September 12, 2016

Teaching Topics

I'm revising my instructional methods yet again this semester: I'm asking students to answer questions in advance of our time together. These questions typically relate to the assignment or mimic what the students would do in Real Life.

For instance, I asked the graduate students to find what we librarians call "known items" -- articles on a topic similar to one they will be researching on their own. The prompt indicates that the articles were assigned by a professor or were articles that they themselves found while reading a book assigned for class. I carefully chose the three article / types they needed to find:
  1. The first was easy to find on Mr. Google, whether on- or off-campus.
  2. The second was easy to find if the students used the library site I made for their class (i.e., if they used a library database)
  3. The third was only available as an Interlibrary Loan, through the library site I made for their class.
Their second scenario requires them to develop good search terms for that topic in a library database.

When I'm in the class with them, we leapfrog from these questions -- and the challenges they raise -- directly into doing searches in library resources. I am moderately confident that this method is increasing student engagement with the library instruction session... will need to do a bit of assessment to determine if that is the case.

You can see the prompts and the library site I prepared for one of these classes at
Stephanie teaching a PR class, Fall 2015