A citation refresher and chocolate-covered pretzels -- what’s not to love? Apparently much more than this librarian realized, when only one student showed up to her end-of-semester citation workshops. In this talk, she reflects on why these workshops didn't resonate, and how to approach citation and paraphrasing differently in the future.
Type of Library
That Time One Person Came to My End-of-Semester Citation Workshops
Recognizing the challenges and stresses many students encounter when citing and paraphrasing, I decided to hold two citation workshops -- one for MLA, one for APA -- at the end of the semester. I created visually appealing presentations in Canva. I got the word out by distributing a flyer for digital signs across campus. A colleague and I disseminated an announcement to professors. An advertisement appeared on the sign above the campus center. Chocolate-covered pretzels were offered as snacks! These efforts resulted in exactly one person -- who didn’t know there was a citation workshop taking place -- wandering into the room.
A month later, I can identify several reasons why these well-intentioned workshops were not well attended. Organizing these workshops late in the semester was a chief misstep, but other crucial mistakes included not reaching out to faculty on a broader scale, and assessing what specific citation needs and questions students had.
Perhaps the greatest takeaway from the lack of interest and attendance is something we always tell our students: “Don’t wait until the last minute!” Acknowledging the ideas and scholarship of others is a crucial skill that can be reinforced, but not taught, at the last minute. While we address citation in our information literacy sessions, we might approach the topic of citation and paraphrasing in a more comprehensive way throughout the semester, as outlined in the Framework for Information Literacy. We could also reach out to colleagues on campus (including faculty and those working in the writing center) to determine how we can partner to help our students understand the fundamentals of citation.