Session Abstracts

Keynote Speaker | Breakout Session I | Breakout Session II | Breakout Session III

Keynote Speaker: Carrie Salazar

Carrie Salazar (she/her/hers) has been a community college librarian at Middlesex Community College for the past five years, but has recently taken a position at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She’s originally from Miami and is a first generation college grad and daughter of a Cuban immigrant. Growing up in Miami, among a large immigrant population, has defined and shaped her approach in librarianship. She feels strongly about advocating for voices of students who have not been traditionally represented in academia. She works collaboratively with students, wanting to empower them to find their voice and become agents of change themselves. When she’s not at the library, Carrie likes cooking, baking, adoring her 12 year old long hair chihuahua, Ramses, and researching other systems of oppression to figure out ways to challenge them.

Breakout Session I

Students Front and Center: Database Information Solutions!

Mary MacDonald, Jim Kinnie, and Peter Larsen, University of Rhode Island

Brief Description: Tired of teaching one database after another? Students still wondering which database is “best” for their needs? Do students always seem to go to the one general database they already know? Learn how to empower students to successfully evaluate and select appropriate databases for specific purposes.

Abstract: This student centered learning experience will provide students with confidence in choosing appropriate relevant databases for their information research needs -- a skill all too many students are challenged by. If accepted we hope to share our experiences with our colleagues in ACRL-NELIG so they may adapt for their own instruction opportunities. Using student centered learning activities this lesson has been used for multiple sessions in a credit course and can also be adapted for one-shot instruction sessions. Students enrolled in a URI 3-credit course, LIB 150, Search Strategies for the Information Age, engage in a multi-session project, Database Information Solutions!, in order learn about the value of using a wide variety of databases for their information research needs. This lesson allows students to build confidence to evaluate many more databases than one instructor could cover in the same amount of class time. Moving from librarian lecture and demonstration mode to students explore and engage mode, small groups of students are assigned a topical scenario. Librarians provide guidance on how to investigate several possible databases, asking students to explore the various elements of each (such as subject, content, scope, navigation, depth), and to select the most appropriate database for the scenario. Students then briefly share their recommendations in brief presentations to the class. These presentations can also be done in jigsaw format to save time during a one-shot instruction session. 

Scenarios: This presentation will explain the lesson, share the materials, and provide an opportunity for attendees to draft scenarios for use in their own teaching. Scenarios are written to expose students to subject-specific databases that relate to their academic majors, programs, or disciplines. These scenarios are easily adapted to accommodate different groups of students. As an example, this scenario could be used by students of life sciences, public relations, or journalism:

Climate Change theme Global warming and climate change are topics of great interest to scientists, government officials and politicians. Your group needs to help a fledgling non-profit organization run by URI students to gather resources and materials by helping them to select a useful database. Their mission is to bring awareness via a public relations campaign regarding climate change and also to provide resources to scientists who they are helping to conduct research. They will need access to periodical article databases and are seeking your expertise in helping them to make their decision.

Student Learning Outcomes for Database Information Solutions! Students in LIB 150 have additional tasks that include developing and presenting search strategies for the selected database that would support solving the information need in their assigned scenario. Here are the learning outcomes used in the credit course setting for Database Information Solutions!: 1.To gain knowledge of subject specific article databases and uses within the context of an information need. 2. To gain skill and practice in identifying, evaluating, and selecting databases best suited for an assigned topical research scenario. 3.To communicate your knowledge clearly for the benefit of others. 4. To gain experience with presentations, working in groups, and with using technology in presentations.

Used in a one-shot instruction session, the student learning outcomes would be simplified due to time constraints: 1. To gain knowledge of subject specific article databases and uses within the context of an information need 2. To gain skill and practice in identifying, evaluating, and selecting databases best suited for an assigned topical research scenario.

Teaching the Framework: Adaptable Activities for Hands-On Learning and Information Literacy

Miranda Orvis Kispert, Weber State University

Brief Description: This workshop is for anyone who has wished for a way to teach citation styles and the ethical use of information without lecturing. Experience hands-on student-centered learning activities to teach citations, the iterative nature of the research process and its real-life applications, the contextual nature of authority, the value of information, and more, and leave with instructions for using the activities in your own classroom, or adapt them to your needs.

Abstract: Information literacy skills and concepts are best learned by doing – but this often translates to guided searches, citation worksheets, or projects such as literature reviews. While these are hands-on exercises, they hardly put the student at the center of the learning process, and the onus remains on the student to interpret and extrapolate meaning from the lesson. Whether you’re tired of lecturing about citing sources, you’ve been looking for ways to turn lackluster lessons into active learning opportunities, or you’ve struggled to communicate to your students the concepts of the ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, the activities demonstrated in this workshop will have something for you.  

These activities have been used in a face-to-face, eight-week, one-credit information literacy course required for graduation in an open-enrollment university, but could be adapted for a range of applications, including one-shot sessions, multi-shot sessions, and even potentially online classes. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to try out some of these activities during the workshop, and will receive instructions and information for all of the activities to adapt and use. Activities include:

Show Them the Ropes: A class activity involving some light physical activity and several balls of yarn to demonstrate the different ways the research process can “look” during different scenarios, including real-life situations, assignments, and research papers. Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs): identify real-life applications of the research process; articulate that the research process is iterative and non-linear; recognize the importance of choosing information sources wisely; understand that anyone can contribute to scholarly conversations. ACRL Frames: Information Creation as a Process; Research as Strategic Exploration; Research as Inquiry; Scholarship as Conversation.

Info Types Table Tents: Groups are given two or more items (articles, blog posts, mottos, holy books, etc.) to label using table tents (Short, Long, Primary, Secondary, Trade, Scholarly, Popular, Peer Reviewed, and It Depends). SLOs: identify types and formats of information; recognize the relative value information; articulate that information has authority under some circumstances/contexts but not others. ACRL Frames: Authority is Constructed and Contextual; Information has Value; Searching as Strategic Exploration; Information Creation as a Process.

Who Has the Copyright: Groups are given two or more items (old books, new books, government documents, archival materials, original artworks, etc.) as copyrighted and explain why or why not. SLOs: understand copyright, public domain, and Creative Commons; identify copyrighted items; recognize that all sources must have attribution, not only copyrighted materials. ACRL Frames: Information has Value; Research as Inquiry.

The Plagiarism Scandal Mystery: A (fake) campus newspaper article reports that two employees are accused of plagiarism and threatened with firing; the class must use the “original” copy of their article to clear their names, using clues such as the missing last page, complete in-text citations, and guidance from the instructor. (Done with the permission of the authors!) SLOs: read and write APA citations and in-text citations; identify source types by reading citations; articulate the importance of ethical use of information. ACRL Frames: Information has Value; Research as Inquiry.

Creating a Space for Public History: Student Curators and Library Exhibitions

Joshua Dacey, Dartmouth College

Brief Description: In the Spring of 2019, I developed a lesson plan with the goal of empowering students to become curators of the exhibition spaces in the Baker-Berry Library. Through a guided lesson, students learned the basic principles of exhibition curation. By the end of the lesson, the students will have achieved a general understanding of the curatorial process to be employed as they curate an exhibition to be displayed in the Baker-Berry Library.

Abstract: College archival collections, artifacts, and art work, can often be found on display in dedicated exhibition spaces on campus. At Dartmouth College, the dedicated exhibition spaces are part of the library learning environment. The Baker-Berry Library has four separate spaces for curatorial works to be displayed. Curator's for the exhibits are often recruited from library staff and College faculty. Being the central authorities of scholarship on campus, the decision to allow established academics to curate moments of a college's history seems logical. Yet if we consider the largest audience for these exhibitions, the students, we find a disconnect between the academic presentation of exhibitions and the meaningful engagement of students with the materials these displays present. Students might acknowledge the presence of a text panel and a few artifacts, but how many of the students feel represented by the stories presented? How many of the students share a sense of ownership with the work that is being displayed? These challenges can be resolved using a learner centered approach, as has been the recent experience of Dartmouth Library staff. 

In the Spring of 2019, I developed a lesson plan with the goal of empowering students to become curators of the exhibition spaces in the Baker-Berry Library. Through a guided lesson, students learned the basic principles of exhibition curation. Then, students employed their new skillset to develop an exhibition to be displayed in the summer of 2019. Each student was allowed the opportunity to conduct research, select images and artifacts, create artifact captions, and co-create an exhibition narrative. The creation of the lesson plan also allowed library staff a chance to play a new role in classroom instruction. In the “Curating Co-ownership” lesson plan, library staff participate as curatorial consultants for the students as they workshop through the exhibition development process. Examples of exhibition text, images, and captions, are presented to the students. The students analyze the examples and decide what is engaging and what is superfluous. Then, students are asked to demonstrate their curatorial skills in breakout sessions. By the end of the lesson, the students will have achieved a general understanding of the curatorial process to be employed as they curate an exhibition to be displayed in the Baker-Berry Library. Overall, the students walk away from the experience having learned a unique skill, that of a public historian which can be utilized in other areas of their academic work.

This presentation describes how the “Curating Co-ownership” lesson plan was developed and then implemented in the classroom. It also provides an opportunity for fellow librarians to explore how such a lesson plan can be adapted to meet their institutional needs and expand their library’s services.

Learning to Evaluate and Evaluating to Learn: A Student-Centered Approach to Critical Evaluation

Matthew Flaherty, Quinnipiac University

Brief Description: This presentation will examine student-centered approaches to teaching and learning that move beyond judging information by surface characteristics towards more critical evaluative processes necessary for inquiry and deep learning. It will not only address well known information literacy skills and strategies for assessing trustworthiness and usefulness, but also the personal dimensions of information that affect the evaluation process including one’s existing knowledge, beliefs, dispositions, goals, and abilities. It will present evidence-based strategies, assignments, and activities that can be tailored to teach students how to evaluate information in terms of their learning.

Abstract: Academic librarians and teaching faculty have long focused a great deal of their information literacy, inquiry, and research method instruction on teaching skills and cognitive strategies for critically evaluating information. Many of these strategies have been codified into checklists for assessing the credibility of an information source, including different variations of the popular CRAAP model. While these tools provide important questions to ask about an information source, they have been criticized for encouraging mechanical evaluation of surface characteristics rather than the deep learning and critical thinking necessary for self-authorship. These criticisms often have their roots in critical pedagogy, where opponents charge that prescriptive checklists force students to defer to authority rather than critically engage it. On their own these strategies may in fact as a barrier to critically engaging information for students that are motivated extrinsically by performance-based goals, have a low need for cognition, and have not yet developed a sophisticated level of epistemological understanding.

What might be a richer, more meaningful process to equipping students with information evaluation strategies? How might librarians and faculty collaborate to better prepare students to use these strategies to think critically about information? An instruction librarian sought to address these questions with faculty via a fellowship sponsored by Quinnipiac University’s Center for Teaching and Learning. This presentation grew from those efforts. Thus, it will not discuss the implementation or assessment of a specific undertaking. Rather it will examine how different research-based, student-centered activities and assignments can be tailored to focus on both learning to evaluate and evaluating to learn. That is, the presenter will offer a more holistic approach to critically evaluating information that includes teaching skills used for assessing trustworthiness and argumentation while also addressing student dispositions, emphasizing metacognition, and motivating students to account for how their own beliefs affect their learning.

Establishing student learning as an evaluative criterion follows the example of the writing across the curriculum movement, which acknowledges that both writing to learn and learning to write are necessary for students to join disciplinary conversations. Self-journaling, research and learning logs, and paired interviews can be scaffolded and combined with traditional inquiry-based products such as the research prospectus and the annotated bibliography to stimulate self-regulatory strategies while prompting students to consider how the personal dimensions of information affect and advance their learning. Student peer-review and visual mapping activities can be used to conceptualize the interpersonal aspects of information so that traditional skills-based evaluation criteria for assessing trustworthiness are better contextualized in the broader academic information culture.

Learning to evaluate and evaluating to learn puts the student at the forefront. It encourages self-authorship, inspires an inquiry mindset that seeks out multiple viewpoints, and it aids in the interiorization of cognitive and metacognitive strategies that can be used to think critically in novel situations.

Breakout Session II

Reimagining the one-shot: A student-centered approach for introducing first-year students to the library

Alissa Link, Northeastern University

Brief Description: Looking to increase students’ engagement with and understanding of the library and its resources? This session will explore how librarians can reimagine the initial exposure of first year students to the library and its resources through collaboration, active learning, and asynchronous activities.

Abstract: This session will explore how a traditional library instruction session was adapted to give students a richer and more interactive learning experience leading to the expansion of a collaboration between an introductory biology class and the library. The session will detail the adaption of an existing lesson plan, creation of an asynchronous scavenger hunt, and addition of a student-centered, hands-on assignment.

The library has had a longstanding partnership with an introductory class taken by nearly all first year Biology students. Rather than focus on biology content, this course introduces students to college via skills, expectations, and cohort forming activities. One goal of the course, as described by a professor, is to help the students build a cohort they can depend on throughout their time in college.

Previously, the liaison librarian taught a single instruction session followed by a library tour led by several additional librarians. While effective as an introduction to the library’s physical space, tours placed a strain on staff at a busy time of year. Additionally, we received feedback from the course’s professors that students found it easy to tune out of the tour and/or only caught bits and pieces of the content.

To encourage self-driven learning, the library instruction session was redesigned to include hands-on, in-class components and an asynchronous scavenger hunt. Both changes were enthusiastically received by the course faculty.

The new in-class lesson plan asked students to use databases to refine a general topic to a ‘researchable’ topic so they would leave class with something tangible to show for their time. At the end of class, the scavenger hunt was introduced and students were asked to complete it with previously assigned groups.

During the scavenger hunt, students were asked to submit anonymous questions, and one question appeared consistently: How do I use EndNote? Based on this feedback, it was clear the introduction on EndNote provided during the in-class session was not sufficient, so a screencast video introducing EndNote was recorded. Not wanting to alert faculty to a challenge without also providing a solution, the video was sent to faculty when informing them this question was commonly occurring. Faculty were not optimistic about their students watching the tutorial and consequently scheduled a second library instruction session focusing only on EndNote. An interactive, in-class assignment was created asking students to ‘learn by doing’ and create a deliverable using EndNote to be turned into Blackboard. The class consisted of roughly ten to fifteen minutes of lecture with the remainder of the time being given to students to work on the assignment.

The end result of the adapted curriculum for the introductory biology course was overall positive. The addition of the new lesson plan and scavenger hunt resulted in increased engagement, swift identification of needs, and reactive programming to quickly fill the gap in students’ knowledge. Student and faculty feedback on the adapted curriculum was encouraging, and the collaboration was repeated the following semester. We will continue to adapt and improve upon the classes for subsequent semesters.

Decolonizing Databases: A Scalable Critical Pedagogy Activity

Lori DuBois and Emery Shriver, Williams College

Brief Description: Inspired by Safiya Umoja Noble’s Algorithms of Oppression, essays and lesson plans in Critical Library Pedagogy (Nicole Pagowsky and Kelly McElroy, eds.), and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, this presentation will describe a critical pedagogy activity that interrogates systems of oppression in library research tools and challenges students to reflect on the emotional aspects of their research experience. We will discuss how we have modified the activity for different courses and disciplines, classroom settings, and class session lengths. This activity is suitable for librarians who are beginning to consider how to incorporate critical pedagogy into their teaching. 

Abstract: While Noble’s research highlights how Google’s search algorithm reflects and perpetuates structural racism and sexism, it is important to recognize that mainstream scholarly publishing and library research tools also contribute to systems of oppression. Known locally as “Christine’s exercise” for our colleague who originally created the activity, this critical library pedagogy activity examines controlled vocabulary used in library databases.

Christine created the original activity for a course called Ways of Knowing, a required course for anthropology and sociology majors. As part of a 75-minute class session, she asked students to find a specific article in Anthropological Literature and Sociological Abstracts, the major databases for the disciplines, and compare the subject terms assigned to the article. Through discussion of the exercise, students learned that they can be more strategic in searching library databases by using discipline-specific terminology, but they also recognized that these controlled vocabulary systems are created by people and as a result generally reflect Western ways of knowing and biases.

We were interested in using this database exercise for other courses for a few reasons. First, we are learning about critical pedagogy and incorporating its principles into our teaching. This exercise rejects the “banking model” of education by enabling students to actively learn about databases, share what they have learned with their classmates, and reflect on their experiences. Additionally, the exercise focuses on the more conceptual approach of the ACRL Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education. It can address a number of the frames including Searching as Strategic Exploration, Information Creation as Process, Information Has Value, and Authority is Constructed and Contextual.

We have found that the activity can be adapted for different courses and disciplines, session lengths, and classroom situations. At Williams, we tailor each library session to the particular course. Instead of using Christine’s original article, we select an article and databases specific to the course. For a brief visit to the course classroom with no technology, we use printouts of the records from multiple databases instead of searching the databases directly. For full class sessions in the library’s computer classroom, the activity can be expanded to include researching who creates and sells the database, who creates the controlled vocabulary system used, and the inclusion criteria for journals and other materials in the database.

During the presentation, we will describe the activity, discuss our process for adapting it, and provide examples of the adaptations.

Placing Students' Questions at the Center: Engaging Students with Archival Materials

Chloe Morse-Harding and Laura Hibbler, Brandeis University

Brief Description: This interactive session will present a student-centered approach to archival instruction using a modified version of the Question Formulation Technique (QFT). Developed by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana (2011), the QFT is an instructional technique which guides students in developing questions, improving upon those questions, and identifying which questions they feel are important. 

Abstract: While most students enter college with some degree of experience using secondary sources, many students have limited experience using primary sources. Often, college students (and many high school students) have encountered primary sources in a mediated setting, such as in a guided class session using hand-selected examples, with background information provided for each one. Students may not have the confidence or experience working with primary sources to see how those primary sources can serve as a springboard for developing their own original research questions.

This interactive session will present a student-centered approach to archival instruction using a modified version of the Question Formulation Technique (QFT). Developed by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, the QFT is an instructional technique which guides students in developing questions, improving upon those questions and identifying which questions they feel are important (The Right Question Institute, n.d.). This student-centered teaching style focuses on exploring student created observations and analysis, and shifts the attention from the teacher to the student. By incorporating a modified version of the QFT into instruction with archival materials, we have also empowered students to brainstorm solid research questions in a low-stress environment. In this session, we will introduce the QFT and demonstrate how it can be modified for teaching and learning with archival materials. Attendees will be asked to take on the role of a student researcher, exploring archival materials and developing potential research questions.

With this modified version of the QFT, students broken up into groups and given time to explore primary sources from an archival collection. After the exploration portion of the class, student groups are asked to generate a list of as many questions as possible, without discussing, criticizing, responding to, or rephrasing any of the questions. Thus, students are given the freedom and platform to brainstorm questions without worrying about whether their questions are “good enough.” After students have generated their questions, each group is asked to select a question from their list that might be an effective research question. Each group presents their archival collection to the rest of the class, and shares the research question they have identified. Rather than being teacher-driven, this type of class focuses solely on the student, and facilitating their success in research.

While their questions may start as basic sourcing of their documents, students begin to ask more sophisticated questions over the course of the exercise. This process of question formulation allows students to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze primary sources without the aid of secondary sources to provide historical context or background. By questioning those sources and demonstrating an understanding of historical empathy and biases, students begin the process of research as inquiry and recognize how they might apply these sources in their own original research.

Work Cited The Right Question Institute. (n.d.) Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Retrieved from

No Zombies Here!: An Inquiry-Based Learning Approach to an Embedded Librarian Project

Sam Boss and Kristi J. Castleberry, Northern Vermont University

Brief Description: Since 2017, a library director and English professor have been collaborating on an embedded librarian project guided by the concept of inquiry-based learning. The goal of the project is to seamlessly blend elements of the ACRL Framework with the learning objectives and content of the seminar through hands-on activities related to research and writing assignments. Attendees of this session will learn how to apply ACRL Framework concepts in a collaborative environment, nurture students’ critical approaches to new information, and foster a sense of passion by tying information literacy skills to issues of importance to the student.

Abstract: Since 2017, a library director and English professor have been collaborating on an embedded librarian project for a required Critical Thinking seminar. Our guiding concept is inquiry-based learning, and we have seen students connect with information literacy more deeply as we encourage them to explore information resources and to consider what scholarly conversation means to them. Our goal is to seamlessly blend elements of the ACRL Framework with the learning objectives and content of the seminar through hands-on activities related to research and writing assignments. Tying the Framework to ongoing projects has resulted in a higher level of engagement and greater sense of purpose. We want to nurture their entrance into scholarly discourse, and we find this kind of critical pedagogy takes the focus off of us and what we know and allows us to encourage our students’ ideas and voices.

One way we use inquiry-based learning is through a personalized learning approach, which allows students to engage with information literacy in a way that relates to their individual passions and projects. When students are working on essays about the novel Frankenstein, for example, we do a workshop to help them think about Research as Inquiry and Searching as a Strategic Exploration. Since they are looking for sources related to their paper topics, they are able to engage critically and meaningfully in their search of the library’s databases. We ask each student to find one book and one article and to locate key information about those sources to discover whether they are credible and useful. As they connect what they find with their ongoing projects, their engagement is high, and they continue to demonstrate a strong grasp of what they’ve learned when working on further projects.

Another way we use inquiry-based learning is through collaborative construction of meaning. For example, we do a two-part activity for Research as Inquiry and Authority is Constructed and Contextual in which small groups engage with research topics. On the first day, students choose their groups based on broad topics they find interesting (for example, zombies), and then they work together first to narrow the topics and then to find credible and useful sources. As they work, they discover how research and topic development intersect. For example, a group interested in the history of zombies discovers the relationship between zombie legends and slavery, which helps them narrow their topic further. They return to the larger group to share challenges and discoveries. On the second day, the groups reunite to examine their sources in order to determine credibility and authority. As they return to the larger group, they can discover common trends, and they can also engage in a larger discussion about authority and credibility. Not only do they gain familiarity with information resources, which becomes clear as they work on their research papers, but they also begin thinking about authority in nuanced, critical ways and seeing themselves as part of a scholarly conversation.

Breakout Session III

"Nobody Ever Taught You How This Works": Using Visual Literacy to Talk About Meaning

Maura Keating and Terri Hasseler, Bryant University

Brief Description: How can we encourage students to be intentional about processes that are typically unnoticed? In this collaborative exercise, a faculty member and a librarian will introduce you to a lesson that asks you to get creative and make connections to visual literacy, information literacy, and critical thinking. 

Abstract: At Bryant University, first year students participate in a series of Gateway courses that introduce five learning objectives: effective communication, critical thinking, diversity awareness, ethical reasoning, and (our favorite) information literacy. The Global Foundations of Character and Leadership or GFCL course is a required course that “explores how multiple disciplinary frameworks and cross cultural perspectives can contribute to students' understanding of the concepts of character and leadership.” Faculty from a variety of disciplines bring their content knowledge to enrich the goals of the course, personalize the experience for their students, and challenge students to examine character from a wide range of perspectives.

Terri Hasseler is a Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies, who teaches courses in creative design, film, and literature. For her GFCL course, “Dystopian Futures and Micro-utopian Solutions,” students study a series of dystopian visions--worlds ruined by global warming, disease, inhumanity, and authoritarianism. What contemporary fears and problems give rise to these visions? And what can we do about these potential futures? How can we participate in creating a more hopeful world? Using cultural theory, socially engaged art practices, and literary analysis, the course engages students in the practice and development of the five critical learning objectives of the Gateway program. For their first course project, students work individually and as a group to construct a symbol, resulting in an artistic installation. Students reflect on the development of their symbol and work together to theorize symbol usage and dystopias.

Maura Keating, a Research and Instruction Librarian, worked with Hasseler to develop a collaborative lesson that would enable students to connect the course’s themes to information literacy and visual literacy. Before the first information literacy lesson of the course, students watch Christopher Nieman’s TEDTalk, “You are fluent in this language (and don’t even know it.)” In class, we use elements from Nieman’s TEDTalk to illustrate fundamentals of visual literacy, connections to information literacy, and how critical choices can affect meaning, perception, and understanding. We bring these elements together by asking students to draw on their own creativity, critical thinking, and knowledge to create an image using Niemann’s “Sunday sketching” model.

Session attendees will practice Niemann’s “Sunday Sketches” as an introductory exercise to examine the place of visual and symbolic language as a critical part of information literacy. Although Niemann argues that we are fluent in visual language, fluency is contingent upon our knowledge of the cultural and political contexts of the imagery. Studying how visual and symbolic language are used in public discourse provides students with the skill to read the imagery within time and space and within the complex discourses circling around them in culture.

Librarians Bridging the Divide: Working with Students on the Autism Spectrum

James H. Cho, Adelphi University

Brief Description: This presentation will provide strategies and best practices in working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). By understanding the nature of the diagnosis, educating themselves about the deficiencies, and developing workable approaches, this presentation will provide real world advice on how to be a more effective librarian/instructor when working with students with ASD.

Abstract: At Adelphi University, we pride ourselves on being a student ready university. Rather than thinking of the university as a place where only students who meet a certain criteria are matriculated, a student ready university aims to take students from where they are at academically and to help them learn and grow until they are successful students and graduates. Essential to this mission at Adelphi University is the Bridges to Adelphi Program. The Bridges Program is a support system that helps students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) adjust to university life and to succeed academically. As more and more students with ASD enter secondary educational institutions, universities must be prepared to meet their challenges. There is plenty in the academic literature on working with students with ASD for teaching faculty, but a dearth of scholarship for librarians and instructors of information literacy. This presentation will focus on how to fashion and design instruction so that it is student centered and thereby ensuring a greater chance of academic success for students with ASD. Four major challenges that most students with ASD face are executive functioning, central coherence, rigid and literal thinking, and sensory confusion. The steps to a successful overall strategies are: first, educating yourself about the diagnosis and symptoms, second, conducting effective outreach to students so that they know you personally and so that shyness and anxiety are minimized, third, altering the teaching of information literacy by, for example, creating a webinar in place of classroom instruction so that students can access the information on their own terms, fourth, relying on individual consultations to emphasize individualization and comprehensiveness of instruction, fifth, changing the teaching of the evaluation of information so that rather than just lecturing about the method of the CRAAP test, goal-oriented and real hands on applications of abstract concepts is emphasized, sixth, using direct exercises and real world examples for creating citations and understanding plagiarism, and finally, things to keep in mind when working with students whose symptoms may get in the way of learning or may cause misunderstanding by the instructor. Real life examples will be given in order to show the successes or failures of different instructional strategies. The author understands that not every college or university will have a support program like Bridges, but the strategies outlined in this presentation will be useful for librarians who work in an absence of support programs and in cases where students do not self-disclose their diagnosis to their professors and librarians. These approaches to teaching students with ASD emphasizes student centered methods and shifts the focus from the instructor to the needs of the students.

Exploring a Student-Driven Digital Archive: A Student Organization and Library Collaboration

Madeline Miller, Dartmouth College

Brief Description: This session focuses on a case study exploring a student-driven archival and digitization project centered on student organization history. The project explores the learning benefits, challenges, and preliminary drafts of a sustainable system of mentorship between students and librarians. 

Abstract: Self-driven digital archival projects provide opportunities for student engagement with the library. Academic archives are seeking ways to engage with students in digital environments and encourage student use of the archives in their research. At the same time, archivists are recognizing student organization records as a valuable component of institutional history that record student life, activism, and social engagement. These needs are combined in a collaboration between Special Collections and the Digital Library Program to experiment with enabling student-driven digitization projects centered on student organization materials. The steps involved allow a student to traverse and gain multifaceted knowledge of both the archives and digital collections.

Allowing the student to be the driving force in the project enhances the educational experience by adding elements of constructionist learning, situational learning, and problem based learning. The student actively performs each of the steps and produces a tangible product, they are invested in the outcome as they are making a valuable contribution to both the library and their organization’s community, and they are problem solving along the way in figuring out how to approach and make decisions for different aspects of the project. Having the library provide mentorship rather than invisible labor also opens the opportunity to build collaborative relationships between students and librarians as well as increase appreciation, interest, and understanding of library resources.

This session presents a case study that explores questions and solutions needed in order to enable a student to pursue a self-driven digital collection. The project utilizes materials donated from a student organization to test and analyze the process from the first steps of donating materials to digitization and output. The case study addresses key questions such as, "What are the benefits and challenges of a student-driven digital archive project mentored by the library?" and "How could students be motivated to engage with the library to donate their records to the archives or create their own digital library project?". Instead of focusing on an end product, the project centers around evaluating available resources, testing possible processes, and recognizing and overcoming barriers in order to increase the likelihood of a successful project that the library has the capacity to support.

Every institution presents its own unique resources and considerations in addressing a self-driven digital collection centered around student organization materials. This test case itself examines multiple processes which could be applied to various engagement and mentorship efforts within the library. After presenting information gained from the case study, the session will open up to participants for discussion; analyzing how the resources and dynamics at their own institutions might implement this type of collaboration to further their own library’s goals.

I Search: A Reflection on the Importance of a Personal Connection

Eric Shannon, Tracy Mendham, and Leslie Inglis, Franklin Pierce University

Brief Description: This session, led by two librarians and an adjunct faculty member, describes the benefits of replacing a traditional research paper with an I Search paper (a more informal first person research narrative) for students taking a first year inquiry course. An I Search paper facilitates student learning by encouraging students to select a topic that piques their interest and places the focus on students’ personal research journeys. Although this assignment was designed for a semester-long credit-bearing course, we will discuss ways to incorporate aspects of this assignment into a library one-shot.

Abstract: This session describes the benefits of replacing a traditional research paper or annotated bibliography with an I Search paper for students taking a required first year course, titled First Year Inquiry (FYI). Two librarians and an adjunct faculty member will be leading this presentation. As FYI instructors, we noticed that students did well on assignments that asked them to discuss their personal opinions, beliefs, and life goals, but struggled with more formal writing and research-based assignments. To meet students where they were, we replaced the annotated bibliography that had been assigned, with an I Search paper. An I Search paper is an informal research paper in which students describe their research process and present their research findings using first person narrative. The I search paper encourages students to explore a wide variety of library resources and search tools by placing the primary emphasis on the search process itself rather than the mechanics of their writing and strength of their argument.

An I Search paper facilitates student learning by encouraging students to select a topic that piques their interest. The assignment asks students to describe their initial understanding of their chosen topics, the successes and failures they encountered during the research process, and how the sources they used expanded their knowledge of their topics. This research assignment incorporates a learning tool known as reflective practice, which is based on the idea that experience alone is not enough to gain a thorough understanding of a topic. Instead, intentional reflection on students’ personal research experiences reinforces their understanding of the various search tools that they used and the steps they took to find the necessary resources. As students reflect on their respective research journeys, they are developing their abilities to understand their own thinking processes. Developing these metacognitive skills helps students think more deeply about the search strategies and time management tools that personally worked best for them and those that did not. Gaining this level of self-awareness can help students develop better research strategies that they can use when writing more formal research assignments.

In addition to developing students’ research skills, the I Search paper also helps instructors gain valuable insight on how students conduct research as well as students’ thoughts and evaluations of various search tools and resource types. By examining students’ reflections on the challenges encountered in using library resources, librarians can determine skills that need reinforcing in library instruction.

In this presentation we will provide an example of the I Search assignment, brief excerpts from students’ papers, and our own analysis of the student research process gained from their assignments. Although this assignment was designed for a semester-long credit bearing course, we will also discuss ways to incorporate aspects of this assignment into a library one-shot. Addresses the ACRL frameworks Searching as Strategic Exploration and Research as Inquiry.

Flipping Out! Using Flipped Lessons to Facilitate Active Learning in One-Shots

Benjamin Peck, University of New Hampshire

Brief Description: A revamped approach to teaching introductory first-year one-shot instruction sessions will be presented, highlighting how a traditional lecture and demonstration model shifted to a flipped instruction model. The new model uses online modules, assigned prior to an in-person one-shot as the primary mode of information transfer. The shift away from in-class lecture facilitates student-centered, participatory learning activities when the class meets in-person with a librarian, resulting in more engaged learning without sacrificing lesson content.

Abstract: I will present a revamped approach to teaching first-year one-shot instruction sessions at the University of New Hampshire. In my role as the First-Year Experience and Student Success Librarian, I have dramatically shifted the teaching methods used in our one-shot sessions, moving from a traditional lecture and demonstration model to a flipped instruction model that facilitates a student-centered approach to learning.

For years, instruction for first-year English composition classes was taught using a lesson plan dominated by lecture and demonstration, with no opportunities for active learning. This model was used was due to the desire to deliver as much information as possible in the limited time available during the one-shot. After I was hired into my newly-created position, I began making incremental changes to create space for student-centered learning without sacrificing the vital information transfer valued by librarians and our faculty partners.

The session will detail how I made this change happen by taking small, but deliberate steps over three years. I will share helpful tools and practical suggestions for how to construct and deploy flipped learning lesson plans by using online modules paired with active learning in the classroom.

First, I engaged with key stakeholders within the library and English department to cultivate buy-in and recruit partners to test new teaching methods. Testing the ideas with a smaller number of partners allowed me to build a case that a flipped approach was superior to the lecture-based approach.

I began tinkering with the new approach simply, by integrating active learning into the classes first though a paper-based jigsaw activity. This low-tech approach proved to be successful, but took a significant amount of the scarce class time. Valuable content that was covered in the lecture-based lesson plan was cut.

To mitigate this loss, I developed a flipped lesson plan, one where students engage with lesson content prior to class. The pre-class lesson was embedded in Canvas and LibGuides, used Credo Information Literacy Modules, and locally made videos for content. Successful completion results in students earning a digital badge.

The pre-class delivery of information allowed me to integrate more active learning into the in-person class. Within the new lesson plan, knowledge from the pre-class modules contributes to the active learning. Using Mentimeter, a collaborative presentation tool, students share ideas and compete in a quiz bowl, and also complete the paper-based jigsaw activity.

Feedback from students and faculty has been very positive. After a small pilot group used the flipped lesson plan in Fall 2018, the program expanded, now more than half of the classes are using this method and the whole program will use the approach in Fall 2019.

The success of the model has inspired plans for flipping information literacy lessons in other areas and provided an opportunity to rethink our broad approach to teaching information literacy to first-year students. Future plans involve developing first-year information literacy programs for partners in each college, with corresponding flipped lessons and a suite of badges.