For the course project in Instructional and Training Strategies for Information Professionals I created a comprehensive instructional design program for traditional undergraduate freshmen, culminating in a class presentation on my topic and program design. We were given considerable latitude as to how and what we researched and presented. I chose to delve deeply into creating a comprehensive information literacy program. I challenged my colleagues with the benefits and expanded possibilities of an information literacy program integrated into the university curriculum in my presentation titiled Information Literacy: A foundation for success – toward an implementation of the “First Year Experience”. I created a program based on the “First Year Experience” model. I explained how this movement attempts to make the first years of college a success for new students by helping them attain the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the often overwhelming experience of life at college. I stressed that an important component and player in this model should be the library, but they are not always given voice when new programs and curricular changes occur. I encouraged my colleagues to get involved because the first years of college are a prime opportunity to teach students how to access and use information well, preparing them for a lifetime of learning.
Through the project I learned how to plan and implement information literacy programs while teaching courses in conjunction with faculty. I synthesized the numerous articles, books, and websites into a comprehensive list of user needs. I envisioned the tools and means necessary for a program to positively impact students and prepare them for the future. I learned how to prepare an engaging presentation to colleagues, utilizing several learning styles in an attempt to persuade my classmates to become involved in the design and implementation of curricular changes when they enter professional practice. I also learned that time can pass too quickly when presenting on a thoroughly researched topic and that even very important information may be lost in a deluge of slides. I learned that there is always more good and worthwhile information that can’t be included when giving a brief teaching, so having a take-away for the audience may be a beneficial way to pass along extra information to those who desire a more thorough investigation of the topic.
All the readings and research I covered in preparation for this project and presentation will benefit me in my professional career and greatly improve my ability to grasp the issues related to teaching, to information literacy, and to creating collaboration between teaching faculty and the library. This experience prepared me for the depth and quality of background work necessary to successfully convey a topic to an audience. I know that with time I will gain more experience teaching and presenting, but I now have a greater confidence in my ability to communicate ideas through speaking. I know that through the use of humor and interactive activities I am able to keep people interested in a topic. My presentation could have easily expanded to fill a class period or conference presentation, so I have a greater appreciation for brevity and clarity in short presentations. This need for compact presentations is already being refined through current experiences creating short online information literacy tutorials. I now anticipate the opportunity to share the vital role of the library with students, faculty, administrators, and my colleagues. I am more convinced of the necessity for looking into the instruction and information literacy programs wherever I work in the future. It is said that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it – if nothing else, I convinced myself through this process that it is important to advocate for a strong library role in future curriculum conversations.