Friday, December 17, 2010

Episode 21: Winging it

Steve Lawson joins us to discuss winging it: low- and no-prep instruction sessions.

Links we mentioned:
(Apologies if some of the audio is slightly rough: in keeping with the theme of the show, Rachel and Jason had to improvise some of their podcasting equipment this month.)

MP3 link


  1. Here at UW-Milwaukee we've implemented a group approach to our English 102 classes. This method combines a bit of winging it with student led instruction.

    Here's the basics: Students work in teams of 4-5 students to find a specific type of source (scholarly article, book, etc.) to answer a pre-assigned research topic (or if they are working on group projects, then their group topic). A spokesperson from their team will demo how they found their source and why the source fit their topic & source type.

    Before librarians teach with this method they usually feel like they will be giving up too much control. But in reality you are still in control of what is taught, and students take control of what they learn.

    It has been very successful and it also takes little to no-prep, which is great because we teach about 100 of these sessions each semester.

  2. I remember my early days of library instruction in which I was nervous that I'd do something wrong. Since then I learned that making mistakes and winging it is part of the job. What is important is making the right kind of mistakes. I want students to see that the process requires restarting and rethinking. However I don't want to make students think "if the librarian can't find anything how am I going to succeed." I like to phrase my winging it ways with this phrase "everybody needs a good bad example".

  3. "everybody needs a good bad example!!" i love it!!!! thanks for sharing!