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Miami University’s business school has a robust first-year integrated core of courses that are required for all undergraduate students matriculating as business majors. Since 2018, business librarians have collaborated with the first-year cohort coordinator to develop a hybrid, one-shot lesson plan that introduces library resources and research strategies to first-year business students and prepares them for a client challenge research project. This lesson was given in two parts: an online flipped-classroom component and an in-class exercise. The online portion required students to watch three database video tutorials and then take a short quiz prior to the in-class session. For the in-class portion, students were led in a searching exercise focusing on those same databases, with other librarian colleagues and undergraduate assistants on hand to help as needed. 

Because of the pandemic’s social distancing requirements, the previous in-person portion of this lesson was moved online, creating a completely asynchronous module. From a technological standpoint, this was no different from the previous two years since the exercise was already embedded in our course management system.

To attempt to replicate the in-person engagement with students, I created my first-ever classroom video introducing myself and the library, which brought its own learning curve. This video was not an adequate stand-in for the face-to-face introduction and featured the hallmarks of a beginner: poor eye contact with the camera, presented in one take with no editing, and low sound quality. In the interest of time, I spent most of the video discussing how students could contact the library with questions and also dedicated time to explaining why we chose certain databases and how the knowledge gained would be applicable in classes students have later on. Now that I am more proficient in video editing, I believe I can fit more content into the same time span, making the video more useful and engaging. 

While the lesson this year did achieve the primary goal of introducing three foundational business databases to all first-year business students and 97% of students found the module useful (see Table 1), there are revisions I want to make when planning for fall 2021, especially if the course is completely online again.

 

Year Useful Not Useful Response Rate/Totals
2018 93% 7% 85%/718
2019 96% 4% 80%/913
2020 97% 3% 85%/898
Table 1. Student evaluation of usefulness of the library resources module.

Most of the critical feedback mentioned that the exercise felt repetitive or like busy work. Because all material was completed online, it was less interactive. To address this, I plan to redesign the quiz with elements from the exercise so students can actively practice using the databases right away. I will then revise the exercise to incorporate more critical reflection about the research process. In addition, my institution has found that students prefer having an opportunity to share their views in online classes. I believe these changes will achieve our original goals while deepening the learning experience.