maura @ 9:06 pm
I had this whole post about open access publishing I was in the middle of writing for my other blag, but I broke my own writing rules and didn’t finish it this morning. I read the paper and my RSS feeds instead, which felt like a better way to start this Monday. We blew any sleep gained Saturday night by staying up too late reading/programming last night, then of course I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep, just for good measure. Tonight I am going to sleep at 9pm, seriously.
I had two classes right in a row in the middle of the day today, which meant that I ate lunch around 11:00am. Maybe it was my tiredness or maybe my full stomach that made me feel like the classes didn’t go particularly well. They weren’t awful, just that there seemed to be a higher percentage than usual of students either blatantly not paying attention and/or chatting amongst themselves. I know all of the things to do in these cases, e.g., stand near the chatterers, give them pointed looks, ask them questions about the material, and ask them to stop talking. And I even did some of them. But still, something about these classes was dissatisfying.
The humble one-shot library instruction session has been written about many times and in many venues, both formal and informal, and I’m not going to bore you with a repeat here. But on days like today I find myself wondering how I can make it better. What if there were a way to get the students more involved and to make the session less draining for me, too? Partly that’s my own fault — my adrenaline rush usually keeps me moving around during classes and I talk with my hands too much. But it’s also because of that dreaded feeling that I have to lecture for much of the session or else I won’t be able to cover all of the material. And lecturing is tiring.
I’ve been trying to hatch an alternative plan for these sessions in my head over the past week or so. I’m not sure if it’s gained enough mass yet to put down in writing — it still feels kind of ethereal. But the gist of it is: what if the entire class session consisted of me asking students questions? What if I asked them to demonstrate searching the library catalog and databases? I do ask questions throughout my classes, but maybe actually rewriting the library session as a series of questions would both help take the talking onus off of me and get the students more involved.
Now I just need to find the time to write those questions down. But not tonight.