By Cat Webb, Staff Writer –

On Feb. 13, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga library offered the Secrets of Google workshop, which is designed to help students learn different ways to use the search engine.

The library at UTC offers numerous free workshops and classes so students can learn how to use different programs, create resumes, get better sources for research projects and much more.

Lane Wilkinson, Director of Research and Instruction at the UTC Library, pitched the idea for Google workshops, and has taught the monthly sessions for the past three years.

These workshops are not designed for people that have no idea how to use Google, but instead aim to teach those who already know a bit about Google to make the most out of the search engine. Wilkinson does this by teaching students ways to narrow down the results offered by Google and find relevant information more easily.

According to ComScore, a third-party website that tracks the amount of engagements with varying websites, there were 10.826 billion Google searches in Dec. 2019 from the United States alone. It is the most-used online search engine, and one that offers seemingly endless information for any given search.

“Google will never in a million years give you millions of results, because it knows you’re not going to get past page one,” Wilkinson said. “You’re probably not even going to scroll down the page.”

To him, the workshops are enjoyable to teach, but are also needed to fill in the gaps of the curriculum. 

“All of us, here in the library, what we do is we see gaps on campus and we say ‘no one is teaching this.’ Or if they are, it’s tied to a specific class where only those twenty students are getting it.”

Attendance for these workshops is typically low. According to Wilkinson, five or six students attend each workshop. The most he’s ever seen is around twenty.

Wilkinson prefers these smaller class sizes, and said that it’s easier to address everyone when there are fewer students in the workshop. His goal is not necessarily to have more attendance to each workshop, but to offer a second Google workshop every month so that he can continue to teach effectively.

“Whether you’re just starting out with Google, or you’re using it a million times a day and you feel like you’re an expert, you will learn something at this workshop that you haven’t seen before, or maybe be reminded of something you forgot,” Wilkinson said. 

The next Secrets of Google workshop takes place on Mar. 26, 2020 from 11 a.m. to noon in room 204 of the library. It is free of charge, open to all students and counts for ThinkAchieve credit. Anyone interested can RSVP via the workshops section of the library website.

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