Birds of a Feather Discussion Summaries

Posted by admin - May 18, 2010

At the end of the Birds of a Feather session, the top 3 (or so) suggestions/tips/take-aways from each group was shared with the rest of the groups. These are shared below.

Improvisation in Instruction

  • difference bet. planned and unplanned improv
  • requirements of improv (experience, knowledge of subject, confidence, risk-taking, spontaneity, PLAY!, back-up)
  • pros and cons: increases alertness, fun, engaging; no interaction, don’t know the answer, difficult to assess learning when content not planned

Expanding ILI to more than just text (videos, maps, images, etc.)

  • how to promote specialities (maps, environmental knowledge) to colleagues
  • internal workshops, LibGuides, cool tools, SEXY!, knowledge-swapping, interdisciplinarity, BEER, be passionate, build others’ confidence

Motivating students: how to inspire passion!

  • acknowledge that motivation is an issue: ask students why they’re there and use that to inform session structure
  • recognize that not all students have the same motivation
  • have students self-select their skill level and then teach the same session anyhow
  • let students define what they need
  • meaningful assignments; treat students as scholars

Serving international students in academic libraries

  • need to investigate stats and trends: how many int’l students do we have in our libraries?
  • recognize cultural differences and differences in libraries and access to resources (closed stacks, AI)
  • partner with other campus units (writing centres, grad student advisors, outreach to int’l students during summer, programming such as language exchange)
  • Int’l Students Library Tutorial at University of N. Carolina

ILI for Nursing / Health Sciences

  • “Reading Research” book by Davies and Logan as a tool for us and students
  • using online tutorials for students to learn basic skills so we can address higher level skills in class
  • affirmation in knowing that other librarians who share the same challenges


  • make use of student assistants for the laborious work (scanning, etc.)
  • make sure you have policies/procedures/workflows in place ahead of time
  • build a community of peers in digitization/metadata through a blog (You are not alone)

Student contributions to library materials (LibGuides, etc.)

  • BoF: YAY! 🙂
  • partner with a class when building the guide
  • get student feedback on content and placement, language
  • use student groups as a sounding board (announcements, repeate customers, incentives)
  • embed links in LMS/CMS
  • all but one using LibGuides
  • teaching from the guide during class (realtime feedback)

Ideas for active learning

  • large classes: have a pair of students do a database search using kw suggested by peers (FIGHT!)
  • plant questions (Cephalonian method) in audience using coloured cards (Q&A)
  • using Twitter in class: instructor sets up accounts in advance and have students get into groups; one student tweets answers to questions posed by instructor

Developing blended ILI

  • blended: making videos, screencasts
  • encourage the use of blended learning because it meets different learning style needs
  • know why you’re doing it (NOT JUST COOL); gaps and overlaps in your programming/ILI; needs assessment
  • high repetition topics (database searching) are good candidates as well as topics that are very specialized
  • will not save you time
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