Home » Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session (Spring 2019) » Moving First Year Instruction Online


ACRL DLS Chair: Natalie Haber
Vice-Chair: Amanda Ziegler
Secretary: Stephanie Espinoza Villamor
Archivist: Andrea Hebert
Webmasters: Katie Stewart and Matthew Stevons (dlswebcontact@gmail.com)
Members-at-Large: Karla Aleman and Jennifer Rundels

Moving First Year Instruction Online

This poster is part of the Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session hosted by the ACRL DLS Instruction Committee. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in discussion on this poster! Authors will respond to comments between April 1-5.


Elise Ferer, Drexel University

Poster Description:

Faced with a high student to librarian ratio, librarians leveraged online tools to offer instruction via a learning management system to students in first year writing. See the steps taken to develop and deliver synchronous online instruction along with the instructional design, assessment, and technology tools, and skills used.


(Click to enlarge)

About the Presenter

Elise Ferer is the librarian for undergraduate learning and works with campus partners to integrate the library and information literacy into the undergraduate experience. She works closely with the Freshman English sequence and orientation as well as other units on campus that support undergraduates.


  1. Hi, Elise,

    Our insitution is experiencing the same issue. There are currently five librarians spread across three campuses, and I’m the only one at mine. Enrollment recently broke 3,000, so developing an online course is what we’re working on. What LMS are you using? We’re interested to know how the modular approach was received by faculty members.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      We have Blackboard, so I’m using Collaborate for the synchronous sessions I hold for students. I am also working on breaking up the hourish class into several videos that I am making using camtasia.


  2. Hi! You mention both asynchronous LMS instruction and synchronous instruction. Which is used more? Are all students enrolled in the same asynchronous library course? How is that integrated into faculty’s courses. For your synchronous session, are those offered as optional webinars, or do you project into in-person classes? Thanks!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      The asynchronous instruction is designed purely for students who can’t make a session (or who are differently abled). The synchronous instruction is often used more at this point, but it depends a lot on the faculty and students. In the fall, I had a large number of students using the asynchronous instruction because the professor missed giving them the dates for the synchronous instruction.

      Based on how Blackboard is structured and the potentially large number of sessions all instruction is in a separate blackboard course in which all students and faculty in the associated class are enrolled.

      The synchronous sessions are offered outside of class, we looked at broadcasting into classes, but there were too many different class times, during the busiest term for the associated FY Writing course there can be 130 section. Faculty at this point have the say whether the library session is part of a student’s grade or extra credit for the course and some faculty choose not to use it at all.

      I hope this answers your questions!

  3. I really enjoyed this poster! We are having similar issues here keeping up with first-year students at UNCG. Could you link to the video you used in the LMS for instruction? Is it an overview of research concepts or videos incorporated into a the LMS?

  4. Thanks for this poster- we have a problem at UTC where the first year composition is just phasing out research & instead providing sources to focus on writing skills more than research. That being said, we are really missing the opportunity to talk about google vs library, keywords, purpose of databases, parts of a citation so I want to move instruction online! It’s just hard to convince others that this should be our direction.

    • HI Natalie-

      I’m just jumping in on your comment as it strikes a chord with me. I primarily teach undergraduate students in beginning composition courses, and I’ve experienced what you’ve mentioned. Lately, I’ve come to embrace working with students where they are, which is usually searching with Google. For much of their writing in these courses, they are not using scholarly information, but need to find reputable, non-scholarly information.

      I don’t fight it anymore, and I’ve really stepped away from teaching about scholarly sources and library databases in those beginning courses for examples. I instead focus on finding reputable, non-scholarly information via internet search engines. (Sorry, but here’s a shameless plug for my virtual poster about Contextualizing Source Evaluation.)

      In your first year composition course, do students need to use scholarly information? Is there a better “point of need” in student programs where you can introduce more traditional IL instruction relating to databases, etc?

      Best, Jenni CityU Seattle

      • Jenni,

        Thanks for jumping in! In my classes I only teach finding scholarly articles because faculty are asking students to use them. I don’t agree that this works the best for all students in the first year.


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