Active Learning Exercises to Use in Your Next One Shot

This is a great blog-post on active learning for One-Shots- The reality being, that given 50 minutes, you can either give them a bit more information, but they’ll be completely unengaged…or you can give one main piece of information and let them do it for themselves to be interested in the relevance to their task. Read on:

Two-Year Talk

I have a love-hate relationship with the one-shot session. This is a shame, because my college does not offer dedicated information literacy or research skills courses. While some instructors have invited me into class for two sessions, it’s rare. Almost every class I teach is a one-shot session.

And I teach a lot of them! In the three and a half years at my college, I’m proud of having significantly expanded our instruction program (another topic for another post!). Since August 2012, I personally have taught 197 one-shot sessions, so it’s not surprising that I reflect on the one-shot session a fair amount. And while I believe its limitations far outweigh its advantages, I do have some love for the one-shot.

I love to teach, and I love working with a wide variety of courses and assignments. Some one-shots go so well that they’re a huge ego boost. I swoop…

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An information literacy source-book

One of the things about being a Research [read: Reference] Librarian, is that you regularly get to see a lot of guidebooks, handbooks, and various resources for other departments, but not so many for the library.  As far as my personal use of Reference books,  I only use what I use.  That is, if I need the book for instruction ideas, or for a guideline for best practice, the book is probably not put back on the shelf- it’s probably sitting in a pile close by, at the ready for my instant use! If it’s sitting on a shelf, I may not ever get around to referring to it – especially if it comes to instruction.  If it doesn’t have more that one sticky-note lodged in it’s pages, it probably isn’t a very good resource for me.

So I thought it good practice to put two titles that I use regularly, for inspiration and practice:

Cook, Douglas & Ryan L. Sittler. Practical Pedagogy for Library Instructors: 17 Innovative Strategies to Improve Student Learning. Chicago: ACRL, 2008. Print.

Burkhardt, Joanna M., Mary C. MacDonald, Andree J. Rathemacher. Teaching Information Literacy: 50 Standards-based Exercises for College Students. Chicago: ALA, 2010. Print.

Now, I don’t have to plug the Teaching book, just because it’s authors work at URI (Alum-Pride-woot-woot!), but I also have the older version of this book from 2003, and it isn’t quite as good.  They have made lot of improvements in layout and relevancy in the lessons presented.  It is really a great resource for any instruction library.

Do you have any great resources that you use everyday? I’d love to hear from you!

Setting up a PLN

So I am late to the game, I know…or early for late-adopting folks. But for those, like me, who haven’t set one up yet, a PLN is a personal learning network. You may already be informally creating a PLN, as I was, and don’t know it. Like me, you may bookmark things that you want to keep tabs on, follow certain blogs, or even set up an RSS feed for your most-favorite blogs not to be missed. All well and good, this approach, but I stumbled upon creating a PLN, and I realized that while my gathering of all this information was second to none, I didn’t actually contribute anything to the discussion or discovery of ideas/actions in libraries.

To remedy this, I am creating this blog. It is my formal inclusion of all things library and therefore part of my learning circle of resources: great blogs I follow, ideas to try later, technical work-arounds, social media interactions with innovative ideas, and generally bookmarks of websites and ideas that I’d love to have, share, do. The contributing part is getting my feet a little more wet into social media first: blogging here and Twitter… really. Facebook, I am okay with, but I didn’t get twitter, and now I love it, but I struggle with the organization of all this information! Hopefully this blog will be a little bit of the contribution of ideas, and a lot of organizing all of the great resources and voices of the librarian world.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet)

I am currently a part-time Academic Reference Librarian.  But that has changed this week.  My title that is. I will still be doing the exact same thing that I have for five years, but what people call me, and how they find me is changed. I think it became Research Librarian. Or Research Instruction Librarian.  I just peeked over my cubicle and asked my co-worker what our title is now… Her answer: “We don’t have it yet.”  Apparently the decision is stuck in committee.

The idea is of course to make ourselves more of a presence that college students can relate to.  Do they even know what “reference” is, let alone a Reference Librarian? Is it easier for them to understand that we help with research mostly, so they should call us Research Librarians.  But we teach too (Not official Faculty, but our instruction is valid, based on pedagogy of ACRL Information Literacy standards).  We have declining use at this “Reference Desk” and want to reach more students.  We want them to come to us.  Could be our first problem.

In discussions yesterday, I thought we could try to put ourselves where the students are, and have multiple service points in the library.  The trend now is to “rove.” Ugh.  I thought my days in retail sales, and asking, “Can I help you with anything today?” were over! No thank you.  I would much rather come to a mutual agreement and go where students are, as in on every floor, and also remain passive, so students don’t feel we are pushing ourselves into their space.

In theory, this is great. But the reality that I was faced with, as the idea was semi-shut-down, was “how do we staff this?” We already have trouble getting staff on the regular desk, and what about night hours, when staff is at almost zero.  Staff with students? We thought no. So now my title is changed and I will sit at the desk and still wait for students to come to me for “research” questions.  Hmmm. I think our name matters, so changing it is a good idea, and who we are and what we do matters too.  I just think changing to make it easier for students in one way and not another, isn’t helping in the fullest way that we could.  It isn’t convenient for us to staff the desk, so we won’t.  We need to break away from what is good for us and focus on mission…to serve the students and faculty where they are. I don’t think anyone would argue with this, is just the method of the doing,  that is the question.