Scitech librarians take note: The Western Conference on Science Education

The biennial Western Conference on Science Education will be taking place this coming July 9–July 11, 2013.

I'm thinking very seriously of going and I think science/engineering librarians in general should consider doing so as well.

Here's how they describe it:

The biennial Western Conference for Science Education creates an ongoing organizational infrastructure that invites teaching and research faculty, librarians and other educational professionals, regardless of their experience level, to collaborate on the improvement of post-secondary Science education through the exchange of experience, innovation, ideas, and research in teaching and learning across disciplines.

Although situated in the context of Canadian higher education in Science, the Western Conference recognizes that fundamental issues in teaching and learning often transcend disciplinary, institutional, and national boundaries. Participation by colleagues working outside the country, or outside the traditional disciplines of Science, is welcome.

Specifically, the Western Conference for Science Education is designed to create and sustain an on-going organizational structure that:

  1. enhances a Science education community by enticing faculty and educational staff to venture out of their respective discipline-specific circles to meet, discuss, and collaborate with one another;
  2. promotes ongoing improvement in post-secondary Science education through support of a range of scholarly approaches to teaching and learning;
  3. contributes to the professional development of Science educators by providing access to educational leaders, resources, and training;
  4. promotes productive inter-relationships between educators and various private sector academic publishers, suppliers, technology providers etc;
  5. provides an avenue to share ideas, innovation, and research;
  6. ensures that Conference proceedings are archived and accessible.

Conferences are planned for every other year after 2013. On off-years, we encourage other colleagues, organizations and institutions to host synergistic events that benefit from, and in turn increase, the momentum created by the Western Conferences.

The call for proposals is here and the submission guidelines here.

The conference topic threads have a lot of scope for the kinds of work librarians do:

Thread A: Teaching and Learning Science
Thread B: Evaluation of Learning
Thread C: Curriculum
Thread D: Education Technologies and Innovative Resources
Thread E: Other

And the session formats leave a lot of leeway for interesting ways to pitch that work. In particular, the "Short & Tweet" format seems to have a lot of possibility for advocacy.

  • Workshops: Workshops are highly participatory hands-on 80 minute sessions allowing participants to come away with a product, tool, or skill.
  • Presentations: Presentations are 40 minute sessions providing the opportunity for presenters to engage with their peers in the form of a traditional paper, novel demonstration, provocative debate, or other creative formats. When appropriate, two complementary presentations will be paired.
  • Short and Tweets: This is an engaging 14.0 minute live presentation that will be summarized in 140 characters. Short and Tweets will be collected and presented in six-packs.
  • Posters: Posters are self-explanatory visual displays offered in a format that promotes informal dialogue between the poster’s author(s) and their peers. At least one of the poster's authors will be available for discussion during the Poster Session.

The Canadian Engineering Education Association annual conference (June 17-20) is another I'm considering for the spring/summer and I know that it's also a very good conference for engineering librarians.

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