The Contested One-Shot: Deconstructing Power Structures to Imagine New Futures

Nicole Pagowsky

Abstract

For so long the one-shot has been the dominating force of how we engage in library instruction. There is a lot of meaning and debate saturated in this faux-innocuous activity, yet there is not always consensus as to how we define a one-shot. Is it doing a library “spiel” to demo a database, present the library website, or give a tour? Is it visiting a class once without an explicit connection to an assignment? Is it even embedding a learning object in a class without assessment feedback or other interaction? To have a central, salient definition of the one-shot for the purpose of this editorial, I view it as a standalone session, superficially (or not at all) connected to course content, that is tacked onto a class. Within a curriculum, the one-shot has no memory of where information literacy has been and no vision of where it is going. It is ephemeral within cycles of ineffectiveness. I am writing this guest editorial to talk this through and share my thoughts, and then invite you to share yours in a special issue of C&RL on the contested one-shot (see the Call for Proposals at the end). We do not need consensus but sharing different perspectives and exploring what “effective” teaching means is important to support our instruction programs. This guest editorial will discuss one-shots in the context of effective teaching practices; assessment; and power structures related to care-work and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). The hope is to expand our pedagogical imagination through questioning what appear to be common-sense practices in order to create better systems and structures.

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