional needs. If I cannot help them directly it is important that I can point them in the direction they should go and make sure they get there. It is also crucial that I have the skills to deal with emotional clients in order to become a successful information professional. By attending the session from counselling services I have been able to further develop my customer service skills and thus develop my professional skills too.  Overall the Learning and Research Training days have allowed me to develop several of my skills including searching and customer service which has allowed me to grow as an information professional.

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities

Reference Management Tools Seminar

Attending the learning seminar regarding reference management tools enlightened me to the different tools available at present and how they can be used most effectively. Some of the key learning outcomes I achieved were improving my knowledge of Endote, Latex & Bibtex and Mendeley and comparing these different management tools.

Before taking this seminar I did not have much experience with management tools. I had some familiarity with Endnote but had not used it for any assignments myself as I did not require to list. However it was interesting to learn that the Endnote 6 offered by QUT has four QUT styles included in it and now includes a window that showcases the PDFs associated with their reference. I feel this would be very beneficial to students as it allows them to not only collate references but resources also. This makes it much easier for students to find relevant documents and reference correctly according to the appropriate QUT referencing styles.  Endnote web was also discussed and this now has the added benefit of syncing with the desktop and recognising duplicate references and allowing for them to be identified and discarded as necessary. Endnote web is interesting as it allows users to use the management software from any desktop with an internet connection. However the fault with this tool is that it needs an internet connection to work and allow users to access their lists and libraries.

Endnote web is similar to Mendeley, another online reference tool. Before this class I had not heard of this tool but now understand that it is both an online and desktop reference tool. One of its main benefits over Endnote is that it can enrich its data/metadata from the internet a lot better than Endnote. You can also see others and interact within Mendeley communities, which is beneficial as users can see what their colleges or peers are also reading and referencing. One downside of Mendeley is that it is run and owned by a private company. For the users this could mean it shuts down and disappears overnight, it is not reliable like Endnote which is used by many more people and is a large company.

The other reference management tool looked at was Latex and Bibtex. These are very interesting tools mainly used by scientists, engineers and mathematicians as it allows them to write formulas. When they complete the references they look great however to get to that stage a lot more is involved when compared to Endnote or Mendeley. Two systems must be installed and the codes to write the correct references and formulas need to be known. This means users must be very knowledgeable of this tool before they can use it efficiently and correctly.

From attending this session it is apparent that an information professional must be aware of reference management tools as they are used by many users and directly relate to library services within the learning and teaching environment. By learning about Endote, Mendely and Latex and Bibtex their similarities and differences could be identified. Also which users they would suit in particular could be seen. Overall this session was very enlightening in respect to reference management tools and how they can be used by users.

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities

Learning Resources & Services Open Day

Back in Semester 1, 2012 I was able to attend the QUT Library Resource Services Open Day as part of my professional development. This occurred because I was working as a Collection Access Assistant at QUT’s Garden Point library. I learnt many interesting things at this open day and it helped me grow as an information professional.

The day started out with an introduction to the LRS team and a tour of their work place. It was quite large with over a dozen people working in this department. The difference between a monograph and serial were explained as well as the new work structure based around merging the two teams that used to deal exclusively with one or the other. It was interesting to note that now all the team members were training so that they could deal with both monographs and serials making their team more efficient especially when someone maybe away. They are in charge of the actual ordering, after it has been approved, and with the labelling of the resources. Their work is very busy and constant with a large pile of boxes containing new resources that need to be labelled and catalogued on their large conveyor belt.

I also learnt a lot about the resource librarians and what they do.  They deal with the cataloguing of resources especially the hard ones such as kits. They are also responsible for loading records onto the library catalogue for databases including journal titles, e-books and serials. It was interesting to learn about EBI in relation to e-books and when they are rented or purchased. The criterion for QUT is that the first three times a student loans an e-book that is rented at fee is charged to QUT. On the forth loan the book is purchased as it has met the criteria of being current and useful within the QUT collection. The resource librarians get a lot of their updates from Library Australia and do record loads once a month. In turn they also send new records through to Library Australia when they update a record themselves. Most of the time the resource librarians cannot directly change the records that appear on the QUT catalogue and it has to go through Library Australia. I also learnt that they deal with the video streams in the catalogue too. It was interesting to learn that though the university purchases these videos they still have to pay viewing fees.

The other main aspect of the LRS that I learnt about was the life of an e-resource. They defined e-resources as something that is available online or in a digital format such as a journal, database, e-book, webpage or an online streaming video. They advised that the life of an e-resource started with a new order requested by a liaison librarian to information resources committee. They then contact the vendor and the licence is discussed. This seemed the most complex part as the licence needs to be negotiated for the right terms and conditions. The most important clauses that they negotiate on are confidentiality of price and no harm will come to the publisher. The order is put into millennium where it can be tracked. The next step of the lifecycle is renewal and evaluation. According to LRS orders over $1,000 are reviewed every two years by the information resource committee and orders under $1,000 are reviewed by the LRS team.  Mature order comes next in the e-resources life and this involves any changes to the order such as a title change. After this the resource becomes an ageing order where it doesn’t get as much use and the librarians need to establish whether this resource is still relevant to the collection. If it is not relevant the order is cancelled and this can be done in one of two ways – perpetual order whereby all subscriptions up until the cancellation are kept or an unperpetual order whereby all of the holdings are removed.  The latter order seems very harsh to me and would make me do my research very hard as to whether the order really needs to be cancelled.

The other interesting thing I learnt at the LRS open day was about e-books. There are three ways in which they can be ordered according to QUT LRS team. These are the patron driven model, individuals select and purchase and the purchase or an individual title or collection. The e-books in the library collection are evaluated each year.

Overall my time at the Learning Resource and Services open day was very informative. I had no idea how much time and effort it tool to create and maintain a large academic library’s collection such as QUT’s. All their work was very interesting and I wonder how they each fell into their roles at QUT. They were a comfortable team and obviously work well together to get through their intense workloads. Going to this open day has helped me grow as an information professional as I have had my eyes opened to all the behind the scenes jobs that take part in the library with regards to cataloguing and ordering. Also it has let me see the application of what I have learnt in my studies so far such as collection management especially regarding e-resources.

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities

INN634 – Workshops Reflection

During my first semester back at university I have participated in six workshop activities as part of completing one of my courses, INN634 Professional Practice. By completing these workshops I have learnt many things about what it means to be an information professional and the places it can take me.

During the first workshop in week 3 we had several guest speakers including Lynn Macallister and Kate Davis. I learnt about the significance of having a presence in the information profession and how an online portfolio could aid in my career development. From this workshop I discovered that there are many ways in which I could construct my own portfolio including using QUT’s ePortfolio or use Blogger or WordPress. After this workshop I did my own experimenting with the various systems available to me and decided to go ahead and set up my own domain name with WordPress as I found it easiest to navigate. Whilst listening to all the speakers it really hit home to me how important communicating my skills and capabilities to the wider community was in respect to networking and finding jobs. Workshop one was a great tool to push me towards starting my portfolio and really taking an interest in it as it will help me with my development as an information professional.

Workshop two also had a variety of speakers but they brought up the issues of what professions and information professional can fill. It was interesting at the variety of jobs the ladies all had including research assistant, web editor, records management and of course a library manager. As I want to be a librarian I had never really thought about the other career opportunities available to me after completing my Masters in Information and Technology. By listening to the ladies describe their jobs it really opened my eyes to how my studies could be applied. At the end of workshop two, even though I still wanted to work in a library, I found it very interesting and comforting knowing there are a wide variety of choices out there after completing my Masters.

Completing workshop three was an interesting and enjoyable experience for me. Our personalities were discussed and completing the online test I found out I am an ISFJ and that jobs that suit my personality include nursing, teaching, housekeeper and LIBRARIAN! When going through all of the personality traits an ISFJ has I found it scary how well it had pegged me. The majority of dot points associated with ISFJ described me exactly. I was so impressed with it I made all my friends and family do the test also. Most of the answers were so spot on it was freaky. This workshop was really interesting in showing me how different personalities are suited to different tasks, perhaps not jobs especially. Obviously I am on the right track according to my results!

During workshop four I heard from Ann Gillepsie, a Teacher Librarian. Coming from a science background myself it was interesting to hear about how the framework for research regarding Teacher Librarians. It was obviously different from the structure I am used to regarding biological scientific research strategies and I had not known there was any serious research being conducted by librarians. I find this reassuring as it shows that librarians still want to grow and make their field and the work they perform recordable so that others can see the results of their hard work. Overall I found this workshop enlightening and reassuring regarding the librarian profession.

Workshop five was interesting as it let me know about some further career paths that I had not considered. Elham Abdi talked about doing her PHD and why she is doing it. I had never considered doing this myself as I like to be actively out in the workforce, however I can see how it would be a good experience allowing yourself to learn a lot more comprehensively. I think overall though I would still prefer to be out in the workforce learning things practically and by being able to apply my knowledge to complete my job.

I really enjoyed workshop six which concerned the nature of ethics within a library context. By completing the reading and the case scenario it allowed me to see what some current ethical issues can appear in a library and what I should be prepared for in this profession. I think it is important if I am to ever have some responsibility in my future roles as a librarian that I become familiar with the ethic code where I work and also construct my own code of ethics regarding the library context in order for me to have a fulfilling and fair work environment.

During all the workshops a common theme always stuck out at me, how important networking is. This had not occurred to me at the start of my degree however now I can see it is a vital part of the career I wish to have. It worried me at first as I am a shy person by nature and do not feel comfortable approaching strangers. Over the last semester, however, I have learnt to accept the challenge of building my professional network. I hope by the end of my Masters I will be more comfortable with this concept and have started to build my own network through my current jobs and through the work placement schemes.

Overall I have found the six workshops very constructive and informative. It is always a great opportunity and motivation to hear from people already working in the professional environment that you wish to enter shortly. These workshops have motivated me immensely to build up my social networking skills, develop a professional portfolio and to make sure I stay current with all the issues surrounding the information profession such as research and ethical issues.

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities

Twitter Reflection

As part of my studies at QUT I have had to complete five Twitter activities over the last semester. By participating in these activities I have learnt a lot about Twitter and the Library and Information industry. I have also discovered some of my own strengths and weaknesses. This post will reflect on my experiences and learning outcomes as a result of finishing the five Twitter activities.

I have learnt many things from my experience using Twitter. Firstly, I learnt how to actually use Twitter and I discovered what the big fuss was about. By completing the five different activities I was able to learn different skills needed to be a successful Twitterer. For example I can now successfully post a tweet and know that there is a character limitation to these tweets. I can search for groups or people and sign up to follow them and also include them in my tweet. One activity also showed me how to post pictures along with posts which I think is very useful as posting pictures and/or documents could be important when establishing contacts.

The twitter activities also allowed me to see why it can be a great networking tool. Many people and organisations from around the world are connected to Twitter and by including them in a post or following them it is an easier and less awkward way to contact them or simply introduce yourself to them when compared to an email or phone call, even if it is slightly less formal.

By completing the activities I have also learnt about some interesting ideas and facts about libraries. This was especially seen from the responses by mentors and lecturers. I learnt about some interesting links such as organisations and twitter groups that can help me improve my knowledge about the Library and Information industry and was also introduced to some of my peers using these activates.

I have identified some of my strengths after completing the five Twitter activities. One strength is that even though I had not used Twitter before I had used several other social network sites such as Facebook and Myspace and this allowed me to easily navigate around Twitter and feel comfortable with it. Another strength I identified was also concerning not having used Twitter before and that is that I was not afraid to jump right in. As soon as we were advised we would need to use Twitter I signed up and started joining several communities I am interested in including QUT, WWF and ALIA. My time management was also a strength in these exercises. I completed all activities within their allotted week even overcoming the challenge of being overseas with limited internet access to complete the photo album activity. I feel that by completing these exercises I have been able to identify several strengths of my work ethic and ability to use new information tools.

Some weaknesses were also identified when doing the Twitter activities and also during a reflection of the activities. As I had not used Twitter before, this was a definite weakness. However I feel that by completing the five tasks I have overcome this weakness at least with the basic uses of Twitter.  Also because I had not used Twitter before and I didn’t know anyone in my social or work life who used it I found a weakness I had did not know many people on Twitter to begin with. This made it hard for me to connect to others, i.e. friends of friends, and initially made me dubious of its potential staying power in my life after completing the activities. By completing the activities I have seen that all my peers are using Twitter as are my mentors and many industry professionals, thus showing my weakness in doubting twitter longevity in my life was wrong. It is a valuable networking tool that I shall continue to learn about and use. Another weakness I identified was that I am not very knowledgeable or aware of the Library and Information industry. The activities forced me to engage in the industry and explain why I wanted to join it. I feel this weakness has slightly been strengthened but I need to invest much more time and energy into learning about the industry, networking and staying current with the information available regarding the Library and Information industry. After finishing the five Tweets I have been able to identify several weaknesses relating to myself and my current knowledge.

Overall these Twitter activities have enlightened me in a surprising way. I have learnt a lot about Twitter in general and also about the Library and Information industry. My strengths that I identified include using other social networking sites such as Facebook and being comfortable to throw myself into Twitter. The weaknesses I have found vary and some are minor and will be overcome just by using Twitter regularly but others have shown me that I will need to actively work, listen and read about the Library and Information industry in order to be informed and knowledgeable about it. In conclusion the five Twitter activities have helped me immensely and was a useful aid towards my future as Library and Information Professional.

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities

Certificates of Program Completion – Work Placement

Attached are the completion of module certificates and certificate of completion for the Career and Development Program Work Placement Preparation as a part of my interim portfolio. These show my professionalism and knowledge in the below areas.

Certificate of Completion – Work Place

Module Certificate – Application Preparation

Module Certificate – ePortfolio Usage

Module Certificate – Work Placement – Interviews

Module Certificate – Seeking Work Placement Opportunities

Module Certificate – Work Place

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities