Reflections upon “Applying active learning methods to the design of library instruction for a freshman seminar,” by Katherine Strober Dabbour

First, this article made me thankful to be working in a resource-rich environment, whereby every student has a computer.  Some folks say that working as a team with the work being broken up aids better learning for all, but I would prefer to learn the whole process in one piece, mainly by doing the whole process by myself.  Not that I do not like to share, but pizza is different from learning.  Just sayin.

California State at San Bernardino had some retention and graduation problems, and did something about it.  Good job.  Library skills were taught as a for-credit freshman seminar (in conjunction with other school and life skills), and outcomes were good.  Involving the students in talking, listening, reading, writing, reflecting activities is called active learning, and sounds like a good collaborative classroom to me.

Again and again, I come upon the ideas that one must begin from the beginning, and the effort at CSUSB did just that, ranging from library skills to computer us, time management, and attitude adjustments.  Right on!!  There is no reason to expect that students would come from a (relatively) highly-monitored high school environment to the freedom of a college campus and have all of the requisite skills in place.  Also, learning life skills (and library use) is not anything that one forgets upon graduation.  Win-win, i say.

Even though this article is 15 years old, i rather doubt that students would rate anything more valuable than computer skills today—so that is where my emphasis will remain.  Yes, get them involved via active learning, but the real work will continue to be building a student’s relationship with the information universe via their computer.  From this article, i can see the value of the worksheets that are being used with EN 102 students, and i will continue to work via this format.

It all boils down to the day and the student(s).  Some days will be better than others.  Some students will be better than others.  Every day, there is every reason to get the best from every student that they can give, that day, date, time.  Give me the perception, the energy, and the skill, please.

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