This semester has really picked up this month, and as a result, my final post for the IDEALA Instructional Design course is very late. But I want to finish what I started so here goes!
The session I was prepping for in this course was for an in-person, first year writing class. Ultimately, my end goal for them was to introduce them to the library and its services, as well as assist them in finding various source types for their assignments. Again, they don’t have a research assignment for this course, but they have been asked to find some scholarly sources for an argumentative paper.
My main learning goals for the students in the session was for them to understand the differences between various information types, like popular sources and academic journal articles and also be able to identify where to begin searching for materials in the library.
My original plan for assessment was to have students complete a worksheet that had them looking for various materials using the library catalog and database, then having a brief class discussion at the end. I actually taught this session a couple of weeks ago, and I was very disappointed in how everything went. I thought the class material (horror films) would be really interesting for students, and finding various articles, books, and movies in the library catalog/discovery tool would actually be fun. Most students were looking for the “easiest” examples so they could just get their assignment over with. Despite my best efforts, only a few finished the worksheet, and generally, the students did not want to talk about their experience.
I had wanted to use a constructivist approach to my session, but I do not think it was as effective. Because this was a one-shot session I just didn’t have as much time with the students to really try to connect what they were learning my session to what they would need to do. I also had kept in mind the Expectancy-Value theory, so everything the students did in their activity was tied to their assignment. I feel like this was perhaps too cut and dry, thus ended up not motivating the students.
For my session, I kept it old-school by using a piece of paper for my worksheet. I could also see using other tools like Google forms perhaps, or Padlet to encourage students to share their results with each other and myself.
Although this post is so late in the course, I want to say that I did learn quite a bit. I have no background in instructional design. In particular, week 3’s materials on learning theory was very helpful for me to understand how we can better approach library instruction. I do still struggle with assessment, but I’m glad we focused on assessment in this course. The concept of backwards-design was also new to me, which will change how I approach instruction from now on. For my sessions, I will always try to be thoughtful in determining what it is that I want my students to walk away with, before I start planning anything.
I was very happy to see that there were critical pedagogy prompts in this course. I began reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed and find many of the concepts very important for librarians who teach. In some ways, the things we encourage in our classrooms like active learning and student participation parallel some of the concepts I read in Freire’s book. I was not explicitly able to incorporate critical pedagogy in the class I used for this course. The closest thing I did was using the example of “feminism” AND “horror films” as a way to show different types of scholarship in horror film genre. It’s not just ghosts, witches, and slasher films, I wanted students to see that people have a critical lens and examined the same things they are researching. Critical pedagogy will continue to be something I will want to continue to learn about on my own, but again I was happy to see it here in an ALA course.