Balancing, Prioritizing, and Reimagining

Comprehensively Updating Asynchronous Library Instruction


  • Grace Therrell University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Academic instruction librarians and library instruction programs have been turning to online instruction in recent years as an option for creating a more sustainable presence. Developing online learning opportunities often requires various considerations outside of identifying learning needs. Librarians may consider designing for students both in-person and online; creating online instruction to replace or supplement one-shot sessions; and marrying chosen technology with a pedagogical approach. These are common to instruction librarians as they create online learning, but they are also sometimes challenging to address simultaneously. This process-focused article details one librarian’s experience balancing all three of these considerations while reimagining asynchronous library instruction for large-enrollment introductory public speaking courses. This article shares an iterative process for determining needs and addressing multiple considerations. It also details how the author practically addressed considerations as well as how the redesigned instruction was implemented. There is discussion on the idea of “comprehensive” design and what it means to balance multiple priorities in practice. The article ends with recommendations for librarians who are designing or redesigning online instruction who are holding many interests and goals in mind. 

Keywords: online learning, information literacy instruction, asynchronous instruction, academic libraries