Sophie Bury joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2015. In this interview she reveals her passion for teaching and her commitment to assessment. Read about Sophie's projects on faculty IL and media literacy and learn why she joined the TATIL Advisory Board.
Question: Please tell us about your job. What are the highlights of your position?
The Learning Commons unites learning services at York University to better support students’ success and is a partnership of the Libraries, Learning Skills Services, the Writing Department, the ESL Open Learning Centre, the Career Centre, the Teaching Commons (supports teaching development at York) and the YUExperience Hub (supports experiential education at York).
My previously held roles include that of Business Librarian at York University and Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as leadership roles in the area of information literacy at both these universities in committee chair or other leadership positions.
I am very passionate about the role of academic libraries in student learning and success and very much enjoy the public service aspects of my role, including interacting with students in the classroom, as well as being one of the library’s key players in developing our reference and Learning Commons services to enhance the student experience.
Cynthia Mari Orozco joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. She is Librarian for Equitable Services, East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park and South Gate, California, USA. Cynthia talked with us about promoting information literacy through faculty collaboration and about the importance of recognizing the efforts of our colleagues.
Question: Please tell us what you are working on these days.
We have a small instruction team that oversees a lot of information literacy instruction (ILI) at a relatively large campus, so we're actively seeking strategies to institutionalize information literacy across the campus but also to provide more targeted, intentional ILI. One project we are working on is creating embeddable information literacy content for classroom faculty in Canvas, our campus LMS, to provide faculty with easy-to-adopt resources. We also want to build professional development for classroom faculty in teaching information literacy in a Train the Trainer model, in which faculty learn about information literacy and work with a librarian to embed information literacy in their courses, ideally scaffolded throughout the semester.
In 2014, my library Curriculum Committee started work on developing new student learning outcomes for our 100-level LIB courses. We teach five distinct credit courses; four are 100-level courses and one is a 200-level course. The learning outcomes had not been revisited in years and we had added new courses since that time. With the debut of the Framework, we took the opportunity to update our learning outcomes. It was at this time we began considering all of our 100-level courses as one “program.” An overview of the process we used to create the outcomes is provided in a C&RL News article titled “Be critical, but be flexible: Using the Framework to facilitate student learning outcome development.” The 100-level student learning outcomes are:
Students will be able to develop a research process
Students will be able to implement effective search strategies
Students will be able to evaluate information
Students will be able to develop an argument supported by evidence
Since 2015, I’ve been guiding the library Curriculum Committee through the creation of signature assignments to assess our credit courses so that we can look at student learning across 100-level sections. A signature assignment is a course-embedded assignment, activity, project, or exam that is collaboratively created by faculty to collect evidence for a specific learning outcome. Most of the time you hear about signature assignments in relation to program level assessment, but they can also be used to assess at the course level and are especially useful if you want to assess a course that has many sections taught by multiple instructors (hint – this model can be used for one-shot instruction as well).
Cynthia Kane joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. Here she answers questions about her work and her passion for assessment.
Question: Please tell us about your current job.
Cynthia: I am currently the Director of Assessment at the Emporia State University Libraries and Archives. I oversee all aspects of assessment initiatives in our program, including information literacy assessments. I also represent the Libraries and Archives on two university-wide committees: the Student Learning Assessment Council and the Higher Learning Commission Leadership Team. I really enjoy these last two opportunities because it’s given me a wider audience to highlight the impact of the academic library in student learning and success throughout their undergraduate and graduate careers.
This semester I provided two workshops for the part-time librarians I work with who do most of the teaching in our one-shot library/research instruction program. Although I see them every day, it’s rare that we carve out time to meet as a group and getting together even depends on some librarians coming in on their time off. But we get so much out of sharing our experiences with each other that we’re all willing to give a little extra to make it work. At these meetings I had a chance to facilitate discussion about the Framework, which might seem a little late since it was first adopted nearly three years ago, but it was good timing for us because we recently got support from our college administrators to purchase the Credo InfoLit Modules and it’s helping us to think about the scope of our instruction in new ways.
In particular, we’ve been thinking about how to reach beyond our one-shots in new ways. The information literacy lessons from Credo are one way to reach students before or after we see them in the library. With a little coordination between the librarian and the professor who’s requesting instruction, students can be introduced to concepts like the value of information or the role of iteration in planning a search strategy before coming to the library. Or they can get step-by-step, self-paced practice with MLA citations to follow up on our in-class discussions about how they should expect to use various types of sources in their analysis or argument.