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The Flipped Classroom in an Information Literacy Session

October 7, 2013


Flipped classrooms are gaining popularity in academics; in fact, I’ve heard quite a bit about their use in various subjects and I was considering giving this a try with my one shot information literacy session for Nursing 100. Around the time I was beginning to plan my upcoming session and had to make a decision regarding how to structure it,, I came across the Datig and Ruswick’s (2013) article Four Quick Flips; this article reinforced my desire to use the flipped classroom, and the session was very successful.


According to Datig and Ruswick (2013), “In a flipped classroom much of the instruction takes place outside of class time, in the form of tutorials, readings, and quizzes. Actual class time consists of active learning activities in which the students practice and develop what they’ve learned” (p. 249). As is often the case in information literacy instruction, my one shot session was only one hour so I didn’t have much time to divide between lecture and in class work. This session is the first library session that Nursing 100 students have, and it takes place just as they are receiving their first research assignment. In the curriculum at my school, nursing students take one year of pre-clinical science courses at local colleges, then come to our campus to begin their nursing courses. Because the students have varied information literacy backgrounds, we believe it’s imperative to have a session in Nursing 100 that introduces them to our library’s resources, explains the research process, and teaches them how to do some advanced searching in our databases. This session is also the foundation for future one shot information literacy courses that have been integrated into the curriculum schedule.  Clearly this is not an easy task to do in an hour and still have time for active learning.


Because the students, who are a mix of traditional and non-traditional, all have had previous college work, and because most of them have used databases or at least search engines in that work, it was safe to assume that I did not have to start with the mechanics of a basic search; thus the PowerPoint presentation I prepared for them to view before class focused on some advanced search tips that we discussed in more depth as they came up during in class searches, some advanced tips that we did not discuss in class because they were things that were nice for the students to know but were not absolutely necessary to review at the time, an introduction to the library services, and an overview of library resources. In class, we discussed the research process, primary vs. secondary research, scholarly vs. popular sources, and the search process which included the CRAAP test for evaluating sources; they were also provided with a Popplet so they had a quick visual overview of these processes. The next step was to use what they learned about advanced searching in the assigned PowerPoint and the research process to walk me through a search; this was done as a complete class. After that, the class was given a search scenario and they were divided into an equal number of groups with some groups searching databases and some searching the Internet; the groups were to plan their search, perform the search, find three credible resources, and then informally present these resources to the class and discuss their search process.


I thought the class went very well. The students were engaged, we discussed search tactics, and they saw that there are multiple ways to search for information and still find credible resources. As with all of my sessions, I had students complete brief surveys at the end and I received many compliments about the class, and students appreciated the search scenario work. Many thought it was helpful to all work on the same scenario as examples; I made sure the scenarios were similar to those they would see on their upcoming research assignments.


Overall, I think this went well and I plan to use the flipped classroom again in Nursing 100 next year. I will also consider using it in sessions for higher level courses. I did not work in any quizzes or assessments to make sure the students did the assigned reading before class; however their instructor did support me in telling them that this was required for them to be able to do the in-class work, and judging by the session dynamics the vast majority of students appeared to have read the material. I may incorporate some type of assessment into the work in the future.


Have you used the flipped classroom for information literacy? Do you have any reflections to share about it? Are you considering using the flipped classroom? Do you have any readings for further information? Please share your thoughts.




Datig, I., & Ruswick, C. (2013 May). “Four quick flips: Activities for the information literacy classroom.” C&RL News 74(5), 249-257. Retrieved from


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