Integration of Steps 1-4
1. Situational Factors
Major situational factors affecting the IL instruction embedded in this English Composition class have been considered and seem aligned with learning goals, feedback, and assessment:
- Limited time (150 minutes class time) – IL instruction embedded in the English Composition class is focused on the main points of the research process. Application goals include the importance of a focused topic statement, identification of keywords and synonyms, where and how to search for scholarly journal articles, critical evaluation of search results, and the citation of sources.
- Connection to institutional general education requirements – Initial introduction to IL concepts and skills is connected to the general education curriculum. The institution has determined that IL introduction should take place in a required course early in a student’s college coursework and that it should address concepts and skills students will use throughout the college career. The research process as presented in the application goals will be used repeatedly by students at this institution.
- Extrinsic motivation – Students in a required course, which is taken early in the college career, tend to need extrinsic motivation, practice, feedback, and much encouragement. The IL section in this class provides students the opportunity to practice the research process in class. They receive encouraging feedback through class discussions and worksheets completed during class. Extrinsic motivation is provided by requiring students to use the research process to complete an assigned paper for the course, and by passing a graded quiz focused on IL concepts and skills.
There is always some disconnect between the characteristics of the learners and the teacher. Many first year students don’t know what they don’t know and need to be persuaded that learning IL skills and concepts will benefit them both in the near and long term.
2. Learning Goals and Feedback & Assessment
Feedback and assessment is provided for each of the application goals. Immediate feedback is provided through class discussions, practice, and some of the worksheet activities completed in class. Worksheets are collected and additional in-depth feedback is provided in writing; the worksheets with written feedback are returned at the next class session. Feedback on the worksheets is intended to empower and encourage the student to assess their own performance. Individual assessment is derived from the worksheet results, IL quiz results (graded), and the quality of resources used in the assigned paper. Anecdotal assessment is gathered through class discussions.
3. Learning Goals and Teaching/Learning Activities
The teaching/learning activities effectively support all of the learning goals. The application goals have learning activities attached to each goal. The foundational knowledge, integration goals, and human dimension and caring goals are mainly supported through the lecture and discussion components. I have been refining this IL session for many years and have, over the years, focused the goals and discarded extraneous activities that do not serve those goals; I’m not sure if there is anything left to discard, but I will continue to reflect on this aspect!
4. Teaching/Learning Activities and Feedback & Assessment
The practice learning activities and the associated feedback opportunities do prepare students for the assessment activities, but I have not previously provided students with written criteria and standards for successful completion of a goal. I have provided this verbally as we address each goal, but I think students would benefit from a more intentional explanation on my part.
Worksheet for Designing a Course
Learning Goals for Course:
- Understand the importance of a well written topic statement.
- Identify keywords and synonyms.
- Identify and use appropriate information seeking tools for the topic.
- Critically evaluate the resources found.
- Cite resources used.
Ways of Assessing This Kind of Learning:
- Not sure how to assess their understanding; need to think about this more.
- Look at keywords and synonyms written on their worksheet.
- Look at research database choice written on their worksheet.
- Look at answers to critical evaluation questions written on their worksheet.
- Look at citation of article written on their worksheet.
Actual Teaching-Learning Activities:
- Present students with two topic statements, one vague and broad and the other specific and focused. Demonstrate a database search using each topic statement and discuss the results (many and low relevance vs. fewer and more relevant).
- Ask students to identify and write the keywords (main concepts) from the more focused topic statement on their worksheet. Ask students to help me identify the keywords by telling me which words to erase from the focused topic statement which I have written on the whiteboard. Discussion. Ask students to use an online thesaurus and identify and write one synonym for each keyword on their worksheet. Ask students to tell me synonyms to write under each keyword on the whiteboard. Discussion.
- Show students how to navigate to the library home page and then to the research database by subject list; ask them to follow along on their computer. Ask students to choose a research database they think would be appropriate for the topic and write it on their worksheet. Discussion. Students all navigate to the same database that was chosen based on discussion. Show students how to enter keywords into the database using the Boolean connectors AND and OR. Discuss variations. Students all enter the same search sentence that was chosen based on discussion and then click the search button.
- Students choose an article from the search results list and answer critical evaluation questions on their worksheet. At the end they provide a self-assessment of the appropriateness of their article choice.
- Students cite the chosen article on the evaluation worksheet (see #4).
- Online course guide designed specifically for this IL session (LibGuide).
- Students are encouraged to come to my office or make an appointment for research assistance at any time. They are also encouraged to get research assistance from other librarians as well.