Breaking the Ice, Building the Momentum: Successful Strategies for Beginning a Library Instruction Session

Presenters: Carrie Donovan and Rachel Slough, Indiana University Bloomington

Summary: This session was about starting a library session with an active learning activity to increase student engagement and get them energized. My favorite idea was to play the game “Telephone” to illustrate why it is important to trace information trails and explain how information can change depending on the source and time it is accessed. Great way to illustrate problems with Wikipedia.

Merging rational thought with creative thought

Research Study

Is active learning good in the first 5 minutes?

First 5 minutes, you will learn the most

Traditional approach – these are my learning outcomes and then talking to teach them

Library Instruction Cookbook – lesson plans for active learning

– loss of control
– early burn-out
– too forced or juvenile
– time
– cheese-factor

Evaluating the culture of the class before they come – are they used to discussion and engagement activities?

– enthusiasm contagious
– fun
– pedagogically sound approach

– catching students’ attention

– use clickers in first 5 minutes
– do informal poll/ ask silly questions

–  told riddles or brain tease (don’t tell answer until the end)
 – challenge/unexpected things will happen

Regret the air – news stories not checking their sources (good example of importance)

Clips of Office and 30 Rock dealing with Wikipedia

Colbert’s Wikiality

Current news story that is really relevant – chat roulette – turn into a teachable moment

Getting class to think about audience

Librarians with tattoos – elicits conversation

Connecting with what students already know

Make things into the library relevant

Don’t quote me

Investigate what’s in the box


Spanning the University to Improve Information Literacy e-Instruction

Presenters: Lindsay Miller, Rob Withers, and Eric Resnis, Miami University

Summary: This session was a little disappointing to me because I thought it would more specifically address using online tools to teach info literacy. Instead it was about a campus-wide collaborative project to create online modules to teach students about academic integrity. 

De-emphasized distance ed and online learning

Education about academic integrity
Miami e-Scholar Module

1 to 2 hours
Common framework

Development Team: all librarians

Slow clunky, navigation problems

Series of readings on 5 topics
Self-assessment exercises
Final quiz (must get 15 of 18 questions)
Email certificate of completion

19 students worked with student-led teams
Want and needed student feedback

Minimize the wordiness
Gave feedback

Resistance to mandatory
Overlap with other tutorials
Branding was important

Integrity Quickstart (IQ)
– complement to e-Scholar
– partnered with IT and Student Affairs

Common Craft – In real language

Non-linear, integrates video – free product, very visual, navigation tool

No grade or mechanism to see if student visited the page

Making the Case: Leading Information Literacy Programs to Success

Presenter: Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, UIUC

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe led a workshop on using diagnostic and developmental tools to build successful information literacy programs. She basically provided a vocabulary to examine different components of a program and to troubleshoot when things are not going well. I thought these tools could provide a really great way to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of the  information literacy instruction provide. It might also help us receive more recognition from the institution.

Diagnostic and Developmental Tool

Recreate – False Starts/Treadmill – Confusion – Frustration

Vision: What is it we are actually trying to accomplish?

Skills/Capabilities: Do the people involved have the skills/capability necessary? Often not time available for people to become a better teacher?

Incentives: When you want people to change, perceived value of the change has to be twice as good as the current state. (Economics of change) Not necessarily money

Resources: We need budget and resources (often underestimated)

Action Plan: Can be different ones, but need something to get you from point A to point B

Without vision, you have confusion

Without skills/capabilities, you have anxiety

Without incentives, you have resistance/restraint

Without resources, you have frustration

Without action plan, you have false starts/treadmills

Vision = Clarity, gives you clear sense of what you are trying to accomplish

Skill = confidence

Incentive = Motivation

Resources = Satisfaction

Action Plan = Goal-directed

We don’t tend to cost out the time it requires people to be involved in new activities

A Librarian and a Hashtag: Embedded Virtually in a Classroom via Twitter

Presenter: Ellen Hampton Filgo, Baylor University

Summary: Presenter experimented with using Twitter as an instructional/learning tool in a small class. Proved to be a great experience – allowed her to be virtually embedded in a live class during the class meeting times and to provide resources to students in a “just in time” manner to students when their interest was ignited. Also, allowed her to form a much stronger connection to the students (she became “our librarian” to them) and to be involve with their research processes from the start.

Other In-Class Experiments with Twitter:

  • Monica Rankin – UT Dallas – used Twitter during lecture class
  • Cole Camplese – Twitter backchannel at Penn State

Her experiment – use Twitter in a smaller class and involve a librarian in the process

  • Worked with Dr. W. Gardner Campbell, director of Baylor’s Academy for Teaching and Learning Used in New Media Studies class
  •   9 students all honors students
  • Intro to new media – using media tools to help learn Required to blog, tag in deliscious, participate in class discussion via Twitter Motherblog

How she managed the project

  • tied everything together Used Tweetdeck –
  • monitored group and hashtag 
  • created a Twitter group – to group as a class
  • instructor asked the students to greet the Librarian in every class
  • sent links to the class as they met – books in catalog – websites, wikipedia – basically related to the author being discussed – google scholar citations
  • explained library resources – explained twitter (RT, @ replies)
  • included some just for fun Tweets
  • invitations to come to ref desk
  • students attended a social media conference at the college – saw a small a model of broadcast tweeting – when it hit home how Tweeting works


  • model what you want your students to do
  • Librarian Jazz – improvisational – join in with the discussion without adding the wrong note –
  • make connections between class and the students own personal knowledge Blogging
  • she made great connection with students –
  • experience enhanced by posting to class blog- posted about library resources – getting at student’s research process a lot earlier – send resources even earlier in the process

Student responses

  • very positive
  • Asked for help in other classes
  • Students very comfortable with asking librarian for help
  • referred to her as “our librarian”
  • Informal survey – good feedback – students more aware of library resources “including librarians themselves”
  • Still gets questions through Twitter and Facebook

Best Practices

  • Use a hashtag
  • Archive class tweets (Library of Congress)  – TwapperKeeper (can’t do it after the fact)
  • Use a URL shortener that uses statistics
  • Considerations: What about “Tweckling”? – heckling the librarian or other participants
  • Need to consider how you will set things up
  • Can just do one class session – time consuming

Points to Consider:

  • Is Twitter just a distraction?
  • modeling good behavior – laptop is more than just notetaking, can learn with
  • Great for both large and small experiences
  • Are certain classes better suited?
  • Not sure yet Future Directions – blogging a lot more – good interaction, more opportunity for interaction
  • how do you scale up?

How to initiate this experience:

  • follow tweets/blogs of students Find profs who use twitter professionally or personally
  • Integrate Twitter into embedded librarian program New media, journalism, educational technology
  • She did follow students and they were required to follow her
  • Students were allowed to lock down account for privacy

Additional tools

  • Tweetmenot – can mute users  discussions
  • Yammer – internal network connected to particular domain
  • Edmoto – educational network
  • Twitter HotSeat – use institutional account

How Do You Count That?: Statistical Reporting of Online Library Instruction Activities

Presenters: Tim Bottorff and Andrew Todd, University of Central Florida


Presentation of results of a survey sent out to various academic library listserves gathering information about how statistics for online library instruction are counted. It’s clear that there are no real guidelines and that libraries are recording these in a varity of ways that may be skewing face-to-face instruction and reference statistics or in many the work involved in online instruction is being under-report or not acknowledged at all. The surveyors concentrated on asynchronous instruction including embedded librarianship, tutorials, and for-credit distance library classes. The conclusion was online interaction is has unique characteristics (for example, a discussion forum exchange of posts between a student and a librarian may appear to be a one-to-one reference type exchange but may also be read by other students in the class and may instruct multiple individuals) and doesn’t fit well with ACRL and ARL’s out-of-date guidelines for recording library instruction and reference work. One session audience member suggested that as we move away from gathering information about what we put into instruction to what impact we create (assessment and outcomes), the old guidelines seem very out-of-date. This may be particularly true in the online realm where one instructional activity such as the creation of a tutorial can impact multiple users over a period of time.

Survey to examine 3 areas of online instruction stats reporting:

  1. embedded
  2. tutorials
  3. online video

Task force at University of Central Florida
– to be fair and consistent in reporting statistics

Almost nothing published about this topic

Follow guidelines of ACRL but geared for F2F
 – one on one – reference
 – class meeting multiple times – count more than one class but participants only once

Count if analogous to F2F situation
– had to prove that students actually participated in order to count it

Survey design
– 14 question survey – available in conf. preceedings
– didn’t look at synchronous online interactions

online tutorial

IRB approval
sent to listserves

307 usable responses

Public 64%
Private 34%
Other 2%

Nice mix of institutions type and size

All over the map as to how to count this statistically

Online Tutorials
– most didn’t count as instruction
– many don’t know and don’t count it

Value of tutorial is creating once and using multiple times in multiple ways

Statistics are important in telling our story for funding and value

ARL and ACRL need to do something about this and help define

Online instruction has been around for a long time – why is this lagging?

Online For-Credit Courses

Most just treat it as something very separate
Many librarians teach this as separate from their librarian job

Exploratory survey – call to action for ACRL/ARL to put up standards

A lot of varience
Counted for a significant amount of my time