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Digital Pedagogy - A Guide for Librarians, Faculty, and Students

This guide is meant to inform the user about Digital Pedagogy. It includes information on educational theory, a collection of case studies, and resources relevant to the study of digital pedagogy.

Flipped Classrooms - Townson University, Alberta - S Cook Library

  1. Towson University in Alberta, S Cook Library

In her article, Arnold-Garza describes the librarians working at the S Cook Library as experimental in their approach to instruction, mentioning that they regularly share innovations and techniques that they are using with one another. As such, the idea emerged to try flipped classrooms as part of the Library’s approach to IL. In addition to taking this approach, the librarians at S Cook Library also wanted to investigate how valuable this approach actually was. This case study looked 14 IL sessions taught by seven librarians within a range of subject areas.


The students were asked to watch brief videos to assist with the completion of the pre-library assignment. The videos generally did not exceed 20 minutes total and focused on source evaluation, database searching, and catalogue searching. The students were asked to complete a quiz and a reflection on understanding. The librarians were made aware how many students completed the pre-class assignment.


In class, students were guided through a series of active learning activities that reinforced and asked them to use skills (eg. unstructured work time exploring databases). Other activities included electronic polls for material review, reflection, guided discussions, and worksheets that included problem solving


Components of the flipped library assignment included the following and data collection included the following::

a.       Pre-library session assignment

b.      In-class activities

c.       Student, librarian, and faculty questionnaire

d.      Librarian group interview to garner more feedback


Post session, questionnaires were handed out to faculty, students, and librarians, and each group was asked to agree or disagree with a series of statements, and were given a chance to give free text feedback as well. Group interviews with librarians meant to gather more detailed feedback, and interview questions were determined by highlights and themes.


Feedback from students indicated that most (90%) student agreed that the pedagogical model was helpful and supported learning. 90% also agreed that they had completed the pre-session assignment, that this assignment was helpful for completing research assignments, and that the in-class activities supported understanding of concepts.  86% agreed that they learned from in- class assignments, however and surprisingly, 45% indicated that they still would prefer the traditional approach to library instruction, with class time to explain key concepts, rather than getting a pre-session assignment.


In terms of faculty feedback, unfortunately, the response rate was quite low. The faculty members that responded indicated that the pre-session addressed the research skills that students needed to replicate for course work, that active learning in the in-class session enhanced understanding as demonstrated by the students, and that the scheduling of session was timed appropriately. The faculty members especially liked that it allowed students to work on their own research.


The librarian interviews indicated that they found the experience beneficial to their teaching, and that it made them re-think their pedagogy intentionally. They also stated that it required time juggling and advanced scheduling needed, for example, to get the preassignment onto the class syllabus, ensuring that students would view prior to the library session. The librarians also stated that:

  • Learner accountability improved because students want to prove skills to their peers
  • Students asked next level questions to direct class time to their needs
  • There can be challenges selling the experience to faculty members, as any change can be challenging


For the librarians at S Cook Library, the flipped classroom has made lasting changes in how IL is taught, although fine tuning is needed in order to  build well structured in-class activities.


Northern University of Kentucky

In “Information Literacy and the Flipped Classroom,” Brooks writes her examination of the approach of flipped classrooms  to post-secondary education and one-shot information literacy sessions, at  Northern Kentucky University. She describes a pilot model on student learning and student perception about the flipped classroom that took place in two sections of sophomore writing courses. One section of the course used the traditional approach to IL, while the second used flipped learning. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of the flipped approach on students


The author’s literature review indicates that the flipped classroom approach has been experimented with for at least a few decades, and that academic librarians are experimenting with both semester long and one shot IL using the flipped teaching approach . In the context of information literacy, the flipped approach frees up class time for students to collaborate and participate in learning activities together, building on knowledge acquired from online instructional materials. Most interesting is a study by   Kraemer, Lombardo, and Lepkowski (2007) which compared three pedagogical approaches for teaching IL: online, face-to-face, and a mix of online and face-to-face. The authors used a pre- and post-test, and found the hybrid group improved the most in terms of test performance after the instruction session. The authors suggested that one reason for this was the appeal of the hybrid approach to a variety of learning styles.


The author used the two following questions to guide her research:

a. does the pedagogical use of flipped classrooms impact student learning in one shot sessions?

b. what are student perception of its use and informative value of videos from flipped one shot IL session?

Up until 2012, librarians at Northern University Kentucky had been using a traditional approach to IL, until they had made the decision to start moving traditional face to face content online. The following content was moved online:

  • Developing and revising a research question
  • Identifying scholarly sources
  • Advanced searching in a database
  • Evaluating information sources
  • Incorporating sources into a final research paper

The librarians worked with faculty members to encourage students to view video before attending class. A quiz was available at the end of each video, and some faculty members encouraged students to complete this. Once in class, students focused on formulating research questions, database searching, and resource evaluation.


The flipped section of the group watched the videos and completed the quizzes for credit, and participated in hands on exercises during the in person session. The students in the second group were instructed in the traditional approach: nothing was required of them except for their  attendance in the workshop, where  the librarian lectured on the given topics.

Identical pre and post tests were given to both groups. The group using the flipped approach were also asked six additional questions about their impressions of the videos. The assignments that students were asked to complete for the class had to contain a minimum of 5 sources, and the librarian analyzed the content of the bibliographies for papers submitted by both groups.  


It was found that In both cases students learning increased as a result of the library session, and there was no statistical difference noted by group for either test. However, when it came to the analysis of the bibliography, the librarian found that more peer reviewed journals and scholarly journal articles were used by students than in the traditional group.


The majority of the students in the flipped classroom strongly agreed that they learned something from the videos, and that they were able to apply the information in the in class session, but they did not indicate a preference for the videos or that they would refer back to them. The author recommends the approach for information literacy sessions.