Teaching ScenarioMy teaching scenario is a one-shot, 75-minute instruction session for a sophomore level course called Introduction to Political Inquiry. The course is a pre-requisite for all upper division Political Science courses, and it is also a requirement for students pursuing an International Relations major or concentration.
Many of the students have received library instruction in a freshman-level College Writing course, but for some it may be their first time in the library in an instructional setting. The course is offered almost every semester, and enrollment is anywhere between 12 and 24 students. The class size is small enough to be accommodated in our library computer lab, so each student will have a computer in front of them. The students are working on a research project (topic of their choosing with a Political Science focus), and their final assignment is a literature review.
Learning OutcomesAs a result of the in-class group activity, students will be able to identify different information types commonly used in Political Science research. Students will also be able to analyze and select the resources most appropriate for their chosen topic.
AssessmentsIn groups, students will analyze a given information type to see the role it plays in researching a sample topic provided by the librarian. Groups will work with worksheets or Google Docs to answer questions about their assigned resource, and the group work will be collected by the librarian for assessment.
Further, after exchanging information with other groups, students could be given a quick forward-looking assessment where they are given a "real world scenario" that relates to Political Science. Then, they'll be shown a list of five possible resources and asked to select those which are most relevant to the scenario. Students will be evaluated on their selection of resources and the completeness of their rationale for selecting them. More on the potential criteria and standards for this assessment can be found in this post.
Learning TheoriesBy leaving the group activity as open-ended as possible, I hope to incorporate constructivism into the single class period I have with these students. I want students to feel in charge of their learning, and while the worksheets will be a guide, they will also leave room for the students to form their own ideas about the relative merits of the information type they are exploring. Constructivism also informs my approach to groups sharing their work: Each group will "teach" others in the class about their information type so that they can create meaning/understanding through the act of teaching others.
Teaching ToolsIn order to facilitate a longer, more robust in-class activity, I hope to move some of the "overview of the library and its website" content that I would typically include in a Intro to Political Inquiry session to a YouTube video created with Camtasia. My goal is to make this available in their Course Management System prior to the library session.
Another teaching tool I hope to incorporate is Google Docs. If the class had access to the worksheets as Google Docs, they could collaborate easily and have something that to which they could readily refer at a later date.