One component of instruction that I had not considered was the element of the EN102 professors in our sessions. Through my many observations and my own teaching sessions I was able to observe many professors and how they interacted with the librarians and the material for the library sessions. Here are a few examples. Some of the professors were very involved in the session, interjecting comments into the librarian’s lecture. Other professors were completely indifferent to the sessions and spent their time in the back of the room on a computer, answering email or checking social media. Those professors who landed in the middle between these two groups gave the librarian the lead and seemed to keep half an ear on the session and interjected comments if necessary. The professor that I dealt with for my classes fell into this category. Outside of the sessions she was very interested in what material was going to be covered and how I was going to connect it to the theme of the class. While in the sessions she let me take the lead and only had a few comments. She also requested some online tools be added to blackboard and was very grateful for the content I added on particular databases. Overall she seemed very pleased with the instruction sessions. It was helpful to receive her feedback, and gave me a better understanding of all of the elements that effected my instruction sessions.
Formulating a Poster
Creating a poster for a conference was a new experience for the semester. Going into the project I had absolutely no idea what a conference poster should look like and what information should be included on it. Therefore, this was great experience for me, and I feel like I really learned a great deal. It was very interesting watching the poster take shape. I feel it truly was a collaborative effort, as we all had particular sections of the poster to contribute to. The poster itself went through several different versions and was improved upon each time. It was really nice to see that a poster can truly be what you make of it. For example, a conference poster does not have to be heavily inundated with research and data. When presenting the poster at ALLA, it was a truly enlightening experience. I feel going through this presentation process I really grew as a library professional.
Leading a class for the whole class time, independently, was a new and daunting experience for me. I have some serious anxiety when it comes speaking independently in front of large groups. This experience was helpful, in allowing me to combat some of that anxiety. I found that each time I spoke to my classes I gained more confidence, and felt more comfortable.
When planning for my solo sessions I put great thought into my lesson plans. I tried to really connect the lesson to what the students were working on in class at the time. For example, they were reading a dystopian novel at the time of our first session, so I really researched the main themes of this novel. I tried to work the themes into specific points of the lesson as examples of particular learning goals I had.
Looking at the actual sessions. I feel like all of my classes went well and that my teaching improved with each session. One hiccup I experienced was for my Day 2 classes, there was a snow day the day before, and it was unclear if the university would hold classes the next day. Therefore, I felt slightly at the mercy of the weather, and unsure what the next step would be should the university delay or close.
Overall solo teaching was a great learning experience for me.
Observing was an interesting experience for me. While I have sat in many classrooms as a student, I’m not sure that I have ever sat in a classroom as an observer. Looking specifically at their lesson plan and what methods the instructor employs when teaching. The timeline of my observations can be divided into three clear points. When I first began observing I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I mean obviously I was looking at what topic were covered and how this information was presented, but other than that I had little idea. As I began co-teaching my observations quickly morphed into studying what particular aspect of the lesson I would be covering that week with the the specific librarian, looking at how they covered the topic, and thinking about how I would address the topic in relation to my own teaching and co-teaching sessions. After, completing all of my teaching and co-teaching sessions my observation time really shifted to focus on observing for the study. Therefore I really began parsing apart the sessions based on what questions were asked in the sessions. Throughout this journey of observation, I really learned in great depth the different aspects of a teaching session.
I found Co-teaching to be extremely helpful. Each experience gave me more confidence in my own teaching abilities. I co-taught several times with several different librarians, and each time it was a new experience that gave me more practice. Planning these co-teaching sessions with each librarian was also a learning experience. They all had different lesson plans and different ways of conveying the lesson. My first co-teaching session was with Karlie and Paige. We each took a section of the lesson, therefore dividing it into three parts. This method allowed me to do a small portion of the lesson and get comfortable leading instruction. It was really a confidence booster.
My next experiences co-teaching were with Kayla and Alex separately. Again each had their own way of doing things and planning the lesson, and it was helpful to see what approach they both took. With these co-teaching sessions I taught half of the lesson plan and then they would teach the other half. Both Kayla and Alex have different teaching styles and teaching such large portions of their lessons was really great practice for my own solo teaching.
Overall I found co-teahcing to be extremely beneficial to my instruction experience.
Creating the Screen cast
It was very interesting to to go through the process of creating my asynchronous material. I tend to be a very practical person. I like to have a plan and know exactly what direction I am going. Therefore when it came to creating this content and looking at topic I wanted to create something that would be a time saver and practical in nature. During my time observing classes I noticed that during the session one classes time was spent covering useful items on the website. I felt that this information was useful and definitely needed to be conveyed, but that given the general nature of it that it could be more useful asynchronously. This would give the librarian more instruction time during the lesson to cover other material, and allow the student to view the material at their own convenience.
When creating the screencast I ran into several issues. I felt that it was useful to create separate audio files from the video file. However, I was unable to figure out how to listen to the audio file while I recorded the video, and therefore struggled to make my timing match up. Also, audio was an issue in other ways. The microphone I used created a lot of background noise and through my editing of the audio, I feel I distorted the audio track even more. I reach the point in editing, that I felt I was hurting the file more than I was helping. Some of these issues I feel spring from my ignorance of the software Camtasia. Perhaps through more practice and perhaps some instruction on the software, my video and audio content will improve. In addition, I was also at a loss when beginning and ending my video. I am unsure what the best practices are for creating screencasts and would be interested in knowing what is recommended by others.
All in all I feel this was a very helpful learning experience, and certainly furthered my knowledge of asynchronous material.
Library Website Screencast
Session 1 Asynchronous Proposal
Using the Session 1 Lesson Plan, I plan to incorporate asynchronous teaching methods in to the lesson in order to create an independent online learning environment. I plan to begin the lesson with a recorded video introduction, introducing myself, my role within the library, and the availability of the research librarians. Next, the lesson will include a screen cast pointing out the pertinent aspects of the library website. The screencast will demonstrate: hours, interlibrary loan, Stanford Media Center, Library Software List, Print to Library Computers, and Ask-A-Librarian. The students will then be required to submit an Ask-A-Librarian question based upon their area of interest for their final paper. These questions will be answered by the instructor before the session 2 instruction. After this, there will be a video discussing the goals and objectives for the lesson. Moving on to the research process, the instructor will include a video describing their personal research process and discus places to do background research. Depending on what the instructor’s research process, a screen cast can be included within the video. Students will then be asked to submit an explanation of their own personal research process, to a class discussion board in text or in video form, to the viewed by their fellow classmates. This will be followed by a video PowerPoint explaining the broad vs. narrow process. Students will then be asked to practice this skill by completing the Step-By-Step Scout Guide on the EN102 libguide. To complete the lesson students will be asked to take a final assessment to gage how much of the information was retained by the students. The information provided by students will be reviewed by the instructor to aid in planning for the session 2 lesson.
Readings on Instruction
I have thoroughly enjoyed the readings we have been assigned for the internship. Coming from a background in history and English I have little experience with teaching and its methods. Completing the readings made me really reflect on my experiences with teachers throughout my education. It made me question what methods of teaching they had employed and how I learned from them. I particularly enjoyed the first reading and studying what methods those instructors had employed. Looking at their innovative methods, I thought I wish they had been my instructors. Especially in the areas of math and science, areas I struggled in, going through school. The reading gave me greater insight into teaching as a process and the different methods that can be employed.
A Web of Uncertainty
Teaching is an entirely new experience for me. Yes, I’ve done the occasional presentation, but public speaking has never been something I am comfortable with. However, this is quickly changing, with each time that I teach or co-teach I am becoming more confident with my abilities to lead an instruction session. I feel that I learn something each time I teach. As my confidence has grown I am able to look at the wider picture and really focus on the material in an in-depth manner. However, there are still doubts that pop up. Am I covering the material appropriately? Do the students have a clear understanding of the material? Are they focused and paying attention? Am I fulfilling the expectations of the professor? Is the information I am conveying helpful? So with every step forward I have taken as an instructor, I feel that I have many more to go.