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Every semester, I teach two sets of information literacy sessions for one of the Speech Communication faculty, one session to work with the students on their informative speeches, and one for their persuasive speeches. These include one marathon day of back-to-back-to-back classes and then one lone class on another day.
Way back in the other lifetime that was pre-COVID, in the fall of 2019, the marathon sessions for the persuasive speech happened to fall on Halloween. Another QCC librarian and I had been talking for weeks about dressing as Tina and Louise Belcher from the animated show Bob’s Burgers and even though this fell through (she had to go to a conference–not sure if she took the bunny ears), I decided to stick with it and dress as Tina.
I was a children’s librarian for a long time so thematic programming is ingrained in me and I knew that if I were dressing as Tina while teaching three SP211 classes, it needed to connect with something. I am a big fan of the show and wracked my brain until I finally rewatched the “Ain’t Miss Debatin'” episode (S07E15) and found the perfect fit. I prepped a clip from the episode where the characters discuss how everything can be debated, laced up my black knock-off Chuck Taylors, fastened my yellow barrette, and went to class.
I’m at the age where I feel completely out of touch with popular culture, so it was immensely gratifying that the students immediately knew I was Tina Belcher. For the rest of the day, walking around the library, I would hear “Oh my God, she’s TINA!” in excited hushed voices and then I’d be called upon to dance (I declined) or groan.
In the SP211 classes, the students laughed at the clip from the show, enjoyed a piece of Halloween candy, and seemed to make the connection that while everything can be debated, it’s important to have good supporting evidence for those debates. I’m not sure that there were any additional impact on their learning (I am the assessment librarian, so I probably should have looked into that) but I am pretty sure they remember the librarian who dressed up like Tina Belcher that time, and that’s not a bad thing to be remembered for.
From Elsevier’s newsletter, this article might be useful for teaching and researching:
7 tips for finding open access content on ScienceDirect and Scopus
As a relaxing summer is behind us and we are in a new academic year, everything goes back to a normal rhythm from Adagio to Andante. That means IL teaching activities pick up the tempo and are likely to accelerate to Allegro as semester progresses.
May I recommend a timely article, “Forty Ways to Survive IL Instruction Overload; Or, how to Avoid Teacher Burnout.”
Like recommended in the article, I sometimes play music by using audio files in PowerPoint to calm down/entertain/relax/wake up/energize my classes, “Sleep Away” at the beginning and “Kalimba” at the end.
Badia, Giovanna. “Forty Ways to Survive IL Instruction Overload; Or, how to Avoid Teacher Burnout.” College & Undergraduate Libraries (2017): 1-7.
Teaching information literacy (IL) sessions can be emotionally exhausting, especially when faced with a heavy instructional workload that requires repeating similar course content multiple times. This article lists forty practical, how-to strategies for avoiding burnout and thriving when teaching.
I found this 5-page handout rather useful.
Literature Search: A Librarian’s Handout to Introduce Tools, Terms and Techniques co-developed by Katy Kavanagh Webb, Head of Research & Instructional Services at East Carolina University’s Joyner Library, and Library Connect newsletter of Elsevier.
Each page of the handout can stand alone or be used together as a teaching tool that covers:
- Keywords, operators and filters
- Search tools
- Types of literature
- Evaluate information
- Organize research
You may download the handout in PDF here.
“It’s not a replacement for librarian-led instruction,” says Katy, “but it can act as a calling card to introduce key concepts or as a leave-behind visual reminder to continue these best practices when we librarians are no longer in the room.” (Library Connect April 7, 2017)
“Library anxiety” was identified thirty years ago when Constance A. Mellon of East Carolina University published her paper, “Library Anxiety: A Grounded Theory and Its Development,” [College & Research Libraries 47.2 (1986): 160-165. <http://crl.acrl.org/content/47/2/160.full.pdf>], describing college students feeling intimidated, embarrassed, and overwhelmed by libraries and librarians. Library literature has been enhanced by this topic since then.
The anxiety appears to be more common among freshman students. This phenomenon ascertains the importance of library instruction for first-year undergraduates, as well as calls for user-friendly learning environment. A recent report on Columbia libraries is fun to read: “The Strange Affliction of ‘Library Anxiety’ and What Librarians Do to Help” <http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-strange-affliction-of-library-anxiety-and-what-librarians-do-to-help>
A follow up for those interested, a video recording of the said talk is available now:
Daniel Russell of Google had a talk at School of Communication and Information of Rutgers yesterday. The topic sounds rather interesting. Obviously, being literate today is far different from being literate in the 18th century. The process of becoming literate has evolved. How do we accomplish our mission as educators? This is an ongoing issue which we ought to think about it constantly.
Here is brief info about the talk. http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/events/lis-brownbag-talk-by-dan-russell-from-google.html
Title: “The Evolution of Literacy: How search changes our understanding of reading, writing, and knowledge”
Abstract: What does it mean to be literate at a time when you can search billions of texts in less than 300 milliseconds? Although you might think that “literacy” is one of the great constants that transcends the ages, the skills of a literate person have changed substantially over time as texts and technology allow for new kinds of reading and understanding. Knowing how to read is just the beginning of it — knowing how to frame a question, pose a query, how to interpret the texts you find, how to organize and use the information you discover, how to understand your metacognition — these are all critical parts of being literate as well. In this talk I’ll review what literacy is in the age of Google, and show how some very surprising and unexpected skills will turn out to be critical in the years ahead.
One of the things we don’t want to see during teaching is the disconnection between the lecturer and the listener. It happens for various reasons. It could be the lecturer; even a veteran speaker could have a dull moment. It could be the listener; he or she might have had a long day already. It could be the use of jargon, clarity of speaking, tempo of talking (either too slow or too fast), unchanged pitch of voice, student’s lack of interest, slow computer, or even the weather…
The most effective way of teaching involves two-way communication. We should try to create an active learning environment to make sure students remain engaged in learning process.
Ways of engaging students may include asking simple questions, doing classroom easy quizzes, using game-based demonstrations (I still remember vividly Sandy’s, a wonderful former colleague, game of Boolean Logic).
Visit Vitae, a service of The Chronicle of Higher Education, one may find useful teaching tips there. Although they may not relate to library science, general rules can be applied. For example: “What if You Have to Lecture?” By David Gooblar. URL: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/909-what-if-you-have-to-lecture?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Reading through the interview (link below), one can see a number of items on the newly hired university librarian’s agenda as priorities: reinventing the building, caring for the legacy materials and physical books, and delivering 24/7 services. Dr. James J. O’Donnell’s envision of the future academic library is “one in which everybody in the institution…gets everything they need, wherever they happen to be, immediately.”
It is true that the library profession originated as a service type and we always strive for better quality to serve users. We must remember, though, that the profession has evolved over the time in both concept and content. User education is an inseparable part in a modern library although the degree of involvement may vary depending on the mission and nature of the library. Academic librarians act dual roles: keeper and educator. Teaching is part of our job. Information Literacy education and library instructional programs are necessary, to say the least.
Interview link [It is a news link, thus, has more than this interview. Read the top item only.):
A Former Provost Is Recast as a Librarian, and Other News About People
Among the 2013 top twenty articles recommended by ALA Library Instruction Round Table, <http://www.ala.org/lirt/sites/ala.org.lirt/files/content/archive/2014jun.pdf> Hoffmann and Wallace’s “Intentional Informationists” is of particular interest. [See citation below] The case study depicts IL practice at California State University-Channel Islands, a young institution of ten years history (as of the time the article was written). Their goal is to shift “the emphasis from literate to informed, from passive receptors of information to intentional users and consumers of information.” The authors define an “intentional informationist” as a person with “the contextual, reflective and informational skills to identify information opportunities, tackle complex information problems and pitfalls, and provide solutions or considerations that do not just meet her individual needs.” (Full text can be retrieved in ScienceDirect)
Hoffmann, Debra, and Amy Wallace. “Intentional informationists: Re-envisioning information literacy and re-designing instructional programs around faculty librarians’ strengths as campus connectors, information professionals, and course designers.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 39.6 (2013): 546-551.