Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ball State University's Student Participation in Library Instruction is High

The University Libraries’ Library Instruction Program introduces new researchers to the world of online and print resources in addition to providing advanced searching techniques to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students. It uses a multi-faceted approach of classroom and one-on-one instruction in the libraries as well as visiting academic classrooms on campus.

Bracken Library is equipped with two e-classrooms devoted to library instruction sessions. A review of e-classroom use during the Fall Semester 2006, as gauged by computer log-ins during the sessions, revealed interesting details about class participation and the University Libraries’ efforts to provide students with the tools and skills needed for research.

Forty-two percent (2,023) of the freshman class of 4,838 attended instruction sessions last fall. Entry-level students are the focus of the outreach efforts with the goal of providing Freshmen with basic research skills upon which they can build throughout their academic careers. This high level of involvement underscores the broad participation of introductory English classes and collaboration with their faculty.

The number of participants follows an inverse relationship; that is, as students progress from one year to the next and gain confidence in their research abilities, they participate less in formal library instruction sessions. Participation rates for students in Ball State’s other classes logging-in to the e-classrooms were Sophomores, 19%; Juniors, 14%; and Seniors, 9%.

Ten percent of the University’s graduate students were involved in e-classroom sessions during the same period. While smaller in number than the sweeping efforts with the Freshman class, upper-level instruction sessions are devoted to area-specific resources and provide the greater depth needed for concentrated academic pursuits.

The numbers cited above provide an interesting picture of the University Libraries’ Library Instruction Program. Equally insightful and important are comments garnered from faculty whose students make use of the sessions. They underscore the value of the skills and knowledge students gain during the sessions and reinforce the partnerships forged between the faculty and librarians.

For more information, contact Jeremiah S. Kinney, Library Teaching Assistant in Ball State University Libraries’ Information Services,, (765) 285-8017.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(3): 4; March 2007.

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