This part of the class is a relatively brief overview of student learning outcomes and how to apply them to a library setting. I use a lot of examples from the academic environment, but I think this information is applicable to any library with the librarian as instructor scenario. I don’t know if you have similar backgrounds, but I made it through 2 graduate degrees without any teaching experience of any kind. When I got a job as an education librarian, it was a. what was I thinking and b. how do I do this? There weren’t any classes on teaching in library school, but that’s a big part of being a public services librarian these days. We have mostly on the job training, and it’s hard for us to know if we are putting together useful classes. What we think may be an incredibly important thing to learn, our students may already know or may never use. So, how do we figure out what will make a difference to them? Back before our new culture of assessment, at our library, every time a class was taught, we used to make the students fill out the standard class evaluation form. The instructor collected all the forms, glanced over them, and then filed them away in a drawer never to see the light of day again. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? I mean, you collected the data, sometimes you tweaked the class a little based on the comments, so that told you everything you needed to do? They showed up at the class, so they must have learned something. The point is, when we rely on outputs, we don’t really know what’s going on. An output would be every student taking a PubMed class, but our goal is not really to make every student take a library class. Out goal is to have the outcome of every student being able to successfully search PubMed to find the information he or she needs.
Assessing Student Learning Outcomes (Finding Out If They’re Learning What You Really Want Them To)