Friday, September 2, 2011

Library Instruction for English Composition Courses

I recently read an article worth sharing with others in the Loex Quarterly newsletter.  JaNae Kinikin and Shaun Jackson, of Weber State University wrote the article titled: "Using a Back and Forth Presentation Format to Engage Students in Introductory English Composition Courses." 

If you have ever wondered how to create a standardized library instruction session, this article should give you some good ideas.  They have created a PowerPoint presentation that unifies the instruction.  More interestingly, the article focuses on how they have sought for input and feedback from students in their classes to drive the type of instruction they offer.  Understanding how they used to solicit feedback and how they do it now is quite useful.  They now use TurningPoint software, which seems to be quicker than the "raise your hands if question B applies to you" method. 

Finding out if students know and understand how to search the catalog and the databases can be helpful in gearing the instruction to the students' needs.  The authors wrote:
The interactive nature of the presentation from the very beginning makes the sessions more informal and results in students being more comfortable in asking questions when given time to complete their worksheets.
They suggest that a little bit of humor be inserted into the answers.  To the question: "Have you ever used a library catalog?"  Students could choose among these three options:
  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. What the heck is a library catalog?
According to the authors, this teaching method has improved their teaching experience.