Denise Smith was awarded a Professional Development Award and used the money to attend Systematic Reviews: Opportunities for Librarians. She discusses her experience below.
Systematic review training is relatively easy to find, but finding a course that offers MLA credits that is also engaging, thought-provoking, and easy to retain is not so easy. I have participated in opportunities to learn about systematic reviews and a librarian’s role in them in the past, but the workshop Systematic Reviews: Opportunities for Librarians was the best learning experience I’ve had so far. I am happy to report that I feel more prepared than ever to advise on searches for systematic reviews or even participate on a systematic review team as a co-investigator.
The workshop approaches the content it covers with a flipped classroom model. I found this approach to be remarkably beneficial because it allowed me to learn, engage, and reflect at my own pace. As a result I retained a lot of the content and I felt confident going into the workshop that my limited experience and recently acquired knowledge would allow me to participate fully. The digestible modules and their respective assignments helped break down what could become an overwhelming amount of material.
In order to get anything out of the in-person workshop, active participation was a must. As a person who dreads answering questions or sharing ideas in front of a group, the small group environment was inviting and the instructors were supportive. I felt comfortable with my table-mates and we exchanged some really good ideas. I really enjoyed participating in this workshop both online and in-person.
A highlight of this workshop, for me, was the capstone project that each participant was required to complete prior to attending the workshop. Then, with our newly acquired skills, we peer-reviewed each other’s search work. It was great to see how other minds approach a systematic review and how my own work might be interpreted by someone else. It really impressed upon me the importance of constructing a clear, well-structured search strategy to optimize its replicability.
Syracuse, NY is lovely and although it rained on both days I went out for a scenic run and visited the local Target (a must-do whenever I am in the USA) after the conclusion of day one. I am honoured to be a recipient of a 2017 UNYOC Professional Development Award and I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to UNYOC for affording me this incredible opportunity.