Point of Use Guide
Skill testing Questions
The following report will outline the planning process and the concerns I had while developing my instruction session. It will then critique my performance via a video of the presentation, and the assessment instruments that were completed by one of my classmates.
When developing my instruction session, there were a number of key factors that were constantly in my mind. The first variable was my objectives. I had ascertained that my audience needed to know what materials were available to them and how to go about finding the information they needed. Therefore, while planning my presentation and activity I would constantly go back to my objectives to see if what I was working on was going to fulfill one of these three objectives. If it didnít, then it needed to be cut from the presentation. It was necessary to be draconian in this respect, because I had a lot of information to go through in twenty-five minutes. I needed to find the most efficient way to get across all of the information in a very short amount of time. I decided to break my presentation in three main sections:
The third section of my presentation was the most important, and so it was to be given the most amount of time. The first two areas were to be completed in seven minutes.
The second variable in my decision making process was my audience. Because I was to present to a group of intelligent and highly educated professionals, I was constantly concerned with not insulting their intelligence. It was difficult to know how basic my instruction session should be. Furthermore, this group was actually a research team. They all had a lot of experience in libraries, and were aware of a lot of resources. With all of these considerations in mind, I tried to provide enough information for them to quickly and efficiently find information in the resource centre, without going too basic in my descriptions.
I chose to keep my introduction to the Library of Congress Classification system rather brief. This was because they didnít need to have a very detailed understanding of how to use it in the capacity I was asking them to. I was also concerned with going too basic in my presentation, as I didnít want anybody to tune out. Furthermore, I also needed sufficient time to go over the actual searching and browsing techniques that they could use to locate resources in the resource centre. With all of these considerations in mind, I kept my instruction on the classification of the books very brief. To compensate for this, I decided I would use the ďpause procedureĒ, as suggested by my instructor after my first instruction session. This would give the participants a chance to take a moment and look over the point of use guide in an active capacity. Furthermore, it would give them time to digest the information, and an opportunity to ask questions. This technique allowed me to not risk offending anyone with going too basic in my instruction, while at the same time ensuring that they had a chance to ask for any clarification if they needed it.
After presenting, I had felt that the presentation had gone rather well. The audience didnít seem to tune out of the presentation, and they seemed to really enjoy the activity. I had wanted them to become more active at this point in the instruction session, and I felt that the activity I had picked out for them fulfilled this. They were able to get up, move around and collaborate.
After watching my presentation, there were a few things that stood out for me. First and most important, the pace of the instruction was a little too fast. I was conscious of this while presenting, however I had difficulty slowing down because I had a lot of information to fit into fifteen minutes. I needed to allow for time to use the Ďpause procedureí, and I needed to fit in a few minutes for questions. Because talking quickly is a weakness of mine when it comes to presenting, I probably should have cut out a little bit of information so I wouldnít have felt such a time urgency, and would have felt more comfortable with slowing down. There were times when some of my words were not as clear as they could have been.
The second thing that stood out for me was the way I used my hands. There were not very many moments when my hands were not moving. I didnít know if this was perhaps distracting for the audience. I even noticed that I would put down my notes so that I could use my hands more efficiently. I am not sure if this is a negative or a positive, but it was definitely something that stood out for me while watching the presentation.
Thirdly, I was actually impressed at my lack of dependence on my notes. I didnít need to read anything, and for this reason I was able to directly address my audience. One negative point here was that the first minute of the presentation was slightly shaky. I wasnít reading, and therefore I tripped over a few words while I was warming up and becoming more comfortable. Another negative was the part of my presentation where I went over the Library of Congress hierarchy. I had trouble choosing the right words, and this showed as I tripped over a few of my words, and as a result, what I was trying to depart to the class was not entirely clear. I had also had trouble with this point of the presentation while practicing. Unfortunately, when I came to this point in the lecture, I didnít have my notes on me, as I hadnít needed them prior. Thus, my lack of dependence on my notes in the few minutes prior to this point in the lecture, caused me to loose focus, and as a result I was not clear at a crucial point in the presentation. I needed to be as clear as possible about the hierarchy at this point because I was only allotting myself a few minutes to go over it. It was unfortunate that those few minutes were not used more effectively.
The pause procedure situated strategically after the short introduction to Library of Congress proved useful. I felt that it gave the audience the time they needed to digest what I just talked about. It also gave them a moment to take a look at the point of use guide, and I felt it helped them to understand how I meant for them to use it.
The evaluation did help me in certain areas. I was glad to see that for the most part, my evaluator agreed with most of the statements. The areas where I thought I might lose some points, were in fact the areas where I scored a little lower. These questions often had to do with the pace of the lecture. She also (not surprisingly) mentioned that more information for the Library of Congress hierarchy would have been useful. However, there were a few things that surprised me, and these were in the area I had provided for comments. Specifically, my evaluator indicated that it would have been useful to provide examples of broader terms and narrower terms. In fact, I had gone into some detail about synonyms, broader terms and narrower terms. I had specifically given an example of Christianity, with religion and catholicism being examples of broader terms and narrower terms. When I watched over my presentation, I waited to see if this had been clear. After studying this area of the lecture, I decided that it had been clear, and in fact, I didnít think that it had been an area of the lecture where I had spoken too quickly. Iím not sure what this might mean, except that perhaps to really stress something, it probably needs to be repeated more than once.
The skills testing material was also useful in ascertaining how well the lecture had taught what I had meant for it to teach. The question that had the poorest quality of answer was the first one, where I asked my evaluator to briefly explain the Library of Congress hierarchy. The other questions were all answered sufficiently, and the area that I had spent the most time on had an excellent answer. There were not any big surprises from this assessment instrument.
Overall, I was happy with how the lecture and activity went. There were a few things that I could have changed to make it run a little more smoothly. First, I could have slowed down a little, and concentrated on clearly and audibly getting across the information. Second, I needed to take perhaps one more minute for the part of the lecture where I went over the Library of Congress hierarchy. Third, information that I really wanted to stress could have been repeated more than once.
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Last updated March 14, 2006