Guide to co-presenting

Co-presenting can add a dynamic to the presentation that keeps students engaged and alert. A few things to bear in mind:

  • Who designs the presentation / lesson plan? Individuals could be designated to these tasks. Alternatively content could be a collaborative task and an individual can design the physical presentation. If you use presentational software such as Prezi, you can share your presentation with other users who can make their own changes to the presentation for a collaborative approach.
  • Who delivers the teaching? Although you want the presentation to feel natural, you should also designate who is presenting which elements and at what point. This can be laid out in the lesson plan. Of course you may not always stick rigidly to this structure, but having it there will give a good idea of how much time each presenter has allotted to them.

Co-presenting can be really effective; each presenter has a unique perspective and style of teaching which helps to keep students engaged with the presentation. It can be especially effective when a librarian co-presents with a member of academic staff. Delivering information literacy teaching in this way contextualises the teaching; the academic’s vast subject expertise helps students relate the information literacy taught to a real-life, career-driven situation.

Academic staff are very busy, therefore if planning on co-presenting with them it might be preferable for librarians to design the lesson plan. Keep the academic informed by showing them your plan and explain the aims and objectives of the teaching. You will probably be expected to book the room, liaise with the School and let the academic know where the teaching will be taking place.

If you’re thinking of asking a member of academic staff to be involved in co-presenting ensure you contact them well in advance of the proposed teaching; their diaries will book up quickly!

Case study: co-presenting with academic staff

Critical Appraisal IL training sessions timetabled in year 1 of the Medicine curriculum involve introducing and undertaking appraisal of various types of literature; assessing currency, reliability, authority, purpose and relevance. The training session is designed by librarians in the Health Library; they produce a lesson plan, PowerPoint presentation and activities. I have been lucky enough to be involved in the co-presenting of this training session where training is delivered with an academic member of staff from the School of Medicine.


Although I was not involved with instigating conversation to arrange this co-presentation, my colleagues inform me that it was important to approach the member of staff in good time and inform them of how much or how little commitment will be involved. During the session, the academic member of staff was able to provide context to the students’ debates. As a librarian I can inform students of Journal Impact Factors and discuss what they are and why they are important. As a clinician and researcher he was able to further contextualise by giving examples of the Impact Factors of the journals he had published in. When referring to the pyramid of evidence he referred to specific, high profile trials of real relevance to the discussions being had, for example referencing contentious or retracted publications. All this demonstrated the importance of critical appraisal.


The presence of the academic noticeably engaged the students in the training session. They were alert, interested and grasped how the concept of critical appraisal related both to their current needs and future careers. Identifying the skill set of the librarian and academic proved the success of this co-presentation. The librarians used their expertise to consider learning outcomes, develop a lesson plan and design the presentation and handouts and the academic member of staff provided context, therefore creating an informative, relevant and interesting training session for students.


Delyth Morris

Subject Librarian – Dentistry & Medicine


Case study: Collaborative teaching practice with PhD tutors

Since 2014, Aberconway Library subject librarians have trained Business School PhD students to deliver financial database sessions to the MSc Economics and Accounting & Finance students.


There were a number of drivers for this:
1. Financial and Economics databases are complex and non-intuitive, and training is necessary for students to be able to extract the data they need.
2. The databases are crucial sources for dissertation data.
3. Around 300 students in Economics, Accounting and Finance needed help, and this meant that significant subject librarian time was spent on basic enquiries over the summer period.


The solution of using PhD students to train MSc students was suggested by the library to Dr Woon Wong, a member of academic staff who is the head of the Trading Room. The Trading Room simulates a real trading floor, and provides students with the opportunity to gain practical skills relevant to working in a stock exchange. A business case was drawn up jointly between the Aberconway Library and Dr. Wong. This was approved with funding of £1100 for PhD training. Training was arranged for April 2014, ahead of dissertations.


Training Delivery

We arranged two 3-hour sessions for 8 PhDs. Session 1 covered Datastream and Thomson One Banker and Session 2 covered WRDS, Fame, Osiris and Bankscope. They in turn trained just under 300 Masters students over 20 workshops.


We developed existing training materials which incorporated regular enquiries from students. The databases are complex and contain massive amounts of data – a three hour session is not going to cover everything, but we focused on the essentials, and included troubleshooting and enquiry advice.


Impact of training
Impact on library reputation
The training increased awareness of the database expertise of subject librarians and received favourable comments in Economics Section meetings. The library was asked to join the Trading Room group, the decision making body on strategy for Trading Room development. As a profession we can struggle to get our expertise recognized amongst our academic colleagues, so this was a valuable development. In addition to helping individual academics who recognized our competence, having a training session program which we control, and which had to be funded, brought our expertise to a wider audience.


Impact on MSc Students
The training provided formalised support for financial dissertation research. We still have significant time taken up by 1 to 1 support, but now the students know the basics it allows us to prioritise time on more complex queries.


Following on…
The cascaded training was run again successfully in 2015. Future activities include development of the Aberconway Library Blog, which has training resources such as videos and instructions. The key focus will be to develop further materials, with lecturer input.


Susan Smith – Subject Librarian, Business


In the final section of this chapter we take a look at managing the teaching environment.