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16x16 Challenge, or How A Tweet Resulted in Building a Community of Law Librarians Thinking & Writing About Teaching

Twitter is a space in which I've made connections with so many Law Librarians and many others within legal academia--and strengthened connections with others--and learned so much from and been inspired by colleagues across the country.

This past weekend, Emily Barney, Technology Training & Marketing Librarian at Chicago-Kent College of Law, was live-tweeting a panel from the WP Campus (Where WordPress Meets Higher Education) Conference called "The Infamous 9x9x25 Challenge," by Todd Conaway, from the University of Washington--Bothell. Started in 2013 at a community college in Arizona, faculty members were challenged to write 25 sentences a week for 9 weeks about teaching and learning. It gave faculty members the chance to reflect on what they do, share experiences and ideas, and see what their colleagues are up to over the course of the semester. And the challenge has spread in various iterations to college campuses across the United States.

This seemed like a wonderful sharing opportunity--and I suggested on Twitter that it might be cool to do it beyond the university, but as a collaboration of Law Librarian professionals from libraries across the country. After all, sharing ideas is something we do well, and I never get sick about hearing what amazing teaching ideas my colleagues have. And, as I've said before, we have to make space and time to think about what we're going to do in the classroom and to reflect on what has and hasn't worked to be effective teachers; taking time and space to think is what allows us to develop creative new ideas for instruction and assessment. As librarians, this time and space can be hard to come by, but I thought creating a space and making a challenge out of it may be a way to inspire more librarians to carve out some time for writing just a few paragraphs a week. Unsurprisingly, a large portion of the active #LawLibrarians Twitter community responded and said they'd be interested in participating.

So this week, after some helpful suggestions for spaces to host the challenge, we've set up a Slack channel devoted to the 16x16 Challenge. (Special props to Mari Cheney, Assistant Director for Research and Instruction at Lewis & Clark Law, for helping this Slack newbie figure out how to use that platform and her willingness to share a pre-existing Slack group as the place to set up this challenge.)

Here's how it will work: each week beginning Monday, August 12th, participants will post 16 sentences about teaching and learning each week. It's that simple--there are no parameters to what you'll tackle in your posts so long as it has to do with how you teach or how your students learn. I will post a prompt each week to help inspire posts for anyone that may be struggling with what to write about that week, but reading other participants' posts is sure to inspire lots of food for thought, too.

How to sign up: Email me at alyson.drake@ttu.edu and I'll send you a link to the Slack channel and you'll be ready to go.

We hope you'll join us for what I'm confident will be a lot of excellent and informative conversations about teaching and learning this semester. Can't wait to get started!

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