With the winter season on the horizon, those of us in academic libraries are well into the “final assignment” season and answering research questions such as, “Can you check my citations?”
No screen sharing, no instruction?
I have presented many library instruction sessions synchronously so far this academic term and my number one concern with transitioning to a completely virtual environment has been the technology. I love technology. I enjoy learning about and using new hardware and software, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a fear of technology not working when I need it to. Murphy’s Law, right? “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. It IS 2020 after all.
That said, I have been lucky with technology, I haven’t had bad internet connections, Zoombombings, or any of the other issues that can go wrong in a digital classroom. I always join meetings early to ensure that my microphone, video and share screen all work. However, there have been a few “close calls”.
For example, I have joined meetings where some professors haven’t been able to give me the ability to share my screen. Unfortunately for me, this causes serious problems. My instruction is about showing people how to access resources and how to conduct strong search strategies.
If something doesn’t go according to plan in a physical classroom I am flexible and adaptable. However, I have found that I need to get better at adapting to a digital environment. If I don’t have the ability to share my screen in a virtual instruction session, that is extremely disruptive.
Have you run into any challenges in your virtual instruction?
Ryan Tucci (MLIS) is a subject specialist in Research Support Services at the Carleton University Library. He is also a blogger at 8Bit Librarian.