Friday, 25 January 2013

Productivity for Academic Librarians and Researchers: Session 2 - Paying Attention

This session's task involved two parts: one instructed to keep a log of activities at work for two days, writing everything down and noting when you have the most (and the least) energy. The second stated to make a list at the beginning of each day for two days, ticking them off as they are completed.

The third task was to compare the four days. I certainly found myself to be more productive and focused when I wrote a list of goals at the beginning of the day. This didn't surprise me. I love lists and have them for absolutely everything: food shopping, presents to buy, places to go, errands to run... I do have a 'To Do' list on the computer at work but I think I need to make greater use of it - spend some time arranging and marking things off each day rather than having it in the background. When I don't have a list, I end up with all the things I need to do echoing around in my head distracting me, so getting everything down in list form certainly helps.

I found I was more productive in the morning, and again, this was no surprise; I always have a mid-afternoon slump at around 2pm, no matter what I eat, how much sleep I've had or what my sugar levels are. Luckily my job allows me to largely schedule my own workload so I tend to complete the most challenging, demanding tasks in the morning and leave the afternoon for more routine, repetitive procedures.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Productivity for Academic Librarians and Researchers

Thanks to a tweet by Jo Alcock (@joeyanne), I became aware of a new project called Productivity for Academic Librarians and Researchers. I followed the blog and thought I would have a go. I am quite an organised person anyway but I’m always looking for ways to be more so; also by learning about Personal Knowledge Management I will hopefully increase my understanding of knowledge management as a whole, and be better able to assist others in my job and my life.

You can read the introductory post here, and the first session post here.

I looked at the selected reading and found it interesting, although it took me a while to get my head around it. The main points I gained from it included the importance of the development of the knowledge economy and the growth of remote working, as well as the trend to describe people as ‘knowledge objects’. I have to say I’m not a fan of describing people as ‘objects’ in any sense but I think I understand the point of this label – that individuals possess their own store of knowledge that is unique to them, and that it is important to make the most of this knowledge.

I thought about the questions in the post:

1.     Brainstorm for a few minutes regarding your work situation.  How do you interact with the various levels of the DIKW Pyramid? What opportunities might there be to offer further value to your faculty, coworkers and students? Are there new classes you could create? Other services you can offer?  What creative things are you already doing in this regard?
I like the concept of the DIKW Pyramid (Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom). As suggested in the post, in my role as an Information Officer working with a VLE I have more to do with the first two labels, data and information. In my role I help to manage the VLE and organise the files contained within it, ensuring it is in the right place, easy to find and well-structured, so that the students can access it without hassle. I have less to do with the latter two labels. The HE institution where I work specialises in law; I don’t have knowledge of this subject area, but I do have knowledge of Blackboard (our VLE) and have undertaken online training instructing staff on how to use it. This year I am due to do some face-to-face training, so hopefully I can impart some useful knowledge to my colleagues and assist in the development of their wisdom!

2      Jason Frand and Carol Hixon’s paper in your selected readings is an often quoted source on PKM.  Frand & Hixon ask a series of questions which are still pertinent over 12 years later:
“If students and teachers continue to approach the educational experience using the same old approaches and techniques, will investing in information technologies make any difference? What, if anything, do faculty and students need to do differently in order to get value from our investment in information technologies “
I think they would need to make the most of technology, perhaps by using online tools to plan and schedule, work collaboratively, access files, and look at more interactive ways of learning. At the same time, I think it’s important not to rely on technology and not use it just for the sake of it.