Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Objective: Help Freshmen Feel Comfortable w/Library Things

Today I will be teaching the First-Year Seminar [FYS] students again. In fact, I will teach the same section that I taught on Monday. We talked about plagiarism and academic honesty. This was the class where a student challenged me for plagiarizing the PowerPoint Presentation. Yesterday I taught a different group of students and led them in a discussion on academic integrity. One of my colleagues attended the session, and today she came and talked with me about how surprised she was at how rude the students acted in the class. At one point I had to say, "We will wait until the students in the back finish talking before going on with the discussion." I feel that doing this causes those students who are disruptive to understand that their peers do not appreciate having to wait for them or having them be disruptive so much.

One student in the front of the class took me off guard. He vocalized his ideas so loudly at times that it took me aback and I did not know how to respond to this behavior. I would almost say he was a bit aggressive and did not believe in the value of academic honesty. What do you do when students undermine your ideas by their attitude and comments? I think of my recent involvement in creating the Banned and Challenged Books Display. One of the quotations I read said something like, "The way to fight a bad idea is to present a better one," meaning that to repress or censor an idea really does not solve the problem.

Today I will be showing the catalog, inviting students to find a book on the shelves, and demonstrating how to use the EBSCOHost Academic Search Complete database. There's always so much to teach students. About a month ago I updated the worksheet, outline, and objectives for FYS. In our library instruction meeting we determined our objectives for the FYS sessions. The overarching objective is to help all students become comfortable using the library, especially the at-risk freshmen. We believe that pairing the students into groups of two or three would be useful in making it a more positive and stress-free experience.

More specifically, we want students to be inclined to ask for help at the Reference Desk or through our Ask-A-Librarian form. We want them to be able to search the library catalog effectively and be able to locate a book on the shelves. Sending the students out to find a book in the stacks will take time; however, if students look with another student we are hoping that it will take less time. Once they return from retrieving a book we will show them the database searching. Hopefully, there will be time to do this. Students will be completing exercises on a worksheet, so first they will conduct a few basic searches in the library catalog. I need to remember and give them some book jackets to search for a book. I've forgotten to do this in the past. Time management will be a factor. I want to include some Affluenza searches.

I better go and practice a few of the searches before heading up to the classroom.

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