“Are you in the library? Can I come and sit with you during the online workshop just in case I need help?”
A quiet request from a student popped up from the Zoom chat before the start of our first online workshop. Nearly two years on, online is now the default mode for library instructional workshops and consultations.
When COVID-19 first hit Singapore’s shores in early 2020, some of the challenges faced by the library instructional team were:
- How to transform face-to-face workshops into online workshops without sacrificing learner engagement while achieving the same learning outcomes?
- How to deliver workshops without the instantaneous feedback from an in-person audience?
Added to that was the question of acceptance and adoption by students, especially part-time graduate students, many of whom may be mature learners with less exposure to online learning.
Looking back, we were amazed that we managed to stay one step ahead of the rapidly evolving COVID situation by launching the first online workshop in early March 2020, a full month before the imposition of the Singapore Circuit Breaker phase.
Now, with constant tweaks and experimentation with online engagement tools, workshop design, and the utilisation of video conferencing capabilities, we are able to successfully offer various modes of online learning – from large lecture-style briefings involving a few hundred students, to interactive hands-on workshops, to dynamic small group tutorials for doctoral students. 2020 was also the first time that asynchronous e-learning was adopted for all undergraduate students in a core course. What has helped us stay ahead of the shifting situation is the willingness to try to new things and readiness to change plans and adapt.
While the pandemic has brought major upheavals and challenges, it has also accelerated the adoption of online learning, which helped to overcome barriers in space (limits in class size), geography and time, making learning more accessible to students who need it most.
Unit Head, Learning Services
National Institute of Education 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