By Amber Spratlin
Reference and Instruction librarians have been hard at work planning library instruction in non-traditional ways to adapt to new classroom stipulations. CJ Ivory, Assistant Professor and Instruction Librarian in Ingram Library at the University of West Georgia (UWG), shared with us how the Instruction Librarians at UWG are handling the pandemic.
The University of West Georgia serves approximately 13,000 students, and has elected to implement a flipped, hybrid classroom model. Students will review relevant course content outside of synchronous class meetings using UWG’s learning management system, and use class time to implement the skills learned outside of the class.
Library instruction at UWG is traditionally face-to-face, and while Ivory and most Instruction librarians still prefer this model, adaptation has been necessary to work within the flipped classroom framework. Ivory and the other Instruction librarians at UWG have developed an interactive, text-based online learning module called Library DIY.
“[Library DIY is] designed to help students get quick answers to questions related to using the library and getting started with research. I was on the team that adapted this tutorial to serve the UWG community. My colleague Anne Barnhart has imported over 70 pages of this content into an online course and added assessment quizzes. The course, titled LibraryDen, is hosted in our course management system and can be imported into other classes. The full course takes an average of 3-4 hours to complete and it is the equivalent of about 5% of instruction time for a semester-long course.”CJ IVory, Assistant Professor and Instruction Librarian – Ingram Library
Additionally, the Instruction librarians at UWG have developed a series of video-based tutorials which can replace traditional one-shot instruction sessions. These 15-25 minute videos can be uploaded to the learning management system by professors who would like instruction for their classes outside of the synchronous class experience, or can be paired to cover a full in-person class session. Some of the video topics include: developing a research topic, creating a search strategy (what types of sources, select keywords), how to find books, how to find articles, understanding when and why to use scholarly sources, how to avoid plagiarism, and how to evaluate sources.
Ivory anticipates that 24/7 library chat and one-on-one research consultations will play a more important role than ever this semester, as phone and digital meetings will be the only format for research consultations.
Though the preparation of the newly-available tools was completed out of necessity, and appears to have been a gargantuan undertaking, the hard work is paying off already. Because of a staffing shortage, instruction requests were being turned away previously due to lack of time. Now, with the additions of Library DIY and the video series, more students than ever are being given library instruction, uninhibited by time constraints.
The creativity, ingenuity and hard work displayed by CJ Ivory, Anne Barnhart, and the other librarians at UWG is to be applauded. Though the circumstances may be less than ideal, these librarians (and others across the state) are adapting well to the pandemic, and making a positive impact on their campus.