Featured Teaching Librarian: Amanda Hornby

Several times a year, the ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee selects and interviews a librarian who demonstrates a passion for teaching, innovation, and student learning. Nominate yourself or someone great!

Amanda Hornby of the University of Washington

Amanda Hornby of the University of Washington

Name: Amanda Hornby

Institution: University of Washington

Job Title: Teaching & Learning Program Librarian

Number of Years Teaching: 12

What are you reading right now? Set the Boy Free by Johnny Marr

What’s your favorite vacation place you have traveled to or where would you like to visit? Lopez Island, Washington

Describe your favorite teaching method:

The flipped classroom method, which I implemented in my undergraduate teaching about 3 years ago thanks to the UW Libraries’ creative graduate student instructors, is my favorite. Wherever possible, I like to flip the classroom by creating a short quiz and links to relevant library videos/resources and embedding the module in a course’s Canvas LMS a week before the library instruction session. By eliciting student responses in advance, I have a good sense of students’ research topics, key library-related questions, and where confusion may exist. Plus, I don’t have to do long database demos (and can often skip a demo!), which are really my pet peeve. I also think it strikes a nice tone in advance of a library session, so students have already seen me posting in their course’s Canvas page in a friendly way.

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students:

I love to use concept mapping as a way to start most of my undergraduate library teaching sessions. Depending on the size of the class, students will work individually or in small groups and go to town on whiteboards. They start with their central research topic or question and then branch out, creating interconnected bubbles of related issues, people/stakeholders, geographic locations, theories, policies, and much more. After the concept maps are created and students share out with the class their topics, I find that students are much more engaged and energized to dive into hands-on research related to their own research. I take photos of each concept map (which are really detailed and usually quite creative), pop the photos into the shared class Google slideshow, and post it in the students’ course Canvas LMS so that they have it for use in their research that day and beyond.

How do you avoid teaching burnout?

I am very lucky to be able to co-supervise and co-train our graduate student library instructors. Every year we hire new grad students, and their questions about library teaching and learning, and their innovative approaches to being more inclusive in their teaching and using technology, always, always inspire me.

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