2018 Summer Instruction Camp

It was wonderful to partner again with Marquette University on Summer Instruction Camp. New colleagues at UWM at Waukesha also joined us making the 2018 Summer Instruction Camp the most well-attended camp thus far!

2018 was the 6th year of Summer Instruction Camp at UWM Libraries. Over the years we’ve covered many topics related to improving our instructional practices. Last year attendees shared that they wanted more opportunities to get to know and work with peers across institutions. So we chose a theme that had the potential to encourage more cross-institutional collaboration while at the same time maintaining a strong focus on improving one’s own instructional practices. We also received feedback on the logistics of camp and realized that our format needed to change due to the amount of travel each session required. So we held two half day sessions instead of three two hour sessions.

Instruction Camp 2018

Applying the backward design approach, the planning team developed the learning goals and content for two sessions. Each session featured a presentation by guests followed by hands-on activities.

DAY 1 : Cultivating a Mindful Practice

Learning Goals

-Learn about a successful Peer Observation Program in order to understand the value in participating in peer observation.
-Identify sticking points/bottlenecks in your instruction in order to set personal goals for growth.


We got things moving with a round of Librarian Bingo. We crowdsourced lists of our perceived barriers and limitations to participating in peer observation as well as the desirable qualities in a peer observation process.

Picture 1 from presentation

DAY 2 : Growing as a Librarian Educator

Learning Goals

-Learn about a successful Peer Observation in order to understand how to make your peer observation meaningful.
-Become familiar with tools (observation worksheet, lesson plan guide) and strategies (peer input, reflective practices) to facilitate goal oriented peer observation.
-Identify individuals with shared goals to develop your community of practice.


We started the day with the Common Ground activity and the winning group identified 22 things in common! Following the presentation we identified our own strengths and opportunities in our teaching practices, did a ‘speed date’ to identify a potential peer to work with going forward, and ended by crowdsourcing a list of resources needed for a successful peer observation experience.

Our learning goals were ambitious and we are seeing now from the post-camp feedback that more time could have been devoted to finding an observation partner. We hope we’ll be able to facilitate that throughout the year.

It was our hope and intention to reframe Peer Observation as a reflective practice that librarians could use to improve their instruction. Instead of peer observation as a tool for evaluation, camp focused on peer observation as a tool for achieving one’s own instructional goals. Goals that develop from your own self-reflection and identification of areas of growth. Instead of peer observation as a single event without dialogue, camp focused on peer observation as a tool for facilitating conversations with a peer on your real struggles and creating the feedback loop for reflection on improvement and growth.


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