Scaling Out Post-Instruction Consultations

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In yesterday's journal club discussion the topic of scaling out post-library instruction session consultations came up.  A hypothetical anxiety was expressed that if we took on some instruction sessions we may find ourselves with a deluge of follow-up consultations and not enough time to meet with everyone and still get all of the other work that we do on a daily basis done.

In the spirit of sharing "innovations" (I use that term loosely) I thought I'd share an approach that I've taken to scale out follow-up interactions in a large freshman seminar where I give a library presentation each semester to biomedical engineering students.

  • Leverage the Peer Research Consultants.  When schedules permit I bring a Peer Research Consultant to the session with me and have them give a short introduction to what they do.  If they can't come then I promote them myself.   It usually takes about two minutes and highlights a service that can be somewhat hard to locate on our website.
  • Share with *anyone* who will listen.  When I see that the date of the presentation is coming up I send the research tips that I usually offer to students in follow-up individual consultations to everyone that will listen.  I share the instructions with the peer research consultants, with our reference desk, and our circulation team at Walter Library. That way if a student happens to wander in (regardless of whether the reference desk is open) they, hopefully, will be able to get some level of advice.
  • Utilize the Library Course Page.  I realized that the question I was getting the most often regarded determining whether or not an article was from a peer reviewed resource.  So I put together a tutorial that would walk students through the determination process.  I also linked to my presentation slides and handout so students could re-visit what I covered.

The result of these actions is not an absence of individual consultations (I wouldn't want it to be), but it does reduce the number of emails and meetings for minor questions and leaves me time to focus on the real stick wickets of research blocks.  These methods may not work for every class...but thought I'd throw them out there as possible jumpstarts to other solutions for concerns about a deluge of post-class consults...there are ways going forward that don't rely on only the time of a single liaison.

Image "post office scale 5" from donovanbeeson on Flickr.  CC.

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Good ideas, Jon. I tend to get so caught up in the act of teaching I know I do a poor job of extending before and after the session--this is something I want to focus on more. I think I expect the instructor to provide more guidance on this and instead should be much more proactive.

I wonder how we can expand that "everyone to listen" piece to our broader reference services, too!

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This page contains a single entry by Jon Jeffryes published on May 18, 2012 12:31 PM.

Encouraging open ebooks and new models for authors was the previous entry in this blog.

Materials from LOEX Instruction Conference 2012 up is the next entry in this blog.

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