Acting under the assumption that I would be able string multiple lessons together to fit a given situation in the library, the lesson blueprints all received names along that common theme: "_________ and the Community College Student." It is possible that a student could progress through all four, and that the lessons could be arranged in order of increasing complexity. However, it is more likely that the average student would encounter lessons 5 and 11 only, hopefully in that order. These lessons are intended to be a foundation for many other potential blueprints that are tailored specifically to course. It is my hope that we ultimately move away from ~one hour stand-alone sessions in favor of blending lessons like these within classroom instruction.
There are many informal library lesson ideas out there for young children, but it was clear that I was going to have come up with something very different for my community college students, and fit it within the constraints of my limited resources and limited control over the direction of the course. As I often explained to the classroom-faculty whose classes I am "borrowing," they are still in charge of the curriculum, I only insist upon the academic freedom necessary to instruct the students in the manner that in-session data suggests will work best.
By reconciling all of the information garnered over the past year with the Teaching for Understanding design, I was able to gain a greater appreciation for TfU's viability in my classroom than I might have in the abstract. For one thing, I recognized that performance is possible even in a brief information literacy session. The session will not seem rushed, as long as I excised some of the objectives I had previously placed in the main lesson plan. The librarian must trust that these could function well as follow-up objectives, if the performances do not lead the student to the correct understanding, anyway. This opened many other doors, not the least of which was the type of performance exercise seen in the "Efficient Source Retrieval."
The need to keep the session moving along at good clip motivated me to design some efficient work habit suggestions into the hour. After all, we often see new students taking the long way around solving some of their problems, and getting frustrated in the process. While it is essential that students view the process of searching for information as open, explorative, and judgement-free, we cannot ignore the looming spectre of the task that needs to be completed. This makes the prevalence of time-saving tools, especially mobile devices, so important for the modern library experience.
Drawing upon recent articles exploring the library activities of mobile device owners, we can hypothesize that mobile device-owning library users are highly capable of incorporating diverse of sources into their projects. These powerful users are quite adept at using the electronic sources that can be delivered over the network, but also tend to appreciate traditional print sources. Hence, the mobile exercise that begins in the computer lab, but also visits the stacks.
It was important to me that I test this and make certain that it was possible with our currently available technologies - I've know for years that it was possible, generally - and I was pleased to see that even our less-than-user-friendly catalog could bounce between desktop and mobile. It highlighted areas for improvement, however, so I hope to use this blueprint as proof of concept for technical advocacy.
This was a bit of a departure, albeit a welcome one. While there are classes that return to the library as a group, I could not immediately conceive of one that would accommodate the project based learning cycle vision. Then it occurred to me that some of our student who are most at-risk of dropping out are those who find their way into the library and the connected tutoring center most often in the future, albeit individually. Their experience is one of repeating cycles, to make up for missing building blocks of learning that we often take for granted.
The difficulty, surprisingly, was not in creating the blueprint according to project-based learning cycles, but in managing the exercises to set the right tone. Due to the sensitivity of the subject - students' hopes, dreams, and aspirations - one cannot apply this session without paying close attention to the student's feelings. We need the students to be realistic without sacrificing long term goals, suggesting that, yes, you could go into the medical profession, but if you need to get a full time job within two years to support a family, go the technician route. Later if you want to go farther and become a registered nurse, the path is clear.
Much of this session sets events in motion for later, but the structure of the cycles allows the individual student time to ponder their career privately or with the instructor. It does not rush the "going public" portion until the student is given ample time to prepare, to be ready to explain their career decision to their peers.
Related:"Planning the Paths; Career Decision Making and the First Year Community College Student"
One of the greatest challenges for this blueprint was condensing it to a manageable length. I still believe it runs a bit long, at twelve pages, although I took some solace in the fact that these lessons, gathered together, could feature much shorter introductions when one doesn't need to explain the classroom, the learners, and information literacy standards each time.
Although new students would likely be able to keep up with this blueprint, it does seem to favor the slightly more advanced student, identifiable as someone who is capable of researching but could benefit from greater efficiency. The emphasis on smart-searching, which builds off of past searches, suggests that the library experience can be made greater for the students if we are able to plug in some easy customization tools. Having a virtual "notepad" on the side of the screen is an old, but universally accessible hack. Having a library webpage that could ethically save your searches and suggest other terms based on the success of others is a worthy goal that would not rob searching of its pedagogical importance. It would also serve to strengthen the bridge between free-web searching, which students often believe they already know how to do well, and catalog/database best practices. For that reason, I would use this so that my colleagues and I can advocate for a stronger discovery layer that can improve student search experience.
Related:"Jonassen, Mindtools, and Modeling; Building up Domain Knowledge through Mindfully Engaged Semantic Networking"