From My Mouth to Faculty Ears: A Model for Successful Teaching


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Dr. Cristina Rowley, Assistant Professor (Spanish), SUNY Geneseo
Kimberly Davies Hoffman, Instruction Librarian, SUNY Geneseo

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  • Cristina: Hello and thank you for attending this session of the ACRL Western New York / Ontario Conference My name is Cristina Rowley

    Kim: I am Kim Hoffman. In this session, we will highlight how we came to work together and what we and our students, who you will meet throughout this presentation, have learned along the way. So, without further ado, let’s start at the beginning.
  • Cristina: I first taught this Latin American Civilization course in the Fall semester of 2003 and I closely followed a textbook that covered the history of Latin America from Pre-Colombian times to the present. My only use of the Library was to place additional course material on electronic and book reserve. The cultural project consisted of investigating an indigenous group and the history of a Spanish speaking country. I learned a great deal from this first experience and in the Fall 2005 I made adjustments with regard to the textbook, visual aids and assignments to better complement the material covered and more actively involve the students. I also included a one-time session with a librarian to help students investigate the chosen indigenous group and country. Overall, the final project showed improvement but I still found that students relied heavily on the textbook and sources such as wikipedia.

    Intro video: I wondered where and when do students learn to do scholarly research.

  • Cristina: 2007- So it became clearly evident that students did not possess the research skills required for this course. I discussed this with my colleagues and they expressed the same frustration but offered no solutions.
  • Cristina: The solution presented itself at a Teaching and learning conference where Kim and professor Ellen Kintz, from our Anthropology Department, presented on their collaborative teaching. I knew right away that my civilization course and students would greatly benefit from this type of library instruction.

    Kim: To provide a little of background Ellen Kintz and I have worked together on her anthropology classes since 2003. We originally began collaborating based on a successful teaching model from a colleague of mine, Sue Ann Brainard and her teaching partner, Emily Crosby, from the History Department.
  • Kim and I worked together to plan the syllabus and course. We redesigned the final project and divided it into smaller sections that would be due at predetermined intervals. We also added librarian instruction to coincide with the material that would be covered in that particular section of the project. To further reinforce what Kim taught, she also incorporated hands-on practice that would be done in class. The results: the quality of the cultural project greatly improved but we still had room for improvement.
    Kim: 2008Timing was worked out – shortened ppt presentation to allow for more time with the librarian – context could be learned- supplemented through research discoveries and sharing during class discussions. Why teach students something that can be discovered independently with guidance?
    Full 30 minute sessions plus hands-on time for students to get started on their specific country. Cristina gave more time for this piece.
    Both professor and librarian were available for feedback and further assistance during hand-on time.
    Though students may have had previous library instruction, it is important to stress that with very new course comes new skills and targeting resources.
  • Cristina: Students learned a great deal in this class but we will let them tell you about that.

    Hands on practice – benefits of holding class in the library with readily available technology
    Note taking, look up of Spanish words
    following along with ppts in class but also referral later on

    Allowed students to experiment in databases following mini lessons
    Feedback from instructors on the spot
    Students actually asked for MORE hands-on time with their research

    Kim: Transferability of skills/knowledge – used skills in other classes, expanded their knowledge of all the different options whether for SPAN or another discipline, training continues to our students friends
  • Cooperative planning
    Kim and I worked on the syllabus together and she provided new ideas for the course and the project. We were both actively engaged and thoroughly thought out every aspect of the course

    Raising the bar
    There has been an exponential growth of resources and tools since writing my dissertation and this collaborative experience has allowed me to use these sources in my own research

    Greater knowledge of content
    I learned from my own research for the course, from Kim and from students who found resources I had not found. So in the end I am more knowledgeable.

    Interconnectedness …
    I have noted that students who had taken Kim and Dr. Kintz course, did better research and in the same manner students from this course, learned how to do better scholarly research in other courses.

    Transfer of ideas from other instructors that Kim has worked with – wiki, culture day..
    Moving beyond the textbook – lots more freedom to emphasize new content, explore new topics not covered in any chosen textbook
  • Cristina: In the Fall of 2010 I was asked to teach SPAN 314 which shares the same material as the 326 course I taught before but emphasized more the 20th and 21st centuries. For this course we followed the same design of our previous collaboration.
    However, there was such a demand for this course (word of mouth from student to student) that an additional section was opened. This allowed us to use two library instruction models to see the impact of library instruction on the quality of student research.
    Kim: Students knew from the first day of class the details of their research projects. One class had a one-time library instruction at the beginning of the semester while the other had appropriately times mini-library sessions that coincided with the material of the project due.
  • Another valuable resource that Kim provided for this course was this webpage where students could find information and links to scholarly resources. So students had access to research help in and out of class.

    Kim: Explanation of the cross over comments between Spanish and Anthropology.
  • Cristina: Renee and Molly’s comments were the norm for many students in the multi-library instruction class. It was interesting to note that some students from the section with a one-time library instruction had had other classes with library instruction or had received very good research instruction in High School. At the beginning of the semester they were encouraged to seek help from the librarian and many did just that.

    Overall, the consensus was that carefully times library instruction along with a detailed research assignment led to student successful completion of the projects for this course. Furthermore, these skills were transferable to other courses as well.
  • These student comments:

    Students knowing topic for research before library instruction, better timed
    Multiple times versus one time shot
    Advanced research skills and having time/opportunity to practice them - Importance of librarian feedback
    General comments

  • While our analysis of student surveys and videotaped interviews are not complete, here are some general trends that we noticed from the two sections of our latest collaboration. The following assumptions will not come as a surprise to any of you.
  • The success of our collaborative teaching has not happened overnight. It was a slow evolution. I first heard about it from a Learning and Teaching Conference session let by Kim and Dr. Ellen Kintz. As you have seen from this presentation we have gone through many adaptations of the course and expanded to other courses I have taught. Faculty from my department have heard about our successful collaborative work from me and my students. And we can’t forget about the students. Consistently my courses are among the first to get filled up during registration and part of that is that students tell their friends about how much they can learn, and enjoy, from my courses.
    The next slide will provide some examples of each of these ways of spreading the word about how successfull embedded library instruction is.
  • Start w/SA – 221 w/Emilye led to a similar model for HIST 220 (more historiography, secondary sources)
    Jordan Kleiman – at Geneseo 1 or 2 yrs before assigned HIST 221 – asked Emilye how she teaches the course (4-8 short sessions/semester)
    Helena Waddy – began w/1 session for HIST 221, SA twisted her arm to get in 4 sessions – Sonja’s encouragement for Helena to work w/SA
    Meg Stolee – heard of the teaching collaboration from Waddy and asked for 2 sessions – planned assignments together and SA graded student work
    Justin Behrend – new professor who was having lunch w/Emilye. She invited SA along and together, they convinced him to employ the collaborative teaching model. Began w/2 sessions & worked up to 4.
    Drew Maciag – signed on to teach HIST 221 – SA approached him after having taught a one-shot for him in the past
    Tze-Ki Hon – Chair of HIST Dept. – Through a faculty luncheon sponsored by the librarians in 4/2010, Hon discovered how far reaching the HIST teaching partnerships had grown but that there are still some sections that don’t collaborate w/SA. Plans for future meetings, possibly to formalize the 221 collaboration
    Provost Long – finally, as more online courses are being offered this summer, the librarians have been promoting their services to our faculty. Whether small scale or complete collaboration, we are contacting faculty to offer our assistance.
    Ellen’s retirement left ANTH faculty scrambling to keep the successful model running, yet few are willing to take the time involved. New chair, RM, worked w/me to redesign the entire course schedule and embed research-related assignments that would prepare students to arrive in class with newly discovered knowledge that could be discussed
    Jim Aimers – Ellen’s content replacement – slow to jump on the collaborative teaching bandwagon – 1st trying to acclimate to the new position/campus; 2nd trying to develop his courses, shifting from British university students to American undergrads (expecting a lot from Geneseo students); 3rd concerned about low SOFI scores and how adding a new partner would disrupt his own thinking about modifying the courses. One-shots here and there. Need for assessment data this semester – mtg with me & Ellen – beginning to realize that students need to be trained how to be scholars before they can rise to that level. ANTH 224 – included in my e-mail critiques of students’ websites and has written to say how much he has learned and that he would like to work more formally together. RIT conference too!
  • This course has greatly improved thanks to collaborate teaching and I strongly feel that my own teaching has also greatly benefited from this experience.

    Collaborate teaching: It is important for teaching faculty to know that they can customize collaborative teaching to fit their field and personality. I very highly recommend it!

    Who else has had experience or ideas in capturing the interest of faculty?
  • Please contact us in the future for any questions, comments, further discussion on how to revitalize course materials through collaborative planning.

  • From My Mouth to Faculty Ears: A Model for Successful Teaching

    1. 1. From our Mouths to Faculty Ears: A Model for Successful Teaching Professor Cristina Rowley Librarian Kimberly Davies Hoffman SUNY Geneseo 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    2. 2. A Chronology of SPAN 326: Latin American Civilization Fall 2003 1st time teaching SPAN 326 Relied on a course textbook Added materials on reserve (e-res) Fall 2005 Adjustments with textbook, visual aids and assignments Added a one-time instruction session with a librarian Improvements seen but final projects still lacking 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    3. 3. Previous Library Instruction 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter  Video clip omitted (a student talks about his experience in a first-year writing course and the limited library session provided – a very general overview of the library without going into any depth like the embedded library instruction of SPAN 326.)
    4. 4. Word of Mouth 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter Brainard/ Crosby HIST 221 Hoffman/ Kintz ANTH 224 229 235 282 Hoffman/ Rowley SPAN 326 Teaching & Learning Conference, 2007
    5. 5. A Chronology of SPAN 326: Latin American Civilization Fall 2007 Planning for SPAN 326 incorporated librarian input Designed a detailed final project Added appropriately timed mini library sessions Incorporated hands-on practice Fall 2008 Used students’ feedback from Fall ‘07 to modify the course Structure of final project is more organized and clear Better balance of time between content and library skills Included appropriately timed mini library session 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    6. 6. Targeting Resources to Course Content  Video clip omitted (a student talks about her involvement in a prior Anthropology course that also included embedded library instruction and how she thought the experience in SPAN 326 would simply be more of the same. To her surprise, she learned a whole lot more about research since all of the lessons and assignments in SPAN 326 were geared specifically to Latin American history/civilization. The student mentions that there is always more to learn.) 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    7. 7. Enhanced Learning  Students ◦ Language barriers ◦ Raising the bar on scholarly research ◦ Improved comfort level with librarians/library staff ◦ Hands-on practice made possible by convenient access to technology ◦ Better organization & planning means greater learning ◦ Transferability of skills/knowledge 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter A variety of video clips omitted, related to the issues stated in the bullet points on the left.
    8. 8. Enhanced Learning • Librarian • Cooperative planning was essential • Syllabus and schedule • Assignments • Raising the bar on scholarly research • Greater knowledge of content • Interconnectedness between disciplines • Spanish language • Professor • Cooperative planning was essential • Syllabus and schedule • Assignments • Raising the bar on scholarly research • Greater knowledge of content • Interconnectedness between disciplines • Moving beyond the textbook 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    9. 9. Expansion to other courses: SPAN 314: Contemporary Latin American Civilization Fall 2009 – Section 1 Planning for SPAN 314 incorporated librarian input Structure of final project is organized and clear Included appropriately timed mini library sessions Incorporated hands-on practice Course resources on course management system Fall 2009 – Section 2 Planning for SPAN 314 incorporated librarian input Structure of final project is organized and clear Provided one-time library instruction Students were encouraged to seek library assistance Course resources on course management system 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    10. 10. 326/index.htm 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    11. 11. What Students Wish For 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    12. 12. “It (library instruction) was most useful in this class when we knew what we were researching.” - Senior “Although it was useful, it (library session) would’ve been more useful if given closer to when the assignment was due.” - Junior “It is better to have the library instruction once we already have a handle on what we’re doing.” - Junior 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter Student comments (SPAN 314) - Comments in black represent students in research-intensive section - Comments in red represent student receiving only one library session
    13. 13. 2009 RIT Faculty Institute on Teaching and Learning “We know now to use the resources, but there are tricks and things specific to topics we may not know.” - Junior “I would have liked to know how to use Clase better. It looked like it had good articles but I often had trouble accessing them.” - Senior “(In SPAN 326,) sources and search techniques I was unfamiliar with were explained in depth. This provided useful tools for finding obscure or hard to find information.” - Senior “It was useful for me to find out what was ‘scholarly’ and what was not; also the librarians were able to point me in the right direction and find useful sources.” - Senior Student comments (SPAN 314)
    14. 14. 2009 RIT Faculty Institute on Teaching and Learning “(past library instruction was) not as helpful as the one in this class. Some of the search methods (advanced searches, etc.) were more helpful than before, however one instruction made it hard to retain and being able to see a search more relevant to my topic would have been helpful.” - Junior “I think multiple instruction sessions would be better because I always forget everything and/or lose the sheets they give us, or the instruction is too fast for me to take notes on.” - Junior “(past library instruction) wasn’t repeated enough times, so by the end of the semester I had forgotten what I had learned. It needs to be carried out through the semester, like 314.” - Junior “(past library instruction) was useful because the librarian gave us resources to find articles in Spanish, but it was only one session so the information didn’t stay with me.” - Senior “This library practice was so helpful because it was several times throughout the semester.” - Junior Student comments (SPAN 314)
    15. 15. 2009 RIT Faculty Institute on Teaching and Learning “Kim Hoffman, after instructing the students in my (ANTH) class, had us send practice assignments directly to her. She corrected them and returned them to us, so we were able to see where we could improve before we went on to do larger assignments. I think that if we had done a similar thing in this (314) course, some people may have benefitted greatly from it.” - Sophomore “The library instruction for this class was excellent. Wish I had this in depth instruction as a freshman.” - Senior “I have never been given (library) instruction, especially concerning online sources. VERY HELPFUL and I think all courses should have this.” – Senior Student comments (SPAN 314)
    16. 16. One-Shot vs Embedded Instruction  Collaboration is ever-evolving  Student needs to have chosen the topic of their research project  Timing of librarian instruction is key  Smaller assignments (graded/with feedback) throughout the semester aligned with appropriate instruction  Hands on practice 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    17. 17. Spreading the Word Word of Mouth ◦from instructor to instructor ◦from librarian to instructor ◦from student to instructor ◦from student to student 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    18. 18. Brainard/ Crosby HIST 221 Hoffman/ Kintz ANTH 326 Hoffman/ McEwen SPAN Hoffman/ SPAN 301 Hoffman/ Rowley SPAN Hoffman/ Cleeton SOCL 363 314 376 314100 224 229 235 282 Hoffman/ RYSAG 326 Swoger/ Muench BIOL Swoger/ Farthing GSCI Paradis/ McAlpine INTD Paradis/ Kaplan THEA Brainard / Kleiman Brainard / Waddy Brainard / Stolee Brainard / Behrend 220 Brainard / Maciag Brainard / Hon Brainard/ Long ENGL 213 Hoffman / Aimers Hoffman / Chierici Costello Ottavian o Elmore CHE M COMN PLSC SUNY Brockport SUNY Oswego East HS, Rochester Monroe CC 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    19. 19. Considerations for Outreach  Start small – one time library instruction, develop a research related assignment  Develop relationships with faculty, building trust – give faculty and yourself time to see how library instruction can best complement the course  Inform departments of the resources and instruction that librarians can provide  Provide evidence of benefits of embedded library instruction  Give presentations at faculty conferences and workshops  Reach out to new faculty (first year training) – pros and cons 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    20. 20. What have you done to capture the interest of faculty? 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter
    21. 21. Contact Info  Dra. Cristina Rowley Welles Hall 209B, SUNY Geneseo 585-245-5247  Kimberly Hoffman Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo 585-245-5046 2010 ACRL WNY/Ontario Chapter