The poster session this semester was focused on job searches and career building. A few recommended questions which were encouraged to explore were:
– What are the most essential skills an applicant could bring to a newly advertised position at your host institution, and why? How would you want to develop your skills, and highlight them in your cover letter and resume, if you were applying for such a position?
– If you were applying for positions in a department like your PFE site, what kind of homework would you do first, and why? What would you want to know about the site?

Below is my poster presentation which I disseminated to the LSC 595 students in our Sakai site, but also to the GSLIS Sakai site:

Hi Everyone!

Naomi Fosher here and I’d like to share a bit about my experiences during my PFE at Brown this semester. I have a short presentation for you to watch and I apologize that the YouTube video component I show you (about 3:30 into the presentation) does not have audio. So I will give you both the link to the presentation and the link to the YouTube video.

Here’s the presentation:
Here’s the YouTube video:

The presentation stands alone, but I’ve also elaborated on my points relating to skills, cover letters and resumes in case you’d like to know more:

Learning management systems: I’ve seen more and more jobs lately for instruction and/or reference librarian positions in academic libraries asking for people to have experience with learning management systems (also called course management systems). I’ve heard that many libraries are hoping to add a “library shell” or tab as a default in the regular settings of a variety of course management systems. Knowing about online instructional design helps when creating a library component like this. I am lucky enough to have worked with three different course management systems (Blackboard, Sakai and Canvas) in my academic career as both a user and a creator. But, even if you only have experience on the user end of Sakai, think critically about your experiences and think about effective design and organization. What works? What are areas for improvement? Also research about other course management systems so you can learn more about other models. They all are fairly similar, but there are some differences. Moodle is one example and they even have a sample site with log in information so you can explore.

Instructional design principles and mediums: Make sure to articulate in your cover letter and resume that you understand instructional design principles and you have created instruction components with different mediums or at least thinking about different mediums. I created text, audio and video components with the idea in mind for the content to be included in Canvas and also be included in an online, modular tutorial. From that content I also created two face-to-face lesson plans. In my cover letter I want to say that I thought about the differences in mediums when creating instructional content. I also emphasize in my resume all of the different technology tools I’ve learned how to use: Audacity (for recording audio files), Canvas, Dreamweaver (for a side project at Brown, but still relevant) and WordPress for my blog.

Applying for positions: As I mentioned in my presentation, the skills and experiences in this internship will directly prepare you for an instruction or instructional design librarian position. I have also found that instructional design positions (non-librarian) are a great match for my skill set. Some instructional technology positions are relevant as well, but you have to read the postings very closely to figure out if you would be designing the instruction or working more with technologies and troubleshooting. It really depends in the institution, so keep both in mind.

Sorry that this is mostly geared towards an academic library. If you are interested in a public, school or special library I have just two short recommendations: a) market the technology skills you have gained and b) focus on your experiences in creating instruction materials with a specific user population in mind – instructing and working with people to help foster an understanding about difficult subject matter is a skill no matter what type of library you want to work at.