Niketha McKenzie was tasked with creating an instructional platform to ensure Howard University’s incoming freshmen were aware of the library’s resources and services. She and her colleagues Adia Coleman and Kimberly Prosper reached out to faculty and students to assess the main obstacles first year students faced when conducting research, and where faculty wanted to improvement. As part of our Credo In Action webinar series, these librarians agreed to share what they learned, what they’ve created to address these needs, and how students and faculty have responded. Access the full webinar recording here!
We began with a poll asking about the state of library orientation among attendees’ institutions. 64% said they did not have mandatory library orientation, 30% did have mandatory sessions, and 7% had not library orientation period.
As part of that 64% who can’t rely on mandatory attendance from students, Howard librarians started to look for a way to engage first year students. With limited instruction librarians and a finite amount of class time, they used Credo Online Reference Service and InfoLit Modules as two of the primary tools in their popular Pre-search to Research Workshop.
The webinar provided viewers with an opportunity to learn how to:
- Promote one-shot instruction as a 2-part workshop
- Incorporate student comfortability and convenience as a tool for student engagement and research buy-in
- Develop a shared platform of accountability for librarians and faculty as partners in student retention and scholarship
Pre-search was an area McKenzie identified as a major gap for students entering college. They were used to the convenience of Google, but lacked awareness of more scholarly materials and had not yet learned information literacy skills like evaluating sources. She shared her “4 P’s of Pre-search Using Credo”:
- Process: Helping students understand the research process using tutorials from the InfoLit Modules
- Preparing to Unpack: Using tools like Mind Map can help build keyword vocabulary, and explore, shape, and frame their research topic
- Practice and Play: Allowing students to have hands-on time to get familiar with the databases (tip: McKenzie uses a “mirror activity” to let students google their topic first, then perform a search using Credo so that they can see the value of the results Credo offers using scholarly-only resources)
- Position: With the above activities in place, students are now in a position to conduct high-level research!
The webinar continued with more practical activities and instruction strategies Howard librarians have used to build confidence and competencies among their first year students. To view the entire webinar, register here to receive the recording, and access the slides here.