Still blogging infrequently and mostly absent from social media, but this is a huge piece of work. I hope to write up some reflections on what I learned through this process before too long.

Dear Colleagues-

Today, we are excited to announce that the Project READY (Reimagining Equity and Access for Diverse Youth) online racial equity curriculum is live and accessible at ready.web.unc.edu. Learn more at Booth 2650 at ALA Annual in Washington, DC.

A historic milestone was quietly reached in the American public school system during the 2014-2015 school year: for the first time in history,youth of color made up the majority of students attending U.S. public schools. Creating inclusive and equitable school and public library programs for Black youth, Indigenous youth, and Youth of Color (BIYOC) requires knowledge about topics such as race and racism, implicit bias and microaggressions, cultural competence and culturally sustaining pedagogy, and equity and social justice. Research shows, however, that few library and information science (LIS) master’s programs include these topics in their curriculum.A recent survey focused specifically on early career youth services librarians found that only 26.8% of respondents said that social justice was included in a substantive way in their master’s curriculum; 37.2% said that cultural competency was substantively included, and 41.8% said that equity and inclusion was substantively included. Related to these findings, a majority (54.08%) of respondents said that their master’s programs did not prepare them well for working with youth of color and other marginalized youth.

In 2016, The School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the School of Library and Information Sciences at North Carolina Central University, and the Wake County (NC) Public School System (WCPSS) were awarded a three-year Continuing Education Project grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to develop Project READY to address this existing gap in professional development opportunities for youth services library staff.  The curriculum aims to:

  • introduce youth services library staff to research in areas such as race and racism, critical theory, and culturally responsive or sustaining pedagogy.
  • establish a shared understanding of foundational concepts and issues related to race, racism, and racial equity.
  • encourage self-reflection related to race and racial identity for both BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and white library staff in public and school libraries.
  • amplify the work of practitioners and scholars who are providing inclusive and culturally responsive services for youth of color and Indigenous youth.
  • provide concrete strategies for creating and/or improving library programs and services for Black youth, Indigenous youth, and children and teens of color.

The curriculum consists of 27 modules, designed to be worked through by individuals or small groups. Modules are organized into three sequential sections. The first section (Foundations) focuses on basic concepts and issues that are fundamental to understanding race and racism and their impact on library services. The second section (Transforming Practice) explores how these foundational concepts relate to and can be applied in library environments. Finally, the third section (Continuing the Journey) explores how library professionals can sustain racial equity work and grow personally and professionally in this area after completing the curriculum.

The curriculum represents the work of 40 researchers, practitioners, administrators, and policymakers, and youth from a variety of racial and cultural backgrounds. It is grounded in the work of scholars of color and Indigenous scholars who have thought and written about issues related to institutional and individual racism, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

We hope this curriculum will benefit and inform the work of the many organizations and individuals that are working to improve the quality of life and educational opportunities for BIYOC.

We will be promoting the curriculum on the exhibit hall at ALA’s annual conference in Washington, DC – Booth 2650. We invite you to stop by and preview Project READY!

Sincerely,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, PhD
Professor
She/Her/Hers

Casey H. Rawson, PhD
Teaching Assistant Professor
She/Her/Hers

Kimberly Hirsh, MAT, MSLS
PhD Student
She/Her/Hers

I’m still on hiatus from social media activity and comments on my blog posts are still closing after only 1 day. But there are some things that I want to capture in this space immediately, rather than waiting until I “come back,” and there are some things that I think could benefit other people by being public, so I’m going ahead and posting. This is one of those things.

I went to the doctor yesterday. I needed refills on my prescriptions. And I’d also noticed recently that a number of chronic illness symptoms had crept up on me slowly over the past… year and a half? Six months, at least. So I went in expecting to discuss those symptoms with her.

When she asked how I was, I gave her the list of symptoms:

  • Puffy face
  • Missing outer third of eyebrow
  • Low body temperature
  • Intense fatigue (can’t put away laundry or cook)
  • Brain fog (Only about 2 good hours a day)
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Coarse hair
  • Hair loss
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Worsening vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Acne
  • Hirsutism
  • Tinnitus
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Sore throat
  • Waking with a racing heart

I said, “These symptoms are consistent with when my thyroid hormones have been off in the past.”

“Your thyroid numbers are good,” she told me. I looked at them. She was right. They weren’t just normal; they were in what I know to be the optimal range for me. They were excellent.

I’d noticed that a lot of these symptoms were also consistent with diabetes. “Your blood sugar is at the high end of normal, but it’s lower than it was six months ago. It’s moving in the right direction.” So I’m still prediabetic. But not yet diabetic.

This is where most doctors would tell me I was fine, or I need to eat more protein, or it’s because I’m the mom of a young kid.

“But you’re having these symptoms, so you’re not okay,” she said. I love my doctor. “Have you noticed any pattern?”

I told her no. They have snuck up on me, sort of one at a time over months and months, and so I haven’t been tracking them.

“Well, they could be a food sensitivity. Or another autoimmune disease.” There’s a high level of comorbidity with autoimmune diseases, such that having one makes you a lot more likely to later acquire another. “But I don’t even know what to test without more information. So come back in two to four weeks with some data and we’ll decide what to test.”

I really wanted to be able to just increase the dose of one of my current medications to fix this, but apparently, that’s not an option. Straightforward dietary changes that have helped in the past, like cutting out gluten and corn, which I’d been doing for the past two months, didn’t seem to be helping. So here we are. I’m spending the next month collecting data on everything I can think of, looking for relationships. I’m tracking which symptoms I have on what days, what I eat, how I sleep, and anything else that comes to mind; the app I’m using, Flaredown, lets you add tags freely so I can track things like travel and even whether my kid naps.

Esmé Weijun Wang, who writes a blog for ambitious people dealing with limitations, writes:

My work, although it may not look like work to most, is to take care of myself. I must care for my health with as much attention as I once paid to the documents I was hired to edit, or to the long hours spent at the office on Saturdays. Aggressive pursuit of one’s ambition is a skillset that, I hope, has not left me. In the meantime, I am aggressively pursuing a dream of recovery.

Similarly, I’m going to collect data on my own health with the attention I would use to collect data for a study, to analyze my own journal with the same tools I would use to conduct content analysis.

I don’t have a pat conclusion to this. I’m disappointed it’s not a straightforward fix. I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to work something out to help me. I’m relieved that I don’t need to make any drastic changes to my diet before I’m done traveling at the end of the month.

And I’m tired. I’m very tired.

I thought to myself yesterday, “I can’t believe that I’ve got another fifty or sixty years in this meat cage, dealing with these flare ups.” But I do. I will. And I’ll get through it, with the support of my family and friends and science.

❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️

A quick note about my own writing and the way I’m working these days. I plan to do a more extensive post on this soon.

Way back in 2001 or 2002, I interviewed Joss Whedon. The questions were submitted to me by Bronzers. My lovely Bronzer friend andyourlittledogtoo asked, “How long did it take to go from the conception of ‘Restless‘ until the finished product? And can you explain your writing process?” “Restless” is the finale of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s one of my favorite episodes. You can read more about it just about anywhere on the internet, and you should… But ANYWAY, Joss’s answer has stuck with me for 17, 18 years now:

My writing process is about two things: Structure and emotion. I’m incredibly strict about working out a tight structure, every piece fitting, so there are not too many surprises in a first draft. But it all stems from emotion. What emotion are we in love with here? What do we need to feel? What do they (the characters) need to feel (a dif ques). We build from that. with RESTLESS, i had to throw structure out the window. It was a poem. Though I knew what it meant and what the dramatic flow was, I literally just had to sit there (or lie there – I got my appendix out during that script) and wait for the next thing. It was very liberating for me. When i was BEGGED for an oultline for act 4, i made one — and then ccouldn’t write a word, because it was wrong. Had to wait for the flow.

I think a lot of people write first and structure second. I don’t know how common this is in academic writing. I’ve always been a structure-first kind of gal, though that structure can take various forms. I used to be all-in on outlines, but my professor Barbara Wildemuth really hit mind-maps hard, and now I tend to bounce between synthetic notes, mind-maps, outlines, and memos. And the point when I transition from one to the other, and when I know I’m ready to begin drafting, has everything to do with structure.

Until I know the structure of a piece, I just write in little chunks. As I write, I re-arrange. I toy with new structures. Color-coding with pens is involved. I want to document this piece of my process better in the future, so as I begin my next lit review chapter, I’ll try to.

It feels good to remember that one of the writers who has influenced me the most works mostly from structure first. (How much of “Restless” was induced by the painkillers Joss was on for his appendectomy recovery? We may never know.) It feels good to know that there are as many ways of writing as there are writers.

The elements of connected learning (interests, relationships, opportunities, sponsorship of youth interests, shared practices, shared purpose, connections across settings, and a focus on equity) illuminate the ways in which connected learning already happens in libraries and the ways in which libraries need to change to expand their support of connected learning.

Libraries have traditionally supported personalized, self-directed, learner-centered, and interest-driven learning (Braun, Hartman, Hughes-Hassell, & Kumasi, 2014; Hoffman, Subramaniam, Kawas, Scaff, & Davis, 2016; Ito & Martin, Fall 2013). They also have facilitated relationships, sanctioning “intergenerational contact centered on youth interest discovery” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 9) and serving as “inclusive spaces that bring many different groups together” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 11). As libraries have transitioned from spaces that serve as warehouses for physical resources to spaces where teens can “build skills, develop understanding, create and share, and overcome adversity” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 4) through the proliferation of learning labs and makerspaces, they have embraced shared practices, especially production-centered practices for knowledge creation and sharing. Their position as a third space – neither school/work nor home – allows libraries to facilitate connections across settings, bridging activities from different spheres of learning (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013).

Libraries traditionally have had and continue to maintain “strong ties to non-dominant communities and families” (Braun et al., 2014, p. 9). Because members of nondominant populations perceive libraries “as lifelines to learning, technology, and information… libraries are well-positioned to not only connect formal and informal learning but also to do this for the populations that are most marginalized in terms of traditional academic programs and indicators” (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013, p. 30). These relationships with nondominant communities support libraries working toward the connected learning agenda of expanding access to connected learning experiences to people who may not have them without community and institutional support.

While libraries already support connected learning in many ways, they may need to undergo further shifts to expand their support for connected learning. Library staff must consider not only the physical and digital resources that support interest-driven learning, but also human resources (Braun et al., 2014), building relationships “among learners, between learners and experts or mentors, and between learners and people outside the learning context” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 17). In order to help learners to connect their interests and relationships with academic, career, and civic opportunities, library workers must reconsider their roles, learning to consider themselves sponsors and mentors rather than experts or authority figures (Braun et al., 2014; Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 17). Library policies for use of technology and space may need to change to enable learners to engage in shared practices, socializing, collaborating, and publishing their work online (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013). Libraries may also need to change how they evaluate the impact of their services and programs; traditional measures of impact, especially quantitative measures of participation, may not be sufficient to capture the impact of connected learning (Hoffman et al., 2016). Measures of connected learning need to capture the way learners move with their learning across settings; setting specific desired outcomes can facilitate capturing evidence of and communicating the impact of a program.

This shift to full support of connected learning “demands new competencies from youth-serving librarians that graduate programs in library and information science do not always provide, and may require a shift in thinking for some librarians and outside partners” (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 19). Hoffman and colleagues identify the following “four categories of interrelated knowledge and skill sets… that librarians must have to promote connected learning among youth”:

…they must be ready and willing to transition from expert to facilitator…
…[they] need to apply interdisciplinary approaches to establish equal partnership and learning opportunities that facilitate discovery and use of digital media…
…they should be able to develop dynamic partnerships and collaborations that reach beyond the library into their communities…
…they should be able to evaluate connected learning programs and utilize the evaluation results to strengthen learning in libraries… (Hoffman et al., 2016, p. 19)

The need for training to build these competencies can be met by in-house professional development, programs provided by professional organizations, open online learning resources, and formal educational experiences. The ConnectedLib toolkit (“ConnectedLib,” n.d.) is one example of an open online learning resource directed at meeting this need, while the University of Maryland’s Youth Experience Graduate Certificate program (“YX @ UMD – Youth Experience Post-Masters Certificate Program at Maryland’s iSchool,” n.d.) is an example of a formal educational experience designed to build these competencies.

References

Braun, L. W., Hartman, M. L., Hughes-Hassell, S., & Kumasi, K. (2014). The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Chicago: Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Retrieved from www.ala.org/yaforum/sites/ala.org.yaforum/files/content/YALSA_nationalforum_Final_web_0.pdf
ConnectedLib. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from connectedlib.github.io/
Hoffman, K. M., Subramaniam, M., Kawas, S., Scaff, L., & Davis, K. (2016). Connected libraries: Surveying the current landscape and charting a path to the future. College Park, MD; Seattle, WA: The ConnectedLib Project. Retrieved from connectedlib.test.ischool.uw.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ConnectedLibraries-SurveyingtheCurrentLandscape-and-ChartingthePathtotheFuture.pdf
Ito, M., & Martin, C. (Fall 2013). Connected Learning and the Future of Libraries. Young Adult Library Services, 12(1), 29–32.
YX @ UMD – Youth Experience Post-Masters Certificate Program at Maryland’s iSchool. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2019, from yx.umd.edu/

I suffer from migraines. I’ve gotten them since I was around 7 years old. There are any number of triggers: changes in barometric pressure, eating MSG, but the most frequent one is hormones. I’ve got one right now, and though I’m not certain, I think it’s probably hormone related.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I couldn’t do anything with a migraine. I had to go right to bed, preferably in a dark and silent room, banishing everyone else. This was before triptans got big, so I just guzzled Coca Cola, took some Percogesic (which researching it I now see is just Tylenol + Benadryl), and hid for twelve hours or so. After twelve hours of solid sleep, I usually felt like new.

As a college student and young professional, I tried Imitrex and some other triptans. They always came with nasty side effects: actually increasing the migraine-related nausea if I didn’t take them fast enough, giving me a weird lockjaw-type feeling but in my whole body. So I still mostly drank some Coke, took some Excedrin Migraine or Tylenol Arthritis Strength, and went to bed.

As a young teacher with a limited amount of sick leave, I couldn’t just go to bed. I worked through these migraines many times, doing what I essentially called “subbing for myself” – tossing my original lesson plan for something I would have been comfortable giving to a sub, and asking my students to please work in silence, in a somewhat darkened classroom.

As a parent, I can’t just go to bed. But also, my migraines aren’t usually as bad now as they used to be. I usually can get through them okay with just being chill. I don’t usually need to just go to bed and be left alone.

Usually.

I have one today. We’re in Day 2. My sweet child keeps asking me “Mommy, is your headache gone?” and it breaks my heart every time I tell him it’s still here. The first time I told him that, he said, “But I kissed your head!” I had to explain that kisses can ameliorate pain, but only sometimes take it away entirely, and this was not one of those times.

(BUT HOW CUTE IS HE?)

Anyway. All this to say: when I feel this way, words won’t go in.

I’ve been trying to read, because that’s one of the two key activities in my day. (The other being writing.) I’ve been trying to review my own notes. I’ve been trying to refresh my memory of the Dublin Core. I tried to watch a video that explained Dublin Core, and the professor’s words wouldn’t go in my brain through auditory means any easier than the DCMI specification’s words would go in visually.

There’s a very light halo on my vision in the eye where the headache sits.

Words can come out, apparently, though analytic ones won’t.

It’s possible fiction could make it in. I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s frustrating.

I guess that’s all I wanted to say, really. It’s frustrating that migraines make me unable to work with words, when words are most of my work.

Connected Learning can be conceived of in three ways: as a type of learning experience that occurs spontaneously, as an empirically-derived model or framework for describing that type of experience, and as an agenda for research and design approach for creating learning experiences. The model/framework was first described by Mizuko Ito, Kris Gutierrez, Sonia Livingstone, Bill Penuel, Jean Rhodes, Katie Salen, Juliet Schor, Julian Sefton-Green, and S. Craig Watkins in their report, Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design (2013).

The Connected Learning framework incorporates three spheres of learning: interest-based learning, peer-based learning, and academic learning (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013). These spheres of learning are derived from the HOMAGO framework outlined in the report, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media (Itō et al., 2009). This report draws on three years of “ethnographic investigation of youth new media practice” (p. 2) examining how these practices fit into social and cultural worlds and how they are meaningful in youth’s everyday lives. Ito and colleagues found that youths’ new media practices tended to fall into one of three genres of participation: “hanging out,” a friendship-driven mode of participation, “geeking out,” an interest-driven mode of participation, and “messing around,” a mode of participation that tended to bridge the other two, in which either youth deepen their commitment to particular interests as they engaged in social practices, or in which youth engage in expanded social activity via participating in their current interests. Ito and colleagues found that young people transitioned easily between these three genres of participation.

The HOMAGO framework was derived from a study that was designed to describe current practices, especially in informal learning spaces (Ito et al., 2019). This study was not aimed at creating a design agenda for educational experiences or describing formal learning environments. Ito and colleagues (2009) found, however, that formal learning environments were often cut off from peer-driven or interest-driven learning environments. The Connected Learning environment seeks to incorporate academic, civic, and career opportunities with peer-driven and interest-driven learning, describing and expanding access to a mode of learning in which all three of these spheres overlap (Figure 1).

In its initial iteration, the Connected Learning framework encompassed six Connected Learning principles. The first three incorporated the spheres of learning: peer-supported, interest-powered, and academically-oriented. The other three principles described the kind of environments that tend to promote connected learning experiences: being production-centered, having a shared purpose, and being openly networked.

“Connected learning is a framework under constant development that offers principles and examples to be adapted and remixed rather than a template for programs and activities” (Ito & Martin, Fall 2013, p. 31). In the years since the model’s initial development, it has undergone some changes. A number of studies developed by the Connected Learning Research Network have provided new evidence that contributes to revision and refinement of the model (Arum, Larson, & Meyer, Forthcoming; Ben-Eliyahu, Rhodes, & Scales, 2014; Ching, Santo, Hoadley, & Peppler, 2015; Ito et al., 2019; Larson et al., 2013; Livingstone & Sefton-Green, 2016; Maul et al., 2017; Penuel, Van Horne, Santo, Ching, & Podkul, 2015; Van Horne, Allen, DiGiacomo, Chang-Order, & Van Steenis, 2016; Watkins et al., Forthcoming). The three spheres of learning have shifted slightly (see Figure 2): “peer-supported” has changed to “relationships,” to indicate not only peer-to-peer relationships but also relationships between young people and adult brokers or mentors, while “academically-oriented” has changed to “opportunities,” to include not just academic opportunities but also civic and career opportunities.

Figure 1. Original spheres of learning.
elements of connected learning
Figure 2. Revised spheres of learning.

The other three principles of Connected Learning have shifted, as well (“About Connected Learning,” 2017). “Sponsorship of youth interests” is a new principle that was previously woven throughout the others; studies have consistently demonstrated that young people require adult assistance to make connections between their own interests and academic, civic, and career opportunity (Ching et al., 2015; Ito et al., 2019; Van Horne et al., 2016). This principle asks adults to reconsider their role in youths’ learning, to be more than either a “sage on the stage” or “guide on the side,” engaging in actively assisting youth in expanding their networks. “Production-centered” has shifted to being described as “shared practices,” including not just media production as the early model suggested, but also “friendly competition, civic action, and joint research” (“About Connected Learning,” 2017). “Shared purpose” remains, while “openly networked” has changed to “Connections across settings” to incorporate not just openly networked online platforms, but also connections between online and local affinity networks and relationships between home, school, and community.

All of the principles of Connected Learning are directed toward creating learning environments with an equity agenda, in which nondominant youth gain access to learning experiences that have historically been more available to those with privilege and financial access. Without attention to the cultural and social environment, new technologies like those that facilitate connected learning “tend to amplify existing inequity…access to social, cultural, and economic capital, not access to technology, is what broadens opportunity” (Ito et al., 2019, p. 6) (emphasis original).Youth need programs and mentors with social capital to broker connections; if brokering is treated as a market-driven process, this exacerbates inequity.

“The responsibility of providing mentorship, brokering, and connection building to link youth interests to opportunity is a collective one and cannot be shouldered only by families, nor only by schools and other public educational institutions. It entails a broader cultural shift toward recognizing the new learning dynamics of a networked era, paying more attention to learning and equity in online communities and platforms, and providing more educational supports in both formal and informal learning environments.” (Ito et al., 2019, p. 169)

Connected learning has often been conceived of as occurring along pathways, but recent research suggests that it “is more appropriately conceived of as the growth of a network of connections than as a linear pathway or an internalization of skills and knowledge” (Ito et al., 2019, p. 21). Connected learning is best seen “not as a journey of individual development that is transferrable across different settings that a person moves through, but as building stronger, more resilient and diverse social, cultural, and institutional relationships through time” (Ito et al., 2019, p. 167).

References

About Connected Learning. (2017, December 6). Retrieved April 12, 2019, from clalliance.org/about-connected-learning/
Arum, R., Larson, K., & Meyer, W. M. (Forthcoming). Connected Learning: A Study of Educational Technology and Progressive Pedagogy. New York: New York University Press.
Ben-Eliyahu, A., Rhodes, J. E., & Scales, P. (2014). The Interest-Driven Pursuits of 15 Year Olds: “Sparks” and Their Association With Caring Relationships and Developmental Outcomes. Applied Developmental Science, 18(2), 76–89.
Ching, D., Santo, R., Hoadley, C., & Peppler, K. (2015). On-ramps, lane changes, detours and destinations: Building connected learning pathways in hive NYC through brokering future learning opportunities. New York, NY: Hive Research Lab. hiveresearchlab. files. wordpress. com/2015/05/hive-research-lab-2015-community-white-paper-brokering-future-learning-opportunities2. pdf (accessed November 15, 2015).
Itō, M., Baumer, S., Bittanti, M., Boyd, D., Cody, R., Stephenson, B. H., … Tripp, L. (2009). Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out : kids living and learning with new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Ito, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., … Craig Watkins, S. (2013). Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. Retrieved from dmlhub.net/publications/connected-learning-agenda-for-research-and-design/
Ito, M., & Martin, C. (Fall 2013). Connected Learning and the Future of Libraries. Young Adult Library Services, 12(1), 29–32.
Ito, M., Martin, C., Pfister, R. C., Rafalow, M. H., Salen, K., & Wortman, A. (2019). Affinity Online: How Connection and Shared Interest Fuel Learning. New York: NYU Press.
Larson, K., Ito, M., Brown, E., Hawkins, M., Pinkard, N., & Sebring, P. (2013). Safe Space and Shared Interests: YOUmedia Chicago as a Laboratory for Connected Learning. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. Retrieved from dmlhub.net/publications/safe-space-and-shared-interests-youmedia-chicago-laboratory-connected-learning/
Livingstone, S., & Sefton-Green, J. (2016). The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age. NYU Press.
Maul, A., Penuel, W. R., Dadey, N., Gallagher, L. P., Podkul, T., & Price, E. (2017). Developing a measure of interest-related pursuits: The survey of connected learning. clrn.dmlhub.net. Retrieved from clrn.dmlhub.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/CRLN-Measurement-Paper-120714-for-CLRN.docx
Penuel, W., Van Horne, K., Santo, R., Ching, D., & Podkul, T. (2015). Connected Learning: From Outcomes Workshops to Survey Items. Retrieved from hiveresearchlab.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/clrn-from-workshop-to-survey-items-report-may-2015.pdf
Van Horne, K., Allen, C., DiGiacomo, D., Chang-Order, J., & Van Steenis, E. (2016). Brokering In and Sustained Interest-Related Pursuits: A Longitudinal Study of Connected Learning. dml2016.dmlhub.net. Retrieved from dml2016.dmlhub.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/14_vanHorne_CLRNBrokeringPaper040416_submit.pdf
Watkins, C., Lombana-Bermudez, A., Cho, A., Vickery, J., Shaw, V., & Weinzimmer, L. (Forthcoming). The Digital Edge: How Black and Latino Youth Navigate Digital Inequality. New York: New York University Press.

I mentioned in my post about writing comedy from the heart that the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is an important piece of art for me. And there are lots of lists of the top songs, I guess, though the only one I’ve paid attention to is my imaginary podcast bff Glen Weldon’s. (Weldon himself is not imaginary; the conceit that he and I are bffs is.)

But I wanted to do something more personal.

I came to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend a little late, not very – I think I started watching as soon as the first season was available via Netflix, maybe? I loved it immediately. The sheer perfection that is the song “West Covina” made my musical theater nerd heart sing, and I honestly saw a sort of alternate universe version of myself in overachieving lawyer Rebecca. (Because getting a PhD in Information and Library Science is the underachieving path in my mind, apparently?)

Anyway, this show has made me feel seen in a way few things have, so I thought I’d share the top 3 songs that resonated with me the most.

3. I’m the Villain in My Own Story

For all those times when you realize the “good” things you were doing didn’t outweight how you were being a jerk.

2. Sexy French Depression

The line “My bed smells like a tampon” is, like, scarily spot on. And this subtitle crawl:

My anxiety is so out of
control that all I can think
about is
thinking about thinking
about thinking about fixing
everything I’ve ever done
wrong and all of the ways
I’ve already messed up my
life beyond repair.

Perfection. If you ever look at my face and wonder what’s on my mind, it’s probably that.

And finally…

1. You Stupid Bitch

This is a classic internal monologue of a person with anxiety and/or depression. This song makes me cry because it makes me not feel alone.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is amazing because, as Glen Weldon points out, the show “[respects] how fraught and complicated a prospect it is to turn the travails of mental illness into blistering one-liners and catchy ditties … and then [does] it anyway.” I’m actually finding myself without more words to talk about why it’s so important to me.

It’s always helpful to check in with ourselves every once in a while, and I like to do it quarterly if I remember to. Let’s dig in and check out how I’m doing so far this year!

I selected PHASE as my word of the year, and I have to tell you, I completely forgot that I had done that. Life has been a whirlwind.

Here are the things I said I wanted to do/try this year:

  • Embracing the PHASE energy.
  • Really owning my Mer-Goth/#seawitchvibes aesthetic.
  • Reading for pleasure more.
  • Having a good time.

And here’s some notes on how those are going:

Embracing the PHASE energy: Woof. I have not done this! Oops! I mean, I’ve kind of done this. Let’s see… I’ve gotten pretty good about really taking advantage of my high energy moments and giving myself permission to rest during my low energy moments (I think this is what Lindsay Mack is talking about when she talks about expansion and contraction). But that remembering that these things will pass? That part I haven’t done a great job of. My kid is two, and that comes with some tough parenting moments. I haven’t been handling them as gracefully as I’d like; I mean that both in terms of being graceful with him, but also giving myself grace when I get frustrated. I’m working on this one. Making progress, though.

Owning my mer-goth/seawitchvibes aesthetic: This is hard when it’s cold out. My aesthetic right now is mostly “grad student/mom who hopes her clothes aren’t too stained.” My go-to outfit has been this dress over some black leggings, topped with a hoodie. Throw on whatever socks are clean and a pair of black New Balance sneakers, and I’m ready for sitting at the co-working space OR going to the mall or museum with my kid! Honestly, I’m bored with this look and really want to change it up. I don’t have a lot of money to do so, but I’m starting to need more looks for conference presentations and client meetings as I’m taking on some consulting work (yay!). Trying to find things in my budget that capture the whimsy that I want in my daily life and still looked polish is a JOB OF WORK, let me tell you.

Reading for pleasure more. I’m doing pretty well on this one. I’m a little behind my goal for the year but I know I can make that up quickly.

Having a good time. You know, at first thought I’m like, “I’m having a hard time!” But then I realize that I’ve been going to Silent Book Club and Retro Cinema, that I went to a Comicon, that I get to see my kid exploring new places, that I’m crocheting things and playing video games every once in a while, and I think yeah, on the whole, I’m doing a really good job with this one.

Other things worth noting: I have drafted two of my five comps chapters. I had an article accepted with revisions. I am taking on a consulting job. My kid is growing and growing. I’ll probably write another post in the next few days with more details about general life stuff, so keep an eye out.

How’s your year going?

 

I’m making a few notes to myself here to document my process for keeping a public research notebook. They might be of interest to you, too.

First, I’m talking here mostly about keeping up with the literature. There are (in my opinion obvious) ethical implications of actually sharing your data on your website. I’ll explore them as I write my proposal, but right now, all I’ve got is other people’s research that I’m reading and writing about, and then I’ll probably have some memos on my own process of preparing for comps and selecting my dissertation topic. Nothing wild.

So, what am I doing? Well, inspired by some writing by Kris Shaffer and Chris Aldrich, and by the fact that I gave a keynote last weekend on Connected Learning and the IndieWeb, I want to share my reading notes on some of the readings I’m doing for comps. It will help me keep track of my most important notes, and maybe it’ll be useful for other people researching similar topics. I tend to pick fairly under-researched areas, and I know it can be frustrating to have to dig up the literature on those, so this is one way I can maybe make it easier for colleagues.

Raul Pacheco-Vega is another inspiration, as he both shares reading notes and has heavily influenced my literature review workflow.

What’s the workflow?

  1. I find the source, as described through one of the various techniques in my literature review workflow, and pull it into Paperpile. If Paperpile can’t find a PDF on its own, then I track a PDF down or, if it’s only available physically, track down a physical copy.
  2. If it’s a PDF, I read it on my Android tablet with Xodo, making highlights and annotations using my Musemee Notier stylus. If it’s a physical text, I take notes on a dedicated COMPS spread in my Bullet Journal (I use a Moleskine large dotted black notebook and a Pilot G2 07).
  3. I create a new Google Doc.
  4. From Paperpile, I copy the citation and paste it into the Google Doc. I name the Google Doc Author Year Article Title. (These are all in a folder called “Synthetic Notes,” nested in a folder named after the literature area.)
  5. I type up a quick synthetic note based on my highlights and annotations.
  6. I use Paperpile to find a link to the source of the original.
  7. Then, I use a bookmarklet with the WordPress Post Kinds plugin to create a new bookmark on my website. (I use the bookmark post kind instead of a read, because I’m only doing an Abstract-Introduction-Conclusion extraction, not a full read of the piece.)
  8. I paste the abstract into the Summary box in the Response Properties box.
  9. I paste the contents of my Google Doc into the WordPress editor and use the “Clear formatting” button to clean up messy GDocs code.
  10. I give the post a tag related to the literature area (e.g., connected-learning) and select the category “Research Notebook,” then publish!

You may have noticed that this workflow leaves out Hypothes.is entirely. This is for a few reasons, but mostly just that right now, Hypothes.is would add several extra steps as I read on my tablet rather than on my laptop. I’d have to open up the PDF on my laptop, re-highlight and annotate using Hypothes.is tools, then use the Hypothes.is aggregator plugin to bring over those to my website. So for now, I’m doing it all manually on my site and not sharing anything there.

Venture Bros Guild of Calamitous Intent Council of 13

It’s been more than 3 months since I had my first committee meeting, but I still want to write a little about the process.

If you’ll recall, my advisor, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, and I put together an awesome committee. She handled the scheduling of our first meeting, which we did using Zoom as I have two out-of-town committee members.

Before the meeting, I shared two things with my committee: a dissertation prospectus and a preliminary bibliography.

The main agenda item for the meeting was reviewing that preliminary bibliography and settling on the areas for my comprehensive examination package. One of my committee members couldn’t make it; there were 5 of us on the call. I had my prospectus and bibliography in front of me and my bullet journal at hand for taking notes. (My method is really a hybrid of Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal method and Raul Pacheco-Vega’s Everything Notebook, with some modifications of my own thrown in, but that’s a different blog post for a different day.)

I can’t tell you how this will go for you, but it had a couple of really positive outcomes for me.

First, with respect to information literacy: There is a whole world out there of information literacy standards, guidelines, and models, and quite frankly, by the time you’ve been working in this field for 10 years the basics start to get a little stale. I had them all on my preliminary bibliography and Casey Rawson suggested that, since we all know those models and nobody really wants to read about them again, I could focus on newer models. She specifically mentioned embodied information practices (especially as conceived by Annemaree Lloyd), as my research focuses on the information practices of cosplayers and cosplay is an embodied fan practice.

I mentioned to the committee that I was going to start with a focus on information literacy in affinity spaces and work my way out from there, and Heather Moorefield-Lang suggested that I consider subcultures as well as affinity spaces, specifically suggesting the work of Vanessa Lynn Kitzie, who has done a lot of work on the information practices of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Taking these two suggestions together led me to a complete reframing of my conceptualization of information practice and information literacy, moving me from thinking of it as an individual, knowledge-based process to a sociocultural set of practices. More on that another time, but this was a huge and immensely valuable shift.

Second, with respect to methods: Casey pointed out that the “mixed methods” piece of my study (counting qualitative codes for frequency) wasn’t really enough to qualify it as a true mixed methods study, and so it might be better for me to just focus my methods chapter on qualitative methods. This was great because it always helps me to narrow my scope; I tend to want to be far more thorough than is necessary or appropriate when I write a literature review.

After the meeting ended, I felt great. I was really excited about my work and excited about my committee, and those feelings have carried me through the last three months of slowly chipping away at the first two chapters of my comps package.

Featured image is the Chamber of the Council of 13 of the Guild of Calamitous Intent, from Venture Bros, provided by reddit user Empyrealist.