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Celebration of Innovation in Teaching: Training

IC Students

Information Commons (IC) student employees undergo extensive self-paced TRAINING on both research and technology concepts via a shared Moodle site. Other aspects of training include:

  • In-person first day introduction to spaces and basic procedures
  • Circulation tasks
  • Moodle
  • Panopto
  • Wordpress

Once students are through the majority of their trainings, they can be assigned to PROJECTS. Projects are created to meet needs of CAT, the Libraries, or campus.

Throughout the training and project phases of the IC lifecycle, students offer service to members of the Butler community at both the IC desk in Irwin Library and the offices of CAT in the basement of Jordan. 

Training IC to be a part of Library Instruction & Outreach

[After assisting in an instruction session with high schoolers]: "The most important part of this opportunity for me was not only seeing how I helped the students, but being able to put my trainings to use...Even though I did not know as much about research as the librarians, I could still help because of my trainings that Information Commons has supplied me with."

Two Information Commons student workers at the Irwin Desk

"Usually closing shifts aren’t too exciting, but tonight was different.  The library was pretty busy tonight, and I had a lot of patrons come up to the desk.  I liked this because it kept me busy and helped the time to go by quickly, but it also gave me a chance to realize just how much I have learned through my IC experience.  I had questions about everything from where to find books to how to use some of the features of PowerPoint, and I was really proud that I was able to answer all of those questions accurately and confidently."

[After assisting in an instruction session with high schoolers]: "This experience was both exciting and scary... I was able to learn from this experience to be better prepared for the topic of library and research. It was also exciting because this was my first time to work with outside students and share what Butler has to offer to the community. This was a chance to help others through what I have learned and used through my training as an ICer. I felt excited and proud as I saw students who came to the session struggling to find any information through WorldCat end up finding more than enough amount of resources by the end of the session. It was rewarding to see their eyes light up as they found their own answers through my questions about their topic."

Customer Service Infographic

TRAINING ACTIVITY: We use the infographic on the right (click to make larger) to introduce students to our extensive customer service expectations.

CONNECTION: The infographic draws a direct line between student employee customer service and the Libraries' teaching goals. It also helps students see how their daily interactions with patrons can be connected (via statistics) to actual changes in policy or service within the Libraries.

TRAINING ACTIVITY: We have set up some simulation activities in Moodle to help students get a feel for answering patron questions. We use the quiz feature and ask students to respond to actual questions that we've received in the past at the desk. At each step, students get the chance to compare their answers to what is recommended before moving onto the next part of the interaction; this eliminates the need for individual review of responses, which is much more time-effective for us as supervisors and better in line with learning needs of students doing the training. 

CONNECTION:  A lot of what happens in our work (at the service point and in instruction) requires flexibility and improvisation. This type of scenario-based, step-by-step training is great preparation for students to learn to think critically and use all their resources.

Simulated chat conversation

TRAINING ACTIVITY:  We use an interactive tool called Guide on the Side to create several tutorials for IC students to learn library search tools. Guide on the Side allows students to see progressive directions on the left while working in a live website on the right. It also allows creators to add questions to checkpoint students' progress. 

The window below shows a Guide on the Side created to teach WorldCat Discovery. We have also created Guides for Journals A-Z and BUAnswers.

CONNECTION:  Students need to have sharp searching skills in order to offer good customer service at the Irwin Desk. They also have utilized these skills in demonstrations within the library instruction classroom - we've found that database demos are better received if they are done by student peers. Many students have commented about how these trainings have improved their academic work as well.

Using WorldCat Discovery Guide on the Side screenshot

TRAINING ACTIVITY:  Students read a study about information literacy and why it matters. They also view a video created by a former IC student employee about information evaluation specifically.  Then they must participate in a discussion forum, responding to the following prompt: Do you think evaluation is the most important information literacy skill that we can teach students? Why or why not?

Here are a few student responses: 

"I think evaluation is the most important information literacy skill that Information Commons can stress to students.... All students can find information on the Internet, but whether or not it is credible, Information Commons should step in to educate the student population about strategies such as CRAAP." 

"I believe that evaluating sources is incredibly important.  As I prepare to the training at Shortridge on evaluating sources, I just really realized how important this skill is to teach students.  I feel like I have been doing it forever and don't really remember someone sitting down with me to explain what is acceptable to use and what is not.  Another thing I learned is that you can use about any source you want as long as you understand the pros/cons and strengths/weaknesses of your source and can adapt or acknowledge it in your research.  It is ok to use a biased source as long as you acknowledge that it is."

CONNECTION:  This critical tenent of information literacy is stressed in our instruction, so it was important that IC students fully understood the concept and could find ways to integrate it into their interactions at our service point. 

TRAINING ACTIVITY:  IC students are introduced to the concepts of copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons early in their training. They watch a video and browse through other Creative Commons resources before being asked to demonstrate competency by posting a Creative Commons image and attribution to a shared LibGuide. 

CONNECTION:  IC students end up creating a lot of materials for the program and it was important to us that they select, use, and attribute images and media in accordance with Library standards. We are incorporating these concepts more and more into our instruction so students are capable of being pulled into a support role without having to go through a lot of additional training. They have been able to assist Librarians with tutorials and LibGuides because they know these concepts. We also can refer classes back to the IC desk with information use questions.

Creative Commons images with attribution


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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