Stay Classy, San Diego: Notes from CALIcon 2012

In all my 30 plus years on this earth, I’ve never acted in any capacity as a journalist.  The worn and torn public schools I attended in Mississippi didn’t run student newspapers.  I was aware of the college newspapers at my undergrad and graduate institutions only because they had crossword puzzles in the back of each issue that I could work on during particularly dry classes.  So, in my final post as a RIPS blog author and because I may never get the opportunity again, I’m going to pretend I was a journalist assigned to cover the CALI Conference for Law School Computing in San Diego this past week.  The following are my notes from the conference with some reflection upon those notes.

Plenary I with Dave Cormier – The world of education is changing.  I mean, it’s really, really changing.  For far too long, I’ve only paid attention to the effect technology is having on libraries and ignored the issue at large.  Harvard and MIT recently announced their joint project EdX, which will offer online education to possibly millions of people around the world.  Other prestigious institutions are getting in on the MOOCs (massive open online courses) act as evidenced by Coursera, a new venture that includes Stanford, Penn, the University of Michigan, and Princeton.  I’ll leave the theorizing about what affect these programs will have on the world of higher education to the futurists, but it’s certainly something to keep our eyes on.

Session 1 WordPress as CMS II – My school, Louisiana State University, appears to be the only institution that is completely migrating its entire website to WordPress and not just a piece of it.  That’s okay.  We’ll put on our maverick hats for this one.

Lunch – The CALI staff members appear to be the veritable rock stars of this conference.  It’s unfortunate that Sarah Glassmeyer couldn’t make it.  She’s quite funny over on the Twitter.

Session 2 Cultivating Creativity – “Analysis by paralysis,” a phrase used by Vicenc Feliu, the director at Villanova University School of Law that really stood out.  Boy howdy do I know people, personally and professionally, who can’t get out of their own way because of over-analysis.  I am also guilty of over thinking a problem.  Also, co-presenter Jill Smith showed a three minute video by Ze Frank that is worth a look, if only for the introduction of the expression “Cheese Monster” into the lexicon.

Break – The facilities here at Thomas Jefferson School of Law are top notch with 8 floors of spacious design, 2 terraces with views of San Diego, and a very cool interactive touch plasma screen for displaying upcoming events, building maps and the like.

Session 3 Storyboarding a CALI Lesson – Helen Frazer from the University of the District of Columbia School of Law provided an insightful way of creating CALI lessons through the use of story boards.  I’ve authored a lesson before, and for the next lesson I create, I will likely incorporate this technique.

Session 4 Teaching Law Students 21st Practice Skills – CALI is in the process of recoding their authoring system, CALI Author, in such a way that instructors can copy and remix materials for their own course needs without having to know anything about programming.  I’m going to have to go back and look at this presentation to get a better idea of what is going on as it was pretty late in the day.

Session 5 What Should We Try Next? The Life of an Electronic Resources Librarian – I was really looking forward to this session.  Oftentimes during my first year as an electronic resources librarian I’ve wondered what more I should be doing.  This presentation gave me some ideas:

  • Having staff profiles become more robust and add something in them that “humanizes” us.  Interesting choice of word for librarians, but I like it.
  • Institutional repository.  Check.  We’re working on that.
  • New ILS.  I’m not going to touch that one.
  • QR codes…..again.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve authored some QR codes for CALI’s LibTour project and think they are a neat idea, but I’m starting to wonder how much they’ll actually ever be used by the patrons.
  • Merged Reference/Circulation desk.  A notion whose time has come for law libraries in my honest opinion.  It may be a bad time to bring this up to our director because we just installed a new reference desk with all sort of bells and whistles, so I’ll just sit on this particular concept for now.

Session 6 Technology that Counts – Another good presentation, and this one was geared towards those who teach Legal Research.  Some of the strategies are ones that I’ve implemented in my course before, but I came away with a better understanding of the challenges of teaching legal research to first year students.

These are but a handful of the sessions that I attended, and I’m sure there were great ones that I missed.  If you attended the conference and would like to share some thoughts on sessions that you attended, please comment on those.

I’m now handing in my press pass, notepad, and my fedora.  It’s been fun blogging for RIPS this past year and I hope you enjoyed reading my posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

This entry was posted in Annual meeting resources, Legal Research Instruction, Technology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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