Saturday, August 3, 2013

Web-based Polling in Library Instruction

Jared Hoppenfeld's article "Keeping students engaged with web-based polling in the library instruction session" introduces web-polling as a means to promote student engagement.  His literature review covers several areas, such as the main constituents of library instruction in academic libraries--Millennials, active learning, Audience Response Systems and web-based polling, as well as mobile technologies.  Indeed, he has provided a thorough overview of the topic, bringing to light some web-based polling sites I was not aware of previously: Text the Mob and SMS Poll

Of more particular interest to me, he offers suggestions on types of questions that a library instructor might ask during a typical library instruction session.  Hoppenfeld starts with an icebreaker, such as "How happy are you that college football season is here?"  If the class takes place closer to Valentine's Day he might ask about profits related to chocolate sales (243).  This signals to students that the class will not be a regular library lecture class, and it also introduces them to the polling software.

Hoppenfeld's second set of questions deals more with student knowledge.  Where are they coming from?  What have they tried when conducting research?  He may ask where they might discover a journal article, in a catalog or in a database.  "An open-ended poll is also used to find out what resources the students have previously used for their research" (243).  This offers an opportunity to discuss what they have tried and explain why they would want to take advantage of the library resources.  What are the pros and cons of searching Google, Wikipedia, or