Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Case-based Library Instruction

About a week ago, I read Andy Spackman and Leticia Camacho's article, "Rendering Information Literacy Relevant: A Case-Based Pedagogy." This article, which is published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship talks about promoting actual information-literacy skills among undergraduate students. By creating a scenario in which students must solve a problem, they engage students with real-life situations.

In each case study students must determine which sources or kinds of information they must consult to solve the problem. Spackman and Camacho created the Library Instruction Case Wiki "to assist in implementing a case-based pedagogy" (548). Moreover, these authors included three example cases within their article, which proved valuable in illustrating their points and the value of their efforts.

For them and others, they believe "that students learn and retain more when they are involved with the conditions of the problem, seek alternatives, and find their own solution" (549). They have gone away from the one-shot session dumps that try to teach the students everything they need to know about the library. Instead, they work on "meaningful problems" that grab student attention, and they focus on achieving the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

Spackman and Camacho also cite data from student evaluations that further underscore the value of the case study as a teaching and learning tool. This method of teaching engages students. They find more meaning participating in an activity such as this. Handouts can serve as supplemental materials to demonstrate usage of a database or outline a series of resources that would be particularly useful.

To understand how to develop or implement case-based library instruction, read their article and refer to their bibliography.

Spackman, Andy and Leticia Camacho. "Rendering Information Literacy Relevant: A Case-Based Pedagogy." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 35.6 (26 Sept. 2009): 548-54.

P.S. Spackman and Camacho are business librarians, so their cases may be particularly useful to other business librarians. They are also interested in cases developed by other librarians for other disciplines. See their Library Instruction Case Wiki.

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