Step Up Your Knowledge and Skills!

Now that MLA ’10 is over and past, it is time to start your planning for the Midwest Chapter/MLA & WHSLA 2010 Conference in September!
One thing that you can count on is that the annual conference will have great opportunities for high quality, cost effective continuing education. Conference CE Commiteee Co-Chair Tammy Mays sends along this invitation to participate in a CE course this fall:
The Midwest Chapter/MLA & WHSLA conference is pleased to offer ten unique and exciting continuing education workshops that will upgrade your skills and knowledge. Taking a continuing education workshop can expand your professional network, provide exposure to new ideas, and help you to stay abreast of current and future technologies.
On Saturday, September 25, 2010:

  • Max Anderson will provide strategies on instructing adult learners.
  • Marty Magee and Barb Jones will address how to turn library politics in your favor.
  • Ruth Holst and Jacqueline Leskovec will provide grant writing strategies in these troubled economic times.
  • Susan Barnes will provide an introductory overview of community assessment.
  • Jenifer Grady will assist you in finding your own personal brand.
  • Melinda Orebaugh will provide the latest information on health literacy and the value of using plain language.

On Tuesday, September 28, 2010:

  • Holly Burt will provide strategies to assist librarians with preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies.
  • Alexandra Dimitroff will provide an overview of research methodology on how to develop a good survey.
  • Samanthi Hewakapuge’s hands-on workshop will offer reliable resources for your older adult population.
  • Nancy Allee will satisfy your curiosity of Web 2.0 public health technologies and how these tools can benefit your patrons.

Check out this flyer or follow this link to the conference website for complete CE course information. Have any questions? Contact Tammy Mays at tmays at wisc dot edu or Ulrike Dieterle at udieterle at wisc dot edu.

Super Searcher CE Course: Tuesday, Oct. 6 / Instructor: Max Anderson

This is mainly a chronology of the course, with a few statements from the content and my personal impressions.
Pretest-Things to think about: What do you already know? “Baseline” to compare what you know after the class. This is a very helpful feature for self-assessment. I think all courses should provide a simple pre and post test so that participants can more objectively evaluate what they have gained from a course.
Search engine versus directories – Search engine is not human powered (algorithm); you hit a limit where you can’t go any further in terms of the pages of results.
Directories-for the most part human powered; most feature breadcrumbs.
Examples: dmoz -open directory project. 84,000 editors (only 4 million sites as opposed to billions), Librarians’ Index to the Internet.
Google and Yahoo directories are at least 75% human powered.
Mamma- metasearch engine – shows where search results came from.
Exercise 1- Evaluation (sites other than Google)- Can you tell where the information is coming from? How clear are your search results?
Exercise 2: Advanced searching techniques (either menu or search string) of Yahoo and Google
Exercise: 3: Clustering and Previewing Search Tools (bypassed during class). Try the links on your own:
Exercise 4: Emerging Search Engines: Bing, Wolframalpha, Google Squared
Exercise 5: Specialized Search Tools
Exercise 6: Real Time Search (e.g. searching Twitter and Facebook)
My impressions of the course are as follows:

  • I don’t think it was necessary to have an classroom exercise for using the advanced search features of Google and Yahoo because information about these functions is readily accessible through the Yahoo Help file, the Google Cheat Sheet, and the Google Quick Reference.
  • I still learned new things from the course. I found the exercises where we compared non-Google sites (particularly the “emerging” search engines) to be the most useful.
  • Max is an effective instructor who is always very responsive to questions.
  • Overall, I found the course to be worthwhile.
  • I think that for future iterations of this course, the NN/LM course developer(s) should focus more of the course content on the emerging search tools. I think participants are generally either less likely to be aware of those tools, or are are at least less likely to have used them on a daily basis.

CE: Understanding Healthcare Literature: A Primer for Working with EBHC principles

Ann McKibbon’s CE course on evidence-based health care principles was excellent! An awful lot was fit into the 4 hours this morning, and it seemed that everyone learned something and enjoyed it despite the cold of the room. 🙂 I think Anne’s great presentation skills, along with wonderful anecdotes and random information (did you know that librarians have a higher incidence of breast cancer?), were the secret. Some highlights:

  • Where to identify the question an article is answering: best place is actually in the paragraph just before the methods section. The abstract will often also have a version, but the abstract is also often advertising…Just be aware that the question often changes throughout an article!
  • Other things to find/identify/evaluate in order to use EBHC literature: what’s being compared, patients/participants, setting (e.g., primary care, hospital, outpatient clinic…), interventions/exposures, outcomes, statistics, culture/healthcare system, funding source, conflict of interest
  • Incidence vs. prevalence (test your residents!):
    • Incidence is the measure of the number of new diagnoses.
    • Prevalence is how common a diagnosis is right now.
    • High incidence, low prevalence disease: H1N1!
    • Low incidence, high prevalence disease: chronic condition, like diabetes.
  • When looking at and trying to understand statistics, be cynical! have gambling tendencies! and remember, small is beautiful!
  • Definition for p-value: the measure of the probability that the difference between treatments/interventions/exposures is from chance alone. (Small is beautiful!)
  • Difference between 2-tier (i.e. Canada) and 3-tier (i.e. US) health care systems: basically, 2 tier has family doctors and specialists; 3-tier includes the generalist level (our pediatricians, for example).
  • Countries with socialized medicine can produce great studies with huge amount of data (for example, in Israel, everyone serves in the army and that data can be used). Under the U.S. system, great studies can be done for individual treatments (there’s funding/trial structure in place).

Ann also shared a couple of great resources:

Screencasting a Wide Net

My first “official” CE at an MLA meeting was this past weekend, during the Midwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association Meeting in Troy, MI. When I saw that the class Screencasting: How to Create Effective Instructional Video Content was one of the CE’s available, I was excited. Scott Garrison from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo was our instructor.
The class was held off-site at the Beaumont Royal Oak Hospital Computer Lab down the street from the meeting hotel. It held promise to be a fun-filled day as you will see below – we had a most interesting ride to the site:
Fancy Ride In the photo you can see instructor Scott Garrison and on the right, Jonathon Koffel from Hardin Library for the Health Sciences at the University of Iowa. This was more of a party bus – and at 7:45 am, I don’t think any of us were in THAT much of a party mood. It made for a good ice-breaker!
What I really enjoyed about this class: spending time looking at different instructional design methods like Blooms Taxonomy, the ADDIE method and then took a look at what exactly IS a screencast. As Scott explains in class:

A screencast is a recording of actions a person performs on a computer screen, to demonstrate a computer-based task or set of tasks to others.

Note Taking during Screencasting
We discussed the different software packages and websites that help to create a screencast. Some examples: Jing, Camtasia, and Captivate. The focus was on using Captivate which I have had some experience using in a previous work life.
Scott teaching Screencasting
I think discussing the pedagogical elements prior to creation was so crucial to a successful screencast. Evaluation was also covered – and various means of doing so like using SurveyMonkey.
If you get a chance to participate in a class that covers this topic, I would definitely suggest considering it. Take a look at how you are delivering short informational/instructional content and see if screencasting might help you to achieve this more effectively.
Max Anderson
Technology Coordinator

Discovering the Participatory Web

This afternoon I trekked up to our local medical college to view the MLA webcast Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices. It was nice to get the chance to do a little “in person” social networking with my fellow medical librarians as well.
The Midwest was well represented! Chapter member and MIDLINE contributor Melissa Rethlefsen was one of the presenters and our Ohio Health Sciences Libraries Association president Michelle Kraft was on the panel.
I’ve heard some of this before since I attended when Dale Prince presented the “Geeks Bearing Gifts” CE course in Ohio last year. But there were plenty of fresh new ideas to keep my interest. I really enjoyed the give-and-take among the panel during the question and answer segments. And I noticed that everyone got the memo explaining that if you wanted to match the coffee mugs, you should wear some blue. The kitten analogy might have gotten a little out of hand though. 😉
There were lots of concrete examples of how medical libraries are using these new approaches to improve library services. I managed to follow most, but I have to admit that my brain blew a circuit breaker or two trying to follow the part where Melissa showed a Meebo room embedded in a wiki page. Communications Chair Karen, did you see that?? Can we try that for committee meetings? For my library, I want to investigate more of the suggested ways to use RSS feeds for pushing tables of contents and for SDI services. Look out FeedBurner, here I come!
Gotta go…have to sign up for the MLA-WEB2.0 discussion list!