Unlike my instructional faculty colleagues who teach regular courses, I do not have a formal structure to evaluate my teaching methods, such as formal observations or student evaluation of teaching ratings. There are other metrics that I use to evaluate the effectiveness of my position as a librarian at City Tech. These metrics include attendance statistics for library workshops and one-shot instruction sessions, web analytics and usability assessment and circulation statistics for the Library’s Multimedia Resources Center (MRC). However, these quantitative statistics provide only a small part of effective evaluation. The MRC and library website also include opportunities for users to submit feedback. Unfortunately, this type of feedback is few and far between.
It should be noted that some qualitative feedback I have received from students workshops and one-shot sessions has generally been positive. Students have remarked that these sessions have been informative and helpful, despite the constraints of time and the lack of regular instruction that one would find in a regular course. I have also received positive comments from faculty, such as my work with my library department colleagues who I had facilitated for teaching portfolio workshops, and the open education resources (OER) usability module developed for the City Tech faculty OER fellowship program.
As another method to inform myself of my teahcing, I use usability testing to improve the library website. After all, the library website is a virtual learning environment that provides numerous opportunities of teachable moments for transferring knowledge. I have conducted several studies that evaluate aspects of the the library website, including mobile device usage, navigation labels, terminology, accessibility for differently-abled users and more. These studies not only provides the opportunity for users, especially students, to solicit feedback, but to also incorporate their voice and perspective into the design of the system.
For example, if a student’s primary form of access to the Internet is their Smartphone, then it is essential that the library website and related resources are available for that particular device. The content of the library website should also be accessible for a wide variety of technology and literacy levels, so these usability tests show their effectiveness in that manner. Other forms of assessment tools I have used include interviews, pop-up surveys, and feedback from both library and instructional faculty.