In the fall of 1995, LOEX undertook a survey of library instruction practices. We did this to survey current practices and to compare the results with two previous LOEX surveys done in 1979 and in 1987. These surveys were reported on in articles published in 1980 and in 1989.1
Some types of library instruction easily allow student learning to be assessed (i.e., the self-paced workbook and credit-bearing library instruction), but there is no generally accepted means of measuring learning gained from the typical one-shot library instruction session. Instead, evaluation of library instruction tends to focus upon attendees' perceptions of the librarian's performance. This study reports the results of a survey of evaluation practices reported by library instruction coordinators at forty-four colleges and universities throughout the United States. Among the respondents' organizations, “reaction data” is most frequently used to assess the effectiveness of library instruction, although it provides little evidence concerning what students have learned. Nearly three-fourths of the library instruction coordinators who answered the survey indicated that evaluative feedback is solicited from students at their institutions. More than one fourth of the respondents indicated that their libraries use student responses as a basis for performance appraisal, while slightly less than sixteen percent reported that evaluative responses solicited from faculty are used to assess performance. Peer observation of library instruction as an evaluative tool was also frequently reported. Survey results are analyzed and discussed, as are benefits and limitations of various types of evaluation. The author argues that subjective data alone are inadequate to measure student learning, guide programmatic improvements in library instruction, or be used as a basis for librarians' performance appraisals. It is suggested that, due to its limitations, course-related library instruction can render little useful evaluative information. Librarians need to identify and implement teaching strategies that increase the amount of meaningful instruction and allow student learning to be assessed.
The University of Guelph Learning Commons brings student affairs professionals and librarians together to offer students a coherent and integrated approach to learning, writing, research, and technology support. It is distinguished by three characteristics: (1) a partnership model between academic and student affairs; (2) a solid foundation of theoretical perspectives to guide program development; and (3) a conceptual model to frame services. These characteristics have placed the Learning Commons in a position to play a leadership role in facilitating and enhancing learning across the university. This article describes the Learning Commons, as well as the theoretical perspectives and conceptual framework upon which the programs and services are based.
As technology advances, the services offered by academic libraries must change to keep pace. One promising new service is instructing faculty on using the World Wide Web (WWW) as a teaching tool. Collaboration with computing center personnel enables librarians to deliver this service in a way that maximizes benefits for all parties. This paper describes these benefits, suggests ways to develop a collaborative program about instructional uses of WWW, offers advice on demonstrating and constructing instructional Web sites, and—particularly in the substantial appendix—provides information on numerous Web sites suitable for demonstrating instructional applications.
This article presents the results of a survey designed to assess students' experiences with media resources as a means to better understanding academic media center student patron needs and as a first step towards assessing student levels of media literacy, an important but often overlooked component of information literacy. Results indicate a wide range of expertise with critical evaluation of media resources and suggest the need for better communication between instructors and students regarding familiarity with and appropriateness of media resource usage. Implications for library instruction are also addressed.
Making library instructional handouts available via the World Wide Web benefits students and researchers in many ways. Unfortunately, some librarians may feel overwhelmed by the perceived resource commitments for a project of this type. This article is based on a successful handout conversion project implemented at Evans Library, Texas A&M University and suggests ways of dealing with time, staffing limitations, HTML skills, and additional software purchases. Additionally, it offers some technical recommendations based on lessons learned throughout the conversion process.
Contemporary society and our educational institutions over-emphasize left-brained, analytical skills. This pervasive influence extends even into the library instruction classroom. This article calls for an adjustment of this left-brained paradigm, with a more holistic, right-brained, or “global” instructional approach. Background information is offered on split-brain theory, hemispheric function, and the importance of right-brain teaching techniques. The specific strategies of metaphor, visual thinking, direct experience, and fantasy are discussed with specific examples cited. A mind map, cluster diagram, and literature searching exercise are included.
The Library Outreach Program Committee at Western Washington University serves as a coordinating body for outreach activities to the non-departmental campus community. Successful projects include collaboration with New Student Services/Family Outreach, Academic User Technology Services, and Residential Life. A database of outreach activities assists in tracking and assessing outreach activities.
Bibliographic instruction programs in many academic libraries have become increasingly reliant upon computer technology. Limited network access and space constraints have often restricted instruction librarians to centralized teaching sites located within individual library facilities. Recent innovations in presentation technology now enable librarians to explore affordable solutions for decentralized instruction. This article describes a practical method used by librarians at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania for bringing computer-based library instruction into non-networked classrooms and other settings beyond the library's walls.
Planners for the David Adamany Undergraduate Library at Wayne State University designed creative learning spaces in the building to further and enhance concepts critical to information literacy efforts, such as collaborative learning, integrating information resources into the curriculum, and resource-based learning.
Providing comprehensive bibliographic instruction for interdisciplinary topics can be very challenging for most librarians. This article describes the design, implementation, and evaluation of a one-credit course in Latin American Studies developed to train students in research methods. The article discusses the challenges posed by the interdisciplinary nature of research in Latin American Studies and presents a set of instructional methods to meet the multi-faceted needs of that research. In addition, the article stresses the importance of collaboration between librarians and faculty, and faculty recognition of the value of developing students' research skills.
Many students assigned independent research investigations as class projects do not recognize the role that library research plays in project development. They often have trouble applying their basic library skills to a more sophisticated review of the literature and relating their own survey data to published research. In order to coordinate research guidance for a senior-level class at the University of Delaware, a library instruction session was expanded into a program of continuous faculty-librarian support for students completing the class project. A flow chart of project steps was modified successfully to include opportunities for instructor and librarian consultations and checkpoints for problem identification.
In an effort to know how much research and library use was expected of students by business faculty, the author undertook a syllabus study of courses in the business curriculum. Business syllabi were found to include a higher level of research than was expected and an analysis of courses aided in development of strategies for opening discussions with faculty and for assisting students. This method is recommended for librarians seeking familiarity with curricula.
Traditionally, libraries attempted to prove their effectiveness by reporting the number of resources the library bought or subscribed to, of instructional sessions taught and of reference questions answered, among other statistics. However, libraries are increasingly expected to document student achievement using outcomes assessment. After struggling with outcomes assessment at our own institution for several years, we have found that the most effective way to handle program-level and classroom-level outcomes assessment is to create manageable, realistic assessment tools. In this paper, we describe two assessment tools that have worked for us: a brief survey given to a large number of students and an in-depth, multipart tool used with a limited number of library instruction sessions.
To be considered literate in today's society, it is necessary to possess a set of information skills. Librarians are being called upon to help teach these skills in partnership with faculty. Expedient ways are being sought to facilitate this teaching, especially when institutions are dealing with increased enrollments. How, for example, do 7,000 entering freshmen become information literate? This article will relate the process used to design and create RIO (Research Instruction Online), a Web-based tutorial designed to address identified competencies that comprise required information skills.
This study reports undergraduate use of electronic resources as measured through the quantitative analysis of 291 student bibliographies submitted for courses in ten undergraduate institutions in the Greater Philadelphia Area. The authors found relatively few citations of electronic sources (7%) and agreat deal of confusion about the citation format itself. No relationship was found between instruction in the use of electronic resources and increased usage of these sources. Three institutions whose students used a number of electronic resources did provide useful teaching models for further study.
With the recent emphasis toward active learning techniques and technology tools, many libraries seem to be discontinuing the traditional, guided walking tours. A survey of university students taking non-course related library tours focused on defining the student's expectations and on assessing the student's comfort level in the library environment as a result of the tour. The survey sought to identify whether the student had perceived the tour to be time wasted or time well spent. Results showed that most of the respondents felt that the tour was highly informative and significantly increased their overall comfort in the library environment.
Teaching effectiveness is a particularly difficult aspect of library instruction to evaluate because judging what makes an instructor effective in the classroom can be a highly subjective, interpretive act. In search of more “objective” criteria, this study began by adapting a process described by Carole Larson and Laura Dickson (in their 1994 RQ article, “Developing Behavioral Reference Desk Performance Standards”) to elicit a comparable set of performance behaviors for instruction. Traits and behaviors derived from two preliminary investigations served as the basis for a written survey then distributed to a wider audience of instruction librarians. This article reports on the results of that survey—what instruction librarians consider to be the desired traits and behaviors of an effective teacher.
Reflective peer coaching is a formative model for improving teaching and learning by examining intentions prior to teaching, then reflecting upon the experience. The goal of reflective peer coaching is to promote self-assessment and collaboration for better teaching and ultimately better learning. There are obvious benefits to colleagues collaborating and sharing ideas, thoughts, and observations. However, many models of assessing teaching effectiveness focus on summative evaluation in which colleagues observe each other once or twice a year and fill out institutional evaluation forms. Rarely do colleagues engage in formative conversations about teaching that are guided by the instructor's personal goals and objectives. Reflective peer coaching necessitates a ten-minute planning conversation prior to the actual lesson and a ten-minute reflective conversation after the lesson. These conversations happen regularly and frequently to build self-awareness and self-assessment of the personal craft of teaching. The following article outlines the dynamics of the reflective peer coaching process as a formative assessment model that leads to better learning through improved teaching.
This manuscript describes the development of an information literacy program that targets first-year students and their graduate student teaching assistants into a fully integrated learning environment. This learning environment not only imbeds information literacy into the curriculum of the required English Composition and Public Speaking courses but relies on the teaching assistants to provide the instruction within the framework of their classes. This is accomplished by a high degree of collaboration among teaching librarians, teaching assistants, and faculty coordinators to create a learning environment that is student centered. Ongoing assessment is described and supports the success of this model.
In today's newsroom, research is often computer-assisted. A survey conducted by the authors, however, found that many journalists still rely on paper sources or neglect research altogether. To address this problem, the authors—a librarian and a journalism professor—introduced research skills units into a Beginning Reporting course. These units have three purposes: to develop research skills, to demonstrate the value of research in writing stories, and to prepare students for advanced courses in computer-assisted reporting. This article describes the development, implementation, and success of this program.
Scholarship has not undergone a paradigm shift in terms of argument and research with the introduction of the Web-based information world. Searching, on the other hand, has undergone a significant shift. In teaching students to find, use, and evaluate information, librarians and instructors need a useful model of the information world that enables them to teach students about information. A practical example of how this may be accomplished is presented.11The author gratefully acknowledge the research assistance of Marea Kahn at the Moraine Valley Community College Library, who greatly aided in the initial literature search in preparation for this article.
Academic librarians are always concerned with discovering new, more successful methods of teaching college students the fundamentals of searching electronic databases. A portion of the professional library literature deals with “conceptual instruction” and “mental models” in great detail. The reality is often that the librarian's role is limited to a perfunctory orientation session that may last no longer than one hour. This article, which concerns “procedural instruction,” gives reasons for emphasizing this practical method. It also renders an example of a model instructional search session.
This study investigates information-seeking behavior of one particular segment of international students—international students seeking degrees in the field of business. The author surveyed domestic and international business students enrolled in the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The survey was designed to compare their perceptions of library services and information-seeking behaviors. This study focused on three aspects: (1) how domestic and international business students assess the effectiveness of library instruction sessions; (2) how domestic and international business students use library services; and (3) how domestic and international business students use the Internet for their research. The survey results offer insights into understanding different perceptions of these two student groups with respect to their library use patterns and research strategies.
The incorporation of active learning techniques into library instruction classrooms has been a topic widely explored in the 1990s. Research confirms the success of active learning in increasing student participation as well as student learning. Case study methodology is one of many active learning techniques. “Beyond the Book ‘case’” provides an overview of case—study methodology; discusses the appropriateness of case—study methodology in the library instruction setting; and presents examples of case studies used in a library instruction course at Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky.