Instruction Observation

I observed another class today, this one for an archaeology class.  I was excited to begin my fantasy of becoming Indiana Jones!
The students were mostly sophomores and juniors, and most should have gotten a taste of library instruction before.  I was excited to learn a little about archaeology, and a lot about the resources best for research in the field, but left a little disappointed in the lack of subject specific instruction.  The session itself was strong in teaching library/research basics.  Especially in the use of a few analogies to help students understand how the VCU Libraries Search works.  It was compared to Zappos, a shopping site.  You can narrow down your selections in websites like Zappos, just like you can narrow down your selections on the library website.  I think it was a great way to point out these tools and try to get students to use them.  I think often, students just don’t even look!

Another great tip I picked up was the “tic-tac-toe” method.  I tell students to look around on other shelves if they can’t find the book they need, but giving it an actual name might help!

The librarian did not have a lot of information about the class before going in to teach it, which was part of the reason why the session was a little less specialized than I had imagined.  But he did a mid-class assessment to ensure he was hitting all the important points of information.  By handing out notecards, students were able to write down their research-related questions.  The librarian collected them and took a few minutes to go through them before continuing in the class.  He was able to address some questions students had, many of which were very similar to each other.  It was a nice way to ensure that student needs were being met.

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