Moving to synchronous virtual library instruction during the past year, I have experimented with lots of different types of technologies such as Google Docs, Padlet, and Poll Everywhere.
I found that one of the easiest ways to make online instruction sessions interactive is simply using the chat box built into the web conferencing system. The advantage of this is that students are already familiar with the tool, and they don’t need to leave the web conferencing interface in order to respond. Also, students can choose to respond to the whole class or just to the instructor. I find that students often use this feature when I point it out in my introduction.
Here are some questions that my colleagues and I have used in chat during instruction:
- What is one question you have about doing research?
- What is one tip you have for other students about doing research
- Find an article about your topic. Put 2-3 new ideas from the article in the chat.
- Ask students to respond with a number for quick feedback, e.g. Have you used the research databases before?
- Find an article and copy and paste the citation information in the chat.
A technique I have used a lot is to give students time to search and then ask them to cut and paste the citation for an article that they found in the chat box. This can be very helpful to see if students are on the right track. Students often send a private chat during this time if they are having trouble, and I can give them tips. When we get back together as a group, we can look together at one of the articles shared. It is also a way to make sure students know that databases can generate citations and that sometimes those citations need to be tweaked to follow proper formatting.
How do you use the chat box in online library instruction?