January 6, 2021

2020 Fall Semester Check-In

Well, the fall semester is finally over! We know that this past fall was a challenge for us all, though not everyone had quite the same experience. With this in mind, the Blog Team sent out a survey to all Teaching SIG members, asking how your fall semester went in your own words. Overall, respondents (15) had a mix of experiences, with some common trends. Let’s explore them a bit together.

By your estimate, did your teaching load increase, decrease, or stay the same during the fall 2020 semester?

Answers to this question were split pretty evenly, with the majority stating that their instruction largely stayed the same, at 33% of respondents (5 total). Some folks had an increase in their instruction, at 26.7% (4 respondents). There was an even split between those whose instruction decreased and those who answered other. Responses from “other” included: creating Canvas tutorials instead of one-shots; a decrease in teaching load mitigated by an increase in individual research appointments; and a technical increase in teaching, but the ability to reuse modules made it feel like there wasn’t a large increase.

How did you deliver your instruction during the fall 2020 semester?

In your own words, please describe your teaching experience from the fall 2020 semester.

Responses to this question were varied — folks’ experience ranged from a relatively small amount of teaching that went well, all things considered, to acting as the online learning librarian for the entire school. Respondents remarked on a difference in the actual material covered, stating that the majority of their teaching time focused on accessing materials and resources from off-campus. Here are a few excerpts from the survey responses:

  • “A group of librarians, including myself, were tasked with creating online asynchronous library instruction modules. We chose to focus on database searching…these were well-used. I also taught many synchronous sessions.”
  • “It was a whirlwind of figuring out the right approach for the right class. Another case of ‘do the best with what you have.'”
  • “It was a tough semester – I have been doing library instruction for 8 years, and it was tough to reinvent every lesson plan – much more work than a typical semester.”
  • “Frustrating and unfulfilling.”
  • “Far more difficult and disconnected as undergraduates left cameras off and didn’t engage as they would normally in person. But I also went with the flow and tried ice-breaker discussions…Overall, the one-on-one consultations were more worthwhile as I would actually ‘see’ the student and be able to help them in a more meaningful way.”

Generally, did you receive any feedback from faculty or students about your teaching?

Thankfully, faculty seemed to be appreciative of respondents’ efforts adjusting to this new environment. Several respondents noted that faculty requested more sessions, or those who haven’t asked for sessions in the past asked for them this past term. Out of the thirteen responses we received for this question, there were only mentions of positive feedback, which we think speaks to the amazing work that our SIG has been carrying out.

Thank you to all of our respondents, and to all of our SIG members for your involvement and participation in the SIG this past fall! Please stay tuned for a recap post featuring a recording of our December virtual lightning talks later this month.

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