Image of Jason PuckettJason Puckett is Online Learning Librarian and Associate Professor at Georgia State University Library in Atlanta, Georgia. Puckett has an MLIS from Florida State University and is the author of the ACRL books Modern Pathfinders: Creating Better Research Guides and Zotero: A Guide for Librarians, Researchers & Educators. He has been teaching with LYRASIS for 2 years.

Jason, you have been a Zotero, online learning designer, and Open Educational Resources instructor for many years. You have a new class, Cognitive Load and Library Instructional Design (9/15), can you tell us what inspired you to create the class and what can attendees expect to learn?

JP: Cognitive load is an issue I’ve touched on in a lot of my usability and instructional design research, to the point that I got interested in giving it the spotlight in a new workshop. It basically just means that we have a finite “space” or “bandwidth” in our brain for learning new information, and that there are ways that we as instructors can plan our teaching so that our learners can take that new info on board more effectively and efficiently. It’s not as technical as that sounds! It’s really about consciously applying some teaching strategies that anyone can use – how we use language, how we scaffold concepts, and how to use what you know about your students to help them learn better.

As someone who has been a part of the professional learning landscape for years, what have you seen trend-wise that you feel is something we educators are doing well and which trends do you think we could look into or adapt more widely? 

JP: I think Covid, and the remote teaching that went with it, show that libraries can adapt if we really have to. We’re often slow to latch onto the technologies that our students are using, but every instruction librarian that I’ve worked with really stepped up and accepted the challenge of teaching online, even folks that didn’t have a lot of comfort with it before, and I think that can only be a good thing going forward.

I’d really love to see teaching librarians do more work on our accessibility skills. Maybe that’s top of mind for me because I’ve been working on it myself, but learning some basic accessibility techniques isn’t hard, and can really help our teaching, especially our online teaching, reach more students more effectively.

In your current role as an Online Learning Librarian, what is 1 or 2 essential online resources professional learners should use OR recommend to their students/users/patrons?

JP: We should be getting more comfortable with our campuses’ learning management systems (LMSes). Many of us don’t work directly with the LMS at our institutions since we’re not teaching for grades, but I keep running across situations where it’s been really helpful for me to know some basics about ours, or where I need to quickly get myself up to speed on it. I’ve taken some Linkedin Learning courses that have been really helpful -- in my case it’s been Desire2Learn and Canvas, but there are courses out there for all of them.

For fun, what is your favorite podcast, book, tv series, or on rotation music wise at your home?

JP: Oh boy. Never ask a librarian their “favorite” piece of media; it’s painful. We’re big fans of What We Do in the Shadows, the greatest show ever made about very stupid vampires. I’ll also recommend the Gentleman Bastard fantasy novels by Scott Lynch, starting with The Lies of Locke Lamora. Cunning thieves in over their heads and pulling heists, my favorite thing.