On Choosing My Own Adventure

This week in CEP811 I explored the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and was asked to go on a sort of “choose your own adventure in SoTL” by creating an annotated bibliography of five scholarly resources that relate directly to my teaching practice and interests. Further, I was requested to engage MSU’s Library Support resources in my search for scholarly readings, and that’s where the real adventure began for me.

Beginning with the question, “How do I find research on ‘tools that enable or enhance cross cultural collaboration in Project Based Learning’?” I set out on my journey. One of my favorite features of MSU’s library online is the Ask a Librarian link under the Contact menu. Specifically, I chose the 24/7 research help via web chat. This allowed me to chat with a librarian from MSU (or a partnering institution) to get immediate 1:1 assistance with my research. Unfortunately, the first librarian I connected with suggested things I had already tried and after only 15 minutes had to leave the chat session to cover the reference desk. However, connecting up a short time later, I found another librarian who suggested that the research I was seeking might be either too new or too specific to yield the research I was seeking. Together we went through several variations on search terms and verified results with one another. Ultimately, she suggested I contact Jill Morningstar, the education subject specialist at MSU’s library.

Leaving little to chance, I both called Jill (left a message) and sent her a follow-up email. She responded within a couple hours, and we started a rather in depth conversation by email about what I was trying to accomplish. One telling aspect that Jill pointed out was that a common problem among ed tech students is that what we want to study is current and popular and may not have been published or researched yet. She specifically stated, “The scholarly communications cycle is unfortunately about a year behind.”

Relieved that I was not doing it completely wrong, I thanked Jill for her assistance and started exploring the more general theme of technology coaching, my career path following the completion of my MAET. With that (and some great info on PBL), in only a few short hours I was able to select five interesting scholarly resources for inclusion in my Annotated Bibliography.

Two of the entries in my bibliography will be useful for a project I am working on in CEP812 on Project Based Learning. The other three provide some excellent research on the utility and importance of technology coaches. I intend to use them in discussions about why the work I do is critical to a successful school.

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