Instruction traveling light


The QE 2
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In a classic episode of Keeping up Appearances, social climber Hyacinth has overpacked for a luxury cruise.  Her husband, Richard, asks her which of the many suitcases are the most important.  She exclaims in reply, “They’re all important, Richard!”

Likewise all of our content is important, but what content is most important?  We librarians face this question when designing our instruction–especially the one-shot sessions.  For prioritizing content I have found certain resources helpful.

Radford University’s McConnell Library (n.d.) has a well-developed instruction menu that can guide the planning process.  When I speak with a course instructor, I can show him or her a similar menu.  Then we can choose the most useful content for that particular class.

Some content can be covered outside of the one-shot session.  Advance organizers (Chen, Hirumi, & Zhang, 2007), tutorials (Badke, 2009), and other materials can free up the class time for what matters most.

We librarians can’t cover everything in a one-shot session.   With a little planning, though,  we can travel light and still cover meaningful concepts. Here’s wishing you safe and pleasant real-life travels this summer!


Badke, W. (2009). Ramping up the one-shot. Online, 33(2), 47–49. Retrieved from

Chen, B., Hirumi, A., & Zhang, N. J. (2007). Investigating the use of advance organizers as an instructional strategy for web-based distance education. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 8(3), 223–231. Retrieved from

Clarke, R. (Writer), & Snoad, H. (Director). (1993). Sea fever [Television series episode]. In H. Snoad (Producer), Keeping up appearances. United States: BBC Video/Warner Home Video.

McConnell Library, Radford University. (n.d.). Instruction Menu.  Retrieved from