October 2022 Site of the Month

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of the Instruction Section of ACRL is pleased to announce that a new Site of the Month interview has been posted to our committee website.

October 2022 Site of the Month: Source Types and Credibility
Interview with: Natalie Haber
Interviewer: Rebecca Maniates

Description (Creator Provided):
The intent of this tutorial is to give an overview of source types typically found when doing research for an introductory composition course, define credibility and bias, give strategies for evaluating sources, and allow students to practice those skills on three sources. Most questions are open-answer, which allows students to do some critical thinking and explain their thoughts in sentences. The tutorial is meant to be graded or reviewed by the librarian, so that the students and the course instructor can have feedback on how they did. This tutorial is part of a set curriculum for undergraduate composition students. First, students take this Source Types and Credibility tutorial, which is followed up either by a face-to-face class or additional online tutorials that are aimed at teaching search strategy and tools.

The full interview is available here.

To see the archive of previous Site of the Month interviews, please see http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/

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2022 Teaching Methods Virtual Event Recording

On March 30th, 2022, the Instruction Section’s Teaching Methods Committee hosted a virtual event, titled “Showing Them You Care: Incorporating Compassionate Teaching Strategies into Information Literacy Instruction.”

Presenter Elisabeth B. White offered recommendations for incorporating compassionate approaches into information literacy instruction sessions. Compassionate teaching strategies help level the playing field for students who encounter significant challenges by providing the support and accommodations needed to create an equitable experience.

We invite you to view the recording.

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2021 Teaching Methods Virtual Event Recording

On April 27th, the Instruction Section’s Teaching Methods Committee hosted a virtual event titled: Enabling the Teachable Moment: Motivating for Learning Readiness. Presenter Laura Saunders drew on learning theory related to “desirable difficulties” prior knowledge, and motivation to suggest that we can take steps to enable the teachable moment with our students. In taking these steps, we can reframe narratives about “struggling” or “reluctant” learners to focus on environmental, rather than internal, factors to help move the learning forward. We invite you to view the recording here.

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Register for the Upcoming Discussion Forum on Resisting Overcommitment on 6/15/22

Have you ever found yourself weighed down as a result of saying “Yes!” too often at work?Join us for a virtual conversation on Resisting Overcommitment! Register for the ACRL IS VEC Current Issues Discussion Forum, featuring discussion moderator Katrina Spencer, Librarian for African American & African Studies at the University of Virginia.

Picture of Katrina Spencer. Discussion moderator.
Katrina Spencer, Discussion Moderator

Date/Time: Wednesday, June 15th at 11am-12:15pm PST/2-3:15pm EST. 

As ours is a service role which incorporates instruction and engagement with a variety of publics, library workers can find ourselves committed to a broad swath of projects and stretched a bit too thin. This session will invite participants to discuss recognizing signs of overcommitment and strategies for avoiding it. This discussion is important in a profession in which burnout is rampant in the best of times and as we enter the third year of a pandemic whose uncertainties challenge our mental health. The session is aimed at teaching each other to exercise boundary-setting practices that preserve our wellness, capacities for compassion, and work-life balance. 

This virtual discussion is free and open to all.  A recording will be made available after the session to all registrants.

To participate in the moderator’s crowdsourced honorarium, see payment information below. If 100 attendees contribute $5 each, the moderator will receive a $500 honorarium.

$katleespe (CashApp) or katleespe (Venmo) or Katleespe@gmail.com (PayPal and/or Zelle)

Register now, as space is limited: https://ala-events.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcvdumspzMoEtzXfA9eTRRVVtJNJeVo7h4y 

Discussion resource: The Comprehensive Guide to Resisting Overcommitment 

Find out more at: https://tinyurl.com/LISovercommitment

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Apply for an IS Administrator Position (Deadline 2/15/22)

The ACRL Instruction Section (IS) is seeking applicants for four administrator positions: Newsletter EditorWeb Site AdministratorPublication Editor, and Social Media Coordinator. All positions are voluntary unpaid appointments. Deadline to apply is February 15, 2022.

Social Media Coordinator

The IS Social Media Coordinator serves a two-year term. The Social Media Coordinator has an appointment as a member of the Communication Committee and, as such, participates in the work of that committee throughout the year. The Social Media Coordinator works closely with the IS Website Administrators and also works under the general direction of the IS Executive Committee and in consultation with the IS Advisory Committee.

Please see the full description for more details.

Website Administrator (2 positions)

Website Administrators serve a two-year term and are responsible for developing and maintaining the IS web site under the direction of the IS Executive Committee, in consultation with the IS Advisory Council and the IS Communication Committee. The IS web site provides access to information about the Section’s structure, committees, reports, meetings, programs, awards, news, projects, publications, and activities.

The IS Web Site Co-Administrators are members of the Communication Committee and non-voting, ex-officio members of the IS Advisory Council. 

Please see the full description for more details.

Newsletter Editor (2 positions)

The IS Newsletter Editor serves a two-year term and is responsible for editing and publishing the Section’s biannual newsletter. The IS Newsletter Editor serves under the general direction of the IS Executive Committee and maintains close communication with the IS Communication Committee chair. The IS Newsletter is the official publication of the Section, providing current information about the Section’s news, activities, publications and projects.

The IS Newsletter Editor is a member of the Communication Committee and is a non-voting, ex-officio member of the IS Advisory Council.

Please see the full description for more details.

Publications Editor

This volunteer position provides final-round editing for IS publications. The position is intended to ensure that IS publications are consistent, professional, and polished, and that they reflect well on IS and on ACRL. This position is also intended to remove some of the burden of detail editing from IS committees or individuals, freeing them to focus more of their energy on a document’s content. The duties and responsibilities of the Publication Editor include 1) ensuring correct and consistent Chicago citation style, 2) final copy-editing as needed (i.e. grammar, punctuation, etc. according to Chicago), and 3) final proofreading as needed (i.e. factual accuracy, clarity, etc.).

Please see the full description for more details.

Application Process

Interested in being considered? Please submit a letter of interest outlining your experience and knowledge applicable to the position you are interested in, a curriculum vitae or résumé, and samples of relevant work to IS Vice Chair, Carrie Forbes, at Carrie.Forbes@du.edu. Applicants must be current IS members. All positions are voluntary unpaid appointments. Candidates chosen for these positions will be appointed to a two-year term starting July 1, 2022.

Deadline to apply is February 15, 2022.

If you are not interested in applying for an IS Administrator position, you can still volunteer to be appointed to an IS committee.

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Patricia Hartman

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.

portrait of Patricia Hartman

Name: Patricia Hartman

Institution: Auburn University

Job Title: Biology, Forestry & Wildlife and Math Librarian

Number of years teaching: 9

What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

In the last six months or so, I started making soap. It’s totally addictive and makes your house smell amazing!

What is your favorite movie based on a book?

This might be a controversial answer, but I’m going to go with Spike Jonez’s Adaptation, which was technically based on Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief. I loved both, but those looking for a faithful retelling of the book were sorely disappointed.  

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).

I primarily teach small classes for upper division students. My favorite activity is in a small rural sociology class I team-teach with our Agriculture Librarian. We introduce students to the American Community Survey and the Census of Agriculture, published by the US Census Bureau and USDA, respectively. The first part of the class is a straightforward explanation of what the resources are and how to use them. However, once students learn to view the data and export it into spreadsheets, we, along with the instructor, spend the majority of the class visiting students and asking questions as they explore it. The data speaks for itself in exposing the inequities built into our food system and for some students, it can be life-changing. 

Tell us about your favorite teaching tools (e.g. cool apps, clickers, etc.).

For larger classes, I really like to use Slido. Our department recently purchased a license, and I find it a bit more intuitive (for instructors and students) than some of the other polling/participation software I’ve used. The short answer responses serve as a great jumping off point for class discussion, the quizzes allow for instant summative assessment, and I’m always a sucker for word clouds. It is seamlessly integrated into PowerPoint.

When professors are amenable to pre-class homework, I also like to use LibWizard to get a sense of what students know ahead of time so I can adjust class content accordingly.

Are you involved as an embedded librarian? Tell us about your experience.

Yes, I have been involved in natural resources, wildlife science, biology, and rural sociology courses as an embedded librarian. Each experience is different, but all make me think more deeply about what students really need to know and how best to convey it. They also all involve working with small groups on class projects, so I get to know students more intimately. In one course, I collaborated with the professor to develop an “information literacy rubric” that was applied to their final papers. I scored the papers, and in reading them, I learned a lot about unintentional plagiarism, the kinds of sources students use, and how they use them to support their arguments. In another course, I communicated with student groups both before and after in-person research “brainstorming” sessions tailored to their specific topic. Prior to the session, students sent me descriptions of their project, along with the information they hoped to find in our meeting. Afterward, they were assigned to reflect on what they found, how they would use that information, and what they still needed to know. In every case, being embedded is time-consuming and labor-intensive but makes me a better instructor, not only in that context, but in one-shots as well!

Name two things you would share with a librarian who is new to teaching.

1) Don’t be afraid to try new things! You will be much more critical of yourself than the students will.

2) Listen to and incorporate peer feedback into your teaching practice, but do it in a way that feels authentic to you and your voice.

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Amber Willenborg

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.

portrait of Amber Willenborg

Name: Amber Willenborg

Institution: University of Louisville

Job Title: Online & Undergraduate Learning Coordinator

Number of years teaching: 6

What are you reading right now?

My house is full of books and everyone who visits assumes they’re mine, but I’m one of those terrible librarians who isn’t that into reading. My husband is an engineer and is one of the most voracious readers I’ve ever met, so he’s the reason for all of the bookshelves on every wall. I am really into comforting reality television, though, and have recently been watching The Great British Bake Off (for the twelfth time) and the many variations of Below Deck.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Ice cream is my favorite food and one of my hobbies is finding new ice cream brands and flavors to try. A classic flavor I love is Graeter’s black raspberry chip, but some recent delicious brands I’ve tried are Milk Bar (go for the cornflake crunch) and Van Leeuwen. Ben and Jerry’s is always coming out with great new flavors and I’m super excited to try Dirt Cake Topped! I could go on, but I probably shouldn’t say more about ice cream than teaching.

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).

My favorite activity to use with students is stolen from Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew’s lateral reading study. I usually incorporate some conversation around evaluating credibility into the classes I teach, and I ask students to talk to a classmate and post on Padlet about how they were taught to evaluate the credibility of information. Inevitably, multiple students will bring up that .orgs are credible. I tell them to open the two websites from the study, acpeds.org and aap.org, and see what they can find out about these organizations. It always shocks students to learn that the American College of Pediatricians, a group of doctors with a .org website, is a fringe hate group. The professors are also always engaged with this activity as well. It takes maybe five minutes and illustrates to students that lateral reading is a simple tool for evaluating unfamiliar sources.

Tell us about your favorite teaching tools (e.g. cool apps, clickers, etc.).

For in-person classes, Padlet is my go-to teaching tool. I usually have students work on an activity in groups and post their group’s responses in Padlet. As they work, I can get a feel for where students are with completing the questions and what types of responses they’re giving so I feel more prepared when we move to the discussion. It gives students a chance to put their thoughts on paper before we move to the larger group discussion. I also have professors every semester ask me about Padlet after seeing it in an instruction session. For online classes, I love Mentimeter. I wish I had the paid version! It’s a great tool for having your presentation and interactive pieces all in one place. It’s basic, but I also create a LibGuide for every class I teach so students have a takeaway with important links that they can refer back to after class.

Name two things you would share with a librarian who is new to teaching.

1. Always make sure students know why they’re in a library instruction session. Be very explicit at the beginning of the class about the learning objectives and how those objectives are tied to the class or, better yet, the students’ specific research assignment. The biggest mistake I see new teaching librarians make is jumping right into teaching without putting the class in context for students. If they don’t know why they’re there and how it’s going to benefit them, why should they care about what you have to say?

2. Building rapport with students will make the class a lot more comfortable for you and for them. Don’t be afraid to say hi to students as they come into the classroom, or comment on the weather or some other mundane topic. It can feel weird to be familiar with students you’ve never met, but it’s a lot less weird that standing silently at the front of the room.

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Darren Ilett

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.

portrait of Darren Ilett

Name: Darren Ilett

Institution: University of Northern Colorado

Job Title: Teaching and Outreach Librarian

Number of years teaching: 5 in libraries (15 in German and language pedagogy)

Are you a dog or cats fan?

Definitely a dog person! I have two: Bruno, the 10-pound boss of the house who’s a chihuahua/pug/miniature doberman mix probably, and Maxx, a 55-pound pit bull mix who does whatever Bruno says. They’re both rescue dogs, which I feel are the best dogs in the world!

What are you reading right now?

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler. Though it was published nearly 25 years ago, it feels all too timely.

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).

On the first day of credit-bearing classes, I ask students to choose the example research topic for the course. First, students anonymously submit via Padlet any topics that may be triggering so we can avoid those. Next, they suggest topics for the course, which I then enter onto a whiteboard with a March-Madness-style bracket. Then students vote on pairs of topics until we have a winner. For the rest of the course, students serve as consultants who help me develop this topic into a research project. They do background research, suggest how to focus the topic, come up with a research question, search for appropriate sources, find themes in the literature, etc. We encounter problems and solve them together. As we go through the research process, students apply the skills we practice together in their own research projects on topics of their choice. The example topic activities serve as a guiding thread that creates cohesion in the course. They also increase interest and buy-in since students choose the topic. Most importantly, they position the students as emerging expert consultants who have a say in how the project develops. These activities also position me as a lifelong learner, open to new information and students’ perspectives. Through this process, we have learned together about such fascinating topics as the ethics of personality testing in hiring, the impact of adverse childhood experiences on interpersonal relationships in adulthood, and the emotional intelligence of dogs.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

My favorite class session is a one-shot for the McNair Scholars program, a federally-funded TRIO program that supports first-generation and underrepresented students both in completing an original research project with a faculty mentor and in preparing for graduate school. I do three one-shots for this program each year, but the session on literature reviews is my favorite. I enjoy discussing the pros and cons of various organizational tools and strategies with students and sharing our research experiences. Students are highly motivated and engaged because they are in the thick of developing their research projects. As I walk around the classroom and engage with students, the best part is seeing them use the strategies to organize their thoughts and findings from the literature. Some opt to create an annotated outline. Others use mind maps or spreadsheets organized by theme. I love to see the passion with which students engage in research on topics that are often tied to their lived experiences. And I inevitably learn about new research tools from them!

How has your teaching practice changed over time?

In my first career as a German professor, I was overly concerned about appearing knowledgeable and authoritative. I felt those were the defining characteristics of a good teacher. It’s such a cliche of the field, but in my case, it was true! If students were not enthusiastically engaged, attending every class, and turning in every assignment on time, I thought I was failing. I took their behavior as a referendum on my skills as a teacher. My current job has fundamentally shifted my teaching practice. I work largely with first-generation, low-income, and BIPOC students. These students have taught me that my previous approach was both self-centered and harmful. Students have complex lives and carry many responsibilities, which often impact their ability to engage with course content and complete assignments. What I can do is approach them with care, understanding, and interest in supporting their success. I can be flexible with deadlines and accept revisions of assignments. I can offer choices for the format of a research assignment (traditional paper, live oral presentation, recording of a presentation, etc.). I have also come to appreciate the importance of learning about the many assets students bring to college from their homes, communities, workplaces, and previous education. Identifying those strengths together and then building on them in the classroom increases the relevance of what we’re learning and boosts student engagement. It also centers students’ knowledge and experiences as valuable foundations for research and learning in higher education.

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Call for Moderator for Group Conversation: IS Current Issues Virtual Discussion Forum

The IS Virtual Engagement Committee welcomes moderator proposals for its upcoming virtual discussion to take place in May/June 2022.

The discussion will take the form of a group conversation about an article, blog post, video, or media resource. One hour will be allotted for the entire discussion. The moderator will be expected to provide a brief overview of the topic and selected discussion resource (15-20 mins or so) and facilitate a discussion among attendees (35-40 minutes or so).

Once a moderator is selected, members of the IS Virtual Engagement Committee will work with them to confirm the chosen discussion material, develop discussion questions, and schedule and advertise the group conversation to take place in May or June 2022. Members of the IS Virtual Engagement Committee will attend and participate in the discussion to help ensure that there is active dialogue and engagement during the discussion.

Submit your proposal here: https://forms.gle/BqVc3CL4QAPBC75E6

The deadline for proposals is COB Monday, March 7, 2022.

Applicants will be notified about the status of their proposal submission by Monday, March 28, 2022.

The IS VEC committee will work with the chosen moderator to pick a day and time for the event in May or June 2022.

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Call for nominations: Featured Teaching Librarian

Do you know someone who is an amazing teaching librarian? If yes, consider nominating them as a Featured Teaching Librarian! If you’re an amazing teaching librarian, consider nominating yourself.  

The ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee wants to highlight excellent teaching librarians. Several times during the year, the committee selects and interviews a librarian who demonstrates a passion for teaching, innovation, and student learning. This feature provides a way to showcase amazing teaching librarians on the ACRL Instruction Section website and share their best teaching practices with others in the field. Consider nominating yourself or someone you think is amazing!  

Nominated someone in a past call? Please feel free to re-nominate an amazing teaching librarian if we haven’t been able to feature them yet!

Nominations are due by Monday, February 28, 2022. Link to nomination form: https://forms.gle/tyiH3NeaPJTB1CYQ8.

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