Friday, June 15, 2012

Library Instruction Handouts & Worksheets

Each year the Early College Program at Idaho State University invites high school teachers involved with the program to come to the Pocatello campus for instruction.  These instructors teach the classes wherein students can earn college credit at reduced rates before even graduating form high school.  On several occasions I have been able to provide a workshop, showing and demonstrating how to access and use the library resources. 

This year, rather than demonstrating and talking the whole time, I decided to put them to work exploring the resources in groups.  Each individual received handouts that highlighted search strategies and important points about all the resources; however, individuals were divided into groups and handed a group worksheet with questions to work on together.  Each group reported their discoveries back to the class.  One thing I failed to do was to explicitly tie the handouts to the worksheet and encourage them to use the handout while answering questions on the worksheet.  At the beginning, one of the teachers was excited to get copies of the group worksheet, so she could have her students learn from this activity.

It did not go over quite as well as I hoped as several groups had too much time and others need more.  Some of the teachers did not seem very engaged.

Following is a short description of each of the handouts I updated or created for this workshop:
  • The CQ Researcher handout shows how to access this database via the ISU Library homepage and offers reasons why this may be helpful plus it gives a short description of the resource.  By the way, several teachers seemed quite interested in learning about this resource, asking if it were available to students not dually enrolled at the University.  Unfortunately it is not.  Much of this information was found on the CQ Researcher About page.
  • Evaluating Information: Applying the CRAAP Test offers criteria for students to apply to sources they find to determine their reliability. 
  • Since we have access to many EBSCOhost databases, I shared an EBSCO Best Practices handout, which has been created by EBSCO.  They show some of the basic search functions and offer some useful tips for searching.
  • The ISU Library is just beginning to implement the PRIMO search tool, but it still seemed important to make these teachers aware of this new tool, so I created this PRIMO Search handout.
  • Perhaps the handout I worked on the longest was the Research Pyramid handout.  It shows how a student can progress from broad/general information to focused and specific information during the research process.  I like to explain how it can be helpful to find reference articles in encyclopedias, handbooks, guidebooks, etc., because they give an overview of the topic, identify areas of focus, and sometimes point to other useful books and articles, thus launching students on a potentially successful research trajectory.  Books can be worth more than 5 or 10 articles sometimes, if you find one that is relevant to your research question.  Articles can be easily accessed online from home; our e-book collection is still not very large.  As the authors, students express their opinions and can cite personal experience to illustrate or bolster an argument.  They may also interview an expert or someone worth quoting in their paper.  This illustrates the research process.
Research Pyramid.  The research process often starts with the general and progresses to the specific.
Do you still create handouts?  Do you use handouts when given them?  Are they helpful in this digital world where we now live?  What makes a good handouts?  Do you print them or just share them online now?

Please cite me or the Eli M. Oboler Library at Idaho State University as the source if you want to use any of the handouts that I created.


Anonymous said...

I do this too! Once a year I talk to the dual enrollment librarians from local high schools (can't ever get the actual instructors to show up), and since I'm very into active learning, I have them work in groups, using worksheets. They also get laptops from the library and can do the work live online. I think the hands on approach is so much better.

Spencer said...

How is your approach different with the dual-enrollment librarians than with undergraduates? How do you adapt a group exercise differently? Do you?