Monthly Archives: March 2013

Online Instruction

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be the first librarian in my university system to “visit” an online class for an instruction session. Our online librarian hosts regular sessions that students can choose (or be instructed) to attend, but I hold the distinction of actually setting up an online infolit session.

It was a little messy at first planning with the instructor. First, he was an adjunct so he wasn’t around a lot which meant I had to bend my schedule to work with him -which I was happy to do.

Second, I don’t have my own Adobe Connect or similar account like our online librarian does so we had to get crafty. Fortunately I do have administrator privileges with our learning management system so it was decided that I would access the class as the instructor (since I was originally granted this opportunity as a lesson-plan filler on a day he would be absent – I’ll take what I can get!).

I was exhilarated with this opportunity. Our LMS doesn’t allow screensharing so I took my lesson plan for this class (that I usually teach in-person, on campus) and created a PowerPoint presentation version. The LMS does have a poll system you can use to engage the students and I rearranged my interactive assignments of rating the websites we visited (instead of my usual approach which is to have groups assess 1 website each and explain their rating (Unreliable, Reliable, Very Reliable) to the class.

In the end I was able to visit 2 different sections this adjunct was teaching (for balance). Monday night went very smoothly. It was a small section but the PowerPoint worked well, the students seemed engaged, and I was very happy with the result.

Tuesday night was more … interesting. Our LMS had problems loading the same PowerPoint and after consulting with another faculty member I determined it was a technical error. Fortunately I was able to think on my feet – there was still audio transmission so I uploaded the PowerPoint to the online Documents sharing board and the students were able to follow the presentation more or less streamlined with my audio. Considering the delay and the technical difficulties I thought that session went over pretty well although it cut our time to about half so I had to rush through a few points I would have liked to addressed in greater depth.

I was eager to see what the results from the assessment asked the students to fill out would  be, unfortunately there’s less control in an online environment and out of the 26 students (between the 2 sections) only 8 completed the electronic survey I sent. Still, the few responses are encouraging – the students seem more aware of the librarians’ presence and ability to help, and understand how to evaluate information and search the online library better.

The comments section was also encouraging – including wishing that I had visited earlier in the term (Golden comment for swaying instructors!), how they learned to find articles through the library search box, and that we’re here to help!

One student wrote “I’m just happy to have her on my side.”

That just about melted me emotionally and professionally.


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