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 foresee running out of time, especially in a 60-minute session, trying to cover so much content in “one-shot.” I would also be concerned about holding students’ attention. While the topic may be exciting to me, students’ minds tend to wander if the topic doesn’t immediately seem relevant to them. I would insert aspects of the Framework into the session, while still providing traditional Information Literacy concepts and practices.

    I can foresee overcoming these obstacles by requesting from professors that their students view short videos in advance of the session and come to the session with any questions they may have. This may not work, however, because in the past students have forgotten to do pre-session activities, especially with the other course assignments that they have.

    Whether referencing a website, an image, or an article, I strive to make sure to acknowledge the creator of the property. I point out the elements needed to create a bibliography or list of works cited, and stress the reason that sources need to be acknowledge. I also try to get students to understand how they would feel if someone used their property or information without proper attribution.

    I often conduct searches, using students’ topics, in my IL sessions, which don’t often give the desired results. We then come up with alternative keywords and this helps students understand that although they may not get what they need the first time, by continuing to refine their search they will eventually reach their target. I encourage them to look at references and in the article itself for additional keywords.

    I go further by stressing that research is not linear, and that the process may need to start over as new ideas and materials are discovered.


  2. Working through these “things” I’ve focused pretty heavily on my one-credit classes so I decided to take the opportunity to think through one-shots which are also a signficant part of my professional role. It’s a pretty well established idea at this point that the framework presents challenges for one-shots, but it’s also true that these challenges existed before the framework was developed. What the framework did was bring the limitations of “database training sessions” more into focus.

    One challenge I have bringing the frameworks into 50-75 min. one-shot sessions is finding the right balance between skill acquisition and disposition development. What I don’t want, is to have a frameworks approach that results in a class that doesn’t feel productive for students (and instructors). At the end of the day, while we are striving for our students to reach threshold-level learning, students still want to leave one-shots feeling equipped and prepared to tackle the work they have ahead. In many cases, this means leaving with actual sources in hand and does involve a lot of nuts and bolts skill-level instruction.

    I fully agree that the answer lies in engaging with students spontaneously around their topics in ways that model both “mindsets’ and “how-tos”. One thing I find particularly helpful is to solicit topic ideas from students and walk them through making a concept map. Brainstorming a topic and identifying keywords, broader and narrower terms and related terms on a white board is a simple way to lay the groundwork for the research is inquiry and strategic exploration frames. As we move into searching, I like to return to our concept map as we run into roadblocks or challenges. Too much information, what could we change or add to our search string? Too little, what terms could we introduce to expand this search? Aren’t getting what we want, let’s try a new combination of terms. Going further, I think it’s important to reinforce the idea of a “working thesis” throughout the lesson in order to underscore the idea that their argument should evolve or crystalize in some way in response to what they find.Again, achieving a balance where you are literally showing students how to find a journal article, open it, and briefly scan through it while also introducing to them the idea that they might choose to enter into “conversation” with this source.


  3. Both the one shot sessions and the for-credit sessions are relevant to my instruction, so I actually read the suggested readings for both!

    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.

    I think the biggest issue is that when faculty request a one-shot library instruction session they are very focused on the mechanics and specific skills – they want us to show them how to search. And they often don’t want to give us even a full class period. This makes it challenging to move beyond showing skills to talk about these higher levels of understanding. Sometimes a professor only gives me 20 or 30 minutes; its difficult to have any kind of activity and discussion in that amount of time. Since I am new, I am also hesitant to push back much and risk not being invited back.

    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?

    I try to talk about my research process and what I am thinking about as I research. Even if I cut out some of the “fumbling” where I don’t get good results, I try to talk about how I may have to do multiple searches and I may have to try different search terms. I try to make sure to talk through various approaches in order to show them that research is a process and is time consuming – usually it isn’t one search and then write a paper. I’d like to figure out ways to incorporate more of the other frames while still doing what the professor has asked, which is almost always to show them how to search. For example, I think I can incorporate scholarship as conversation into discussions of citing and/or using citations to find other sources, which is something I almost always try to discuss.

    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?

    We have not actually taught a for-credit course yet – we are in the process of developing our first one(s) now. I definitely want to make sure we incorporate the framework into all for-credit courses that we teach. We’re working on a media literacy course for undergraduate students, and while I do want to do an explicit lesson on searching and using the library – what we might think of as the traditional one-shot – I also want to more subtly work the framework into the “substantive” lessons as well. For example, I think we want to do an end of the semester research project, and I want to ask them to keep a research diary during that project in order to help them think through the “research as inquiry” and “searching as strategic exploration” frames. Another example would be using media ethics to correct or update a story as a non-scholar example of “scholarship as conversation” by having them compare how this is done in the media versus how it is done in scholarly work, perhaps.


  4. When we read the Framework, I think our initial reaction to it is “how am I ever going to condense all of these Frames into a 50-minute one-shot instruction?” At least, that was my initial response to the Framework (after I waded through the dense language of it).

    On this side of it, though, I feel more confident in how I’m approaching the Framework and its application within a one-shot instruction. Why? Because I asked my faculty – the ones who schedule library instruction – to identify the frames that they felt were most relevant to their courses and the overall curriculum. Two frames quckly rose to the top after I collated the data. So, the library instruction I’m teaching from now is built around two frames. The knowledge practices and dispositions of those two frames are informing how I built the instruction and how I built the pre/post assessment tools.

    My lesson plan is a chart that lines up all of the knowledge practices and dispositions with the content and concepts that I am teaching. I also used a Big Idea Handout: to help me determine if I’m actually addressing the content (big idea), the concepts, and the accompanying SLOs. It has been such a learning process, and each moment is a new learning opportunity for me.

    This week, I rolled out an abbreviated version of the new one-shot instruction (I designed it to be flexible and adjustable for each class), and the pre/post assessment data has been encouraging. The instructor’s remarks also encouraged me, because she told me that the instruction was a completely new way of teaching the information her students needed to know, and it was good.

    My instructions rest on a foundation of interaction between the students and me. I’m never the only one talking (unless it’s an 8 am class, and the students aren’t quite awake yet). The students interact with me and with each other as we identify the answers to questions that are posed throughout the instruction. When we get to database searching, we generate searches based on search terms they provide; and some of the search terms students generate a lot of discussion about slang language versus controlled vocabulary, how to build search phrases that work, etc. I let them guide my searching and allow the searching to reflect a true search experience from their point of view. We backtrack, we re-formulate terms, we identify controlled vocabulary from slang, etc.

    So many students follow up with me in the library after the instruction. They find me in the library later in the day after the instruction or the next day or a week later or even a month later and ask me to help them be successful in their database searching because they know it is a possibility based upon the work we did in class. One of my greatest joys as a librarian is watching my students succeed as they navigate library resources.


  5. The largest issue I wrestle with is that the language used in the Framework will not speak to all faculty or staff. In any of our communications we avoid jargon and make sure to stay within the parameters of the assignment the instructor wants us to address. It is a tool for me to provide organizing principles for learning objectives and assignments, but the language will not sell information literacy to my particular institute. Since we usually teach for specific assignments I will use learning objectives that meet the student’s immediate needs and engage them for the short period of time I have them in the classroom. Depending on the assignment I could touch upon some or all of the Frames. Generally I find that “Scholarship as a Conversation”, “Searching as Strategic Exploration”, and “Research as Inquiry” are the three that come up the most. At a stretch, I might touch on “Authority” and/or “Creation” in a one-shot session.

    Other tools from our colleagues in other countries have intrigued me and provided some good language that will be more useful to me. I plan to explore these as well.

    Research Skill Development Framework from the university of Adelaide uses terms such as “Prescribed Researching” or “Scaffolded Researching” which may be more familiar to faculty.

    The ANCIL standards provide 10 strands that address “Transitioning to Higher Education” and “developing academic literacies”.:

    SCONUL is yet another tool that I will examine further:

    Click to access coremodel.pdf

    There have been several articles about how the term “threshold concept” does not necessarily engage faculty as it is not a familiar term.

    I do not mean to sound that I am not in support of the Framework, just that in any communications with faculty at MPOW I will have to be more general in the language I use, for one-shot sessions or full credit bearing courses, if we get to offer them in the future. Ultimatly, I strive to find as many places I can best reach our students and faculty. Emily Drabinski has written several useful articles and chapters about how to think about and implement the Framework. What I like about her work is that she argues that the Framework is a standard in that it defines us as a profession and professionals.


  6. I mostly teach one shot instruction sessions, although I’ve been able to sometimes get a second one-shot appearance in courses where it seems obvious to the instructors that another session would fit and I have a good relationship with them.

    I find I’m able to address more of the framework in the second session as the first session is largely focused on tools. In the first session, I talk about “searching as a strategic exploration.” The first session focuses mainly on tools (databases, search engines) and how to get the best information from them. In the second session, I touch a little bit more about “information has value,” “information has value” and “Scholarship as conversation.”
    In other one shot sessions, I get to two frames, at the most.

    One thing I’ve started trying is offering workshops. In my Advanced Searching workshop, I dive deeper into the process of searching by discussing how to recycle what they find in initial searches to keep refining their searches. We also talk about the issue of publication bias and what to do when they can’t find what they’re looking for.


  7. One of the issues I have run into is instructors who wish certain topics are covered in a 50- minutes, one-shot session but, as expected, approach it from their subject area and not from a library instruction view. When this occurs, I try to “translate” what they want into a library perspective with the goal of covering what the faculty member wishes but also doing it in such a way as to impart information literacy skills as well.

    The three frameworks I usually keep in the back of my mind as I am preparing for a one-shot session and while teaching are: Research as Inquiry, Searching as Strategic Exploration, and Scholarship as Conversation.

    For Research as Inquiry, I ask students to think about other fields that may provide information that is relevant to their topic but are outside the department in which the class is housed. I work at a small, liberal arts college, and many students in literature, history, theology, business, and economics classes have topics that include psychological and sociological aspects as well, so branching out to psychology and sociology databases has proven effective.

    For Searching as Strategic Exploration, I focus on playing with subject terms and model the results of searches using different, but related, terms. This helps students think beyond the words they used to describe their topic. It also models searches that are not effective and instead of giving up, the benefits of being flexible and coming up with alternative search terms and exploring other databases.

    I find using Scholarship as Conversation to be especially helpful for students who are not finding an abundance of sources. This may indicate that they have found a gap in the scholarly conversation and an entry way into the conversation. I try to help them find information on either side of the gap, so they have a structure in which to place their analysis. Admittedly, this approach works best with more advanced students.


  8. 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!


  9. 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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