How Basic is Basic? – Kathleen Stacy

She is talking about one-shot reference sessions. It was nice to see her say that it’s better to have the students come to a one-shot reference session without much of a plan than for them not to be brought at all. I’ve heard some people say “I won’t teach a general library session that isn’t tied to a library assignment!” You can suggest to professors that they tie instruction to an assignment, but I’d certainly rather see students get some introduction to the library than none.

There are so many things you can teach when you’re doing an information literacy session and you can’t cover everything in an hour.

Important to have —

  • clear objectives: it’s nice to have learning objectives to make sure that your one-shot is meeting the needs of the users and will keep you on track. It means showing what the learners will be able to do when your class is over.
  • Tied to a task: this is SO important! Tying the learning objectives to a task allows them to practice what they’ve learned, applying the skill immediately. Practicing something helps an individual to better absorb information. She recommends having a lot of hands-on instruction so that people can not only practice their skills, but so that the librarian can
  • Tangible results:

She mentioned a product, I think it was called LAN School, that locks down the computers while teaching so that students don’t surf the Web while the lecture part of the instruction session is going on. We SO need this at my school!

What to include in presentation:

  • Lots of “how”, some “what,” minimal “why”
  • Smallest number of steps to perform the most basic tasks (simple search)
  • Get the students through a task successfully and then ask them why

What to leave out: Jargon, advanced features, personal information, evaluation of resources and results (just this is a book review, not why this is relevant to the search). A lot of info like accessing stuff from off-campus and advanced searching should really be on the handout (how about on a Web site? Don’t students often throw away handouts?).

She usually leaves the stuff about being critical of information resources out of the session because it means that she can spend less time on the library resources. She tells the professors not to allow students to use stuff from outside of the databases. Hmmm… not sure if that’s the best way to do things. Should we be telling our students that Google is bad? I can see requiring some articles from databases, but suggesting that students not use Google at all is just as silly as saying that students should only use Google. Google has many things databases do not — esepcially government info — and it’s a bad idea to give students the impression that everything worthwhile is in the databases.

Wikis in the Classroom: Powerful Tools for Library Instruction – Chad Boeninger

Chad works at Ohio University where he is the liaison to the college of business (1700 students). He usually teaches 15-20 classes per year and information literacy is not a standard requirement in the curriculum. All of the classes he needs to teach are on a variety of subjects (popcorn industry, paperclip industry, SWOT analyses, etc.).

Most libraries have research guides or pathfinders. As they grow, they start becoming completely unmanageable. Chad created a wiki that he uses to describe business resources and make them well-organized and searchable. A lot of the information described here was described in his session on Wikis, so I’m going to leave it out. Chad did a tremendous job and really inspired me to consider how we can use Wikis instructionally at Norwich.