Week 2: SCOUT demo and Keyword Planning

At this past week’s meeting, the rest of the interns and I presented our SCOUT demos to Alex, Brett and Michael.  I had prepared a demo that I thought was about 5 minutes long but ended up being much longer.  Time management, it seems, is going to be a problem I need to work on for the next couple of weeks.  My lesson plan was rather detailed, but I have a tendency to elaborate unnecessarily and stumble over my words (hello nerves).  Other than that, I believe that the overall reception of my demo was positive.  I covered what Scout is (a discovery search tool), how to get into Scout, how to search in Scout using the advanced search tool, and what a record looks like.  Looking back, this was a bit ambitious.

This week, I am working on presenting an active learning activity for choosing keywords.  I have done quite a bit of researching, and I think I have found an activity that would really appeal to the sensibilities of incoming students.  I got the idea from UWM’s library’s website (http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/ris/instruction/ip/terms.pdf).  Basically, the objective is to get students to use encyclopedias to generate a list of keywords/synonyms/related words to use when searching for materials for their topic.  I think it will work nicely because A) students are typically familiar with using online encyclopedias for research, both wikipedia and otherwise and B) it creates and nice teaching moment for letting students know that encyclopedias, while informational, are not appropriate to cite in a college level paper; HOWEVER, they are great for brainstorming paper topics and for choosing ways in which to narrow or broaden a thesis.  I plan to hand out a notecard to each group that includes an encyclopedia and a keyword (ex. Capital Punishment, Facebook, Autism).  The goal is to find as many broader, narrower, and related terms using the encyclopedia as a guide.  After a few minutes, I will ask to students to share their findings with the class, making a point to ask them if they found any terms that surprised them.



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