Reflections on a dh+lib Transition

Ahoy!  icon-anchor

The 2016-2017 school year was my busiest year in academic libraries. My role saw a number of shifts; I added art history as a department, broadened my collaborations with the College’s art museum, and now lead the LITS WordPress Team. To make room for these new developments, I realized I had to step away from some projects and committees. Transitions are always an opportune moment for reflections and I realized over the last few weeks that the last few years prepared me for these new and challenging roles.

On May 11, 2017, I sent off my last email as the Review Editor of dh+lib. I sent out my first one nearly four years ago to the date. I’ve loved being a Review Editor on that team, but I realized during this school year that it was time for me to step into a new phase of the dh+lib project to create more space for my growing campus commitments. It was sad to sign off for the last time, but I also felt proud of the work I’ve accomplished in collaboration with the other editors over the last four years. My colleagues even wrote a VERY touching farewell post.

Putting together my final newsletter.
Pen and paper still gets the job done.

My work with dh+lib prepared me for my new projects at Mount Holyoke. Deeper engagement with WordPress and sustained consideration about the editorial process prepared me to move forward on eportfolio projects and WordPress governance on campus. Working on the review with colleagues via email and video conference taught me how to engage in a large scale project asynchronously; I gained experience with project management and blended learning. I channeled that experience into the blended learning projects I consulted on which helped me grow into my role as an instructional designer.

Above all, the relationships I cultivated through this project have been the greatest gift. I’ve learned so much from my fellow editors, the content the editors-at-large selected, and from the original content that the site publishes. I am grateful to remain a part of this project as a contributing editor and the remain connected to many wonderful colleagues.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017

Over the weekend, I celebrated my fourth workiversary at Mount Holyoke College. How the time flies! The last week or so felt like my first weeks on campus: quiet. The middle of May has a unique ‘here today, gone tomorrow feel’ as exams end; students haul their luggage towards cars and buses away from campus, and faculty decamp to their summer routines.

I remember anticipating the arrival of the class of 2017 in 2013 as I prepared for their orientation, their first M&Cs in the library, and in collaboration with colleagues from DAPS and Archives, a digital exhibition. New to Mount Holyoke myself, I read about the traditions, the history, and of course, the class colors and mascots. Quietly aligning myself with the class of 2017, I considered myself a Green Griffin, the mascot for that incoming class. After all, I was a first year, too.

While not a Griffin, I honed my button making skills in the archives that summer and took a photograph of my best work, a blue lion

Summer ended and fall began; the class of 2017 began their college careers and I met some of them in classes and one-on-one consultations. I grew to know some of them better. As the years passed, I enjoyed a certain amount of continuity in the student body; I never felt that before having moved jobs after two years in my previous positions. As I ended year three, I realized that I would watch the firsties I welcomed in 2013 blossom into seniors.

Over the last week, I’ve seen the seniors roving the empty campus. I smile at them, silently wishing them well.

For the students I developed a relationship with, it’s been a pleasure to learn about their future plans and congratulate them. And for the few I’ve known throughout the four years, it’s been remarkable to see them grow into themselves. I am lucky to have born witness to their transformations.


Shaping their narratives: ePortfolios in the Environmental Studies senior seminar

CP’s Note: This story about my teaching collaboration in Environmental Studies originally appears in my department’s ‘Teaching with LITS’ nook on the College’s website. It’s a wonderful look at all the fabulous collaborations that enhance teaching and learning at Mount Holyoke.

Over the last three and a half years, eportfolios have become central to my work. I began teaching in the senior seminar during the fall of 2014 with my first cohort. Each summer, I spend a lot of time revising my sessions to incorporate better writing prompts, new framing for why taking control of one’s online presence matters, and tips and tricks for understand what the internet knows about you.

Finally, I wanted to share some of the resources that have been central to my eportfolio teaching practice:

icon-save The podcast Note to Self continues to transform how I teach students about the intersections of humanity and technology but also how I understand my own relationship with technology.

icon-mobile-phone Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus’s most excellent book Self-Tracking from the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series helps me scratch the surface of the self-tracking movement and how to apply it to integrative learning.

icon-book The New Yorker enlivens my life on so many levels, but the recent article about #vanlife will enrich my teaching this fall. Three cheers for the serendipity of deep and wide reading!

I took this photograph during the DLF Conference in MKE in November, 2016-it’s become a representation of the pedagogical space I want to create in eportfolio classes.

“If you haven’t spent any time deliberately and intentionally shaping your narrative, if you’re unprepared, like I was, then one will be written for you.” -Carrie Brownstein, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Students in the Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies meet as a cohort each fall to reflect on their studies, internships, and co-curricular activities. Together, they cultivate their online professional lives.This seminar is the start of their online professional lives. They talk about their online presence and consider all the various platforms that they use. They spend time learning what the internet already knows about them and contemplate how they want to reintroduce themselves online. It is an opportunity to integrate classroom learning, extracurricular activities, and LYNK internships into a personal narrative. These are some of the first steps they will take towards life after Mount Holyoke. What is next after graduation?

Enter the eportfolio. It is a tool to collect writings, reflections and summaries of qualifications.More importantly it reflects a process of integrating a student’s whole life at Mount Holyoke. The seminar is a rare opportunity for students to consider how their experiences in college changed them in the company of their peers. Professor Tim Farnham and embedded librarian, Caro Pinto facilitate conversations about social media and online privacy. Students leave with the tools to take control of their digital lives and self-knowledge about how to connect to new communities of practice whether it be professional fields like civil engineering or activist communities.

Students begin to build their eportfolios in WordPress, which is a useful platform due to its flexibility and transferability; students can easily export their content into other platforms. It promotes student autonomy as they create a coherent online presence. The eportfolio is simultaneously a space to write a biography, describe experiences and goals, showcase projects undertaken at internships and a starting point to develop content that can be transferred to platforms like LinkedIn. Students in this seminar learn to channel Carrie Brownstein and to prepare to tell their own stories lest someone else do it for them. Are you interested in helping your students cultivate a professional online presence? Contact your LITS Liaison.


That Time I Downloaded my Twitter Archive

After preparing for a presentation about our eportfolio program at Mount Holyoke College at CLAC, I found myself deleting some old tweets after finding some with dead links devoid of context (I will own my memory work). I deleted a few tweets here and a few tweets there until I could not refresh my web view anymore.  I downloaded my archive and began to read through my life as posted on Twitter since joining the service in April 2009. Times have changed.

In April 2009, I was living in Somerville, Massachusetts where I was finishing my library degree at Simmons College. I had a flip phone that did not count my steps.

Today, I live in Northampton, Massachusetts where I am gearing up for my eighth fall as an academic librarian. I have an iPhone that tracks my steps AND pays for coffee.

It was instructive to look back at my life through tweets since 2009 to remember milestones and miscellany. It was also a nice lens to reflect on how I’ve changed since then. Here are some icons and tweets to consider Caro Pinto, a life lived in tweets.

icon-clock-o The time when…

icon-flash I learned about Emoji in December 2011

icon-apple Bought my first iPhone in 2010

icon-foursquare Foursquare was a thing in 2010 (I miss my afternoon walks to Blue State Coffee in New Haven)

icon-twitter Third Party Twitter apps were a thing (HEYYY Brizzly)

icon-magic I still…

icon-heart-o Love The New York Times

icon-heart Love the Red Sox and the Patriots.

icon-clock-o Travel Regularly for conferences. NB: the number of tweets I send spikes when I am at a library conference.

icon-archive I used to:

icon-beer Drink and Enjoy Beer (too bad I can’t tolerate it any more icon-frown-o )

icon-frown-o Mock Myself and Frequently Make Jokes at my own Expense

icon-fire Use so many different tools to read content that I no longer use (HEYYY Feedly & Google Reader)

icon-reply Regularly achieve inboxzero

icon-instagram Connect Instagram and Twitter for a very integrated if repetitive social media presence

I’ve grown a lot personally and professionally since 2009. It was reassuring to reflect on that growth while realizing the road towards self-actualization and maturity is long. I’ll share this exercise with my students this fall as they undertake deep reflection as they build spaces on the internet to connect with others; lucky are those who have communities of practice and camaraderie to reflect on the long and recent past alike.