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Cynthia Mari Orozco
Cynthia Mari Orozco, Librarian for Equitable Services, East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park and South Gate, California, USA

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.

Q: Do you teach? How has your approach to teaching changed since you started?

I've been an instruction librarian since I graduated library school in various contexts, including private university, state university, and now community college. Since coming to community college, I have also had the opportunity to teach both in-person and online semester-long information literacy classes. My instruction has changed so much since I started teaching. My first one-shots definitely felt like a train wreck: I tried to teach everything and anything about the library in a very small time frame and without consideration of learning outcomes or assessment. Since then, I've developed my lesson plans to include these, which has also helped me reign in my teaching. My motivating factor has stayed true throughout, however: teach students how to navigate the library's resources and services so that they never have to be as clueless as I was as an undergraduate!

Q: How has your library approached the Framework?

Our library is still grappling with how to approach the Framework in our practice. However, this is a main point of discussion in instruction assessment meetings as the semester winds down!

Q: What role do non-library, classroom faculty at your institution have in promoting information literacy of students?

We have information literacy champions all over campus in very different ways! We have the faculty who consistently bring their courses in for ILI each semester, usually as one library orientation or sometimes two. We've also had several faculty members who have used library orientations to learn information literacy from librarians in action, and then gone on to facilitate their own library instruction without our direct help in subsequent semesters.

Q: In 2017 you were named as a Mover and Shaker and profiled in Library Journal. What impact did that experience have on you and on your advocacy

It was really great being nominated and recognized by my peers! (Shout out to my nominator Annie Pho!) I think that it's helped me sustain my energy in doing the work that I do. Sometimes it can feel as our work isn't as valued or valuable as we want it to be, so it can be really affirming to receive formal recognition. This experience has also encouraged me to actively nominate others for formal recognition and awards, as well as remember to recognize my colleagues for their efforts.

Q: Why did you join the TATIL Advisory Board?

Being a part of the TATIL Advisory Board allows me to think critically about information literacy assessment with an amazing group of colleagues. I'm also very proud to represent community college librarians in this role.

Thank you, Cynthia!

Carolyn Caffrey Gardner
Carolyn Caffrey Gardner, Information Literacy Coordinator at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, California, USA

It can be a challenge to navigate accrediting bodies and their expectations for information literacy instruction and assessment. This is a snapshot of how folks at one campus tackled the self-study for WSCUC accreditation, including some takeaways that may help you on your own accreditation journey.

I joined California State University Dominguez Hills in May of 2016, in the midst of an accreditation preparation frenzy. As the new information literacy coordinator, I jumped right into the ongoing process of preparing for reaccreditation, which had started years in advance. In Fall 2015, as we geared up for our 2018 site visit, our campus created Core Task Forces. Each core task force was charged with analyzing a WSCUC core competency on our campus. These competencies are expected of every graduating student and include Information Literacy (IL). Led by Library Dean Stephanie Brasley, the IL Task Force began with extensive discussions about how information literacy is defined and where we can identify these skills being taught on our campus. The committee was made up of a diverse cross-section of faculty and administrators, each with different understandings of what information literacy is and how we can measure competency. While I wasn’t yet on campus for these discussions, the committee minutes and other documentation describe the task force’s adoption of the ACRL Framework definition of information literacy and the recommendation that we distribute that definition widely. The IL Task Force then began identifying where IL competencies were taught on our campus. Ultimately, the task force felt that retroactive assessment of assignments not intended to teach or measure information literacy outcomes wouldn’t provide an authentic understanding of our students’ learning. For those reasons, they opted not to conduct a one-time assessment project, such as applying an existing rubric (e.g., AAC&U) to collect student work, and instead opted to find existing evidence. The committee recruited students to participate in IL testing using Project SAILS, used existing NSSE data (from the general questions and not the information literacy module add-on), and explored program-level student learning outcomes assessment data. ...continue reading "CSU Dominguez Hills and the WASC Senior College and University Commission"

Lyda Fontes McCartin
Lyda Fontes McCartin, Professor, Head of Information Literacy & Undergraduate Support, University of Northern Colorado, Greenley, Colorado, USA

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:

  1. Students will be able to develop a research process
  2. Students will be able to implement effective search strategies
  3. Students will be able to evaluate information
  4. 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).

I like signature assignments because ...continue reading "Assessing Credit Courses with Signature Assignments"

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.

...continue reading "Resources for One-Shots"

Sometime around 1996 I attended a conference on communication studies. I was working on a master’s degree in Comm Studies and this was my first conference in an area outside of librarianship. I was happy to discover a presentation on research related to libraries, specifically nonverbal behaviors of reference librarians. As the researcher described her findings and quoted from student statements about their interactions with librarians, I experienced a range emotions. Interest and pride soon gave way to embarrassment and frustration. The way I remember it now, there were a host of examples of poor interactions. “The librarian looked at me like I was from Mars,” that sort of thing. Most memorable to me was one of the comment/questions from an audience member. “Librarians need to fix this. What are they going to do about it?,” as though this study had uncovered a heretofore invisible problem that we should urgently address. (Did I mention feeling defensive, too?) I didn’t dispute the findings. What I struggled with was the sense that the people in the room thought that we librarians didn’t already know about the importance of effective communication and that we weren’t working on it. Was there room for improvement? For sure! But it wasn’t news to us.

I thought about that presentation again recently after viewing a webinar by Lisa Hinchliffe about her research project, Predictable Misunderstandings in Information Literacy: Anticipating Student Misconceptions To Improve Instruction. Using data from a survey of librarians who provide information literacy instruction to first year students, Lisa and her team provisionally identified nine misconceptions that lead to errors in information literacy practice. For example, first year students “believe ...continue reading "We’re Working On It: Taking Pride in Continuous Instructional Improvement"