Instruction and information literacy

My institution has lots of bibliographic instruction sessions, which are usually “one-offs.”  At the end of the semester students and teachers fill out surveys (either in print or online) that evaluate the sessions. Currently there is not a formal information literacy course being offered.

Although I have prior teaching experience, I haven’t been doing *this* type of instruction for very long, and I’d like more timely and specific feedback from students.  What (for example) were the most and least helpful parts of the session, and why?    So much information is transmitted during these sessions that it’s difficult (for me, at least) to know how much has actually sunk in, and will be used or remembered later.

One odd thing I’ve noticed is that, unless you ask them to, most students do not take notes during the sessions. Conversely, the importance of note-taking was drilled into me by most of my instructors in both high school and college.  I took lots of notes that I would re-read later, highlight, etc.  Now I take notes during meetings.

It’s difficult for me to understand how anyone can sit in a fifty minute session and expect to remember any of the information without taking notes. Maybe it’s my fault for giving them a handout–perhaps they think all the information they need is already on there?

Recently I discovered these lovely subversive handouts created by the Pegasus Librarian. I may adapt the idea for my own use. If so, I hope this will help some of the faculty members see that library instruction covers a vast amount of information, not all of which can be conveyed in a 50 or even 75 minute session. More on that later.

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3 thoughts on “Instruction and information literacy

  1. I’d like more timely and specific feedback from students.

    Maybe create a Google Docs/Survey Monkey/some free tool survey – pretty quick and easy?

    I like the idea of the subversive handout too. I’ve really cut WAY back on my handouts – partly to save paper, but also because I found the students would lose them and/or forget everything I said during the session anyway. I do think that the biggest value of the sessions is just that the students know I’m someone they can come to for help.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. I’ve created a survey on Survey Monkey but I’m a little hesitant about promoting it because the students and faculty get a 1-page multiple choice questionnaire at the end of the semester. I’m a little concerned about survey fatigue. Also, after spending up to 40-50 minutes guiding them through stuff online, I’m loathe to give them one more thing to do/look at…I guess I should get over that!

  3. Understand what you’re saying about multiple surveys, but since the other one comes at the end of the semester, I think it is more aimed at how did the library session help you in doing your assignments, etc. You could still do a real short one looking for immediate feedback on your presentation style, one point that stood out, etc. Maybe just give them the link to the survey with a cut-off date for feedback?

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