To Curate or Not Curate….that is the question!

Actually, there is no real question here. Curation is a skill we need today. I have spent a good chunk of the last couple of weeks speaking about the importance of curating material so that when you want to find something again, you can.

Take the following scenarios:

  • Our communications team has a file of fantastic material that we all contribute to over the course of the semester. Ideas for activities, workshops, assessments, projects that aid in curriculum mastery….all of these things and more are uploaded to the file as we create them. Believe me, we all put a great deal of effort into creating activities that will engage and challenge students and it is a fantastic way to share resources and gain insight and inspiration from each other. The reality at the end of the year though, is a file with so much in it that navigating to find something useful can be daunting at best. In the back of my mind is a pressing urge to go in and clean it all up, organize and CURATE the material so we can all use it effectively….and as soon as I have time, I’ll get to that!
  • I am working at our campus Writing Center over the summer, sharing office space with the Math and Science Center, all of us extremely passionate about and dedicated to student success….and all of us working in largely individual silos with no central tracking of what students are accessing the center, what their needs are, and how often they see us over the course of the year. Easy enough to set up, to CURATE the information so that it is readily accessible to professors and support staff, thus allowing us all to ensure students are getting the help they need on a consistent basis and identify those who may have deeper struggles.
  • Every weekend, I put some time aside to go through some of the links and references I have bookmarked on Twitter related to education (FABULOUS PD to be found there, by the way). Some of them I save to my laptop in OneNote – these are fairly easy to find again. Others I browse by I-pad and save them as graphics, or pages, or link to them, favourite them, or send them to my college email for further review. What this means is that I end up with information everywhere and have to find make the time to CURATE it all, order it according to the classes for which it is most appropriate (and I have been guilty of saving things for classes I might possibly teach one day as well, which just adds to the general weightiness of the project), and label it so that I can find it again when I want it.

These are just three examples – small, personal examples – of the importance and relevance of Curation. I don’t have many tips other than this: Do it as quickly and as often as you can, and above all, be consistent.


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