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Project SAILS is attending ACRL 2013. Are you?

If you are, then you should consider attending one of the many sessions focused on information literacy and assessment. Below is a list of programs that caught my eye as I scoured the conference program. I plan to attend as many of them as possible but will also be busy talking with visitors to our booth. I hope to see you at Booth 1320. Get a jump on the crowds and schedule a time to meet with me.

I intended this list to focus on assessment, but I just couldn’t help highlighting other programs that sound amazing and innovative. Click on the program title to see more information on the ACRL conference website. You can also plan the sessions you will attend with ACRL’s easy “My Planner” tool.

(Note, I did not include any of the free workshops here – they are filling up so fast and I didn't want you to be disappointed if you didn’t get a spot.)

Enjoy! And hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Questioning Authority: Standard Three and the Critical Classroom
Presenters:
Emily Drabinski, Reference and Instruction Librarian, LIU Brooklyn
Jenna Freedman, Barnard College
Lia Friedman, Director of Learning Services, UC San Diego Library

The One-Shot Mixtape: Lessons for Planning, Delivering, and Integrating Instruction
Presenters:
Megan Oakleaf, Assoc. Professor, Syracuse Univ.
Steven Hoover, Senior Asst. Librarian, Syracuse Univ.
Jennifer Corbin, Head, Center for Library User Education, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane Univ.
Debra Gilchrist, Vice President, Learning and Student Success, Pierce College
Randy Hensley, Head of Instruction, Baruch College
Christopher Hollister, Assoc. Librarian, Univ. at Buffalo
Michelle Millet, Library Director, John Carroll Univ.
Beth Woodard, Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Disciplinary Literacy in First-Year Writing Courses: A Collaborative Context For Critical Information Literacy Instruction
Presenters:
Sara D. Miller, Head of Information Literacy, Michigan State Univ. Libraries
Nancy C. DeJoy, Assoc. Professor, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, Michigan State Univ.
Benjamin M. Oberdick, Information Literacy Librarian, Michigan State Univ.

Pilot Study Examining Student Learning Gains Using Online Information Literacy Modules
Presenters:
Corinne Bishop, Information Literacy Librarian, Univ. of Central Florida
Francisca Yonekura, Asst. Department Head, Center for Distributed Learning, Univ. of Central Florida
Patsy Moskal, Assoc. Director, Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness, Univ. of Central Florida

Embracing ‘Troublesome Knowledge’: Information Literacy Threshold Concepts in the Natural Sciences
Presenters:
Alison Ricker, Science Librarian, Oberlin College
Moriana Garcia, Natural Sciences Liaison Librarian, Denison Univ.
Deborah Carter Peoples, Science Librarian, Ohio Wesleyan Univ.

Making IL Relevant: Inspiring Student Engagement through Faculty-Librarian Collaboration
Presenters:
Meggan Smith, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Gettysburg College
Kayla Lenkner, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Gettysburg College
Amy Dailey, Asst. Professor, Health Sciences, Gettysburg College
Kelly Ruffini, Class of 2013, Gettysburg College

Visible Thinking: Using Course-Integrated Research Narratives to Engage Students and Assess Learning
Presenters:
Melanie Sellar, Education Services Librarian and Asst. Professor, Information Literacy, Marymount College
Robert Detmering, Asst. Professor and Teaching & Reference Librarian, Univ. of Louisville
Anna Marie Johnson, Assoc. Professor and Head, Reference and Information Literacy Dept., Univ. of Louisville

Project Information Literacy: What Can Be Learned about the Information-Seeking Behavior of Today's College Students?
Presenter:
Alison Head - Executive Director, Project Information Literacy

Impact of AAC&U’s Liberal Education & America’s Promise (LEAP) Initiative on Information Literacy Programs
Presenters:
Elizabeth Dolinger, Information Literacy Librarian, Mason Library
Brooke Gilmore, Information Literacy Librarian, Southern New Hampshire Univ.

What’s in a Name?: Information Literacy, Metaliteracy, or Transliteracy
Presenters:
Trudi Jacobson, Head, Information Literacy Department, Univ. at Albany
Thomas Mackey, Dean, Center for Distance Learning, SUNY Empire State College

The ERIAL Project:  Findings, Ideas and Tools to Advance Your Library
Presenter:
David Green - Assoc. University Librarian for Collections and Information Services, Northeastern Illinois Univ. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Becoming Catalysts in Exceptional Research and Learning: The Intersections of Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication
Presenters:
Erin Ellis, Head of Instructional Services, Univ. of Kansas
Joyce Ogburn, Univ. of Utah
Kevin Smith, Duke University

Creating a Culture of Assessment: Determinants of Success
Presenters:
Meredith Farkas, Head of Instructional Services, Portland State Univ.
Lisa Hinchliffe, Coordinator of Instruction and Information Literacy Services, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Amy Harris Houk, Information Literacy Program Coordinator and Reference Librarian, Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro

Feeling our way: Emotional intelligence and information literacy competency
Presenters:
Miriam Matteson, Asst. Professor, Kent State Univ. - School of Library and Information Science, Columbus, OH
Omer Farooq, Student, Kent State Univ., Columbus, OH

Methods Behind the Instructional Madness: Assessing and Enhancing Learning through Portfolios, Mapping and Rubrics.
Presenters:
Natalie Tagge, Instruction Librarian, Claremont Colleges
Sean Stone, Science Librarian, Claremont Colleges
Char Booth, Instruction Services Manager & E-Learning Librarian, Claremont Colleges

“How is this different from critical thinking?”: The risks and rewards of deepening faculty involvement in an information literacy rubric.
Presenters:
Danya Leebaw, Reference and Instruction Librarian for Social Sciences, Carleton College
Kristin Partlo, Reference & Instruction Librarian for Social Sciences & Data, Carleton College
Heather Tompkins, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Carleton College

Becoming A Campus Assessment Leader: Collaborating for campus wide IL assessment
Presenter:
Larissa Gordon, Reference Librarian, Arcadia Univ.

Just-in-time Instruction, Regular Reflection, and Integrated Assessment: A Sustainable Model for Student Growth
Presenters:
Jill Gremmels, Leland M. Park Director of the Davidson College Library
Shireen Campbell, Professor of English, Davidson College

Caught In The Act: Video Classroom Observation
Presenters:
Anne Deutsch, Librarian, SUNY at New Paltz - Sojurner Truth Library
Brooks Doherty, Dean, General Education, Rasmussen College

Quest for Engagement: Innovative Library Instruction with Games-Based Learning
Presenters:
Maura Smale, Assoc. Professor, Information Literacy Librarian, New York City College of Technology, CUNY
Mary Snyder Broussard, Instructional Services Librarian, Lycoming College
Scott Rice, Digital Initiatives and Emerging Technologies Librarian, Appalachian State Univ. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Answering 'how' and 'why' questions of library impact on undergraduate student learning
Presenter:
Derek Rodriguez, Principal Investigator, The Understanding Library Impacts Project

Choosing and Using Assessment Management Systems: What Librarians Need to Know
Presenters:
Jackie Belanger, Research and Instruction Librarian/Assessment Coordinator, Univ. of Washington Bothell/Cascadia Community College
Megan Oakleaf, Assoc. Professor, Syracuse Univ.

Imagining the Future of Library Instruction: How Feminist Pedagogy Can Transform the Way You Teach and How Students Learn
Presenters:
Maria T. Accardi, Coordinator of Instruction, Indiana Univ. Southeast
Emily Drabinski, Reference and Instruction Librarian, LIU Brooklyn
Alana Kumbier, Reference Librarian, Wellesley College

Building an Instruction Arsenal: Using Standardized Elements to Streamline Class Planning and Ease Student Learning Assessment Across the Curriculum.
Presenters:
Kevin Seeber, Library Instruction Coordinator, Colorado State Univ.-Pueblo
Jessica Critten, First Year Programs Librarian, Univ. of West Georgia

 

And, Or, Not . . . three important words for searching success.

These three words form the basis of Boolean logic and help students more efficiently search through the complicated world of information and find resources specific to their academic needs.

We have heard many instruction librarians discussing the difficulty of keeping students engaged once the “B” word is introduced in a session. Should the “B” word be avoided altogether? Should new methods be used to teach students about Boolean?

We think instruction on Boolean should continue to be emphasized when teaching students how to search and locate information. After all, Boolean is included in the ACRL information competency standards and the “searching” portion of the Project SAILS skills sets. But maybe there are better ways to cover this topic. One option is a free tool called Boolify.

Boolify presents Boolean logic in a fun and graphical way to show students the usefulness of applying Boolean search operators when looking for resources with the Google search engine. Though it was designed specifically for K-12, we think there are many advantages to using it within higher education settings, including:

  • Great for the hands-on learners in your courses
  • Clearly illustrates the usefulness of using Boolean operators
  • Though specific to Google, college students can apply the concepts to research databases
  • The interactive nature of the tool gives students the flexibility to continue refining their search based on the results provided
  • Identifies the logic behind research and uses this logic to improve research skills

But the thing we like most about Boolify is that it covers a very important skill set within information literacy in a practical and easy-to-understand manner. The key is that Boolify is focused on the end goal, which is to teach information literacy skills in a way college students can understand and retain.

In addition to the free Boolify tool, the site also offers lesson plans for teaching information literacy to your students.

Give Boolify a look and consider whether you can use it in your instruction.

York University Libraries recently published an article summarizing the collaboration efforts started between faculty and academic librarians in regard to information literacy instruction at their university. These collaborations were deemed necessary and important by the University following the results from a study called Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL).

The results from the ERIAL project show that “when it comes to finding and evaluating sources in the Internet age, students are downright lousy” and that faculty, students, and academic librarians all bear responsibility.

  • “They [students] preferred simple database searches to other methods of discovery, but generally exhibited a lack of understanding of search logic that often foiled their attempts to find good sources.”
  • “Librarians tend to overestimate the research skills of some of their students, which can result in interactions that leave students feeling, intimidated and alienated.”
  • “Some professors make similar assumptions, and fail to require that their students visit with a librarian before embarking on research projects.”
  • “And both professors and librarians are liable to project an idealistic view of the research process onto students who often are not willing or able to fulfill it.”

Most importantly, faculty and academic librarians rarely work together for a common goal – to strengthen students’ research skills in order to more effectively complete assignments.

York University librarians wanted things to be different. They developed a plan to foster collaboration between faculty and academic librarians, with three options for information literacy instruction. Their article goes on to discuss a successful collaboration between a professor in Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, a law librarian, and business librarian. All three worked together to create information literacy tutorials and laboratory sessions specifically for the professor’s Masters of Law and Masters of Financial Accountability students. And the results were outstanding! Students felt more comfortable with research, the professor received better researched assignments, and the academic librarians demonstrated their value to both faculty and students. These results were possible for a number of reasons:

  • The professor understood the value that academic librarians could provide to his specific courses;
  • Academic librarians were able to connect (and form relationships) with students through the professor, who had an existing relationship with these students;
  • Information literacy instruction was more relevant to these students as it had a direct impact on a specific class assignment; and
  • The information literacy instruction was taught with a specific application in mind, making the short sessions more impactful than a general IL session.

And their IL collaboration efforts are continuing to see great results, as York librarians have created “course-specific library research sessions for an average of 700 classes and assisting approximately 25,000 students” each year.

What a great example of academic librarians displaying their value by utilizing the relationship faculty have with students and collaborating with professors to develop course-specific information literacy resources for their students. Another positive is that students are probably far more comfortable approaching academic librarians when they need additional research help for other classes, erasing the myth that academic librarians are only useful when you need help finding a book.

For more information on the articles discussed:

Click to read the full article on the York University collaboration.

Click to read more about the findings from the ERIAL project.

Meredith Farkas, the head of instructional services at the Portland State University Library, published a blog post this past summer that still has us asking ourselves questions about the most effective approach to information literacy programming. She focuses on the issue of reaching a larger percentage of students versus providing IL sessions of higher quality to a smaller percentage of students on campus, perhaps through for-credit courses. Meredith hits on a number of issues many academic librarians face when planning their IL efforts, while trying to balance reach versus depth of information literacy instruction.

Pedagogical Focus –

Many instruction librarians spend a large portion of their time focusing on their liaison areas. This can result in higher quality IL sessions because these students receive discipline-specific instruction that is more relevant and engaging for students. But this can also result in fewer students being reached because this approach is labor-intensive. Librarians spend time and effort establishing those relationships with faculty, working with faculty to find room in the curriculum, and tailoring instruction to specific small-enrollment courses. For many institutions, there are too few librarians to apply this model with all academic departments.

Staff Limitations –

The number of staff available to teach IL sessions is another barrier to balancing reach and quality. Meredith writes, “…with our staffing, it would be an either/or proposition; either focus on instruction in your liaison areas or focus on teaching credit classes.” Large populations of students on campus require a trade-off because there are simply not enough staff to handle regular tasks and run IL sessions for every class or program.

Faculty Relationships –

Many academic librarians have strong relationships in place with faculty in their liaison departments. One barrier to transforming the information literacy program at your university could be convincing academic librarians to make a change that could mean moving away from the relationships they have developed over the years.

Opportunities to Engage –

Every academic library has different opportunities to engage with students. The number of opportunities you currently have or could develop in the future plays a role in the nature of your IL program. Freshmen orientations, summer sessions, and introductory courses provide opportunities for academic librarians to reach many students. The timing of these interactions also allow for a larger focus on quality IL sessions throughout the rest of the school year.

Departmental Flexibility –

How much flexibility do you have with faculty and their curricula? Your answer to this question would determine if creating opportunities within departments would allow for high quality IL sessions. One idea is to create an information literacy lab to run in conjunction with specific courses already established.

Online Opportunities –

One opportunity for increasing the reach of your IL instruction is creating online resources to feature on your academic library website. Though these resources are available to all students, the quality of instruction is reduced as students are not directly engaging with an academic librarian.

Are you thinking yet? Meredith’s article has us, here at Project SAILS, working through how we can help academic librarians realize both depth and breadth with their instruction.

There are many challenges for information literacy programming in our colleges and universities, but sorting through these issues to find the most effective solution for your particular situation will make a world of difference in the lives of the students on your campus. How can your school achieve both reach and depth with your IL instruction? What changes need to be made to utilize the staff you have in the most beneficial way? What opportunities should be pursued? And most importantly – what affect will these changes have on the future of your students?

We hope you wrestle through these questions with your colleagues and be sure to read the entire “Broad vs. Deep In Information Literacy Instruction” article.

The development of the digital world has created one major problem – information overload. Information is accessible 24/7 from a variety of sources with varying viewpoints, authority, and credibility. Successfully navigating this complex world of information is possible but only when information literacy skills have been developed.

The Association of College and Research Libraries defines information literacy as “a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.”  We believe this definition of information literacy highlights its importance for all areas of life – including academics, work, and in one’s personal life.

Why Information Literacy is Important

Information literacy should be a fundamental principle in college education as it shares a common vision with institutions of higher learning – to develop skills for life-long learning. The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education states that, “Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning.”

It is also vital to future generations as information is created more rapidly and in larger quantities than in past generations. It is much harder to “weed-out” biased, false, and misleading information as the accessibility of information-creating technology has rapidly increased.

When Information Literacy Skills Will Be Used

Information literacy is generally associated with research papers or class projects but we think information literacy has many implications beyond the classroom. Many daily tasks in the workplace involve the need to find and evaluate information in order to perform a job appropriately. Other common decisions where information literacy plays a role include tasks such as researching health issues, choosing which car to purchase, deciding what to do on your family vacation, watching an evening newscast critically, and so much more. Another major use for information literacy skills is selecting viewpoints and opinions on current news and political issues.

We strongly believe in the need to develop the information literacy skills of students across the United States, which led us to create our information literacy test for colleges and universities. We hope you consider using our assessment at your institution so that together we can develop a generation of information literate citizens.