Fantasy Football Instruction: Reflections

Overall both sessions went surprisingly smooth and were well received. The students were engaged (eventually) and were positive throughout the session. Our team ended up teaching two sessions since the size of the group dictated that we spilt them up in order to fit into our computer labs. We initially planned for three groups given the projected class size, but only needed two. I’m very thankful to both Jon Helmke and Anne Marie Gruber for being willing to prep and teach the fantasy football lesson, neither of whom had any previous experience playing fantasy football. They both served as great examples that the session is more about research than about football.

By starting out with the discussion of the “Madden Curse” and how that effects a player’s fantasy ranking engaged over half of the class. Then transitioning this into a question of who will be the top running back this season engaged others as they shouted out “LT.” The students reacted well to the question of who would be the #3 RB, by providing a variety of responses on which player should ranked 3rd. The class did vote on who they thought and it worked well in order to get the students to commit to a player.

The discussion of criteria to evaluate sources worked well and the students answered questions relating to football sources. After the discussion of criteria, the 2-minute drill activity resulted in a nice variety of sources (espn, sports illustrated, fox sports, sporting news,, and even This variety allowed us to touch on topics of professional vs. fan (ffjungle vs. espn), free vs. fee (SI vs. ESPN), and timeliness (’s outdated article). I was impressed that the student athletes engaged with each other discussing the sources and arguing over their conclusions. Besides one student throwing out other player names to distract others, most students focused their discussion on legitimate criteria. If the topic wasn’t football, the discussion could have happened in any info lit class.

This was the point. And it worked.

When we took another poll after the research, the results in both classes shifted based upon the research the students found. The connection to their course material and classes worked well and created a positive note to end the session on.

I can’t wait to try it again.


Anonymous said...

This is a *fabulous* idea for an instruction session -- thanks for sharing the details of what you did and how students responded. Any ideas on similar applications for students who might not necessarily be into football? I can see where this would work amazingly well with a football team, because you can assume they'd all be familiar with and interested in football...but I'd be hesitant to make that assumption about any other group that would come into the library. Very intriguing idea, though, and it's encouraging me to think outside the box with my own instruction sessions this fall...