Posted by: Emily | October 21, 2009

Planning a second session

The primary instruction effort on my campus involves a two-session sequence in a core seminar course that addresses the broad topic of ‘the idea of the human.’ In the first of these two sessions, I’ve been introducing the concepts of keywording and Boolean searching, and then turning students loose to explore the library catalog and one of our databases. The second session is always a mystery to me. Should I talk about citation? How much should I repeat what we last talked about? Is it an open lab time for students to search while getting help from the librarian wandering around the room?

Those of you who do stepped instruction–how do you break up your skills instruction? And what do you do when the faculty member tells you that after all these weeks, they’re still just at the point of developing research questions?



  1. If you’re not covering evaluation of sources in that first session, then the second session would be a great place to do that. A conversation about how you can judge the credibility of an author is a good starting point.

  2. I was going to say the same thing as Stephen — evaluation still flummoxes them in my experience. I cram in some new media literacy in my sessions, too: how search results are ranked, that sponsored links = ads, etc. And if you have time a bit of citation/avoiding plagiarism might be nice, too.

    I’m envious of your 2 sessions, which seem so luxurious!

  3. And now when I look back at the last time I had this question in February, it seems like flipping the sessions might be better for next time: start with evaluating sources discussion, end with a using the databases session.

    Trouble is, faculty usually expect the same thing from every session. “I want them to know how to find a scholarly article.” And I do still feel like I teach at their behest, so am compelled to just do what they want me to do, i.e. demo ProQuest and then get out of the way. I guess that speaks to the kind of outreach I’d have to do with faculty, get them to see that library instruction can be something other than that.

  4. We do two sessions with all our freshman comp courses. This semester, session one was more about evaluation, scholarly journals, while session two was about searching, boolean, databases.

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