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Teaching Innovations


Industry Partnerships

  • Partnered with AskOntario Virtual Reference service to bring work–place training modules to graduate students enrolled in required reference course. This had not been done before in our Faculty. Partner with industry professionals to bring guest speakers to classroom in person and via skype (for example, local readers’ advisory librarians, entrepreneurs (Peter McCracken, founder of Serials Solutions).

  • Advantage: Partnerships offer students low-risk exposure to on-the-job training and experiential learning at their convenience, access to professionals currently practicing, and the opportunity to network.


Active Learning Strategies

  • Introduced several innovations to generate interesting and varied reference questions, for example, partnering with AskOntario to obtain real transcripts of virtual reference transactions.

  • Developed a toolbox of repurposed board games to teach reference interview skills. For example, “Pictureka!” and “Pictionary” creates context for readers advisory interviews, “Worst Case Scenario” provides ‘how-to’ reference questions, “BrainQuest” and “Trivial Pursuit” offer reference questions across age groups, themes and eras. 

  • Facilitated peer feedback on oral presentations through the use of social media such as

  • Advantage: Active learning strategies move students from a “transmission” model of learning where the teacher talks and the student listens, to a constructed or discovery model of learning where the students practice and then co-create knowledge. Board games provide an assortment of interesting, appropriate questions to use in small group discussions. Online collaboration tools allow for multiple assessments of performance.


Self-Directed Learning & Flipped Classroom Strategies

  • Developed a robust syllabus that allows for self-directed learning. Students select from a ‘menu’ of reading options across media and reading levels each week. Students read and prepare for class in advance, so class time can be used for interacting with their peers in group-based activities, which cannot be done independently at home.

  • Advantage: Students come to the MLIS program from many different disciplines intending to go to many different destination careers. 9003 has typically focused on traditional librarianship, which does not meet the diversity of needs of our students. Self-directed learning allows students to take a path through the course tailored to suit their own personal goals.


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