Qualities: Teaching Experience
Little did I know when I entered the MLIS program that I would collaborate with so many of my classmates and give so many presentations both individually and in groups... I never liked public speaking, and I'm still not enamored by it, but it's certainly a lot easier to do now after so much practice!
Tracking the TiddlyThesaurus
When I was asked by Andy Szydlowski to participate in an iEdge warm-up event, I jumped at the chance! ASIS&T was looking for "exciting technologies" and "creative solutions," and I thought the TiddlyWiki Thesaurus was a good fit.
Here's the official blurb:
"Michael discusses using a TiddlyWiki as a cutting-edge information management tool. He will then take a look at a customized version of TiddlyWiki that he created and his group used for the construction of their LIS 537 thesaurus project last quarter. The TiddlyThesaurus that resulted was useful both for data entry and thesaurus construction and also as an end user tool to access and use the completed thesaurus."
ASIS&T also hosts the slides, video, and audio from the presentation on their media page.
To make my presentation engaging I chose a fun theme involving dinosaurs and cute (but unobtrusive) animated characters. I also tried to keep the slides light and entertaining throughout. Although not my main focus, I aimed to briefly educate and inform the audience about thesaurus construction and the benefits and drawbacks of using tiddlywiki technology to effectively manipulate information. In the main part of the presentation I focused on how I created TiddlyThesaurus, what problems it addressed in our LIS 537 project, and future directions it might take. I also provided resources and links at the end of the presentation, to allow the audience to find more information. Several people asked thoughtful questions that we discussed at the end of the presentation. I was also approached by people who had ideas for using a TiddlyWiki or the TiddlyThesaurus in their projects. Their interest showed that they were thinking about the ideas I discussed and my presentation was a success.
I enjoyed giving the TiddlyThesaurus presentation. Although TiddlyWiki has a silly name, it really does seem to be a useful tool for certain information management scenarios. Part of the fun with any new technology is exploring its limits and sharing what you discover with others. More information about my experiences with TiddlyWiki and the TiddlyWiki Thesaurus are available in the Technology Skills section of this site.
Although LIS 560 is the core course associated with teaching and instruction, I'd argue that I've gained teaching skills from virtually all the courses I've taken in the iSchool. Whether presenting findings from our research, leading a discussion group in class, or summarizing what we have learned throughout our course of study, it seems there is always a need for presentation and sharing of information.
I've learned to improve my presentations by:
- tailoring the presentation to the expected audience
- using the presentation slides as a supplement to the presentation rather than the presentation itself
- trying to make presentations more interesting and engaging using humor, audience participation, and other techniques
Although I'm certainly not an artist, I took the lead on creating PowerPoint presentations early in my iSchool career. I enjoyed choosing the slides and laying out their contents, and I'd like to think my skills have improved over the past few years. In addition, I developed a reputation and almost an expectation that I would include some sort of silly "Photoshopped" image in most of my presentations. The images shown in the band across the top of the pages on this site have their origins in the many presentations I have given.
I'm certain I will be able to draw on my experience giving effective presentations at the iSchool when presenting design ideas, leading brainstorm sessions, and giving pitches to clients in my professional life.