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Information Literacy Online Instruction Resources

Resources for librarians teaching online: one-shots / information literacy instruction

Plan out and prepare for your instruction session

Remember, there is significant overlap between best practices for preparing for your online session as there were for your in-person sessions. So don't try an reinvent the wheel, but rather, adapt what you already know to the current situation.


CONTACT your faculty member ahead of the session.

Remember: The instruction should be linked to an assignment. General "all about the library" sessions don't work well in-person; they won't hold students' attention online.


ASK what the students need to know or to be able to do to successfully complete their assignment.

Focus and Check

FOCUS on only 2-3 learning objectives per session.

CHECK that you include an activity for every 5-7 minutes of lecture / demonstration.


ASK a colleague to serve as your Zoom co-pilot for your session so they can:

Monitor the chat

Check screen-sharing

Run polls or other activities

Remember to introduce your co-host when you start the session.


PRACTICE before your session! Make sure the tech works like you want it to.

Types of Instruction

Before you plan out your session, consider if you would like the class to be Flipped or Non-Flipped. Having a class that is flipped will require students to complete an activity before the session, so make sure you get the instructors input designing a flipped instruction session. Additionally, be sure to link all activities to the instructor's current assignment.

Flipped Instruction Session

PLAN and COLLABORATE: Flipped instruction requires that you speak with the faculty member before the session. You must make sure that they are on-board with the activities and will motivate the students to complete the activities before the session starts.

  • NOTE: Flipped sessions work better if a grade is attached to student performance.

BEFORE THE SESSION: Assign the students an activity to be completeed. This activity could be a video, reading, or a brief assignment.

  • These activities should prime the students for a section of the session. For example, students could learn how to create keywords from their research questions. This will allow you to focus your session on how to use these keywords to find resources.

DURING THE SESSION: Focus on active learning, practicing what students learned from the homework, such as choosing and revising keywords, evaluating sources, or starting a literature review matrix.

Non-Flipped Instruction Session

PLAN and COLLABORATE: While Non-Flipped instruction does not require you to have faculty buy-in to have their students complete the activities before the session, you should still speak with the instructor before your session. From the instructor, you will want to get a strong sense of the assignment that the students are working on. You will also want to have a discussion with the instructor about learning objectives for the session.

DURING THE SESSION: Keep demonstrations or any lecturing brief, focused, and concise. You will want to vary your demonstrations with learning activities. Ideally, break up larger lectures into smaller chunks of no more than ten minutes.

  • For more information about learning activities, please consult the Toolbox for Learning Activities tab.

CONNECT: Make sure you link all content and activities back to the student's activities as often as possible.

Synchronous Session

Synchronous sessions are sessions where the librarian attends and teaches the students in real-time, whether in the classroom, or streaming using a video technology like Zoom or BlackboardCollaborate.


  • Like any instructional technology, synchronous information literacy sessions should only be scheduled if they are necessary for the students' learning.
  • Teaching via Zoom adds another layer of cognitive noise undefined that students have to push through to engage with instruction. If you have a small class with upper division students, a Zoom session might work very well. However, if you have a large general education class, you probably will struggle getting students to engage.

Embedded / Engaged Librarianship

If a course has multiple or scaffolded research assignments, ask the instructor to make you a teaching assistant for the class.

  • Have the instructor create an eCampus discussion board or forumn where you can answer students' research question.
    • TIP: don't use "library" in title, but call it Help for Students or something student-centered.
    • TIP: be pro-active. Don't wait for questions to post! Post something of interest once a week: a reminder of upcoming assignments; links of interest; pet pictures; funny memes. Weekly posting makes you more "present" in the class and will encourage students to ask for help.
  • Subscribe to your help board: that way whenever someone posts to it, you will receive an email immediately. That allows you to address questions in a timely manner.
  • Also consider embedding your chat widget in the course.

Additional Ideas

Targeted Libguide: Create a targeted LibGuide focused on the successful completion of a specific assignment.

Student Office Hours: Hold "student help hours" via Zoom for students in a class before an assignment is due.

Create an Assignment: Collaborate with a faculty member to create an assignment that supports information literacy skills. Check out our list of content creation apps for ideas.

Online Tutorials: You can design online tutorials using tools like LibWizard to supplement sychronous sessions.

Tutorial Videos: Use videos for teaching students discrete tasks, like using ILL or filtering for peer reviewed articles. Want a specific video?

  • The Office of Curriculum and Instruction support can help design and create your tutorials. For more information, contact Kelly Diamond or use the request form below.
  • Check out the current repository of online videos, below.

Library Tutorials Video Bank