The Art of the Handout

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(Image from Gregory Bastien via Flickr.  CC)

Last week was an instruction-filled week for me as I led two course-integrated information literacy instruction sessions, taught a drop-in workshop on Intro to Citation Managers, and gave an orientation presentation to a grad student research group.

Each time I was prepping for these very different workshops I found myself stumbling at the same point...how to use the handout.

For a while I was anti-handout...I didn't think students found them useful, I figured that I was putting a lot of time into a product that most likely ended up in a garbage can (if I was lucky, a recycle bin--Save the Planet!).

But when I tried to institute handout-free instruction sessions I got a lot of push back from attendees.  In evaluation forms I'd hear things like "A handout of material covered would be helpful"  or "Would like a handout to jot down notes."  So I went back to providing paper mementos of my workshop.

But I never know what the best use of the the handout is.   After last year's Active Learning Workshop...I started incorporating the "reaction log" into most of my instruction sessions as a means of allowing attendees to interact with the information covered.

For some workshops...like this presentation I just gave the Biomedical Engineering Design Class...I try to incorporate research tips into my handout.  But then for others I just include a list of useful links.

So I'm interested to know what your best practices are for handouts?  Are you still using them?  If so, are you sharing them in the IL Toolkit? It's a great place to visit to jumpstart ideas!

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How did the reaction log work? I agree on trying to figure out the "best" way to use a handout. On occasion I have also been handing out my handout at the middle or end so that students can engage with the content instead of just assume they have it all in the handout. The new Intro to Library Research workshop handout is more of a "worksheet" and gets students to write and interact with it as well.

Somehow I like the idea of having students "write" on the handout.

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This page contains a single entry by Jon Jeffryes published on September 20, 2010 2:13 PM.

Not sure if it prompts learning, but is it sure is cool... was the previous entry in this blog.

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