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Revitalizing the One-Shot

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In the most recent issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly, Summer2008, Vol. 47 Issue 4, an excellent article by Kenney, Barbara Ferrer: Revitalizing the One-Shot Instruction Session Using Problem-Based Learning

From the Abstract: “Problem-based learning (PBL) provides the

theoretical framework for a learner-centered active instructional experience that

relies on collaboration, critical thinking, and hands-on interaction with resources.

When used in a one-shot session, PBL challenges the instruction librarian to strengthen

and renew their pedagogical skills. Sessions are lively and provide the opportunity for

students and faculty to experience library instruction in a new and dynamic way. PBL

and information literacy are ideal partners with limitless possibilities for enhanced library


One Comment leave one →
  1. totot57 permalink
    Tuesday, October 21, 2008 9:48 am

    Hello, fellow instruction librarians.
    I still believe the 1-shot instruction session is a very valid tool to get the students tuned into resources and the process.
    Let’s redefine “one-shot”. In many cases it’s more than the usual 50 minutes. Many urban and commuter college classes are block classes offering more time. Graduate level classes are by definition longer and more extensive: the students see more of a need to know, are more motivated, and often “information hungry”.
    A one-shot class session may include a brief overview of the library’s web site functionality (student account maintenance, ILL, contact info, going off campus, etc. 5 min.). Then the meat of the issue: student topics and assignments. The librarian has prepared handouts and online forms with suggestions for resources, databases and search strategies for class topics. The more the better. Professors should always submit at least a few class topics in advance so the library instructor can prepare toward the assignments. In the class session search strategies and topics can be refined, with student input and hands on computer activities. Discussions about proper search terminology naturally evolve when a student explains his / her topic. Example: geography illiteracy. Hmmm, let’s refine that and see how an ERIC search would address this topic. “IL literacy” is not a good search term, ERIC suggests “literacy” as more suitable to address levels of literacy, or lack thereof. And so on. In addition, students learn about setting limiters and options in databases (peer reviewed, use of wildcards, synonyms, use of Thesaurus, breaking up a topic into “concepts”, etc).
    Equally important then is to steer the student through the entire process of finding and obtaining the actual article / information. With the help of article finder / serialssolution tools the students will get to the article or if all fails, Interlibrary Loan will deliver the document electronically within 3-4 days.
    In the end, we spend 90 minutes or more together, the students have obtained the librarian’s email for follow ups, signing up for citation manager workshops and additional questions about their assignments.
    No, the students will not have learned how to manage Every database, but they understand the underlying basics and can ask more pointed questions if need be.
    tom thorisch

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