The move to virtual instructional workshops happened suddenly and quickly gave librarians little time to fully explore the features of these new mediums before implementation.
This move especially highlighted the importance of teamwork and the need to set clear learning objectives for our workshops. Firstly, to understand the user experience better, we conducted many dry runs within our team so that we could design suitable activities for the virtual learning environment. This allowed us to familiarise ourselves with the virtual mediums and develop our new best practices for virtual workshops, as well as to ensure our participants remain continually engaged, and to achieve our learning objectives effectively. Our focus, at this time, was to reduce the disruption that the pandemic brought to our users and their learning journey.
Like our participants, we realised that we ourselves faced issues such as disproportionate access to technology, intermittent internet issues and a not so conducive home environment in terms of noise. This allowed us to demonstrate a level of empathy and understanding firstly to our own teammates and then to our participants. For example, during EndNote workshops, we expected participants to be able to follow the instructors’ demonstration as well as complete certain tasks in their own programs on their own laptops at the same time which is challenging to do on a normal sized laptop screen. We eventually resolved this by designing handouts with the detailed instructions to be disseminated to participants before the session in a format that they could print out or refer to easily on a smaller device, i.e. a mobile device, during the session. This and a slower more purposeful pace and style of demonstrations allowed us to engage our participants and achieve our learning objectives effectively even in a virtual environment.
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Library
The Pandemic IL (Pain and Pride) Series, is a curation of stories in 300 words by instruction librarians as part of the Council of Chief Librarians (CCL) Committee on Information Literacy (CIL).
Released on a weekly basis, this multi-part story series highlights the pivot to online during the pandemic and demonstrates the resilience, tenacity, commitment and passion by instruction librarians to teach, educate and advocate not only information, media and digital literacy, but multi-literacies using various digital learning strategies. Enjoy.
Chair, CCL, Committee on Information Literacy