Thursday, November 13, 2008

ENG 101 Instruction

One thing I've noticed over my three plus semesters of being an academic librarian is that we tend to teach the same course in clumps. For instance, I'm teaching five sections of ENG 101 for three different instructors this week. Earlier in the semester, I taught three PSYCH 101 courses in a two day stretch (with a few other PSYCH classes mixed in that week).

It makes preparing for these similar classes a little bit like an assembly line, even if the assignments are vastly different.

The actual assignments are fairly interesting and should be interesting to both the students and instructors.

Two sections are looking at recent environment news and developing a five page research paper on a topic of interest to them. I demonstrated our OPAC, E-Books, Academic OneFile and its Environmental Studies and Policy subset, as well as Lexis-Nexis.

Another section of ENG 101 examines the various paradoxes that are pervasive in our popular culture. One example is Janet Jackson and the Super Bowl (Do I have to put Big Game on here?) Essentially, Jackson was hired to perform at the Halftime show because of her talent, popularity, and to a certain degree her sexuality. If this factored into her being hired, why the outrage (and fines, etc.) when she expressed her sexuality via her "wardrobe malfunction?" Another topic (actually developed by a student) examines the Disney teen stars that are marketed as role models, yet they dress in revealing clothing etc. Good stuff, but definitely could cause problems for some students. I demonstrated our OPAC, PASCAL Delivers, E-books, Academic OneFile and Biography Resource Center.

The last two ENG 101 sections I will teach tomorrow. The instructor gives the class a list of terms -- all of which are international cultural terms -- and the students must research one of these items. From last semester's class, there were some great ideas in there. I'll stick to my boilerplate lesson of OPAC, E-books, Academic OneFile, and I'll probably add in another database.

We've also been using the iClickers to capture a quick reaction survey at the end of each session. Instead of compiling a huge pile of paper surveys, the students actually have fun taking the eight question survey. Interestingly enough, we have been getting a slightly different dataset than the old paper surveys. The students tend to be a little more honest with their evaluation of our sessions. I guess they feel more anonymous with the iClicker than when filling out our old paper forms. I'll have more on the iClickers in a later blog.

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