Specific Context of the Teaching/Learning Situation
There can be up to 20 students in the class, the next iteration will have five. The students are upper level/graduate students who have either completed or are about to start, their masters coursework (this iteration will have just completed). My portion of the class is limited to one session, two hours long. It is presented in the library’s computer lab, which provides computers for each student, as well as a smart board for the instructor.
General Context of the Learning Situation
The course manager expects strategies and specific sources for researching using open source information, covering current and potential future events in various geographic areas. This iteration will have a new format, after the library brief, other instructors will brief on performing specific open-source intelligence tasks. This prompts me to shift focus from a list of sites, to more strategies and methods to find and identify quality information. (For more on OSINT see Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_intelligence)
Nature of the Subject
Is this subject primarily theoretical, practical, or a combination? Practical
Characteristics of the Learners
Students are senior-level officers, who have just completed or are about to start their masters degree from a military university. Most are Majors, or Captains near promotion. (For more on the rank of Major, see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_%28United_States%29) Prior knowledge varies student to student. Some have always, throughout their education and career, used the library and open source resources to conduct research and learning. Others, even if they have received graduate degrees, have not stepped into a library for many years. Instead, they have relied on popular search engines to provide information, instead of curated or aggregated content.
Most information in the military is disseminated through structured power point slides. This does not suit all learners or material. I hope to present information in a way to engage several learning styles, and to break away from reciting from slides and give the students some practical, hands-on experience they can use immediately in the classroom/work environment. The Amy is adjusting its learning styles, see The Army Learning Concept for 2015 for more: http://www.tradoc.army.mil/tpubs/pams/tp525-8-2.pdf
Characteristics of the Teacher
I highly value teaching and learning- I view nearly every interaction in the library as a teaching moment- either for the patron or for myself, to better serve the patron. I have an undergraduate degree in speech and theatre education, teaching and learning has always played a key role in my professional and personal life. This subject is endlessly fascinating to me- how do I help the patron find the best resources? How do I teach them to evaluate the resources? The students in this class are some of my favorites- they always keep me on my toes and ask me different questions each time. I feel, despite my high level of knowledge and familiarity with research methods, I learn more each class, to better help the next class.