Robin Camille Davis
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Online learning in the library

At Lloyd Sealy Library, I spearhead the implementation of library instruction in the college’s online courses, via the Blackboard course management system. Faculty teaching online/hybrid courses can request library instruction from a librarian, which I facilitate. A librarian then “embeds” in the requesting course. For two weeks, they “visit” the class in Blackboard and post relevant library tutorials and resources as the students are preparing a given assignment. I typically embed in 5 courses each semester and offer one-on-one help to students via forum, chat, and email. See a sample of materials I post as an embedded librarian »

Seven blackboard modules

In addition, I created modules (right) that are included in the default course template, so that as of spring 2016, 1,000+ online courses at John Jay include a Library Resources tab. To accomplish this, I collaborate with the Blackboard administrator on my campus. We presented our work in progress at Northeast Connect in Fall 2015.

See the Faculty Toolbox for Online Learning for more »

Classroom instruction

Evaluating information worksheet

I teach around 15 class sessions each academic year. In these classes (often called “one-shots” by librarians), I introduce students to the library and to college-level information literacy skills. My approach is usually to teach two ways of evaluating information: scholarly/not scholarly and credible↔not credible. For each course I visit, I design a library research curriculum tailored to the assignment students are working on.

In my teaching, I incorporate active learning and a variety of ways for students to participate. I typically open with a game of Heads Up! to lift the energy of the room and sneakily introduce the concept of keywords. From there, students brainstorm keywords for their own projects in think-pair-share sessions.

I talk about different kinds of information sources (often with props) and ways to evaluate them, then move into another game in which students talk through their analyses of given information sources. Finally, in a typical instruction session, I assign each row a database or other research resource to explore using their keywords. We wrap up the session by having each row present what their resource contains and what they found.

Not all instruction sessions are the same, though — I’ve led graduate-level research classes through finding primary sources in archival databases, and I’ve led software-specific classes on request.

Online tutorials

How to find articles screenshot

I create and maintain a variety of tutorials:

I include closed captioning for all of my video tutorials.


In-house, I lead “Tech Tuesday” workshops for library staff on privacy tools, making video tutorials, using Drupal and CollectiveAccess, and using classroom tech. These typically occur at the beginning of the semester and focus on new products we subscribe to or a timely topic.

I also lead tech workshops for librarians on a regular basis, both at CUNY and at national conferences.