The summer is a good time to think about planning for the fall, which is our busiest time of the academic year, with lots of orientations and classes.

I teach library instruction for a few sections of a class called “engineering writing” every year. The students have to do a research paper with recent citations to the literature; despite being mostly juniors or seniors, this is often new to them. I’m trying to think about how to make my quick little hour-long lectures on how to find and search engineering databases better.

I was reading this article from a couple of my UCB colleagues earlier. I like the index card “one minute paper” idea; I haven’t tried to build in any evaluation so far because there’s so much to do. I’m also toying with the idea of building some sort of online guide that they could use, though am not totally sure if it’s worth the time. Right now there’s only a couple of (not very good) webpages.

I wish, in general, that I had better ideas about how to expand the reach of our instruction. If we must work with smaller budgets, then it becomes even more important to do a better job of teaching the stuff we do have.

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