Name: Annie Armstrong
Title: Liaison Librarian for Education & Psychology, Coordinator of Teaching & Learning Services
Library: University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Richard J. Daley Library
How long have you been a member of Library UX Chicago? Since close to the beginning, I believe (a few years?)
Tell us about how you integrate UX, assessment and/or design thinking in your work.
Due to the nature of my position, I think about design thinking within the context of instructional design. I try to focus on how I create an engaging, meaningful activity that achieves set learning goals and resonates with students beyond the duration of the class. The book Understanding by Design by Wiggins and McTighe was helpful to me in becoming more intentional about how I design a learning experience, particularly the idea of backward design.
Do you have a specific project you would like to share?
It wasn’t a major project, but I recently redesigned a scavenger hunt activity for a first-year class in an attempt to make it more student-centered (the old activity had become, or truthfully always was pretty staid). The class was based on the idea of Placemaking (you can learn more about the idea at http://www.placemakingchicago.com/). I had students explore the physical and virtual spaces of the library in small groups and devise their own “top ten” lists of how the space was useful, as well as how it might fall short in meeting their needs as community members. They then posted their lists on Padlet. It was interesting to see that students collectively discovered most of what I would’ve told them in a more controlled activity, and they provided useful feedback/assessment data on how website and the library space failed to meet their needs in certain respects.
What have you read lately?
I’m reading a few instruction books this summer in preparation for our summer instruction discussions and planning: Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook 1&2 and the 6-part series Framing Information Literacy: Teaching Grounded in Theory, Pedagogy, and Practice, which devotes a volume to each frame of the ACRL Framework. Both are published by ACRL. I’m also currently reading The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy and Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History, by Tori Telfer, a Chicago author.
How has Library UX Chicago helped you?
As a coordinator of teaching and learning services, I facilitate planning of instruction within my department and participate in planning library wide conversations about various teaching-related topics. I’ve
Have you learned a new skill lately?
I’m learning how to build tutorials using Captivate. I’m starting by watching a bunch of tutorials on Lynda.com.
What tools or methods have made the most difference in your work and why?
Methods: When working with librarians, I like brainstorming using lots of post-its that can be categorized and rearranged. It’s a good way to include lots of voices and ideas. When working with students, I enjoy mind-mapping as a method for brainstorming keywords, breaking down topics, and making associations between ideas.
Tools: Google Docs is pretty great. Collaborating is very seamless, and I like how the spreadsheets app is more visually appealing than excel as long as you’re using it for something basic. I also love how easy it is to create and embed slides, documents and forms in a lib-guide for instructional purposes. I often use Google forms to collect some information from graduate students before an instruction session.