A Peer-to-Peer Introduction to the University Library

Submitted by Chelsea Heinbach on May 16th, 2019
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Short Description: 

This low-stakes, in-class assignment is designed to help first-year seminar students learn about important library resources and present their findings to their fellow students. In teams, students complete a series of authentic research tasks (called challenges) such as selecting and citing images from our digital collection and using our discovery tool to find books on the library shelves. Each team is also assigned a unique challenge to learn more about the library. Students spend the last twenty-five minutes of class designing a quick presentation in Canva and using it to teach each other about what they learned through their unique challenges.

Lesson PlanDownloaded 598 times17.1 KB
Activity ChallengesDownloaded 545 times109.77 KB
Learning Outcomes: 

Students will identify uses for library technologies and resources in order to teach their classmates. Students will examine metadata from an image found via the UNLV digital collections in order to write an accurate image citation. Students will design a slide in Canva that showcases library resources and technologies.

Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

We used this lesson plan to provide library instruction for a first-year seminar for liberal arts students. The course was loosely themed around the idea of “a domain of one’s own,” i.e., equipping students to become thoughtful creators of digital content. The session was not tied to a particular research assignment, but the course instructor thought it was important to provide students with a general introduction to the library. The course instructor gave Mark few parameters for developing the lesson, instead asking Mark “to just tell them about the library.” Mark decided to collaborate with Brittany and Chelsea to transform the generic “welcome to the library” session that the instructor had asked for into something more vibrant.

Assessment or Criteria for Success
Assessment Short Description: 
Student groups checked in with us as they completed the succession of challenges in order to move on to the next stage. We also reviewed students’ presentations and Canva slides for evidence that students fulfilled our learning outcomes.
Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

Although the goal of this lesson plan is to provide a casual, low-stakes learning experience for the students, the constraints of time and logistics require the instructors to undertake careful planning in advance. The clearer you can make your directions for each challenge, the more time students can devote to discovering library resources and sharing what they learned. You will probably want a second instructor to help students with logistical questions. If you cannot get an additional librarian colleague, an experienced student worker or even the course instructor could fill this role, but make sure that they understand the plan in advance. Try to avoid extending the lesson plan by shifting the presentation to an additional class session, as it will likely cause students to overthink what is meant to be a low-stakes and engaging activity.

Suggested Citation: 
Heinbach, Chelsea. "A Peer-to-Peer Introduction to the University Library." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2019.