Featured Teaching Librarian: Michael Stoepel

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!

Michael Stoepel of the American University of Paris

Michael Stoepel of the American University of Paris

Name: Michael Stoepel

Institution: American University of Paris – Library

Job Title: User Services Librarian

Number of Years Teaching: 6

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

My next travel is to Spain – I hope. I want to visit Granada and Cordoba.

Where do you do your best thinking?

In the kitchen when I drink my coffee in the morning.

Describe your favorite teaching method (e.g. flipped classroom, problem-based learning).

My preferred way of teaching is active learning in the classroom as I believe that it is most effective. However, learning styles might differ and I try to adapt my teaching to it. PBL is a good way of engaging students, especially if you link your library sessions to assignments before students have to hand them in (“teachable moment”). I like the idea of the flipped classroom but yet, I have not found the best way of integrating it into my teaching. I am still experimenting.

This semester, I started using EasyGenerator to develop short tutorials for my class sessions. Either I use those tutorials to prepare my sessions or to follow up on them. However, I think that it is important to keep in mind how to integrate those tutorials into your teaching/student’s learning as they should not be stand-alone learning entities. So far, students have responded to the tutorials in a mixed way. Some of them found them “very informative” and “helpful”, others thought that they were “boring.” I like the idea of user design and I will try to use the feedback to improve the tutorials.

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

One of my favorite active learning exercise is called “chalk talk.” I ask students to work in groups of 2, 3 or 4 and they have to write down their thoughts (i.e. find criteria for evaluating sources) on a sheet of paper (for two minutes). Students are not allowed to speak, only the “chalk talks.” Once, they are done with the chalk talk, I ask them to agree in their groups on one aspect that they have written down and to report back to the class (think-pair-share). I like the exercise because it activates students thinking in a quiet environment (for two minutes) before starting the classroom discussion.

Tell us how you assess your classes (e.g. mud cards, clickers, reflections).

I like the one-minute exit papers for the one shot sessions. For the FYE program, we conduct pre- and post-assessments even though I prefer qualitative assessment over quantitative assessment. Rubrics and formative assessment would be great to set up in courses but given the fact that we do not get the chance to intervene during the drafting of bibliographies, the application of rubrics is complicated. There is one Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT) that I like a lot – it is called RSQC2 (Recall, Summarize, Question, Connect, Comment).

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