Library Gazette

Instruction at ZSR

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 10:23 pm

One of the things that is challenging when someone leaves an organization is the loss of institutional memory. For that reason, I’m leaving this post, to remind you of all the many instructional resources you have available to support your teaching:

  • Instruction website: This page has information about the program we offer–in person instruction, self help instruction, as well as the meta information about the administration of the program. Thank you to Kevin for creating a new look and backend for the instruction portion of the website. It made a world of difference!
  • Wiki page: When I first became head of instruction, we didn’t really have a strong presence on the library website to reflect our program. In response, I made use of the wiki to gather information about projects, professional development opportunities, and FAQs–particularly about university policy. If you’re trying to figure out how to set up your Sakai course or how to deal with challenging students, you will be able to find some answers here. If you know something useful, it’d be nice to add it!
  • Learning Outcomes: As a community we developed learning outcomes to support our instruction. These outcomes were conceived to be broad enough to be useful for any research-based course. It’s easy to forget about them if you don’t have someone reminding you every semester or so, so here’s a gentle reminder: please take a look at the learning outcomes every once in a while and make sure that your class addresses them! Learning outcomes also make it easier to decide what’s not worth covering. If it’s not covered in a learning outcome, it’s not necessary to the course.
  • Template: As you also know, Joy developed a very thorough and detailed template for LIB100 last summer. It currently resides in Sakai, though more information will be available on the website at some point. The template was designed so that you can just pick it up and go, but you can also pick and choose from it to help simplify the planning of your own class if you’d prefer.
  • Teaching tools page: This page contains activities and techniques for teaching the various things we tend to teach. Right now it is more structural in nature, with a few activities. If you find this useful, let Kyle know! If you have something that you think might possibly be useful to your colleagues, send it to Kyle with appropriate metadata! (Can you tell that Kyle will own this going forward?)
  • Plagiarism tutorial: Kyle and Kevin made, perhaps, the most engaging and educational activity on plagiarism I’ve seen, and they made it for WFU students! If you aren’t sure how to teach plagiarism, or if you teach it and your students respond as though they’ve heard it all before and you can’t possibly teach them anything new, please consider using this activity prior to discussion!
  • New course evaluation: Kyle, Mary Scanlon, Sarah, Kaeley, and I worked to update our LIB100 course evaluation to be more useful for instructors and based in sound research. The new course evaluation measures first principles of instruction, as well as makes it easy to get a view of the entire program. This view of teaching across the program will allow Roz to target specific areas that would benefit most from professional development opportunities.

And there are several more things coming soon:

  • eTextbook: We’re in the final stages of this project! I am adding in multimedia as quickly as I can, and by Friday we should have a working version online. I’ll leave it to the group to do a Gaz post introducing it. The people involved with this have been many over the past two years. Audra and Gretchen were involved early on. Craig, Kaeley, Kevin, and Rebecca have been involved throughout the process. This group, along withMary Scanlon, Ellen Daugman, Molly, Mary Beth, and Ellen Makaravage all contributed writing. We are hopeful this book will be useful for LIB100s, one shot sessions (that are focused on a specific aspect of research), faculty who don’t want to give up class time, and other libraries. So that will be exciting for the library!
  • New LIB100 assessment tool: Kaeley, Kyle, Mary Scanlon, and I also have worked on creating an assessment tool for LIB100. The design is for a quick, anonymous survey to test whether we have met our learning outcomes for the class. 200 level classes might choose to modify the survey for their specific class. Again, if used across the program, it would be a useful tool to help identify the learning outcomes that either (1) could stand reinforcement across classes or (2) that might not be as relevant to our teaching anymore, and would need to be adapted for current teaching practices. The entire question bank could be useful if you’d like a final exam as well. Kyle is the point person on this.
  • Update to the Toolkit: And coming way further in the future, Kyle is considering updating the Toolkit. The idea is a new and updated interface and updated video content. His Zotero video is the style of content he will create.

One of the final things I’ve done was work with Joy, Kyle, Bobbie, and Kaeley on a strategic plan refresh for the instruction program. That has been passed on to Lynn and hopefully can provide some useful information for the next few years.

In the process of writing the plan, we did an environmental scan of the field. Joy, Kyle, and I went to the Triangle area research libraries to learn more about local instruction. (We have some amazing programs in this state!) And my main take away from all of this work is that what ZSR is doing with instruction is exceptional. The students at WFU who engage in library instruction have an unusually broad, deep, and personalized instruction experience. Wake students are lucky to have access to this type of instruction, and we are in a lucky position to be able to offer it. I’ve been honored to play the roles I’ve played in the program and look forward to hearing more about the great work you all will do going forward!

Amazing Instruction Stats

Thursday, November 19, 2009 10:46 pm

If the folks in Research and Instruction have looked a bit like deer caught in headlights this semester there is good reason. Our statistics are through the roof for both library instruction ‘one shot’ classes as well as one-on-one personal research sessions. So far this semester we have taught 124 one-shot library instruction sessions to 1928 students. That is 81% of sessions (75% of students) of the TOTAL number we did in the entire 2008-2009 year!! And the same is true of Personal Research Sessions. So far this year we have done 305 Personal Research Sessions which is 73% of the total number from all of last year. (Last year we nearly doubled the number of personal research sessions from the year before). And we still have two weeks to go and many sessions scheduled in those weeks. And it has not just been the Research and Instruction folks who have been participating. Carolyn McCallum, Leslie McCall, Cristina Yu and Erik Mitchell have all taught classes.

We’ve had lots of discussions (around the pots of very strong coffee we brew each morning) about why this is the case, and we feel that it in some way goes back to the new kind of students and faculty Wake Forest is attracting and developing who are not only willing to seek out help, but who are eager to take advantage of help when it is offered. That, coupled with the fact that we are good at our jobs, means faculty keep asking us to teach sessions, and students come back time and time again and tell their friends about us. The long hours, late night emails with students to schedule meetings, hours of prep for instruction sessions and the time spent on creating LibGuides are all worth it when we see the light go on in the eyes of students when they find the exact sources that will help them write their papers or when we have faculty thank us for the help we give their students. We feel this is one of the critical ways we help our students and faculty succeed and it is the heart and soul of our jobs, but we’ll all need a break come the holidays to gear up for it all again in the Spring!

Toolkit Day!

Friday, August 14, 2009 8:42 am

As the Toolkit continues to grow and have more applications, Kevin and I are taking a day to focus some energy on getting it in tip-top shape for the new school year.

For new folks to ZSR: the Toolkit is a service we provide to allow users to find help they need through our website. They can access it when we’re not here, or when they’re just looking to find the answer on their own. The Toolkit is comprised of a number of tools, which are very short narrated videos walking patrons through specific tasks. These videos can be accessed from the Toolkit, but also embedded in Blackboard, Libguides, and other websites.

Today is Toolkit day, and we invite you to stop on by to make a tool for the collection. Starting at 11:00am, at least one of us will be in our offices, with some Starbucks pastries, in case anyone wants to stop by and make one. We have two stations set up and ready to go, so you don’t even need to bring your ThinkPad.If you’d rather just phone us, we’ll make office-calls, too. If you’re new to the process, but want to see how it’s done, we have a page about it in the library wiki.

If you want to participate, but don’t have a tool in mind, we have a wish list of tools we’d like:
a picture for a work blog post
The “wanted” tools are requests that haven’t been created yet, and the “update” are tools referring specifically to our classic catalog interface, that should be duplicated in the new Vufind interface. We’ll be updating the list all day, so stop by to see the current wanted/update list!

By recording a tool, you’ll also be contributing to a PRIMO recognized project! Earlier this year, Susan recommended we nominate the Toolkit for PRIMO recognition, and we just found out that it was added to the list. PRIMO is a committee of the ACRL Instruction Section that was created to promote and share peer-reviewed instructional materials created by librarians. From their website: “The PRIMO Committee hopes that publicizing selective, high quality resources will help librarians to respond to the educational challenges posed by still emerging digital technologies.”

So, if you want to make a tool, have questions about the technical side, or have questions about the instructional design side, stop by and have a Starbucks pastry! We’re happy to help in any way we can! Here’s hoping that by the start of fall we have many new tools!


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