Using Comic Strips in Presentations

  • On 30-Apr-08, at 9:48 AM, Barbara McDonald wrote:
    • Colleagues, I just found out that Dilbert comics are now open access. Great material here for presentations, especially if you’re like me and not so hot as a stand-up.  The story is below, and the Dilbert site is:
    • I also like New Yorker cartoons and have looked at using their cartoonbank:
    • ($14.95 for a presentation download) but never actually done it.
    • Anyone else got ideas/favourite humour sources?
  • Karen Nicholson wrote:
  • Krista Godfrey wrote:
  • Open access and comic strips
    • Johnson, Steve. Think you’re funnier than Scott Adams? Chicago Tribune, April 29, 2008.
    • Introduction: “In Scott Adams’ reading of the Internet, you either ride the train or it runs you over. So with the new iteration of his “Dilbert” Web site, Adams is making every “Dilbert” ever made freely available…and has introduced a new feature that lets readers craft their own, last-panel punch lines.”
      “I guess you could say we’re embracing the realities of intellectual property on the Internet,” Adams said. “I don’t want the best choices people have for ‘Dilbert’ to be bookstores or illegal downloads”.

June 20, 2008 at 5:45 pm 1 comment

Faculty awareness of info lit

Albitz, R. (2007, January). The What and Who of Information Literacy and Critical Thinking in Higher Education. portal: Libraries & the Academy, 7(1), 97-109.

Badke, W. (2005). Can’t Get No Respect: Helping Faculty to Understand the Educational Power of Information Literacy. Reference Librarian, 43(89/90), 63-80.

Boon, S., Johnston, B., & Webber, S. (2007). A phenomenographic study of English faculty’s conceptions of information literacy. Journal of Documentation, 63(2), 204-228.

Farber, E. (2004). Working with Faculty: Some Reflections. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 11(2), 129-135. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts database.

Gullikson, S. (2006, November). Faculty Perceptions of ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(6), 583-592. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts database.

McGuinness, C. (2006, November). What Faculty Think-Exploring the Barriers to Information Literacy Development in Undergraduate Education. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(6), 573-582. .

Singh, A. (2005, July). A Report on Faculty Perceptions of Students’ Information Literacy Competencies in Journalism and Mass Communication Programs: The ACEJMC Survey. College & Research Libraries, 66(4), 294-311.

Turner, R. (2006). Relationships between Teaching Faculty and Teaching Librarians. New Library World, 107(7/8), 361-363. Retrieved March 18, 2008, doi:10.1108/03074800610677362

Wu, Y., & Kendall, S. (2006). Teaching faculty’s perspectives on business information literacy. Reference Services Review, 34(1), 86-96.

May 13, 2008 at 10:14 pm Leave a comment

New IL paper from UNESCO

Towards Information Literacy. Indicators. Conceptual framework paper prepared by Ralph Catts and Jesus Lau. With a list of potential international indicators for information supply, access and supporting skills by UNESCO Institute for Statistics. UNESCO. Information for All Programme (IFAP). UNESCO: Paris, 2008.



April 18, 2008 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

Summary: Library Instruction for e-Classes from ili-l

  • There has been a recent discussion on how to get more student involvement in large classes. I would like to continue the discussion on ways to get students interacting in a 50 minute class in a room with computers, 20-30 students, and 4-5 databases to demo. What kinds of activities, exercises have you used successfully in this situation? How have you gotten away from spending the entire class time going over the various databases – a real snoozer! Thanks in advance, Caroline Barnes Black Hawk College 


  • I agree, cramming those databases into the 50 minute one-shot can be a pain! Currently I am using a method I’ve cobbled together based on something a writing instructor brought to me early this term.
  • Depending on how much time I have and how much needs covering, I have to alter the approach, but it goes like this:
  • after the introductions, shove them into a resource (or multiple resources, depending on the time allotted) to find information on a specific topic related to their assignment… most recently it was “racism”, although I find that “autism” and “stem cell research” work very well
    • I give no instruction on how to use a resource: “Just muddle through it”
    • They can work in pairs or small groups (depending on how large the class)
  • I ask them to write down how many results were found
  • I ask them to look at the top three items in their results list and determine whether they are “scholarly” or “authoritative” (or other useless, to them, jargon)
  • I invite them to ask questions about what they see as it comes up and to hold questions about the process until after the exercise
  • We come back together to talk about what happened, there are some pretty common reactions/responses
    • Why didn’t everyone get the same number of results in Google
      • some people use phrase searching, some people misspell, sometimes it’s the vagaries of Google
    • Why weren’t there any actual articles (re: using the full-text limiter in a database)
    • But it’s from ___, of course it’s scholarly (usually: Wikipedia, MSNBC, some professional organization e.g., ADA)
      • Great place to talk about scholarly vs. authority vs. useful, but totally inappropriate for a research paper (although some of the position papers have more wiggle room)
  • If I am really pressed for time I will send them into Google for 5 unadulterated minutes and then pull them back into the database talk. Sometimes I have to combine databases and only talk about a select few. For example, I might talk about the EBSCO interface in contrast to Science Direct and highlight the similarities and differences. “You know from Google, that when you see a box and a button next to it that says ‘search’, you’re going to be typing some kind of language and searching, but what’s totally different is…” In this way we cover the important issues like controlled vocabulary, phrase searching, finding and using the help functions– without actually demonstrating each database. I worry that demonstrating each database encourages students to avoid things they’ve not previously experienced.
  • With ABE, ESOL, and College Success courses I will often incorporate an online Encyclopedia into the very first phase and occasionally leave out other resources, depending on the consult I have had with the classroom faculty. This allows us to talk about Wikipedia and how it is just as easy to use Worldbook Online, but that neither resource usually belongs in a Works Cited page.
  • I like this approach because it forces them to confront the gap in their knowledge. Very often I find that students don’t believe they need any instruction on research tools and it isn’t until they have seen that blasted red message in EBSCO, telling them there are no results found, that they believe it is important to absorb the information. Of course we remember from library school that the problem with “the gap” is that folks have a difficult time asking questions about the information they don’t know they don’t know. Allie Flanary, Faculty Librarian Portland Community College Library Sylvania Campus

February 7, 2008 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment

Summary: Library Instruction for Large Classes from ili-l

From: Pardue, Karen T.
To: ‘’
Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 4:59 PM

Hi everybody,
Thanks for all the great information on teaching library research skills to large classes. Here is a list of most of the responses I received:

  • One of the things I do when there’s an assignment is try to get a list of student paper/project topics from the instructor ahead of time. I usually can’t get through all of them in 50 minutes, but often I can get through a dozen or so — whether I’m demonstrating Booleans or leading them through MLA International Bibliography. Even if a student’s project doesn’t wind up used as an example, they may have talked with other students and be able to relate what I’m doing to what their classmates are doing. Best, John


  • Hi Karen, I am also liaison librarian to our College of Nursing. Most of the time, individual sections of particular courses come to the library, where I am able to do hands-on instruction with them. However, for the senior capstone course, the faculty request that I come to the lecture room and “give a talk” on how to find health statistics. Someone just sent a message to the list about how to cure insomnia by showing one database after another. Well, I can testify that showing one website after another for finding health stats causes the audience to fall instantly into a stupor 🙂 Also, due to the team-taught nature of the course, I am asked to deliver this “talk” fairly early on in the semester, although the students won’t be forming groups to do health assessments of their particular populations until much closer to spring break.
  • After the first couple of times of what I can only describe as going through the motions, I finally persuaded the lead faculty member of the course to allow me to administer an activity via Blackboard a week prior to the class. I gave them 10 questions requiring them to locate particular health statistics, as well as the URL where the stats could be found. My objective was simply to get the students to look at the sources ahead of time and to use them, so that when I came into the classroom they would have some familiarity and even, perhaps, some questions, and I’d be able to show just the special features of key websites, instead of trying to go through a long list.
  • Fortunately, the faculty member was enthusiastic about the idea, and she counted the activity as one of the students’ semester quizzes, so they were motivated to do their best. She even got the students to form their groups early, and I made 3 versions of the quiz, so that different groups could take different versions. Even if they divided the work among the members of the group, each student would still get some hands-on experience and have more familiarity with statistical websites than the students had in past semesters.
  • The quizzes consisted of 10 multiple-choice questions, which Blackboard’s quiz module scores automatically, so there’s nothing to do afterward for the quizzes except to download the results.
  • It seems to have worked well, as the students were much more alert when I came into the class for the 30-min. lecture afterward. The faculty member noticed the difference, too. I’m waiting to see if, when they actually begin hunting for statistics for their neighborhoods, if they manage to find the easier to obtain data on their own (using the Word handout with live links that I prepared and uploaded into Blackboard) and only contact me when they get stuck looking for more hard to find data.
  • I also like the idea of paper-and-pencil activities during the class, which someone suggested on the list this morning. I’m going to try that next time, as well. Barbara Quintiliano Instructional Design Librarian Falvey Memorial Library Villanova University Villanova, PA


  • If you have wireless access in your classroom, try having their nursing instructor ask them to bring their laptops to class. I had a 3 hour class with 45 first-year nursing students and knew I couldn’t entertain them for that long with CINAHL and RefWorks. Forty of them brought laptops (those without shared with their friends). While it made the class a bit chaotic, being able to apply what I was talking about as soon as they heard it, and get going on research for a paper at the same time, made for a successful class.
  • I didn’t have any trouble with them surfing off to wherever, but I also tend to roam a lot when I teach, so I would have noticed quickly.


  • When speaking to large groups, I’ve found that simple icebreakers or other exercises using a pen/pencil and paper are very effective. For instance, have paper and pencil at each desk. Ask students what comes to mind when they hear the term library or librarian. Have them sum it up in one or two words. Collect the papers and read a few of the comments. The feedback is always interesting if not entertaining and can provide you with a good springboard for further discussion. This technique can also be used when demonstrating keyword searching. Ask students to brainstorm search terms and have them call out their suggestions. A few students may be anxious to show off their searching skills as well. Solicit volunteers to demo a sample search. I’ve found that as long as I provide plenty of structure including time limits for each activity, I usually have a positive response from the students as well as any accompanying faculty members. Hope this helps! Ellen Parker Reference Librarian Atlantic Cape Community College


  • Hi Karen, The one thing I have only just started experimenting with is with my handouts. If you use handouts, don’t give them all the answers on the handouts. Have spots where they have to fill in the blanks or sections where they will write down terms that the whole group brainstorms together. I did the brainstorming with a class that had a really specific assignment a couple of weeks ago and it worked great. Nicole Masica Montgomery Assistant University Librarian Justice & Safety Library Eastern Kentucky University


  • I was browsing through the Journal of Academic Librarianship this afternoon and came across a citation and abstract for the following book. It might be able to help answer your question:
  • “Engaging the Masses: Library Instruction with Large Undergraduate Classes,” by Patricia Fravel Vander Meer, Donna M. Ring, and Maria A. Perez-Stahle. College and Undergraduate Libraries 14, no. 1 (2007): 39-56.


  • I have this problem with my Criminal Justice students; these classes are typically 75 students and cannot come to the library all at once.
  • I’ve done a couple of things. First, UNC has subscribed to Springshare Libguides, so I typically show the Criminal Justice libguide ( to the classes instead of showing them the library website; I’m more concerned that they can get to the stuff for their research. You will notice on the libguide that there are course pages; for each class I see I create a page for the course based on the papers/research projects for that course. This gives the students a good starting place. You could easily do this with a free blog (I find is the best for blogs).
  • If I demonstrate any database it is usually Academic Search Premier (easiest and there is always something on every topic) and I show them the Criminal Justice specific databases by doing a search on Criminal Justice topics so they can see what’s there.
  • For each student I put together a course packet. This includes guides for the catalog and databases, my contact information, the URL for the library guide, a pencil with the library URL and any other material I see is needed for that class. I do break down Boolean operators on a handout for them and I also link them to a Boolean tutorial from the Univ. of Alabama on the library guide. The folders take some time, so I use a student worker; but I find that if you give the students something to look at it keeps their attention. Oh, I also include a sheet of paper for notes so they can jot some things down while I’m talking (hence the pencil!).
  • The other thing I do is set up workshops in the library for these classes. You have to work with the faculty member to make it a course requirement, but that seems to work well also. Starting in February I am giving 3 workshops for a 75 student class. They sign up in their Criminal Justice class and show up on the day they signed up for; I send the sign-up sheet back to the instructor of the class.
  • Beginning in the fall 08 semester the only way I am delivering instruction for the Intro Criminal Justice class is a required 1 hour library workshop. So, you may want to see if the nursing faculty would like that idea. This ensures you have the time you need and that the students have computers. Hope this helps a bit.


  • Hi Karen (and list members), A couple of years ago we started teaching one-shots on media literacy to the Intro to Psychology sections. Each section has 60 or so students and we teach it in their classroom. This was a huge adjustment from our usual BI sessions, held for ~25 students in our computer classroom.
  • After MUCH trial and error, here are my general conclusions:
  • *Database demos are deadly. Want to cure insomnia? Demo a database in detail to a large group. Both you and the large group will fall asleep.
  • *Getting a discussion going can be difficult. With a one-shot we haven’t developed a rapport with the students, and calling on people in a large group is challenging (you- in the red shirt- no wait, yours is more orange, I meant the girl to your left)
  • *Watch the number of handouts. You don’t want to drown them in paperwork, and passing out items in a large class can eat up time.
  • Now, sometimes you can get a really motivated group and these are not problems. But in my experience, it’s rare. What does work:
  • *Tying the presentation to an assignment.
  • *Group activities that do not require a computer. For example, giving them a bunch of articles and identifying which are scholarly, or which are research, or whatever criteria is important for them.
  • *Participation can be strongly encouraged with clickers (if the room is set up for it) or like we used, simple flip charts with A-B-C. We’d give periodic multiple choice quizzes, have them show their answers, and then we could get them to talk about their choices.
  • *Mix it up. This semester (actually, this week!) we went through our 4th iteration of the Intro to Psych sessions and had a great mixture of explanation, super-brief database demos, A-B-C quizzes, article exercises, and even some discussion. Our assessment guru hasn’t done all the hard number crunching of our evals, but I know mine were very, very positive.Just my .02 of course! -Candice Benjes-Small, MLIS Instruction Team Leader and Reference/Instruction Librarian McConnell Library, Radford University, VA


  • I could have written this post! I struggle with this all the time, especially because our one hands-on facility tops out at 25 or so. I’ve resorted to presentation-style with lots of small breaks in the action for quick questions and answers.
  • Large groups are a struggle when I’m used to a much more active-learning classroom style.

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February 7, 2008 at 9:53 pm Leave a comment

Liaison Mtg follow up Oct 16/07

From: Barbara McDonald

1) HS e-classroom demo (Neera)

Info on this (and other teaching/learning spaces) will be kept by the LTOG (; copy also at

M:\All Libraries\Liaison\Toolkit\Teaching and Learning\Learning Technology\Booking Learning Spaces.doc

2) Examples of Embedded librarians / Diversity of Learning Management Systems on campus (Show and Tell):

– IntroPsych – Shawn

– a combination of learning / content mgt systems, eg. WebCT, joomla, articulate presenter

– WebCT Gerontology – Barbara

– WebCT History 2PO3 – Olga

medportal (questions – Liz)

– another new HS one in development (questions – Neera) (Social Work prof; questions – Barbara)

3) Captivate Tutorials – check them out!

– Health Sci

– Business

  • Business Monitor Online Tutorial with Audio (McMaster University Libraries)
  • Business Source Complete Tutorial with Audio (McMaster University Libraries)
  • Canadian Business Database Tutorial with Audio (McMaster University Libraries)
  • EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) with Audio (McMaster University Libraries)
  • 4) WebCT Sandbox for Liaison Librarians

    – I’ve added all liaisons as “designers” to the WebCT course I created awhile back but am not currently using. Please feel free to log in and try things out.

    – to access go to webct
    WebCT ID: Your MAC ID username
    Password: Your MAC ID password
    (CATHERINE – for some reason I got an error when I tried to add you. “Error: WebCT ID bairdca cannot be granted shared designer access. Either the WebCT ID does not exist in the database, or the WebCT ID already has shared access to the course.”)

    5) Next Meeting: Tues Oct 23 9:30 – 11 Wong e-Classroom

    Curriculum Materials Exchange

    – please email Karen if you have:
    – materials from a class this fall that you would like to share

    – a need for curriculum material & want to find out if anyone’s developed something already

    October 16, 2007 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

    Formats for Presentations on the Web

    Pros and cons of various formats for posting presentations on the web

    • html:
      • pros: easy to use the left nav to go directly to the slide you want, might be easier to interpret for people with disabilities
      • cons: can be ugly, clunky, hard to navigate, doesn’t always display well, difficult or impossible to print, large file size, time-consuming to produce a good-looking html version (many settings, etc.)
    • ppt:
      • pros: easy to do whatever you want with it (print, etc.) if you have PowerPoint installed
      • cons: not everyone has PowerPoint installed, or installed in a configuration or operating system that will display correctly
    • pdf:
      • pros: it’s an open standard that anybody can view; if you publish as one slide to a page, users can print any desired number of slides to a page using the multiple slides per page option on the printer — this option is available on the public printers in the library
      • cons: if you publish it with 2, 4, 6 etc. slides to a page, you’ve limited the printing options
    • Summary: pdf is probably preferable in many instances, especially if you publish one slide to a page, but you might sometimes want to use another format, or possibly more than one format, for particular purposes

    October 3, 2007 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

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