Thursday, January 17, 2013

The library is ACTUALLY useful?

I had the great honour this past Tuesday of incorporating information literacy instruction into an actual class assignment.  I was approached approximately 2 weeks ago with a request to assist a professor with an assignment.  When the professor explained the assignment further, I had to ask, "are you hoping that I will teach this course, or would you simply like me to contribute on the assignment".  He stated that "I have always been told to go big, so yes, will you provide the instruction".  Of course, I was thrilled to agree.  I immediately starting working on the lesson plan and the assignment.  Thankfully I did this as I received an email on Friday evening asking if I was available for the following Tuesday for 5 sessions of 90 minutes each.  Classes would immediately follow one another and would fall between 10:00 and 5:30.

My assignment included taking the over-arching topic of bridge design and breaking it into sub-topics and then into keywords.  From there, the students were shown how to search the catalogue and then USearch (discovery layer).  We looked at adding limiters to the search in an effort to make it more relevant to the research and finally the students were asked to find at least 2 citations and explain why they choose them.  The citations were to be cited using the APA format for which I showed them the amazing OWL at Purdue writing lab!! 

In the first session, I offered about 15 minutes of instruction and then let the students work together in groups for the rest of the time.  I quickly discovered that that wasn't a very successful instructional model as the student's panicked over what would be expected of them.  They also had trouble remembering the steps.  From the second session onwards, I instructed in three segments, offering students an opportunity to complete each component as we went along.  This was a much more manageable way to move through the material both for the students and myself.

The coolest part?  The students handed in the assignment to me for feedback.

Also very cool - this assignment was part of a large class assignment that will be due in February where students will have to hand in a paper that includes a literature review and references cited correctly.

And another exceedingly cool part is that this was the third time that I have seen the first year students in the College of Engineering.  Talk about not being able to forget who I am!!!!


  1. That is really cool. Looking back at my undergrad degree I always wish that I could have been given library instruction. It would have helped me out so much.

    1. It was a really cool class. What is really interesting to me is what a difference it can make having a professor who is very supportive of the library.