NELIG conference reflections, part one: The breakout sessions

Lowell, MA canal

Photo by Muffet (Liz West): Used under a Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0, retrieved from

On June 3 the New England Library Instruction Group (NELIG) held its annual conference at UMass Lowell.  One blog entry alone can’t do justice to this gathering–or to the individual presentations.  All the same I’ll start with the breakout sessions.

Michell Shuldman (UMass Lowell) led the first session, “Using technology (the video production process) in the service of learning.”  He connected student video assignments with three components of engagement theory: relate (learning as a social act), create (assignments being hands-on and project-based), and donate (projects having a real-world focus).  Throughout the production process students learned such information literacy skills as defining an information need, locating information, and ethically using sources.  They learned about communication  and time management as well.

Sarah Tischer Scully and Susan Simon (Dartmouth College) led the second session, “Engaging students’ creativity with media resources and assignments.”  They spoke of multimedia assignments as alternatives to or complements to a research paper.  As they pointed out, the use of sounds and images in these projects can spark a discussion of how to properly cite the clips.  Simon and Scully also created a guide to support such assignments.

Both sessions shared some common themes.  Firstly, both sets of presenters mentioned that such projects require much time and planning.  Secondly, both sessions tied the projects to information literacy skills, especially the ethical use of information.  Finally, each session emphasized the idea of rigor.  Shuldman showed projects that met the standards of outside stakeholders.  Scully and Simon advise faculty to treat these assignments as they would an academic paper.

For more information please feel free to contact me.  Next week I’ll share my reflections on the  keynote talk.