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University of Arizona Libraries' Instruction Program

Your Librarian

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Nicole Pagowsky
Main Library
SLE Department

Approach to Integrating Instruction

In expanding our scope of instruction, UAL has revised our information literacy program. Through our experience, and as we have seen in the research literature, teaching the research process through a one-shot session or a “library day” is less effective for student learning than having information literacy fully incorporated into the classroom and curricula. Likewise, with our limited number of liaison librarians and the expanding number of students on campus, it is becoming physically impossible for us to present singular sessions to courses through an on-request basis. We would have to decide to visit some classes and not others, and this would be less effective (and unfair). Creating digital learning objects is the other option, but unless these materials are fully integrated into the curriculum, they can have the same pedagogical outcome as a one-shot.
The goal of our instruction program is to fully collaborate with faculty to have instructors incorporate information literacy into what they are already doing. We serve as educators and experts in developing information literacy activities, lessons, discussions, and assessable assignments. Instructors can then position information literacy throughout their course as it suits their and their students' needs best. We also collaborate with departments to position targeted information literacy within the curriculum where students will gain the greatest benefit. This approach will make it easier for faculty to assess information literacy-related activities and will save time (both instructor time in assessment, and in being able to implement librarian-developed activities and materials). Likewise, students won’t get the same repeat of material over and over through one-shots, and integrating information literacy into the overall curriculum will scaffold learning to meet the appropriate course level and expectations of the program. 

One-shots versus using other approaches to teaching

Reasons the one-shot doesn’t work: 

  • It is seen as external and not fully relevant to the course by students 
  • A lot of information is crammed into one class session with little review and long-term application 
  • The focus tends to be on where to click in a database, which students can easily learn in the process of larger inquiry; and bigger picture ideas about information literacy—the “why”—are left out because of time constraints 
  • It hinders greater collaboration with faculty 

Benefits to our programmatic approach: 

  • Less work for faculty in developing and planning assessment for information literacy components 
  • Less time taken away from course content for a separate library day; faculty can collaborate with librarians to find the places information literacy fits best and most naturally 
  • Easier grading on research assignments through improved student abilities from more scaffolding, practice, and reflection throughout the semester 
  • Fewer opportunities for accidental (or intentional) plagiarism through a scaffolded approach, where focus on process over product drives pedagogy