thing 14: One-Shots & IL Courses

In this thing, focus on either one-shot instruction sessions (single instruction sessions) OR information literacy courses (often for-credit, semester-long courses taught by librarians).  Choose whichever you feel most applies to your instruction.



Recommended Readings

Association of College & Research Libraries. (2015). Appendix 1: Implementing the Framework.

Farkas, M. (2016). The mindful instruction librarian and the “one-shot” [Slides].

Kelly, S. (2015). Promoting critical dispositions: Incorporating the IL Framework in one-shot library instruction. Mississippi Libraries, 78(4), 8-9.


The one-shot.  60- to 90-minutes to “cover” all six Frames?!?!  You don’t need to know much math to see the impossibility of that.  The ACRL explains,

It is important for librarians and teaching faculty to understand that the Framework is not designed to be implemented in a single information literacy session in a student’s academic career; it is intended to be developmentally and systematically integrated into the student’s academic program at a variety of levels. (Appendix 1)

It is not the intention of the Framework to fit its entire contents into one session, but to build a curriculum that will reach students throughout their academic experience.  Several of the other “things” speak to methods and steps to take to build this curriculum, specifically, Thing 12 – Working with Faculty, Thing 17 – Curriculum-Mapping, and Thing 18 – Outreach/Marketing.

Not all Frames can be taught in depth in a one-shot session.  So, what can be done?


Please answer the following questions:

What issues have you run into (or foresee running into) implementing a one-shot session with the Framework?  How have you, or could you, overcome these obstacles?  Feel free to borrow suggestions from anything you’ve read.

While not all Frames can be taught in depth in a 60-minute session, Kelly and Burgess show that many of them can be touched on. How do you model the attitudes of an experienced researcher when teaching?  How can you go further?

Information Literacy Courses

Recommended Readings

Frank, E.P. & MacDonald, A.B. (2016). Eyes toward the future: Framing for-credit information literacy instruction. Codex: the Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL, 4(4), 9-22.

Carncross, M. (2015). Redeveloping a course with the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: From skills to process. College & Research Libraries News, 76(5), 248-250, 273.

The sample assignments mentioned in Carncross’ article can be found starting on page 14 of the second draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.  According to page 2,  “[The Assignments] will be added to a future online sandbox, rather than reside within the Framework proper, as they may change over time.”  Here’s that future online sandbox: ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox


Those teaching information literacy courses may be daunted by the prospect of having to update their entire course curriculum with the filing of the Framework.  However, a complete overhaul does not need to occur as it did in the Frank and MacDonald article.  In the Carncross reading, the author reworked her existing course curriculum to include concepts of the Framework.  This required several changes but left many existing course components intact.

Please answer the following questions:

If your institution is planning to implement the Framework, is a complete overhaul of your IL course required or is a reworking of some parts more applicable?  How will you go about making these changes?

 If you’ve already updated your IL course, what changes have you noticed in student engagement and their IL development from the course?  What advice would you give those who are embarking on updating their courses?  If willing, please share your syllabus!


  1. I’ve actually had the experience of teaching both one-shots and in IL courses. For one semester, I taught two sections of a two-credit information studies course as an adjunct at an urban community college. There is a lot to be learned from the library faculty that set up this program. The credit-bearing class is a requirement for about half of the students at the college, depending on their major. This does include students who are going for a “transfer degree”, which is the most popular “degree” at the college. The class is offered online as well as face-to-face, how I taught it. The class is very practical, aiming to assist students with research papers in their basic composition course. The composition course is supposed to be taken the semester right after the information studies course, but that didn’t seem to be enforced for, I’d imagine, several logistical reasons.
    Anyway, the design of the course is quite fluid, changing semester to semester and by each individual instructor. When I taught the course, I had the academic freedom to include aspects of the Framework, though it was not mandated or really emphasized as a part of the design of the course. There were, of course, several pieces of the Framework embedded into the course, but the course design didn’t change due to the filing of the Framework. Basically, after decades of teaching this course, there was an internal framework that the librarians had developed that remained unchanged after the Framework came out. Simply put, the librarians that developed the course have their own program that works for them and didn’t need to look elsewhere for a tool, such as the Framework, to guide them. I don’t think many academic libraries have this history, so they need a tool like the Framework to guide their instruction programs.
    On to one-shots. I am new to my position, starting about nine months ago. One-shots are the only mode of instruction that I’ve seen here. I know there are other librarians that have developed closer relationships with faculty and may teach more than one-shots, but I haven’t specifically heard about them at my institution. In my current position and from prior experience, I definitely agree with Maureen, that faculty have certain expectations of what librarians are capable of and what we can provide their students. As my relationships with faculty grow (remember I’m still new here!), I plan to show what’s possible and how I can more effectively assist them and their students. I think the goal of any instruction program is to provide MORE instruction, ultimately going beyond the one-shot. It looks different for every discipline, which can complicate things.
    So, what can be done? Here are a few ideas that I’ve come up with and plan to implement:
    • Ask the instructor for a syllabus and the assignment your instruction will be supporting. Use the syllabus and assignment to determine the course/assignment goals and look for overlap with the Framework. Build your student learning outcomes from there.
    • Extend learning beyond the session. Work with the instructor to develop or modify a pre- or post-assignment that will prepare students for/build on the skills and concepts taught.
    • Build library support for course designers. Create a guide on the best practices of building research assignments and suggest places where IL instruction is appropriate. See slide 43 from the amazing Meredith Farkas above.
    • Advocate for more instruction beyond the one-shot. This is much easier said than done but can be worked on at different levels. At the instructor and program levels, show faculty who request one-shots how more instruction can help students achieve the course goals. At the administrator level, use institutional goals, assessments, and accreditation standards to show the value of IL instruction and how a more developed IL program can benefit institutional outcomes. Identify where IL fits in your institution and the avenues that can be tapped into to expand your instructional reach. This is where Thing 3 comes in!


  2. When doing a one-shot I face two challenges: one external and one internal. The external challenge is the easier one to overcome. Faculty come in with their expectations of the one-shot genre, as Savannah Kelly (2015) aptly put it. We can show instructors what else is possible. Farkas (2016) mentions such things as flipping the classroom.

    The internal challenge requires more work. While I believe in the modeling Burgess (2015) describes, it requires more improvisational skill than does the the canned demo. Improv is not my strong suit, and I’m at a loss, for ex., when nobody responds to a question I pose. That said, improv doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Over time improv artists build a repertoire of possible responses to call upon. I’ve already been reading up on such responses



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