Featured Teaching Librarian: Hope Kelly

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.

Headshot of Hope Kelly in front of library stacks

Name: Hope Kelly

Institution: Virginia Commonwealth University

Job Title: Online Learning Librarian

Number of Years Teaching: 4 years in an academic library as well as other teaching experience with K-12 and graduate students in education programs

Tell us 1-2 interesting things about yourself.

I love when little mistakes take you to new or funny places. Whether it’s a typo that hits on a new idea or a slip of the tongue that generates a super silly phrase – those sorts of things make me happy. 

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

Developing student engagement in largely asynchronous interactions can be challenging. In an online module, I have students document search practice with a screenshot. This type of low-stakes assessment gives me so much information about what is going on as students test out search terms, apply filters, and whatnot. They appreciate it too, since it’s an easy way for them to share their work without providing a written narrative. When providing them feedback, I am able to mark the images up, if needed, within the grading tool in our LMS— directly pointing things out on their pictures with highlighting and commenting tools, showing them rather than just telling them what to think about or try out as they move on in the process.   

What are you doing to make your instruction more inclusive? (This could include particular strategies you’re using, trainings you’ve attended, or articles you’ve read.)

A lot of what I develop is embedded in online coursework or hosted on the library website for just-in-time instruction, and I have found that writing and recording using gender inclusive and expansive language is not only really easy but improves both tone and clarity overall. 

For example, when recording audio content, the singular ‘they’ is typical of spoken English and so is both familiar and friendly in tone. In online pedagogy, we know that using less formal language is psychologically engaging for everyone too. If I am writing, however, especially with folks who speak other languages at my university, I want to have more standard grammar. Rather than defaulting to gender-specific yet vague pronouns, being descriptive about who I am talking about often makes the most sense and terms like “students,” “researchers,” etc. can be used effectively and with more standardized subject-verb agreement.  

Tell us about the library instruction at your institution. How many librarians at your institution teach?

At Virginia Commonwealth University, we have many liaison librarians at Cabell Library and the Health Sciences Libraries that teach, but I am on a smaller team of four librarians who work primarily with our undergraduate students— and that is a lot of students! Being able to share lesson plans, slide decks, other instructional content, and tips within this tight departmental group is one of the best things about my job. 

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

In person, I find that I rely on and appreciate microphones for both myself and students – I never know if my students in my one-shots are hard of hearing like me or not, but effectively using mics for classroom-wide discussions makes it so everyone can hear more clearly. The bonus for me is that I have less strain on my voice for multiple classes over the course of the day.

Please share with us any links to LibGuides, presentations, social media accounts, etc.

Hope Kelly’s LinkedIn Page

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