- Feb 2021
online curation is:
The most prominent example of this type of online curation, in my personal experience as a teacher, is curating reading lists for my university courses.
In some cases (more "traditional"), this list is part of the syllabus and coursepack that I distribute ahead of the semester so it's something that I would do in the Summer or during a Winter break. Having taught several courses on a short notice (getting the contract a couple of weeks before the semester starts), I've fine-tuned my technique to be as efficient as possible. Some of my reading lists were better than others and a few were really solid. Teaching with such a reading list is quite a joy. Much more so than teaching from a textbook. At one point, I stopped having printed coursepacks. I simply give links to the fulltext articles available through #OpenAccess or through the databases to which the university's library is subscribed. A few students complained early on but it does mean that they don't have to purchase text material for the course. The reason it's important to me does have to do with the cost of higher education. It's also about shifting the role of text resources. We use these texts to do some work together. It's not like these texts are "transmitting the knowledge" to learners' brains.
So, that's my more traditional pattern: a syllabus with a list of links to articles (typically PDFs) that I distributed before the semester starts.
In other cases (my "enhanced" practice), it's something I do every week, based on what has happened in the course. And I do mean a full reading list each week. Class members choose the text on which they want to focus. Though several of them expect me to be "the sage on the stage" who will lead them to that one nugget of wisdom they will have to "retain", a shift happens once they take ownership of those reading choices. That practice is quite timeconsuming and it doesn't necessarily improves my teaching in obvious ways. It's rewarding in other ways. (I sometimes ask learners to find resources on their own, which really deepens the learning process. It requires a significant level of autonomy that they might not reveal during a given semester, even if they have significant experience as university students).
My routine of building weekly reading lists also means that I got quite a bit of practice at this.
Typically, I start the collecting with a "forward citation search" in Web of Knowledge, Scopus, or Google Scholar. I often know this one key article which is likely to have been cited by a number of authors more recently. I collect as many of those as possible and some patterns emerge. Quite frequently, there would be subtopics that I rearrange. It might send me in a "rabbithole". Which is ok. I'm in a discovery mode. And some of the texts which fall under my radar at that point become relevant at a further point.
In other words, I often cast a wide net during the collection phase.
The selection process is mostly a matter or rearranging the reading list so that the first few items cover enough of the range of subtopics. Sometimes, my lists remain quite long, which means that learners have more choice (which is uncomfortable enough to help them learn). It also involves an organization phase.
Summarizing the significance of the collection is the basis for my presentation of the list to the class. My description of the collection is the moment in a class meeting during which I switch to lecture mode. If I do it at the end of the class meeting (or just before the break), students are likely to pay less attention, even though it's typically short. If I do If I do it before discussing the items for the current week, it gets a bit confusing. So it often works best if I present this list after we've worked through the previous ones but before some kind of activity which links the two topics.
As for sharing in the cloud, I typically do this through the LMS I'm using in that institutions. I've tried more public methods but they weren't that effective.
All this to say... I could probably optimize my method.