Characteristics of Good Library Instruction
1) Library Instruction is best received when it is course related and, more specifically, assignment related. Anyone who has worked with students has found that retention is much higher when it relates to a specific subject being taught or when an assignment is attached. In these situations, students are more highly motivated to learn. When instruction is delivered for some unknown future use, students tend to dismiss what is being covered.
2) Incorporating active learning into instruction is more effective than instruction by lecture style alone. Providing exercises or other activities helps reinforce the lessons being taught and helps determine whether the students are grasping the material. With straight lecture, a one-way dissemination of information, it is difficult to assess the students’ mental engagement.
3) Collaborative learning can be beneficial. Having students interact in small groups to help each other learn is a powerful way to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Although this technique may not lend itself to a one shot instruction class, it can be used in a longer information literacy course.
4) Information provided in more than one medium is helpful. Students have different learning styles. Some learn primarily through visual means; others prefer auditory means. Combining a lecture delivery with a visual demonstration can reinforce the message through two mediums.
5) Establishing clear objectives is important. Students are much more likely to grasp what is being taught if they know the direction the instruction is heading.
6) Teaching concepts is preferable to simply teaching mechanics. When students understand the concepts being taught, they can transfer that knowledge to other learning situations. For example, information literacy concepts include Boolean logic, keyword versus controlled-vocabulary searching, evaluating resources, and methods for focusing a search.
Developing Effective Library Instruction
1) Outline the objectives and outcomes clearly to establish purpose and expectations.
2) Provide a clearly defined structure that reflects the objectives and provides for both linear and nonlinear
3) Include interactive exercises.
4) Give attention to concepts.
5) Incorporate contemporary language and topics, be succinct, and don’t be afraid to entertain.
6) Provide a way to contact a librarian.
7) When a tutorial is used, try to make it course related.
Information Literacy Evaluation Criteria
All Reference Librarians are required to participate in Information Literacy sessions. All Librarians are expected to work with faculty in their subject areas instructing them on the databases in their subject area and creating LibGuides and tutorials if necessary. The following evaluation criteria are based on a three point scale. A rating of (1) denotes unsatisfactory performance, (2) denotes satisfactory performance, and (3) denotes satisfactory performance coupled with initiative and leadership.
Creates instruction sessions that display the characteristics of good library instruction (see attached)
1. Makes minimal effort to follow the criteria set out in the Characteristics of Good Library Instruction Handout.
2. Creates sessions that incorporate active learning techniques, handouts and various media formats.
3. Outline the objectives and outcomes clearly to establish purpose and expectations. Provides a clearly defined structure that reflects the objectives and provides for both linear and nonlinear learning. Includes interactive exercises. Provides a way to contact the librarian. Creates new and innovative ways to teach information literacy classes.
Creates instruction resources such as handouts, LibGuides, and tutorials
1. Is not involved in the creation of instruction resources.
2. Plans and develops library instruction resources for information literacy by developing support materials such as classroom handouts and LibGuides.
3. Continuously creates, monitors, and updates previously created instruction resources. Creates online tutorials to supplement classroom instruction.
Communicates with faculty and Graduate students to promote information literacy services
1. Does not or makes minimal effort to promote information literacy services to their subject-area faculty
2. Actively promotes information literacy services to faculty and Graduate students in subject areas and teaches at least 5 sessions per semester.
3. Actively promotes information literacy services to faculty outside of subject areas and teaches at least 10 sessions per semester. Organizes workshops based on faculty and graduate student input. Collaborates with faculty on research projects for students. Serves as an embedded librarian in BlackBoard courses.
Collects feedback from students and faculty after instruction sessions
1. Does not provide a method of evaluation to students and faculty after instruction sessions
2. Consistently provides a method of evaluation to students and faculty after instruction sessions
3. Consistently provides a method of evaluation to students and faculty after instruction sessions; uses feedback to propose methods of improvement to future instruction sessions, and to the information literacy program as well
Attends internal and external workshops, conferences, and continuing education programs to improve instruction methods
1. Does not attend internal workshops or continuing education programs to improve instruction methods and makes no effort to improve library instruction methods.
2. Occasionally attends a workshop, conference or continuing education program
3. Actively participates in continuing education programs, workshops, and conferences as a presenter or a panelist.
Attends scheduled instruction sessions on the pre-determined date and time, with punctuality.
1. Does not attend every pre-scheduled session punctually; or, fails to find a substitute instructor to fill in for anticipated absences from instruction sessions
2. Attends scheduled instruction sessions with punctuality; finds substitute instructors to fill in anticipated absences from instruction sessions
3. Meets the requirements of #2; volunteers to substitute for others in their absence