Jenny Moon: reflection

It was a great privilege to get this opportunity, hosted by l2l in DIT Bolton St. to attend a workshop with Jenny Moon. She, in a way, started out this teaching and reflection thing for me c.13 years ago via a workshop I attended in Griffith College arranged by Dr. Fiona O’Riordan then working part time in lecturer support. I was looking for a real insight into how much, if at all I had grown. I also retain few specific memories of the actual workshop! Plus I have always struggled with reflection and self-awareness.

It was interesting for me to see how she introduced the concept of reflection and the specific focuses she brought. And also the literature that she conspicuously didn’t refer to. And again, as with all the “structured non-accredited” that we have here, it’s always a pleasure to see how another person teaches, to be a student again.

The largest part of the workshop was the case study on four successive iterations of a reflection. I enjoyed it, and was interested in how it revealed the process of self-examination and how self-examination can lead to compassion when continued, rather than mere empathy. Though I think I was the only person who saw it quite in that light at the workshop. For example others took the case study as ending up with the subject of the examination being placed in the centre, whereas for me, the author (doctor) was at the centre but having reevaluated their experience and empathising with the patient they were able to relate the patient’s experience to their own autobiography. This to me is more realistic, empathetic, and capable of producing compassion than an elision of the author for a not possible patient or student centred approach. This is, in part, why I have appreciated the experience of being a student several times during this project: it helps me empathise and relate my students’ experience with my own.

Of less interest and impact to me was the element Jenny felt was most important, and that we should take away and use: the epistimology of thought and learning section. I suppose we should have been an ideal audience for this being librarians and currently quite obsessed with fake news, media literacy, criticality etc. I need to take a further look at these materials to see what insight I can gain. I have a huge bias against psychological “types” I admit. And the process of categorising brief statements into different levels of critical perception seemed quite arbitrary and, divorced of concept, not hugely useful to me. I don’t think you can make a deep distinction based on keywords popping out of sentances. It needs much more and deeper investigation.

I will do this however, as I will review the case study that she did as I may use it with my RPD group next year.


Data protection 23-25th of May


The “cyber” attack insurance speech


More data protection, this was much better though perhaps I didn’t learn as much as I could. It wasn’t focused on education enough for me.


Marie Murphy on data protection. This was great. Not only for the informative expert talk but also for the group discussions and questions which teased out the implications in education (and libraries) a lot more than the previous talks did.

Large documents in Word

Large documents in Word. I was mainly at this to ensure a uniformity in document production in the college, that is it was assumed and I assumed that there would be nothing I didn’t know here. I wanted to learn a uniformity of approach to help me insist on it for those handing documents to me. As it happened I learned a couple of things and it was very useful, but more importantly I got another chance to observe teaching in action.

Again (as with the QGIS) there were detailed notes and files for working on. We did this in a training lab and I was very impressed at the pacing. I wasn’t waiting too long at any point or left behind, it started and finished on time with little time wasted. This is respectful of the professional cadre of people there and was appreciated. It should be noted that there was a “difficult” student there and the lab tech spent most (if not all after the student arrived late) of their time supporting them. This left the trainer time to deal with everyone else without being derailed by the disruptive influence. I really think any hands on session has to assume that there will be difficult students there requiring most of our attention and that we need teaching support for that. I’ve volunteered to do this for colleagues in the past.

First Aid Training 17/05


Full day first aid training. Always interesting to be a student in a formal setting. It reminded me that the democratic classroom I try to create is inherently problematized by the formal classroom setting. I asked to go to the bathroom!

I also didn’t like the rhythm of the day being dictated by a video, the prioritisation of a kind of rote learning, and the assessment instrument. The nature of a FETAC PHECC qualification is quite prescriptive, industrial, punch card (with no hanging chads), and box ticking. Hence the multiple choice. I also found the huge use of “mnemonic” acronyms irritating. Firstly it turns out I don’t particularly find them helpful, secondly it distracts from what I think should be the content and a better way of explaining them. Thirdly it also confuses as non-obvious, or not particularly appropriate terms are chosen to create the acronym – the cart is driving the horse.

For example the SAMPLE acronym is one I failed to remember in the test.  – (Google snippet here) “SAMPLE” is a first aid mnemonic acronym used for a person’s medical assessment. … The questions that are asked to the patient include Signs & Symptoms, Allergies, Medications, Past medical history, Last oral intake, and Events leading up to present injury.

Past medical history (Past? Really? Should be medical history), Last oral intake? Signs are not symptoms and it should therefore be SSAMMOE. Better still the group should be educated in the reasoning and role play a scenario Wouldn’t it be interesting to then follow that through with potential problems from the kinds of information given and the deficits?

As the day featured so much content delivered on screen I found my attention wandering. It’s a simple lesson to learn but one that we need reminding of until we restlessly root out the content delivery mode of education from the classroom. It’s lazy and unengaging. It’s required by licensing and awarding bodies however. Often the old school professional bodies were obsessed by information and less with suitability of the graduate as a person. I do know this has changed but I am reminded of things like the Law Society’s tedious rote learning examinations that they are now reconsidering.

I did  learn quite a bit though. For a start I had always thought my partner had a high breathing rate – she breathes at twice the rate I do – whereas I in fact am an outlier: I breathe at rest 7 times a minute. This is not normal (it doesn’t mean I’m super fit unfortunately). I also really relished the chance to learn and relearn some skills and also to discuss issues that have occurred while administering first aid to help me problem solve in the future. The trainer is also going to have hour long monthly sessions on topics which I really look forward to.

Data mapping at AIRO

This is a real new learning post for me. I attended the data mapping QGIS training in AIRO Maynooth as I do support students doing their business plans in demographic and market information and I felt as time passed that I wasn’t offering the students as good a service as I could. In short: I was lacking professional knowledge. I do work against the notion of the teacher being the source of information but in this case I lacked know how  of how to get that data. I was delighted to take the opportunity to attend training in AIRO. I have admired their work for years and used their web app for mapping data and watched how it developed. I did see its limitations for our students and thought as well that other faculties, in particular media and design, could benefit from a well informed data visualising proselytiser in the library. I think this is the very epitome of how we see ourselves in the profession of librarians as teachers and educators developing.

I realised as the day developed that I would firstly need to keep this up as a practice and that I already learnt what would be of use to my business students in the first hour.

But then we learnt to calibrate maps to different points on the globe, get the census divisions, join data sets, apply them to spacial parameters, map them, select colour heats and schemes, edit legends, overlay visualisations dynamically…

thumbnail_Dublin CIty Unemployment

…and many more things than I can possibly expect to become expert in. I look forward to working with this and developing it. I think it is an area we can really help students stand out in.

As always it’s interesting to be the student. Perhaps it was due to it being a corporate training event but a big pack of take home always makes students feel like they have received their dollar’s worth. I’ve always resisted that and to some extent we worked through a workbook which we then took home. I see how this is useful in the context of a single day as deeper learning is more difficult and being able to replicate exactly what you did in class with notes is most likely very useful. This approach is always going to lead to parts of the day where you are held up dealing with details that you assume which makes you lose track sometimes, lose concentration.

Marc and related training

Today I taught two of my colleagues how to use marc ftp server, to bulk download records for ebooks.

Then how to use MarcEdit to batch process these (join, mnemonic, edit for 856 field url, process) then upload, stage, and add to koha catalogue.

It’s quite technical and very library. It’s interesting to consider this as teaching as I normally wouldn’t. For me training is teaching. If we think that teaching relates to learning in that the learner does the learning it becomes a part of their identity for me this really fits this. This kind of detailed technical knowhow is a real part of building the identity of a librarian. We need to feel comfortable, or at least many of us do, in this kind of data and metadata related detail for our professional identities.

Webinar on research tools 16/03

I suppose I should have guessed as much from Elsevier

12 time saving tips for research support

Mendeley offerssocial advances on Zotero
Mix of Research Gate
I should formally follow that up

Refining and running a continuous lit search interesting concept.

Seems obviously much better than Scholar.

Stream failed at 1530

I went back to this later but it really was too much of a product placement for Mendeley, with Mendeley integration with Scopus being the key. That said the collaboration between scholars possible on M. was quite an eye opener. This doesn’t work well in my experience with Zotero. That said my attempts to get groups of students to share scholarship, with Zotero or without, have always been pretty unsuccessful.