Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Tools for Information Literacy

Moderator Patricia Watkins introduced the speakers and a very full room sat in anticipation of seeing innovative tools. William Baer was the first to speak on Using Videos to Teach the Ethical Use of Engineering Information. He had early communication with faculty who were concerned about plagiarism and expanded the topic to include ethics, which is a particular focus by Engineering (Code of Ethics). His students had little experience writing citations, and he noted a special need by Graduate Assistants also. After working out some technical requirements, he recorded four short videos including tests in Blackboard and a worksheet. Assessment by pretest and post test showed improvement after the videos with notable early low score by students who had already completed an ethics course (!!) and greater improvement by female students.

Eric Resnis spoke next on Smart Searching: An Online Information Fluency Tutorial. At Miami of Ohio he saw a need for specialized tutorials for Engineers in addition to their general E-learn initiative. His tutorial included some notable innovations. First was a blog (for all sections) where he could remind students of their assignments regarding the tutorial. The next was rotating ads for library services and databases included on the website. Lastly there were quizzes available to grade the students after completing the tutorial. His results of studying the quizzes and homework from the students showed good scores in academic integrity, peer review, OhioLINK, but bad performance on Journal citations and Choosing resources. Scores have gone up after survey was revised, but the problem areas remained the same.

Adriana Popescu presented a non-technology based report on Exploring, Reading and Writing Scientific Literature in English. In an entertaining way she showed the difficulty of international students with library jargon and English scientific literature. They developed two non-credit 6 week courses that started with a reading assignment with posting reactions to a message board. The first choice of content was actually articles on the difficulties of non-native English students. This continued with more readings, discussions in class (slow with many accents, but she had one too!), and writing drafts for practice. The results of questions she asked about how they find articles frequently found Google in the answers.

Finally Lisa Dunn presented a unique program at the Colorado School of Mines in Flexible Information Literacy Strategies for Engineering Design in EPICS. EPICS (Engineering Practices Intro. Course Sequence) has a strong formal relationship to the libraries, it keeps librarians on their toes by having VERY interesting project topics that are decided very near to the library sessions with the project teams (5 teams of 5 for each of 18 sections in 1 week!) The team based library session had a diminishing lecture component, laptop work groups, customizable worksheets that provided multiple tasks for each team to complete in smaller pairs then share with their teammates. Interviews with faculty were positive, but included some contradictory expectations (also advice from Lisa to LISTEN when doing those interviews). She also made sure to address the planning of the project in the context of Marketing, which was useful and insightful.


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