13 Nov 2011

The social web and constructive alignment

 The article below presents an interesting discussion of the potential for using the social web for IL instruction within the context of constructive alignment. Bobish presents a variety of teaching & learning activities using blogs, flickr, wikis and bookmarking sites, which are direcly aligned with the specific learning outcomes derived from the ACRL IL standards.

Bobish, G. (2011). Participation and Pedagogy: Connecting the Social Web to ACRL Learning Outcomes. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 37(1), 54-63. 

Too often, I feel there is a rush to adopt new web apps and tools for the sake of it (i.e. they are shiny, exciting and the latest trend), rather than because they add real value to library functions and services (be it reference services, IL or marketing). In a previous blog post, Alex also raised the issue of the reliability of many of these tools over the longer-term; I am sure we have all experienced instances where companies and/or products have been merged or even wound down, taking your data and TLAs with them.

However, Bobish highlights the real practical value of the social web. For example, for one of the performance indicators for standard two ("Identifies keywords, synonyms and related terms for the information needed") the following is one of the TLAs suggested:

"Social bookmarking: After students have located a variety of online resources on their topic, have them organize them in Delicious by creating their own tags relevant to the project they are working on. Discuss why they chose these tags rather than pre-existing ones, or if they prefer the pre-existing ones, why they prefer them."

I think the way this activity could encourage the individual to reflect on the 'aboutness' of the resource and what it directly means to them (in formulating their own individual tags) as well as where it fits within the broader/external context (pre-existing tags) is interesting, and could link more explicitly into a discussion on the concept of subject headings and consistency as well.

Like anything, it is about integrating it in a way which is meaningful and relevant to users!


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