Category Archives: Instruction

Student invited me to lunch

It is usually dead on Fridays, but it was buzzing around the reference and circulation desk. People had questions about today’s workshops. They wanted to know when the next workshops were going to be held because they had to go to class.
Two young men were walk-ins for citation writing workshop. The older gentlemen that attended the PowerPoint workshop wanted to take me to lunch. He was very grateful. I told him the library has not done a workshop since the early ’90s. I was worried no one would show up. He reassured me he needed the help, and was happy I had the workshops.

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People signed up for my workshop!

I had this horrible feeling last night as I was preparing for my workshops, that not one student would sign up. I dreaded looking at the sign up sheet this morning.

I know some of the students need help writing citations and creating PowerPoint presentations. Wednesday I spent an hour helping a young lady create 3 slides. There are only a few classes if any held on Friday. So, I was hoping I would get the people really struggling, or have assignments due today.

My worries were set aside when I saw that one person signed up for the PowerPoint 2007 workshop, and two people for the APA and MLA style writing workshop. Fridays are really dead, and the reference desk is slow. I had one tour of the library so far. Working part-time I have few responsibilities, and these workshops will keep me busy, help the students, and give me more experience. I am really happy they signed up. Lets see if they  show up on this rainy day!

How can librarians improve student success

The recent news of the national search for new Presidents for six of the City Colleges of Chicago has led me to think about many issues. Four goals for student success have been injected into the new job description of the Presidents of the City Colleges of Chicago. Those four goals are:

  • “Increasing the number of students who earn college credentials of value.”
  • “Increasing the rate of transfer to bachelor’s degree programs following CCC graduation.”
  • “Significantly improving outcomes for students requiring remediation.”
  • “Increasing the number and share of ABE/GED/ESL students who advance to and succeed in college-level courses.”

After receiving this news in my inbox I began to think about how I could improve student success. As a librarian and an Adjunct faculty member of the City Colleges of Chicago it is my responsibility to make sure our students succeed as well.

I interact with students ever time I come to work. I help them with their assignments, teach them how to use library resources such as databases, and try to motivate them. I am beginning to think I can do more. I sit at the reference desk and I do classroom instruction when requested by faculty members. Why don’t we do workshops? Workshops about writing citations and bibliographies, teaching students how to use new technologies such as social media, how to do research on the internet, or use Microsoft Office. I help students on an individual basis, but making it known to all students I am here to help.

Okay, just spoke to Head of Reference and it is on. The workshop idea has been well received. I am thinking workshops at the end of my shift would be more beneficial students. Students will be getting off of work, or out of class.

I think I lost them!

My second instruction session went fine. It did not go as well as the first. The instructor was sitting in the back of the room on a computer. Some the students were talking. We were in the computer lab. So, I walked up and down the aisles to make sure they were following me. We searched the library catalog, I showed them subject headings, and we searched the Literature Resource Center database. The class was English 101. I created a blog, and discussed the more relevant databases we subscribe to at Wright. Here is the blog I created http://libraryorientation.wordpress.com/recommended-databases/. We discussed e-books, and how to search the library catalog for them. I showed them how to find full-text and scholarly journal articles in the databases. I gave them a library tour. They were really into the New York Times on microfilm dating back to 1851. One student wanted to take a look. They have an assignment where they have to print out a page from our set.

What made this session strange is the instructor’s insistence that I show the students reference books. Of course, I kept publicize our electronic databases which contain encyclopedias such as Gale Virtual Reference Library. She did not like this. So, I pulled books of the shelf. I showed them encyclopedias about religion, Chicago history, you name it! She wanted the students to make a list of 25 random reference books. I asked if she wanted me to help them search the library catalog to find item in the computer lab. She said she wanted them to walk up and down the aisles. I really lost the students when I started to pull books off the shelf.

During this instruction session the students were talking to their neighbors. So, I have decided to break the students into groups. They will search for books and articles. I created a library exercise on my library orientation blog. Hopefully, this works out the next time. I will let you know how it goes.

Image from: http://callitaweasel.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/bored-students.jpg?w=280&h=210

First Instruction Session Ever!

I started to give instruction sessions to students a couple of weeks ago. My first session went well. They were foundational students that needed to know the basics. They needed to know how to log into Blackboard, get their assignments, post assignments, comment, and send their classmates email. A few of them did not know how to access their email. So, I showed them where to log in on Wright College’s website. This was necessary because their professor would be sending them emails about the course. I gave them a tour of the library which went well. At first a few of them were talking, but as I got more involved they started to pay more attention. Luckily, they had an assignment so it made it easy to show them how to search the databases and library catalog. The assignment was African-American biographies. I taught them how to search Biographies Plus Illustrated for background information and peer-reviewed articles.