Home » Professional » Research

Category Archives: Research

Participatory action research in the age of social media: Literacies, affinity spaces and learning

PAR NLW Machin

Past November I published in the journal New Library World my article titled ‘Participatory action research in the age of social media: Literacies, affinity spaces and learning’, today I’m pleased to offer everyone an open access version, courtesy of the publisher of the journal, which allows an author version to be published in a repository, so of course you may find it in E-LIS. You can find the journal article here as well.

This article is very important for me, as it is the first time I present officially the research framework from my PhD research ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ (DORIS). This research framework is originally intended to study the roles of information literacy, digital literacy, and new literacies in technology mediated (specifically social media) education environments. The abstract of this article is as follows:

This article summarizes the developments, methodological design, and some of the theories framed within a PhD research about the integration of social media in higher education. Its aims are to determine significant issues, challenges and opportunities that emerge when social media are integrated into learning environments in higher education. ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ (DORIS) is proposed as a research framework to address the aims, objectives, and research questions of this study. It was conceived from a Participatory Action Research perspective. This approach is intended to help discover and reflect upon teaching and learning practices in a technologically mediated educational setting. Furthermore, the concept of affinity spaces is discussed, together with its distinction from the concept of communities of practice. The data collection methods planned to conduct the study are: diagnostic questionnaire, blog, social learners’ input and reports, a second questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews. The theory of affinity spaces offers a powerful way of thinking about teaching and learning processes mediated by different technologies. The heuristics that will focus the data collection and analysis are: a) on the function of content, and b) on the function of participants’ interactions with the content and/or with one another. DORIS is proposed as a powerful way to organize learning interventions through the structure of information literacy skills. It is grounded on action research and on constructivist, blended, and problem based learning. Researchers, librarians or educators can adapt this model for teaching, learning and researching about and with social media or for other technologically mediated learning environments, or could be adapted for information literacy programs.

On a second half of a course in Gothenburg

This post is a sequel to On a first half of a course in Gothenburg

I came back from the second meeting in Gothenburg for the course on participatory media. It was very nice because I could take Doris with me this time, so she could see a piece of Sweden in person.

I’m really thankful to the University of Gothenburg and all academics associated with this particular course (and another one I took in 2010), as it was the fourth time I went to Sweden for academic affairs and swedes have really made me feel at home, enhancing my motivations to go on, sharing interesting ideas, and overall spending a good time as colleagues.

For this meeting I prepared a paper (which was a little messy) about the concepts of engagement and affinity spaces (James Paul Gee) within my own PhD research. An interesting fact is that I got to meet Etienne Wenger in a seminar in Tallinn University just before leaving for Gothenburg, it was nice to present to him an extremely short overview of my research, however, and perhaps most importantly is that I got his blessing to detach my research from the theory of community of practice and use affinity spaces instead. I mainly decided towards this course of action as Gee really makes good points into when it’s good to go for one or another.

The most promising direction to go with for this course paper, is to further develop this paper with the concept of affinity spaces, which I am doing now. I believe when I’m done I will look to publish it, but more on that later…

Next, I will just share some interesting and disorganized ideas I wrote down during this second meeting:

People lack concepts to describe social media practices, this is pretty evident if you do practice oriented or behavioral research with people on social media or other technological topics. I believe that nearly everything you do with technology tends to be under an automatic “pilot function” of our brains. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we mostly learn by doing in our connected lifestyles. For example, tell me how do you search for further information for some piece of news you just saw on your social sites… there is no straightforward answer to that, and you might run into more obstacles with one topic than with another. Or for example, speak to me about how you decide to share something with one friend or another, and what is the best way you could do it. This statement relates to my research in some way, and there are two ways to do this research at a conceptual level regarding my interactions with the participants, I can either give no concepts at all and have them explain to the best of their knowledge what they are doing and what are their challenges, and then try to figure out of the data, where do every bit of their answers fit into a conceptual framework. The other direction, which is the one I would take, is to initiate participants to concepts, but not in the sense that they have to accept these concepts. Rather, to mediate them and reach a common understanding with them about the concepts. For example, we need to speak on similar terms about information literacy, digital literacy, and new literacies. I have to figure out where on the Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky is the quote: “concepts are tools to reflect and act”, as none can say it better.

Really funny statement: “KGB style VLEs, as they see data about everything” what can I say? It’s funny that I am meeting people who dislike VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments) aka LMSs (Learning Management Systems) just as me. And I finally found out an article which don’t speak highly of them. I love this quote so much in said article: they “attempt to render the online learning space familiar through a conservative dependence on predigital metaphors.” Apart from the fact that they are basically surveillance systems is the fact that their design is top down, usually made by IT guys who have little or a really huge imagination, often disconnected with any criteria of accessibility, usability, and/or information architecture. Too many clicks, clumsy, labels don’t make sense, all operations are overly redundant…

Another cool quote: “technology is there to suck the information out of us”, this is a very interesting statement about social networking technologies, because really, this technology is put into place to get information from you, everything is based on your real life profile (the use of the real life you is encouraged anyway). Interestingly, and within my research, where I have to discuss on one side the content I organized for the study and the interactions among participants, I find that the difference between content and interactions is very fuzzy when it comes to social media (and by extension a research on social media), you could almost say that one is another! Funny how we could see The Matrix metaphor on Facebook, where you are the product.

Web 2.0 is a technical concept/descriptor which refers more to the technological platform and the technical aspects of the net which makes it 2.0, and this term is less and less visible in the literature. Rather, we can use a wide variety of names, like social media and remix culture, participatory culture, which are more social oriented or content terms.

Remnants of the old media/old culture survive/clash with new media, I have said before – though I’m not sure if in the blog- that this is a very interesting time to live in because of these tensions, among other things of course. More than once we can take a look at how television is trying to be a social media or to emulate web-like devices. When, at the beginning, Youtube was somehow modeled after old media. We can see this tension also looking at the relevance of newspapers and newspaper-like old media in front of news blogs, and specially RSS, which can be tailored to suit any taste. Digital devices which, for many reasons, can be more effective/likeable ways to get your news. Also thinking about this, it’s very interesting as Rick Falkvinge points out the fact that young people “take sharing in the connected world so totally for granted, that they discard any signals to the contrary as ‘old-world nonsense’”

The issue that “educational research doesn’t get done because of the issue of informed consent.” This is a big challenge, of course I’m not saying that you should jump over ethical and privacy considerations. This challenge is present in any kind of research with people, and it’s funny how social science, information science or educational research doesn’t involve any blood sampling or anything, but anyway it’s difficult to get volunteers for it. I know it very well, as some differences of opinion and organizational policies proved catastrophical for my research and delayed it for some months. And it’s something that some of the literature on action research on education talks about: the difficulty to do traditional research from education, the design of research, consent from the participants, to do it without compromising your time as a teacher, the difficulty of documenting it, and let’s not talk about how badly some circles view action research. However, it’s a shame if research in education can’t be done easily, as academia needs to be researched on and renewed. An action research perspective is extremely important, as critical practice leads to understand power and oppression. Perhaps (and I have faith in this) by really telling students what and why you are researching, you will get some students to participate in your studies sooner or later.

If there is informal learning, then there is informal teaching! This was an interesting discussion within the course. If you could learn informally, say, reading Wikipedia articles, then, I believe that for example people guiding others in forums or teaching how to play guitar on Youtube are informal teachers. They are not necessarily doing this while attached to their regular duties within an organization, they are mostly doing this for free, because they like to (or just ’cause). The motivations of these kinds of users might be a very interesting topic to research.

Two distinct narratives regarding the nature of social media, one as a real communication media (different than one way media like TV or Radio), really connecting people, with an emancipatory potential, enhancing and encouraging collaboration and sharing; the other a dark one, being a covert instrument of control and surveillance. Funny though, these two narratives are not mutually exclusive. We can see that, either in eastern and the western countries, governments have been enforcing control (or censorship) over the Internet, over different things, and for many different reasons (Falkvinge summarizes this last point wonderfully) BUT, governments tend to be not as tech proficient as people, and their protection from harm can have serious privacy and ethical implications. Which takes me to the next point.

V for Vendetta, I can’t take it off of my mind when dealing with this topics of control and surveillance, this comic book is perhaps as important for these times as 1984 has been for more than 50 years. Even if V is pre-social media, it’s a great textbook for this age of social media, activism, whistleblowing, Pirate Parties, and the awakening of the people in general.

This got a little too long, what do you think?

On a first half of a course in Gothenburg

I’m participating in this course about participatory media which brought me for its first half again to the nice city of Gothenburg (Sweden).

It has been very interesting for me to find out that most of my colleagues have a Library and Information Science background and that so many of them are researching the use of social media for educational purposes. I have myself seen this trend to increase in all the international courses and workshops I have attended in the recent years. I think the most important questions posed on this matter within these days are:

  • Why are you doing it?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Which tools are you going to use and why?
  • Philosophical/Epistemological/Theoretical background is extremely complex
  • Of course, you mustn’t ignore that technology is but a tool and does not shape change by itself.
  • The question of how to assess the learning of students is a big question, no easily answerable. It’s one of my concerns in my study, although is not one of the important ones.

I was curious that one colleague is studying the divide between the social media and the real world within a higher education environment, as myself I found in my research that you could have pretty opposite opinions on it from the students “suffering” with these experiments that we researchers do. On one side I have seen that it has been very positive as in such a way that students have told me that they didn’t think about using social media in education before (young participant), that it’s inspiring in a way to enrich his own practice (senior participant); and on the other side, one student (young participant) getting really pissed off because I sent all participants a message about our activities through Facebook’s private messaging system.

Also of note, was the “scientific dinner”, meaning a dinner where colleagues and senior professors gather and speak about research, and well, of course some miscellanea and jokes. I kind of miss that… In any case, I am very happy and grateful to have the opportunity to meet my international peers and have this kind of exchange. It’s incredibly helpful.

I was very glad that after the short presentation of my research I got some of the few and nice words I have myself received towards my choice of research method: Participatory Action Research. Together with an appreciation of the challenges it poses, the resistance in some academic circles to accept it as a valid path, and its peculiarities in how it’s a study of subjectivities, emancipation and the enhancement of human knowledge, practices and experiences.
As it has happened in recent times, I feel the limitations I can have as a member of a research community because of the financial factor. But it’s part of this whole learning experience that I started when I left my country in pursuit of my professional career. Perhaps the best lessons in humility are learned by going through situations of need.

Librarianship in Venezuela, Personal Experiences in Information Literacy and Information Science Research

This article has been published in “Raamatukogu” (Library) nr. 6/2011, pp. 32-34. Reproduced here with the Editor’s permission

In this article, I am going to offer some very brief insights into the librarians and librarianship in Venezuela, as well as some of my personal experiences in an information literacy (IL) program. Also, I comment briefly my experience as a Library and Information Science (LIS) student in Europe, as I took my Master in Norway, Estonia, Italy and Switzerland. Finally I present some notes on my PhD project, currently taking place in Tallinn University.

The Central University of Venezuela and the School of Librarianship and Archives

In Venezuela there are two major schools where LIS is taught, there are located in the Central University of Venezuela (CUV) and in the University of Zulia. I studied the five-year Bachelor in Librarianship in the former. The CUV, located in the capital city of Caracas, was founded in 1721, making it the oldest university in Venezuela and one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. This university has been the alma mater of many of the most notable scientists, humanists, intellectuals and even some of the presidents of Venezuela. Its current location, the University City of Caracas, built between 1940 and 1960, is comprised of around 40 buildings in 2 km2, designed by Carlos Villanueva, with collaborations of international avant-garde artists of the time. In 2000, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.

The School of Libraries and Archives was founded in 1948, it offers five-year Bachelors in Librarianship or in Archives. This school also offers two possible postgraduate degrees: a one year specialization in Networking Management and a two year master degree in Information and Communication for Development. Sadly, there are no PhD level studies in the LIS field in Venezuela.

Some Notes on Venezuelan Librarians

Venezuelan librarians who are motivated enough are some of the most committed, serviceable and friendly professionals in the country. In many libraries it is possible to find employees who are librarians by vocation, not by academic degrees, this is due to the fact that some abandon their studies often in their thesis stage or because they could not enter the university. However, in most of the cases I have found that nonetheless they are an invaluable human resource and sometimes they are very eager to go back to the university or take courses taught by “official librarians” and they really profit from them. I can say that I have benefited a great deal, at a personal and professional level, from meeting and working with them along my career. Librarians in Venezuela advocate with conviction for reading the promotion, users’ instruction, to provide the friendliest service ever and to make the most with the few resources we have. However, we struggle every day with many different challenges. The most recent being some measures imposed by the government, such as the currency exchange control that drastically reduces the ability of libraries to acquire new books and journals, as most of them must be imported. Also, there has been a reduction in the national production of publications, partly due to some erratic policies of the few privately owned editorials and, in the other hand, the government owned editorials have not escaped the political situation in the country and they are part of the same social divide. So government owned editorials only publish authors that are well regarded by the government because of their work or their favorable ideas towards their political truths. Materials published by these editorials are usually of an extreme left wing thought, to say the least.

My First Steps into the IL World: Program for the Development of Information Competencies in the Metropolitan University

Perhaps the most important contribution I could do to the LIS field in Venezuela was while I was working as a Reference Librarian in the Pedro Grases Library of the Metropolitan University (MU). This library was named after one important bibliographer, historical and cultural researcher of the country. The most important contribution of Grases is the edition of the complete works of Andrés Bello, who wrote his influential Grammar and was one of the mentors and professors of Simón Bolívar. This library was established from Grases’ personal collection and has been enriched with further donations of the whole collections of many other important intellectual figures in the country.

While I was working as a Reference Librarian, it came a time when IL started to become a popular subject. From a LIS perspective it was already customary, although in a limited fashion, to provide user instruction; and from the government, there were some initiatives labeled as “literacy”. However, were based on providing access to the Internet through museums and libraries, and educating illiterate people (to overcome analphabetism). These attempts although plausible, were missing the point of IL. So, it was an important moment to start developing IL initiatives in the country, and the libraries had a good chance to gain attention, hopefully recognition as well, if the libraries could provide guidelines or at least experiences on this field. At the time, I was reading about the topic and I attended an online-transmitted inspirational lecture on IL (this lecture was given by Jesus Lau, who would later become one of my mentors and inspiration in achieving higher accomplishments), and I was also doing some learning interventions in some lecturer’s (whom I started to call “allied lecturers”) courses that were intended to help students to know how to use the library’s online resources. So, because I had such contact with the topic, I had the opportunity and the honor to coordinate the development of an IL project. There, I drafted a rough proposal, which was discussed with the other librarians working at the library. We also sought advice from some professors, especially from the allied lecturers.

The IL program was called Program for the Development of Information Competencies (the program). In order to correspond adequately to the university, the program was first and foremost modeled after the educational model of the MU, which in a nutshell, is comprised by the concepts of blended learning and the development of competencies. So the program would include class activities/lectures and also online activities/resources, in order to complement the class dynamics. To fulfill the second requirement, the program was based in the development of certain information competencies. The theoretical framework in which the program was based, although not very extensive was very simple, and I believe that in such simplicity lies its beauty and applicability. This framework, apart of having its roots on the mentioned elements of the MU’s educational model, was also based on the International Federation of Library Associations IFLA core information competencies, that are divided among the headings of: access; evaluation and use of information. There were other important influences when creating the program and its modules, which are detailed on the documentation that I produced about it, available in E-prints in Library and Information Science (http://eprints.rclis.org) and in some international conferences proceedings, such as the IX ISKO Congress.

The core of the program lies in its three modules, which were created from its objectives, contents, assessment forms, activities and resources. These modules are the following:

  • Module 0 Introduction to Information Access and Searching: in this module the students were introduced on the creation of searching strategies, Boolean operators, keywords, ways to limit their searching and the use of the library catalog.
  • Module 1 Development of Information Competencies and Internet Searching: this module would familiarize students to the core information competencies they can develop, they were also taught the principles for the evaluation of sources and to make the best possible use of internet search engines for academic purposes.
  • Module 2 Introduction to Academic Databases: three academic databases were introduced in this module. The choice of the databases, examples and activities used were determined by the specialty of the students.

These three modules were taught in different levels, corresponding to different moments in a student’s career. The first application of the program was in three of said moments: to first semester students, to students of methodology courses (around 5th semester) and students taking the thesis seminar (10th semester). This applied to all bachelor students of all the careers taught in the university. There were also sessions arranged for groups of postgraduate students and lecturers who were interested, all this with varying levels of complexity and difficulty.

Apart from the modules, there was a tradition in the library to create Powerpoint presentations about the use of the electronic resources of the library. In order to make them more attractive, we started to develop animated tutorials, which would replace the old ones and would include voice and music. These were done by combining different software applications: for audio and movie editing, and screencast software. Most proudly, these resources were made with equipment owned by the library and all production was made in house.  Around 8 tutorials of this kind were made when I was in charge of them. Finally, a 10-minute video podcast was made, in order to explain our first experience and promote the program.

There were many things left to do with the program. However, I am happy that I had the opportunity and the experience derived from leading a project of this kind, seeing its full first implementation, and be able to assess it. I consider it was a success, although it can be further developed including more modules, new multimedia resources, perhaps follow the lines of some social projects of the MU where the university offers free courses to the communities in need around it. Simplifying an IL program of this kind for these people in need who are living in the slums is imperative, as an important way to contribute in sensitizing and raising awareness on the use of information for their lifelong learning, culture and recreation. Hopefully to promote the culture of peace, democratic values and for this people to be able to perform more informed choices regarding their rights and duties as citizens and to improve their own lives. Finally, there is the need to open a space for dialog among other colleagues of the country to try and achieve consensus and produce a national set of guidelines, competencies or policies in IL.

While I was working in the MU, after a university wide application and assessment of the program, I found the website of the International Master in Digital Library Learning (DILL), with a call for applications for students from all over the world. Thinking that was a wonderful opportunity, even too good to be true, I decided to take every step necessary in order to apply. Overcoming every challenge natural of my country and any Spanish speaking one was not easy, I had to travel to another city in order to take the English exam, to translate every academic and legal document I had, which is no easy task, in a funny way and after seeing European documents I must say we may have some of the longest documents in the world and it seems that official translating has become a very profitable profession in Venezuela.

The European Years: International Master in Digital Library Learning (DILL)

DILL is a two-year master course that takes you to at least three European cities: Oslo, Tallinn and Parma. In my case, for academic affairs I also visited Pisa, Corfu, and I did an internship period in Geneva, which can be the subject for another article, as I had the authentic pleasure of working almost a month in the library of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). In retrospect and now with a broader understanding of my own knowledge and situation, I think the most positive aspects that DILL brought to my professional life are: to get to know and have good relationships with some of the best LIS professionals and professors from all over the world; DILL also opened my mind to a wide variety of current and innovative subjects in the field, where the only difficulty is to get to choose what you want to study next. At a personal level, I got to study with 20 colleagues from 17 different countries. I got to put my English language skills to a much needed field test, as I got used to the wide variety of different accents and ways of speaking. It was also priceless to be exposed to such a wide variety of cultures and ways of thinking. As with the researchers and professors I met during those two years, I still maintain contact and friendships with some of them.

When it was time to make up my mind regarding the topic for my master thesis, I discussed a very wide variety of topics with Sirje Virkus (who would later be my supervisor) and at some point we agreed that I was going to research on information behavior and social networks. The topic of the master thesis got me a bit away of my previous research, which as I wrote above, was in IL. However, that choice has shown to be quite satisfactory, as I was awarded with a second prize commendation in Tallinn University for it, and I recently published a revised and expanded version of it in the form of the book Exploring Users’ Information Behavior in Social Networks: A Contribution to the Understanding of the Use of Social Networks.

Moving on: PhD studies and the merging of old and new ideas

The months after DILL were moments of decisions and timing. At the end I decided not to turn back and return, instead I applied for the PhD in Information Science in Tallinn University and I got accepted. Now other are the challenges: there is more independent work, the application for more permits and financial aids, normal of living in Estonia for a longer term. My current research is at the same time a logical step up from my master thesis but also a mix of other ideas and interests I have had during my career. Studying the Influence (or Mutual Shaping) of Social Networks in a Learning Experience takes as a starting point the insights I found out about users’ behavior when using social networks. In this research I designed a series of class activities and lectures in order to find out: a) some insights into how do students experience learning when they are engaged in a learning experience that uses social networks; b) to study the challenges and opportunities of using social networks in higher education; c) to discover how does the students’ different literacies (with varying levels of development according to each individual) affect how successfully/unsuccessfully they respond to such a learning experience; and d) how there is a mutually shaping phenomenon between the use given to the social networks and the learning experience itself; meaning to find out how the response of the students may shape changes in the design of this learning experience for further applications and to reshape the design of social networks from educational applications. This means that the use of social networks in education might introduce or ask for modifications in the design/features of social networks, just as the networks can produce changes in the design of the learning experience. Hence, mutual shaping, one influences the other and back again.

I chose to speak about literacies in this current research, instead of just only about IL because there are an almost indeterminate number of literacies, depending on the field where different researchers that have used a literacy associated concept come from. And also, we may put different literacy based terms together under the umbrella term of literacies, or even IL, as I explain below. Consider the following working definition of literacies, as the varying degree with which an individual possesses or has mastered competencies or skills for handling information of different nature or information in different media or format, such as: new literacies, digital literacy, media literacy, numerical literacy, scientific literacy, musical literacy and so on. What all these and other sorts of literacies have in common is that they define the ability to handle a certain kind of information. This is why I state that they all belong under the terms literacies or information literacies. However, for practical reasons and because I am interested in information handling as a general purpose skill and also in the handling of information technologies (social netwoks), I am going to limit this research to information literacies and digital literacies. I expect to redefine my methodology and conduct my final study in the upcoming months.

RSS is dead… long live RSS! How to replace your Google Reader shared feed

If you don’t use or like or know what RSS is, maybe this post is not for you, sorry. I don’t know many people who uses RSS and it’s importance in some situations is not clear, for example in the last sites I designed I feel was tasked with setting an RSS just for the sake of it; and very few of the students I have taught in my “social media” lectures actually use RSS. However, I use RSS very actively as my primary channel of receiving information, instead of having to remember every site I have to visit every day to get news. The way to do this is to subscribe to the RSS feed of a site and then I get all the new in my Google Reader. RSS with Google Reader is also a good option to use if you do content curation or dissemination of information to a determined audience.

The problem is, some weeks ago Google changed radically its RSS reader “Google Reader”, in order to support “better” its Google+. The main consequence in the changes they made is that you cannot keep following what the friends whom you follow share, as users’ “shared” feed was killed. We still have Google Buzz for this kind of sharing of our RSS, but Google will be killing it soon as well. The main problem with this change of Reader for me involves the feed (Cool Stuff) I have right here in the blog (upper/right side). This feed was a Google Reader shared feed, the same my friends could use to input on their RSS readers to follow the items I share.

That’s for the rant, now I will tell you how I fixed it. I use many social networks where I post diverse/personal things depending on how open/close I have their privacy settings. So, I had to seek for an option to get the items I want to share out of Reader and into an RSS feed. Currently, Reader has moved all your shared items into “starred” items. It is possible to send every individual item in your feed to Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. The problem with Google+ is that it doesn’t have the possibility to express updates as RSS feeds, the same goes to Facebook. Then, the solution comes from Twitter or Tumblr.

The twitter address for your feeds ishttp://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/[user].rss The problem is that when you paste this anywhere, every item’s title starts with your username.

So, Tumblr it is, the address for your feed is http://[user].tumblr.com/rss

What you need to do is to go to Google Reader, Options, Reader Settings, then click the “send to” tab and check Tumblr. This activates the option to send an item you read to Tumblr and then it gets into that RSS feed and into wherever you want to paste that, being your blog, site, or back again into your Google Reader. BTW you need a Tumblr account also.

Then, every time you read something in your Google Reader you want to share, click the “send to” option of the post, and select Tumblr, then a new window opens where you can arrange how it is published (for example you can paste an embed code if you want to share a video), then it’s done, it’s published immediately in that feed I just told you how to set up.

Exploring Users’ Information Behavior in Social Networks: A Contribution to the Understanding of the Use of Social Networks

My first scientific book was just released. Exploring… is a revised and expanded version of my master thesis, it starts from the reflection that social networks are commonly seen as a technology used only for entertainment. However, they can also be used for serious purposes in business and education environments, as they are powerful tools that can accomplish various roles and purposes. This book presents research done from an information science perspective; where the researcher took as a starting point and expanded on the issues presented in Bawden & Robinson’s The Dark Side of Information (2009). Presented with this book are extensive transcripts of the interviewed students and academic staff of a master course, who were asked about the issues of Web 2.0 and social networks identified in the literature, along with the typical features or characteristics of social networks. With the analysis and discussion of the interviews, this book provides insights regarding trends and tendencies of users’ information behavior in social networks, with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of users and the design of such systems. Exploring Users’ Information Behavior in Social Networks was awarded 2nd place in the category of Social Sciences Master Theses at the Students’ Scientific Research Contest of Tallinn University.

In the back of the book, as required by the publisher, there is an extremely short info about me: Juan Daniel Machin Mastromatteo, Bachelor in Librarianship (Universidad Central de Venezuela), Int. Master in DILL (Oslo University College, Tallinn University, Parma University), PhD student (Tallinn University). Has a vast experience in academic libraries in Venezuela, where he led information literacy projects and developed multimedia tutorials and library promotion materials.

You can always go to the Curriculum Vitae page to expand on it :)

You can find the book available in Amazon (US / UK  / DE) and MoreBooks

How checking an online library catalog can be a geeky travel to the past

The National Library of Venezuela offers one of the most unique experiences in online library catalogs. To be able to check the catalog, you need to go first on a part of their website where you have the instructions on how to use it, only in spanish for now, but take my word on them.

First you will need a software to uncompress files, like Winizip or Winrar, then you have to download a “3270 emulator” for Windows, sorry, no Linux or Mac OS support for now, but works on Vista and 7, so that alone it’s pretty cool. As for this 3270 emulator, Wikipedia says it’s “a computer program that duplicates the functions of an IBM 3270 (manufactured c.a. 1972) mainframe computer terminal on a PC or similar microcomputer.”

So, following the installation of the emulator, configure the IP to and you will enter the automation suite ND-NOTIS. Again, taken from Wikipedia: “ND-NOTIS was a tightly integrated yet modular office automation suite by Norsk Data introduced in the early 80s, running on the SINTRAN III platform on both ND-100 and ND-500 architectures.”
Now there’s no more mouse input for you, so you have to login and input commands using only the keyboard: you press “b”, then “Enter”, then “Tab”, you put in the username “OPERATOR” and password “OP3RAT0R” (pretty sneaky, huh?), then “Enter”, “F10″ and write in caps the word “LUIN” and… VOILA!

Some notes on a Fictional Information Literacy Program (IL) for a University

Educative Model: it should be constructivist, of course, and I think one must think always about it as a bended learning IL program, because it comprises:

  • Physical activities in classrooms with IL instructors on the use of information resources.
  • Virtual tutorials or digital resources with self assessment tests which could indicate advance in learning from students

Target groups: the Whole University Community, because Information Literacy is all about inclusion, not exclusion, every person on a educative institution get benefits from a Information Literacy Program, and at the same time the organization is enriched with this Information Literate community.

  • Students:

- Contributions: they help us to improve the IL Program after testing it on the first groups, and every group of students after coursing it also help us on this because fill on the surveys or indirectly because of other measurement systems we use to evaluate and then improve the Program, this evaluation-improvement must be a continous process.
- Resistance: they could find it boring, as it is YET another lecture, AND too related with librarians, always the “stereotype problem”

  • Teachers:

- Contributions: good allies, help identify gaps, relate IL material to their course content.
- Resistance: digital and/or information illiteracy, they could not recognize the importance of information literacy, and think there’s not time for this sort of activity in their courses, they could even see this initiative as an intrusion to their courses. Also, if they accept, we risk them to ask us to oversimplify it during time, so at the end we will be where we started.

  • Other Staff:

- Contributions: management will provide resources, technical staff will provide technical support, and some low-management staff will feel like “finally included” in a course intended for their development, and their feedback could be motivating force.
- Resistance: technical support department could not be very supportive, other staff could be digital and/or information illiterate, or not recognize importance of information literacy.

  • Information Specialists and/or traditional librarians:

- Contributions: knowledge on traditional information literacy instruction, updating on the resources available on the library, helping to improve the IL Program.
- Resistance: they could feel threatened by possible changes, or be digital illiterates.

Measurement of fulfillment of goals: try to use everything at your disposal to achieve an objective evaluation of the IL Program, keep in mind that evaluation can lead you always towards improvement.

  • Surveys
  • Pre and post assessments
  • Assessment tests at the end of each module for the digital content
  • Teacher and student feedback
  • Interviews
  • Collect data about students performance before and after the implementation of the Program

ALFIN! está listo el podcast

El podcast titulado “Programa de Desarrollo de Competencias en el Uso de la Información” recoge en estilo reportaje la experiencia en Alfabetización Informacional de la que he sido parte al trabajar en la Biblioteca Pedro Grases de la Universidad Metropolitana en Venezuela. A continuación encontrarán enlaces a los tres episodios que lo conforman en formato mp4 “ipod ready” y flash para una mejor visualización en línea.



Parte 1: Alfabetización Informacional

Parte 2: ALFIN en la Biblioteca Pedro Grases

Parte 3: Entrevistas a estudiantes y créditos

Podcast completo


Podcast completo

Entrevista sobre Alfabetización Informacional

Entrevista realizada el 14 de febrero 2008 para el Magazine Digital Bibliobytes, por la Profesora Rossana París (Universidad Metropolitana) a la Profesora Celia Camilli (Universidad Metropolitana, Universidad Central de Venezuela) y al Lic. Juan Daniel Machín (Bibliotecólogo egresado de la Universidad Central de Venezuela y Referencista en la Biblioteca Pedro Grases, Universidad Metropolitana). Fotos: Germán Prieto. Audio remasterizado y música: Donovan W. Figueroa.

Puedes escuchar/descargar la entrevista aquí


Rossana París (RP): entrevistadora

Celia Camilli (CC): entrevistada

Juan Daniel Machín (JM): entrevistado

Abreviaturas comunes:

ALFIN: Alfabetización Informacional

UNIMET ó La Universidad: Universidad Metropolitana

La Biblioteca: Biblioteca Pedro Grases (UNIMET)

El Programa: Programa de Desarrollo de Competencias en el Uso de la Información

RP: El Programa Alfin, al fin qué? ¿Qué estamos haciendo?, ¿hacia dónde vamos?, ¿cómo nació esto? …yo sé que esto es una cosa ya… mundial.

JM: Si.

RP: Entonces, échenme el cuento, pues, yo después les hago las preguntas

JM: Es Algo bien curioso es que se llame ALFIN, es como que “ALFIN lo hicieron”, ¿no? Sin embargo en el caso Venezuela, en la Universidad Metropolitana, con este programa de la Biblioteca somos pioneros, prácticamente en el país, ya que lo que se ha hecho por ejemplo, a nivel de gobiernoes alfabetización a nivel de lecto-escritura, aprender a leer y aprender a escribir. Esto va más allá, aprovechando que somos una institución de educación superior, es como bien pertinente y es más el área a la que tenemos que abocarnos hacer una alfabetización informacional, de allí viene ALFIN (alfabetización informacional).

RP: ¿Me estás diciendo que somos los primeros casi en Venezuela, o es seguro eso?

JM: Yo fui a un congreso en Valencia (Venezuela) en noviembre a llevar una ponencia acerca de qué es lo que estábamos haciendo y encontré que hay otra experiencia bastante similar, que se ha hecho casi en paralelo, si no fue al mismo tiempo fue un poco después, en la Universidad Experimental del Táchira (UNET, Venezuela), tuvimos contacto allí con la gente que… me comentó que es un profesor de Sistemas (el coordinador de esa experiencia) y los enseña a utilizar Internet, a cómo hacer sus búsquedas en Google para buscar artículos académicos que les sirvan para sus materias.

RP: ¿y tu papel aquí?

CC: Bueno, yo estoy aquí…

JM: Yo creo que con Celia se inició todo…

CC: Eso es lo que te iba a decir, ¿no? Porque vamos a decir, Juan Daniel conoce y yo pienso que es parte de ese hijo que tiene él aquí y el cambio que ha hecho dentro de la Universidad, ¿no? Pero bueno, yo participé en esos inicios, entonces a través de las clases de Metodología, porque yo dicto aquí clases de Metodología, en esa búsqueda que uno tiene de ayudar a los estudiantes a conseguir información que sea confiable, viable, que no busquen cualquier información para poder armar sus investigaciones. Con esa inquietud coincidimos y buscamos apoyo en la Biblioteca, al buscar apoyo en la Biblioteca siempre estuvo Renyel Pan y Juan Daniel Machín que estaban todo el tiempo apoyándonos, eso implicó que en la medida en que íbamos dando las clases y las hemos ido mejorando durante todos los semestres, que ellos vinieran a las clases y nosotros también movernos a ayudar a los estudiantes a buscar información, y que fuera información con características vamos a decir científicas, académicas para que los estudiantes pudieran ir haciendo sus trabajos de investigación. Esos fueron los inicios y dieron un fruto, no solamente se inició… por lo menos en mi caso, yo que doy clase en Psicología, en Educación y en la Especialización de Gerencia de Instituciones Educativas, este proyecto se inicia con la Profesora Elena de Martínez en la Escuela de Psicología, que fueron los primeros estudiantes que vinieron a recibir esta información. Luego, me pareció tan necesaria que traje mis estudiantes de Educación, y después, finalmente, a la Especialización, claro, esto tiene una ventaja enorme como proyecto, y evidentemente esos inicios se convierten ahora en este Programa tan grande. Yo hablaba con Juan Daniel de una cosa que me parece bien importante y yo creo que la Universidad tiene que verlo, así como la Metropolitana se distingue en todo lo que es el eje transversal como gerencia y toda la capacidad emprendedora que tienen nuestros muchachos al graduarse y es parte de su perfil de egresado, yo creo que hoy en día y con este Programa, yo creo que la Universidad tiene que terminar, no digo que no esté, tiene que terminar de darle el impulso de poder ver como eje transversal la búsqueda de información. Hoy en día no es un problema buscar la información, sino tener la capacidad de seleccionar aquella información que sea la relevante, pertinente y que te ayude a ti como estudiante a poder manejarte dentro de unos parámetros que sean los acordes académicos y yo creo que la Universidad con este Programa tiene, y si lo incluye, viendo toda la modificación que hay en la Universidad en la búsqueda de competencias, y se lo decía a Juan Daniel, la competencia de búsqueda de información tiene que estar y no solamente vamos a decir en un espacio tan pequeño micro, que es importante, como en las aulas de clase, en los programas de algunos profesores que han empezado a incorporar esto, sino que tiene que estar como una competencia a alcanzar como perfil del egresado del estudiante de la Universidad Metropolitana. Bueno, así se inició y ha ido creciendo, no solamente creo que motivó a los estudiantes, sino que me motivó a mí como persona, como profesora, yo manejaba ciertas bases de datos, pero el conocimiento que tenían ellos dos, ha sido una cosa… bueno, siempre que ellos vienen a la clase y trabajan con nosotros, siempre salgo como el primer día de clases… qué maravilla… muchas gracias… Contenta, a pesar que esta va a ser la tercera experiencia, con esto ya van tres semestres.

RP: Ok, tres semestres, pero digamos, ¿iniciaste con Psicología, y ya en estos últimos dossemestres, Celia, toda tu programación?

CC: Sí.

RP: ¿Y cómo ha sido la experiencia?, ¿tú crees que lo que ustedes han transmitido, han logrado que los demás lo capten?, ¿cómo han visto ustedes los frutos de eso, aparte de Celia que lo debe haber visto de otra forma?

JM: Ya hemos tenido contacto con otros profesores y también aprovechamos las clases de la materia Introducción a la Computación, en donde tuvimos contacto con bastantes profesores quienes también tuvieron una muy buena impresión y además tenemos resultados estadísticos de encuestas que les pasamos a los estudiantes, que a propósito hacíamos preguntas semejantes antes de la primera clase y al final de la tercera clase, eran tres clases.

RP: ¿Y cuáles son los resultados así a grosso modo?

JM: Son muy positivos, el sondeo salió bien positivo, también tenemos unas fallitas detectadas, por ejemplo, que el módulo tal era muy fastidioso, claro, lo que pasa es que fueron muchachos de primer semestre y les quisimos hacer un paquete completo y la última clase eran las bases de datos comerciales y ellos veían como que si yo apenas sé inglés, qué pasó con esto, y qué es esto, para qué me va a servir…

RP: Claro, de repente ese es para otro público distinto o con mayores requerimientos en información que estos que se están iniciando, ¿no?

JM: Lo bueno es que en ese caso es que ya uno de entrada le dice a los estudiantes, “miren está esto” y así uno evita que a la mitad de la carrera que empiezan a investigar o cuando les toque su trabajo de tesis, que nos digan “miren, ustedes no tienen bases de datos”, o “¿¡ah, eso lo tenía la Biblioteca!?”, como ha pasado con generaciones anteriores.

CC: Esos dos puntos que acabas de decir son bien importantes, el estudiante primero, cuando Juan Daniel enseña toda la cantidad de posibilidades que hay dentro de la Biblioteca es “¿esto existe?” y “¿nosotros tenemos esto aquí, dentro de la Universidad?” Eso un punto yo creo que de verdad es bien importante a resaltar. Y escuchándote, la otra cosa bien importante es, como tengo gente de la Especialización, no necesariamente todos han estudiado dentro de la Universidad, hay gente que viene de afuera, y todavía se impresionan aún más, estamos hablando ya de profesionales, de gente que tiene quizás una segunda carrera, una especialización y ellos mismos dicen “esto yo en mi universidad no lo tengo, con esas facilidades”, o sea que es un punto bien importante.

RP: Es decir que tenemos un recurso aquí en la Universidad, que no apreciamos en su justa medida, porque no sabemos que lo tenemos.

JM: Bueno, nuestro ALFIN está concebido en tres líneas: promoción, ya que al enseñarles a manejar estos recursos, les estamos enseñando que existen; alfabetización tecnológica, que toda la planificación y que se creó la comisión y se comenzaron a buscar las bases teóricas y a escribir los papeles y a hacer los planes y los diseños instruccionales, partió de la necesidad de… que la Profesora Eleida (Eleida García, Directora de la Biblioteca Pedro Grases) dijo “qué va a pasar con la alfabetización tecnológica”; pero también lo ligamos con la alfabetización informacional (la tercera línea de la que se habla), como llaman los colegas mexicanos “el desarrollo de competencias informativas”…

RP: Aja, ellos ya están montados en las competencias…

JM: Eso es aprender a aprender, aprender a usar información, a buscar, a evaluar, y al acceso, acceso, búsqueda y evaluación, esas son las líneas. Además, nosotros lo hemos combinado con el Modelo Acad, con las características de la Universidad, para hacerlo bien pertinente y darle una base bien sólida.

RP: Lo que les iba a preguntar, que un poco ya me lo han respondido, cómo ve el muchacho que se está iniciando en la Universidad el ALFIN, por llamarlo de alguna manera y cómo lo ve, pero ya Celia me contestó, que fue un descubrimiento de algo que tienen, pero un poco lo que quería era… ¿Ustedes creen que el adulto también necesita formarse en la búsqueda de información?

JM: Por supuesto.

RP: ¿Qué carencias tiene un adulto en la búsqueda de información? Porque uno sabe con los jóvenes, yo trabajo con los que están entrando y por supuesto para ellos…

JM: El adulto yo veo que lo que tiene es aquel criterio formado, sí sabe distinguir lo que es una buena información de una mala, por lo general, porque si ha estudiado, investigado, se ha enfrentado con información. La parte importante que hay que desarrollar en los adultos es la parte de las tecnologías, cómo va a usar la tecnología, qué herramientas tecnológicas tiene y cómo usarlas…

RP: Que en el muchacho él tiene las herramientas tecnológicas…

JM: El caso inverso…

RP: El caso inverso, exacto, generalmente él las maneja muy bien…

JM: Y eso lo vimos, en las encuestas se refleja que ellos en esa parte están muy bien y de verdad que si desarrollamos el potencial de evaluación de fuentes, búsqueda de fuentes, pueden, ser usuarios exitosos de información.

CC: Esta información yo pienso que no solamente sirve para un trabajo de grado, o para cumplir con una asignatura que se llame Metodología, sino que sirve para cada una de las materias donde ellos están trabajando, y el Programa, como busca promover, yo creo que es importantísimo también promover entre los profesores, porque yo como profesor, si yo no manejo las bases de datos, cómo les puedo después exigir de que busquen información que sea confiable, pero yo tampoco tengo conocimiento de lo que se está ofreciendo dentro de la Universidad. Entonces allí yo creo que es importante servir de multiplicador y en mi caso, bueno, una vez conocido esto, a la gente que está al lado pues… “y de verdad, ¿la Universidad?” y profesores, colegas, empiezan a motivarse y viendo, y la Universidad, yo siempre digo: la Metropolitana, la Biblioteca, uno no sabe la capacidad y el potencial que tiene, porque uno se queda muchas veces, o por lo menos eso era lo que a mí me pasaba antes, porque también podría preguntarme: ¿qué pasó antes de estos tres semestres? Y era como… bueno, la Biblioteca era como una cosa tan lejana…

JM: Hermética…

CC: Hermética, que tu no sabías si hasta la forma de pedir la información era la adecuada, porque uno antes de estos tres semestres tiene que repensarse y reflexionar sobre eso, y te das cuenta… yo le digo a mis colegas: no vale, allí hay una gente cheverísima y tú que eres profesor, tú no sabes las facilidades que te dan, el apoyo que sientes… entonces, esa cosa de promover que tiene el Programa, yo creo que es fundamental.

RP: Claro, lo que nos falta yo creo que a todos, y el otro día me lo decía un profesor, desde otro punto de vista, que tenemos tanta información, que nos falta información, entonces ese es uno de los errores que cometemos: yo tengo la Biblioteca allí pero yo tengo Internet, y yo puedo buscar en Internet, sabiendo que a lo mejor yo no sé usarla adecuadamente en el sentido de la búsqueda de información y aquí (en la Biblioteca) me resuelven el problema.

JM: Bueno, de eso se trata también el ALFIN, nos vemos enfrentados diariamente a una cantidad tan enorme de información, si usamos Internet, y la Biblioteca, las bases de datos, los correos electrónicos y las cadenas (correos electrónicos reenviados en cadena) y la televisión… entonces nosotros podemos saber adónde tenemos que ir, qué es lo que nos sirve, cuál es ese átomo del universo que tenemos que agarrar, y no sólo en el plano académico, el ALFIN es importante para cualquier plano, porque en una empresa, si manejan bien la información, si saben recabar información de distintas fuentes, pueden tomar las decisiones más acertadas; en la vida personal, uno mismo también, y de hecho, uno puede hacer un análisis más exacto del contexto, informarse mejor de lo que está ocurriendo, (por ejemplo) en nuestra situación del país que es tan compleja, y uno puede tomar mejores decisiones e incluso algunos hablan que esto puede ayudar a un mejor ejercicio de la ciudadanía.

RP: Pero es que, indudablemente…

JM: Y al comprender mejor el contexto, uno puede llegar a ser socialmente responsable.

RP: Bueno, fíjate que hay un filósofo italiano que ganó el Premio Príncipe de Asturias y él está diciendo que estamos en la etapa del homo-videns y que, según él, la culpa de que no tengamos un pensamiento crítico, etc. Es de la televisión. Para los jóvenes se adecúa mucho, esa cuestión, porque dice que como estamos tan acostumbrados a las imágenes, no nos planteamos el cuestionar esas imágenes, ni pensar sobre esas imágenes, porque nos están ofreciendo todo, y claro, uno ve nuestros muchachos y están acostumbrados a eso, a las imágenes, cuando ven la escritura, ellos no son capaces de evaluar lo que es importante de lo irrelevante y te digo, yo que estoy trabajando con los que están iniciando, a veces tú te quedas horrorizada, porque tú dices: ¿cuál es la idea más importante aquí? y a lo mejor (responden) es que la cartera es marrón, y tú dices, ¿eso es lo más importante para ti? Si. Pero ¿en todo esto es lo más importante? Si. Eso claro, es una cuestión que te bombardean de tantas cosas que pierdes la noción de la relevancia de las cosas, y a qué viene todo esto, a que este señor entre otras cosas dice que es fundamental para la democracia tener un hombre crítico y si no lo tenemos… allí viene todo eso, de la ciudadanía, que muchas veces nosotros decimos: que los muchachos son apáticos, pero claro, porque no tienen un pensamiento crítico y no se cuestionan cosas y como tú estás diciendo, si queremos formar ciudadanos como tal, tienes que conducirlos a que discriminen de toda la información que tienen, cual es la importante… ¿Cuáles son los planes para ALFIN? Juan Daniel, ¿Qué tienen ahora pensado?

JM: Bueno, ALFIN, lo primero que hicimos con la experiencia cuando fuimos a aplicar el Programa como tal, que para ese momento se llamaba Programa de Desarrollo de Habilidades y Capacidades en el uso de la información, hace muy poco, se transformó gracias a Celia en el Programa de Desarrollo de Competencias en el Uso de la Información, para tenerlo en un solo término así directo. Para la primera etapa que fue los del área inicial, hicimos tres módulos. El primero era sobre los recursos de la Biblioteca, pero lo tradicional: el catálogo automatizado, cuáles son las colecciones, cómo se usa la Biblioteca, las normas, todo lo que deberían saber de entrada al utilizar la Biblioteca de manera física, o sea, al venir al sitio. El segundo módulo era sobre cómo hacer búsquedas en Internet, utilizando Yahoo y Google, también Google Libros y Google Académico; y el otro módulo, tres bases de datos de las que tenemos, bases de datos comerciales.

RP: Estoy viendo porque nos llegó a todos, pero yo no lo voy a poder tomar, espero que lo sigan haciendo, que también hay un programa para los profesores.

JM: Ah, sí, ahora vamos a tener la primera experiencia con profesores.

RP: ¿Cuándo empieza la de los profesores?

JM: Eso yo creo que es la semana de arriba, no la que viene si no la otra… Bueno, además para el programa, la Profesora Eleida, con sus estudiantes de química, un día me llamó y me dijo: mis estudiantes no saben hacer resúmenes ni citas bibliográficas. Entonces vamos a hacer un mini módulo, ese módulo sólo se le ha dado a ese grupo, porque fue así de última hora y vamos a sacar esto ya, son lineamientos de cómo se hace un resumen de un artículo, de un libro y cómo se hacen las referencias bibliográficas, según tres normas distintas, les mostramos las APA, lSBD y las ISO.

RP: ¿Y eso se lo van a dar también a los profesores ahorita?

JM: No, ese mini módulo, se va a terminar de desarrollar y va a conformar un módulo de apoyo metodológico, que es otro elemento que falta para seguir desarrollando competencias en el uso de la información, porque hay distintas competencias, por ejemplo, la IFLA (Federación Internacional de Asociaciones Bibliotecarias), que es por lo que nos regimos los…

RP: Bibliotecólogos…

JM: … los profesionales de la información en general, tienen una serie de directrices (la IFLA) para prácticamente cualquier cosa que tú puedas hacer en una biblioteca o en un centro de información en general, entonces ellos tienen unas directrices para lo que son programas de alfabetización, y ellos formulan tres grandes competencias, que son el acceso, uso y evaluación de la información, pero también hemos buscado otras competencias, otras visiones, hay unas del Espacio Europeo para la Educación Superior, que esas las estamos utilizando, tratan también de analizar, sintetizar, resumir, y es un listado.

RP: ¿Y todo eso lo vas a incluir en el módulo de los profesores?

JM: Es que, son muchas competencias, entonces en cada módulo vamos atacando de a poco cada una y hay algunas que se combinan… los primeros módulos son como para presentar cuáles son las fuentes de información que tenemos, de hecho, faltaría un módulo para la parte más tradicional que son las fuentes impresas, porque una fuente impresa no se utiliza de la misma manera, y uno como investigador, yo digo que tiene que mantener un equilibrio de fuentes: libro, revista, electrónico.

RP: Claro, y hay una fuente que utilizan los historiadores que son los documentos…

JM: Ah, bueno, para los historiadores son imprescindibles…

RP: Claro, hay un público que tiene unas especificaciones muy propias de…

JM: Para nosotros, que estamos más relacionados con los métodos de las Ciencias Sociales, tenemos más versatilidad en cuanto al tipo de fuente que podemos utilizar.

RP: Claro… Celia, ¿cómo has visto tú en la práctica los resultados de haberte iniciado en ALFIN?

CC: Bueno, fíjate, dos cosas: la mía ya la conté en el sentido de que antes no había como mayor…

RP: Sí, pero me refiero a tus estudiantes…

CC: Entre los estudiantes, fíjate qué cambio he tenido dentro de la materia, cuando viene Juan Daniel, o nosotros nos movemos para la Biblioteca o a un laboratorio, dependiendo de donde nos ubiquemos, ese encuentro está al principio del semestre, entonces quedan las reglas claras frente a los estudiantes. Es decir, una vez conocido cómo buscar información, con las características que queremos, los trabajos que son entregados… ya no pueden estar buscando como yo les digo echando broma, ya no pueden estar buscando ni en vanidades, ni en cualquier página… sí, porque ellos abren Google y es lo primero, porque ni siquiera es déjame seguir viendo… no hay de verdad una selección con cierto criterio… como las reglas están claras, como se le ha dado una información que está allí, como hemos ido juntos, lo hemos trabajado, cuando ellos me entregan después los trabajos de investigación, sea en cualquiera de las tres asignaturas, yo lo que hago es, y ellos lo saben, reviso esas referencias, por lo menos al azar algunas de ellas y como ya las sabes leer y sabes de dónde provienen, si es una revista electrónica, si es una fuente confiable, uno ya tiene, y eso te lo va dando la experticia y el manejo en esa búsqueda, una buena lectura de cuáles son las referencias que ellos están manejando, tienen más claros cuáles son los criterios y cuánto vale el puntaje de la búsqueda de información confiable, si lo sabes citar bien, si hiciste un buen resumen, entonces el estudiante está informado desde el principio cuáles son las reglas del juego y no solamente se queda dentro de la clase, dentro de la asignatura que estás dictando. Si tú como Escuela, en un ámbito mucho más macro, si tú como Escuela sabes que tienes en un segundo semestre una metodología, la cual ayuda a los estudiantes… por ejemplo el caso de Psicología, en que no es la única, en un segundo semestre, el resto de los profesores sabe que estos estudiantes ya recibieron la información y entonces ya no vale seguir buscando en vanidades y en la primera información que aparece, entonces los profesores mismos están informados de que estos estudiantes ya manejan estas bases de datos, entonces es más exigente el resultado que debes tener. Fíjate, en Psicología la tengo en segundo semestre, pero en Educación la ven en octavo, los estudiantes no ven metodología antes, solamente en la Licenciatura, qué pasa… por eso lo importante de manejarse a temprana edad, o los primeros semestres, como una competencia que va más allá del área del conocimiento, como lo que decía al principio, parte de las competencias del perfil del egresado de la Universidad Metropolitana y que nos caracterice por eso… en un octavo semestre ¿qué te dice un estudiante? Profe, si yo hubiera sabido esto antes…

JM: Lo ideal es que lo desarrolles como un eje transversal común a todos los egresados…

CC: Exacto, y el de octavo semestre te dice: yo no sabía manejarme con estas bases de datos. Entonces sería importante revisar que no solo perteneciera a metodología de la investigación, porque mi caso es distinto, sino como dice Juan Daniel, que a través del Programa, pueda llegar a cualquiera y que pueda usarse a través de la promoción y todos los aspectos que has mencionado…

RP: Acostumbrados al bachillerato, ellos creen que con haber hecho la tesis, me dicen: pero profesora, allá me decían esto y yo buscaba así… copian y pegan, esa es la otra, el otro lado…

JM: En el bachillerato… rincón del vago, puro veinte…

CC: Yo le digo a todas esas: vanidades. Ellos se ríen, pero ellos saben… y aquí tocamos un punto bien importante que es la ética, yo creo que hay que enseñarle al estudiante que las ideas del otro son del otro, y yo creo que es parte de este Programa…

JM: … y es una competencia informativa, la ética en el uso…

RP: … pasa que ellos no lo ven, no conciben…

JM: … también la ética está presente en temas controversiales, hay que buscar información de lado y lado (diversidad de pensamiento) para buscar dónde está la controversia, y por qué, y si existe alguna conciliación posible…

RP: …sí, yo creo que eso tiene muchas aristas que uno no se ha puesto a pensar, pero creo que con este Programa las vamos a ver todas, valorar además.

JM: Todo el Programa lo estamos construyendo en Biblioteca Ágora (herramienta tecnológica de apoyo a la labor docente), estamos utilizando esta herramienta, tenemos un cubículo virtual, los diseños instruccionales de los módulos, las presentaciones, estadísticas, el sentido es tenerlo todo centralizado allí. Además tenemos otro tipo de recursos, el ALFIN nuestro no se limita a las actividades presenciales, sino que también es aquella cosa 24/7 que está allí en Internet y que podemos recuperarla en cualquier momento: tutoriales breves de las bases de datos, cómo buscar en Internet, con tips y cuestiones bien dinámicas… y estamos utilizando recursos innovadores y de web 2.0 para enriquecer el Programa y tener varias opciones, no solamente presencial sino también digital.

RP: Juan Daniel, ustedes tomaron esta idea del ALFIN, es propia de esta Universidad, de la Biblioteca Pedro Grases, o ustedes pudieron ver que se estaba realizando en otras bibliotecas y tomaron la idea de allí, ¿o no?

JM: Nosotros estamos conscientes que internacionalmente se está haciendo, como dije al comienzo, por parte del gobierno es lecto-escritura y está el caso de la Universidad Nacional Experimental del Táchira, manejando recursos en línea gratuitos, más hacia lo que es Google. Nuestro ALFIN es bien sui generis, porque lo nuestro es un enfoque integracionista, combinamos las competencias que se están desarrollando internacionalmente, el modelo educativo de la Universidad, por eso utilizamos recursos web 2.0, que son aquellos ambientes distribuidos, aquellas distintas opciones con las que tu puedes ir con el facilitador o ser responsable de tu propio aprendizaje, eso lo tomamos del AcAd, entonces estamos como conciliando y viendo cómo podemos hacer algo bien grande, bien completo y también viendo hacia afuera, hacia Europa, México, utilizar las directrices de la IFLA y esto es una gran oportunidad que afortunadamente somos un equipo construyendo esto y tenemos el apoyo de profesores como Celia cuya ayuda ha sido inestimable.

RP: Sí, y creo que vas a tener el apoyo de muchos profesores cuando sepan realmente… estos cursos, lo que ustedes están programando… el otro día estaba conversando con alguien y me dice, es que voy a tomar el curso de la Biblioteca… y bueno, te va a abrir un mundo que uno no conoce.

JM: Y es una tremenda oportunidad para la Universidad porque en este país se está empezando, en general ALFIN está en pañales y nosotros estamos bien adelantados ya y todavía tenemos ideas…

CC: Además hay que entender que lo que hace es mejorar la calidad de esa práctica educativa que llevamos todo el tiempo, no sólo eso, la excelencia…

RP: … multiplicadores en el sentido de que uno le va a decir a los alumnos: mire, vaya, diríjase a la Biblioteca, busque tal y haga tal cosa para que pueda…

JM: … y el ALFIN es uso de información, como información lo es todo, es responsabilidad social, es educación a distancia, tiene un montón de aristas.

RP: …claro que sí, estábamos como en la Edad Media con las bibliotecas de los monasterios…

JM: …menos mal que a los Bibliotecólogos ya no nos tienen copiando libros… Una vez ya podamos cubrir lo necesario para el perfil del profesional, profesores y comunidad unimetana en general, incluso nos queda camino que recorrer, también podría ser una oportunidad que tiene la Universidad en cuanto a inclusión de comunidades en eso, al ampliar el Programa hacia afuera, ALFIN hecho para las comunidades, una cuestión un poco despojada de aquel componente académico quizás un poco más denso, más bien para la comunidad, para el pueblo.

RP: Eso habría que plantearlo a servicio comunitario, que tiene tanta relación, y ver de qué manera… incluso poner hasta uno de los proyectos de servicio comunitario… Bueno, no sé si quieren agregar algo, que a mí se me haya escapado, que ustedes consideren importante…

JM: …no, no, quedó muy bien, quiero una copia…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 381 other followers

%d bloggers like this: