Minutes of Friday February 5, 1999 Meeting

Cassel (chair), Hoffman, Mulcahy, Scholz-Crane, Tipton (reporting).
Still, Tate.
  1. The systemwide list of INFO workshops is up on the net. Bernice Weinberg takes care of registration in New Brunswick. Info registration is done locally in Newark and Camden.

    Attendance at INFO workshops varies from campus to campus. Transfer students as a potential audience remain a problem on every campus, since they are difficult to track and not all of them take English composition.

  2. Upcoming discussion groups on instruction:

    April 2 -- informal get together to discuss instruction. [This event has been postponed since the meeting.]
    March 11 -- NJ library association brown bag at Montclair State, 12: 30-2:30
  3. Tasks and priorities for the committee were reviewed.
    1. Database evaluation

      Ann Scholz-Crane suggested that one way to get documentation in a timely manner for new databases is to acquire documentation in electronic form from vendors before acquiring the databases themselves. Then Rutgers people can use or modify the text easily. We discussed the committee's role in documentation, concluding that this committee should act as a clearinghouse or editorial board for documents. We do not need to write every one ourselves.

      Although SACOPS is doing work on acquiring databases, we are also interested in how databases are dropped. Sometimes useful databases seem to disappear with insufficient warning or discussion. Teaching hands-on classes has become difficult because the limited number of licenses is insufficient for classroom training. The committee will document database problems from an instructional point of view so that this discussion can continue on another level.

      When databases fail or are not available because of licensing restrictions alternatives are sometimes acceptable and sometimes not. During the recent downtime on IRIS some librarians used transparencies for demonstration, some used the Emory University site, and some used Lehigh University. For reference, some librarians substituted RLIN Eureka while others utilized existing older card catalogs.
    2. The committee will be working with the training coordinator. Since the training coordinator is exclusively for LIS training, we made note of the lack of a training coordinator for library faculty. Perhaps we need to survey practices in other research libraries regarding the need for faculty training coordinator.

      SUNY received a grant to have 30 SUNY librarians trained in information literacy. We discussed the need to take note of existing training opportunities such as the ACRL immersion program next summer and LOEX so that Rutgers librarians can be sent to these nationally-recognized events.
    3. Helen Hoffman is working to identify resources around Rutgers for information literacy training-electronic classrooms, equipment, and software. She will also take note of our resources for instructional software development.
    4. Ann Scholz-Crane has been investigating teaching methodologies. She looked at three levels of instruction: orientation, English composition, and advanced, subject-based instruction.

      Level 1: Orientation The objective is to establish a comfort level with the library. The idea of training students to train other students was discussed.

      Level 2: English Composition Although at this point the students have some definite assignment, which focuses their attention, the issue of comfort level is still very important. Many students are using the library for the first time.

      On this level, we generally assume that some comfort level has been established previously, and that students know the basics (IRIS and some basic database, for example). Sometimes this is not the case, and we must review the basics as we go deeper into subject material. This level of instruction applies to advance undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty.

      On all levels of instruction, the librarian-professor relationship is very important so that research information is tied back into the total educational experience. The librarian-student relationship is extremely important on all levels of instruction, but most particularly on Level 1 and Level 2. The most advanced students benefit most from Web pages and canned tutorials because they are independent and motivated. The least advanced students require more human intervention to increase their comfort level and quickly encourage, diagnose, correct, and suggest courses of action before their frustration level overcomes their desire to move forward.
    5. Kevin Mulcahy presented a draft of his report on designing and implementing electronic instruction programs. The committee discussed a number of issues related to this report.

      Instruction programs must address the diversity of student population in our classrooms We need very simple, inexpensive authoring software if those of us who teach also author instructional programs. Anything requiring too much investment of time or money will not be completed successfully. Our instructional programs should actually be presented in number of ways to accommodate different learning levels and different learning styles: 1) face-to-face classroom instruction is still an important component; 2) onscreen tutorials need to be used when appropriate; 3) printed guides are still useful in many teaching and reference situations; 4) distance learning options need to be explored.
  4. Western Monmouth

    Discussion of distance learning led into some of the issues at the Western Monmouth campus. Many of the details related to library use and library instruction at this site do not seem to have been worked out in advance. The space we have been given for instruction is not really set up for the purpose. There are issues with circulation, interlibrary loan, scheduling of the room for instruction (apparently, librarians cannot schedule rooms because they are not "teaching faculty"), travel arrangements and reimbursement for travel. Western Monmouth students do not necessarily have University identification cards or email accounts, and yet they are expected to use the campus network during their learning experience. Perhaps they should be required to visit a Rutgers campus before the semester begins to obtain these items. The committee suggested that a joint meeting be held between the Instructional Services Committee and the Task Force on Distance Learning to discuss some of these issues.
  5. Jeris Cassel will collect descriptions of instructional programs on each campus and campus instructional statistics for analysis.

Respectfully submitted,
Roberta Tipton

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