Developing a New Curriculum for One-Shot Sessions at Heidelberg University
After finishing up my first year as an Instruction and Reference Librarian, I have the opportunity to reflect on what I did well and what I can improve for next year. One problem came up consistently for me: overlapping students in my one-shot sessions. While this issue does not reflect every academic library, it can happen to libraries that have not yet had the opportunity to build an integrated library program beyond the one-shot session. With this in mind, I aim to build structured one-shot sessions that will hopefully turn into an integrated library program in the future.
A large part of my job is teaching basic information literacy to two of the core freshman courses, Writing 101 and Communication 100. Since Heidelberg is a small university, I am able see the same students two to four times in a school year. While I am grateful for the opportunity to work with almost every freshmen student on campus (often on multiple occasions), I learned a couple of things: 1) Students get bored with similar presentations, and 2) I do not like the feeling of working with disengaged students. Last summer, I thought I had my curriculum down. It included active learning, individual learning, and small group discussions. I also received compliments from instructors and students throughout the school year. However, overlapping students was one component that I was not prepared for as a first-year library instructor, and I feared that it was hurting my relationships with students.
Trying to resolve this for the short term, I played around with different lesson plans for each class I worked with. However, it was not the structured, well laid out curriculum I had hoped to accomplish. At the end of the semester, I talked with the English Department Chair and we discussed the IL skills he wanted his writing students to learn. After meeting with him, I began forming a new curriculum for each course. Communication 100 would focus on research skills, like developing research topics and search terms; Writing 101 would focus on evaluation skills and understanding different types of resources and their importance to research.
I was able to try the new lesson with a couple of WRI 101 classes at the end of the spring semester. In these sessions, I observed that students were engaged in the lesson, and because I had seen over half of the students before, I was able to continue building a positive rapport with them.
Looking to the future, I am planning on meeting with the department heads again before the 2018-2019 school year starts. My goal is to communicate with them early on about how the one-shot sessions will be set up and why. I am hoping that with the department chairs on board, this will be a smooth process.
-Jaclyn Spraetz, Heidelberg University