I’m currently taking an instructional design course through an ALA e-course, taught by Nicole Pagowsky and Erica DeFrain. As part of the coursework, I will be doing some of the class exercises and posting them to my blog. When I was in library school, I took one class on information literacy but I don’t feel it truly prepared me for what I would be doing in my job, which is why I am taking this course!
Blog Post 1
Answers to worksheet on page 7:
1. Specific Context of the Teaching/Learning Situation
For the English 160 Course that I have a library instruction session for, there will be around 23 students in the class. This is a lower division course, that helps students understand different forms of writing. There is actually no research component to this course, which makes their session in the library more unique, because there isn’t quite a point of need just yet. They meet for 75 minutes twice a week, although their session with me in the library is just for a single class. It is delivered in person, and they will be coming into the library classroom for their session.
2. General Context of the Learning Situation
This English 160 course is one of 2 first-year writing courses. Typically, the next level course is when the students come into the library for instruction. The learning expectation from this class is to help prepare them for college level writing in the rest of their classes at the university. For the library session, the learning expectation is generally that the students are introduced to the library as a place to do research. For the specific session, the writing instructor requested “Basic research skills, instruction on how to use the library resources, how to identify a reliable source.” The research and writing skills developed in this semester can be the foundation for the students ability to read and write for the rest of their lives.
3. Nature of the Subject Is this subject primarily theoretical, practical, or a combination?
The nature of library instruction for this particular session will be primarily practical for the students, but I hope that my own approach to teaching them will be informed by my own understanding of instructional design and critical pedagogy.
4. Characteristics of the Learners
For many, this is their first semester here at the university. They are just being introduced to college level writing, and becoming familiar with library resources. They are not being required to search for scholarly sources in the English 160 course, but will need to in the next semester. Honestly, it’s hard for the librarians to really know their learning style preferences because we only see them in one or two sessions. We also do not do pre-course assessments currently.
5. Characteristics of the Teacher
My characteristics are currently changing, especially as I learn more about ID and critical pedagogy. I will say that I believe that I am learning along with the students that are in my classroom. I want to foster conversations in the classroom, and not just be the “sage on the stage”. I hope to incorporate active learning, and promote critical thinking in navigating information resources.
Answers to worksheet on pages 11-12:
- Applying information literacy into their academic and every day lives.
- Differentiating between different information types, and knowing what information source is appropriate for the student’s information need.
- Critical thinking would be most helpful for students who are begining to learn how to write, read, and research at a college level.
- Being able to connect the evaluation of resource types not only for writing research papers, but also in their everyday lives, i.e. not just believing everything that is published online as gospel.
Human Dimensions Goals
- That they are in an exciting time in their life which can set the stage for lifelong learning and that they have a community of people on campus who can help them succeed.
- I hope that students mostly feel comfortable coming into the library to study, research, socialize, or ask for assistance.
- At this point in their academic journey, students should learn about how to be good students in the rest of their courses and to build the skill set they need to be able to achieve that.
I am also in the process of slowly reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, while also taking this course. In chapter 2, Freire begins to discuss what he calls the “banking model” of education, where the teacher is seen at the authoritative figure in the classroom, and deposits knowledge into the students. He argues that this model of education creates citizens who will be more easily oppressed because they are not critically thinking, and more easily accept what is being told and asked of them. For library instruction, I do not see how the banking model would assist our students in being successful scholars or citizens.
In my previous exercise, I tried to express my hope that students would learn about differentiating different information types and knowing when to use what, so that later on in life, they’ll be able to critically think about the information they read. I’m not so convinced that objective information really exists, so it’s important for all of us to be able to examine the information we read and determine what biases the author might have, or what biases we might have. In the past, I have had students who believe that all information that is “available online” is not okay to use in their paper because their teacher told them so. They need “scholarly” articles. When I went to the library website to show them how to find those articles, the student said, “wait, but this is a website so I don’t know if I can use this.” This is an example of how dangerous the banking model can be. Students need to be taught to think, not to just repeat what they think they learned. This is why I believe critical pedagogy is important for library instruction. The skills I want students to learn has less to do with where to click on the library catalog, and more to do with critically thinking about the information they consume.