Teaching Skills Peer Support Course (Summer 2016). Photo by Kirstie Preest.
Following our announcement about Teaching and Learning for Librarians in April, we are pleased to announce that registration for Cambridge library staff is now open! The course will be 9 months and will focus on enhancing teaching practices, developing a personal philosophy of teaching and applying these practices and beliefs to a class/educational resource specific to participants’ libraries. By the end of the course, we hope that participants will have gained confidence in their teaching practices and feel empowered to continue their development through a community of practice of fellow teacher-librarians across the university.
What are the learning outcomes of the course? By the end of the course, you will be able to:
- Develop inclusive and discipline-specific teaching and educational support for students, staff and researchers of your library space, their disciplinary expertise or special collections supported;
- Apply and adapt the Cambridge Information Literacy Framework for teaching sessions appropriate to the context of your library or session;
- Confidently liaise and collaborate with faculty on information literacy instruction, demonstrating strong knowledge of the information needs of students in specific disciplines and contexts;
- Within the Cambridge library context, establish and support an ongoing professional community of practice for teaching and learning.
Who should take the course? Any Cambridge library staff member who would like to improve their teaching practices, whether teaching students or fellow members of staff. There is no threshold (or cap) on the amount of teaching experience you need before taking the course. In fact, a mixture of new and experienced teachers is ideal. We strongly believe that everyone, no matter what their previous teaching background is (if any), has experiences that will be beneficial to draw on in developing their teaching approaches and practices.
That said, we can take up to 14 students on the course, ideally half from UL/faculty libraries and half from college/institutional libraries. Because the underlying rationale for the course is to upskill library staff in light of the new CILN framework, if more than 14 people apply, we will prioritise library staff who have educational support — defined broadly in terms of delivering and creating educational content — as part of their job descriptions and who have limited prior experience with teaching.
Who is teaching the course? The course will be co-led by Kirstie Preest and Meg Westbury, but all course participants will lend their ideas and voices to the course and draw on their varied personal and professional backgrounds as valid and significant contributors to course outcomes.
What is the time commitment? We estimate that you will need to devote 10-15 hours/month to the course. The 10-15 hour/month includes time attending the face-to-face sessions, doing background reading and participating in online discussions. The course will start in September 2019 and end in June 2020, though you will have until the end of July 2020 to complete the assignments.
How is the course structured? The class will be delivered face-to-face and online through Moodle. The schedule for 2019-2020 is:
- 10 September, 9.30-1.00, Murray Edwards College (face-to-face)
- October (online)
- 12 November, 9.30-1.00, Wolfson College (face-to-face)
- December (online)
- January (online)
- 11 February, 9.30-1.00, Murray Edwards College (face-to-face)
- March (online)
- 23 April, 9.30-1.00, Wolfson College (face-to-face)
- 19 May, 9.30-1.00, Murray Edwards College (face-to-face)
- 23 June, 9.30-1.00, Wolfson College (face-to-face)
What topics will be covered? The broad course outline is (each module is sub-divided into many separate topics, activities and discussions):
- Sept: Introduction to librarians as teachers, reflective practice, peer evaluation and developing a teaching philosophy
- Oct: Observation of teaching sessions; online discussions about communities of practice and peer support
- Nov: Who are our students? Issues of inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and learning technologies
- Dec: Introduction to theories of learning
- Jan: Introduction to the CILN framework and approaches to information literacy
- Feb: Course design and techniques for course delivery
- Mar: Assessment and creating teaching resources
- Apr: Peer feedback, discussions about teaching; planning your micro-teach session
- May: Deliver a 15-minute micro-teach session and provide feedback on your peers’ sessions
- June: Deliver a 30-minute teaching session; provide feedback on your peers’ sessions + end of course wrap-up and celebration (with much cake)
What if I need to miss a face-to-face session? Ideally, when you register for the course, you will be able to commit to all of the face-to-face sessions, especially the ones in May and June when you will do the practice teaching sessions. However, we understand that due to unforeseeable circumstances you might need to miss a face-to-face session. Please let us know as far in advance as you can if this happens, as the community-building aspect of the course is greatly enhanced by full participation in the face-to-face sessions.
What will I have to do? Besides doing the background reading (not a lot, we promise!), attending the face-to-face classes (there will be coffee and biscuits) and participating in online discussions (we have frameworks to help structure these discussions), you will need to do four things:
- Write monthly supplements to your personal learning philosophy and reflections on readings (you will have your choice of doing this as a blog or a Word document).
- Develop and deliver two micro-teaching sessions and provide constructive feedback on your peers’ sessions.
- Observe at least one teaching session at your or another library in Michaelmas.
- Work continuously on your applied project for the class.
How will I be assessed? You will be assessed on successful completion of a portfolio of work comprising your personal teaching philosophy, contributions to online discussions and development of a class/educational resource for your library. An external assessor from the Cambridge Faculty of Education will help guarantee that our assessments are fair and consistent. Further details about assessment will be provided in the course handbook.
What will I get for finishing? We hope to seek accreditation for the course from the AdvanceHE in summer 2020. Once we have accreditation, participants will be awarded AFHEA for successful completion of the course. For the pilot cohort in 2019-2020, however, it might be possible for accreditation to be applied retroactively. If not, we will assist you with a personal application to AdvanceHE for AFHEA (or higher, such as FHEA) accreditation.
Will I need my line manager’s approval? Yes, this is very important, and there is a box to tick on the registration form confirming that your line manager approves your participation in the course. We strongly recommend that you have a discussion with your line manager about the benefits of taking the course and what class/educational resource you could develop as part of the course.
Does the course cost anything? Nope, it’s free for Cambridge library staff.
How do I sign up? Please complete this form no later than 5.00 pm on 31 July 2019 to register your interest. We will then let you know by 16 August to confirm a spot.
Kirstie Preest, Murray Edwards College Library and Meg Westbury, Wolfson College Library
Developing the Teaching and Learning for Librarians course (December 2018). Photo by Meg Westbury.