Here in my “new life” of being solely a librarian dedicated to information literacy provision, I am finding that my previous experiences in corporate & academic environments are standing me in very good stead. I am also finding that the “professional persona” that I struggled so desperately to cultivate (and ultimately believe I failed at) in the corporate world, and the professional persona I am cultivating in the university context, is quite different. I feel more in my element here. Able to use my knowledge and experience, of researching myself, and also teaching others how to think about information, in a really integrated way. I am loving it.
I also love the feeling of having so many opportunities: for integration of literacy skills relating to information into courses here at MPOW, and scaffolding of teaching “informed learning” over students’ academic lives. I feel blessed to be working with academic skills/learning advisors who teach in concert with my information literacy classes: I show them how to find the information they need, and how to evaluate their results and their searching to ensure it’s the right type of information; how to go back, review, reflect etc. The learning advisors take care of how to read the research they find through the skills I teach: the synthesis, critical reflection, and writing of academic articles. I’ve previously worked in places where all of these skills are assumed learnt from high school or previous degrees: and when you’re working with first in family students, or international post graduates, the whole “assume makes an ass out of u and me” definitely holds true.
I just had the pleasure of meeting with an academic who has previously taught only at University of Melbourne. She works in the intersection of cultural studies and marketing theory, and the class I will teach into is a capstone Masters subject. The assessment is hard, and her teaching style is very sandstone university: you turn up, or you don’t get the content. It’s very much the old-school method which I grew up with, both as the daughter of an academic, and as an undergraduate at a sandstone myself.
I look forward to seeing how the students go: if they respond to my higher level teaching, where everything else I am preparing for at the moment seems somewhat basic and generic. However this is where the importance of not assuming comes in: while it’s important not to assume students know everything, it’s also important not to assume they know nothing. I am really excited to find out through this first full year of my new job, what learning I have to gain from the academics, students, and colleagues I am so lucky to have in this job.
Starting the week feeling positive and as if I’m in an integrated position in a new year and a new job is great. Now to figure out how to edit in Blackboard…