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Information Literacy

Page history last edited by joe kraus 13 years, 8 months ago

Friday – Session 1:  Information literacy initiatives with engineering faculty/students


Patricia Watkins, facilitator

Kristen M. Fitzpatrick, notetaker


Patricia’s background – manages all engineering resources for undergrad programs; just under 1600 students, 2/3rds in engineering, primarily aerospace.  Came from Detroit/ auto, more mechanical in nature. Wants to know what others are doing to introduce engineering literacy into the curriculum.


Topics from PW’s literacy search. 

Project SAILS:  samples size at Embry  Riddle @500. Students complain at length, since it is an intense and lengthy test 

 SAILS is a knowledge test with multiple-choice questions targeting a variety of information literacy skills. The test items are based on the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. 



Bill Jacobs – iCritical Thinking test – now owned by ETS: http://www.ets.org/portal/site/ets/menuitem.1488512ecfd5b8849a77b13bc3921509/?vgnextoid=159f0e3c27a85110VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD&vgnextchannel=e5b2a79898a85110VgnVCM10000022f95190RCRD


Sample size – couple hundred.  Hosted by library, managed elsewise,  Hosted by New Student Orientation. Not incentivizing.  


PW didn’t incentivize, either.  Got word out to faculty.  Sent blast to deans first, and filter to rest of faculty: please encourage students to come.  Got buy-in from Humanities faculty.  Last half of info lit class was the SAILS testing.  Worked through Education. Final sample size @525.  


Another school taking a home –grown evaluation:  issue is getting them to come back.  Two reference librarians responsible for info lit; no one takes ownerships.  Integrated into EPICS – 151: http://epics.mines.edu/EPICS-151


With EPICS  (251http://epics.mines.edu/EPICS251 )– trying online tutorials.  Using Capitvate – citing, evaluating, finding electronics journals, etc.   Students rated  themselves low on use of proprietary databases.  Ranked themselves high on understanding of “plagiarism” .

“How College Student Seek Information” Project Information Literacy Project Report




“Major findings from the survey are as follows: 


1. Many students in the sample reported being curious, engaged, and motivated at the eginning of the course-related and everyday life research process. Respondentsʼ need for big-picture context, or background about a topic, was the trigger for beginning course-related (65%) or everyday life research (63%).


2. Almost every student in the sample turned to course readings—not Google—first for course-related research assignments. Likewise, Google and Wikipedia were the go-to sites for everyday life research for nearly every respondent. 


3. Librarians were tremendously underutilized by students. Eight out of 10 of the respondents reported rarely, if ever, turning to librarians for help with course-related research assignments.


4. Nine out of 10 students in the sample turned to libraries for certain online scholarly research databases (such as those provided by EBSCO, JSTOR, or ProQuest) for conducting course-related research, valuing the resources for credible content, in-depth information, and the ability to meet instructorsʼexpectations.


5. Even though it was librarians who initially informed students about using online scholarly research databases during freshmen training sessions, students in follow-up interviews reported turning to instructors as valued research coaches, as they advanced through the higher levels of their education.


6. The reasons why students procrastinate are no longer driven by the same pre-Internet fears of failure and a lack of confidence that once were part of the college scene in the 1980s. Instead, we found that most of the digital natives in the sample (40%) tended to delay work on assignments as they juggled their needs to meet competing course demands from other classes.”


Three additional articles:


IEEE: Frontiers in Education Conference: Developing Info literacy skills in Freshman Engineering students:  by end of semester teams who did research shortly after library did presentations were better than those done later. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=896650 


Comment:  what professor had us do – professor had us tell what they were researching  so the instruction was very specific.  Go in one day with journals discussed the day before. 


LibGuides; did they use?  No – what the lab guy wanted – something like LibGuides – but on the wall!  Right in front of their faces. 


Whatever is considered directly related to the course.


British Journal of Educational Tech article --conclusion – “students will acquire web literacy if they require strong meaningful framework.”  Trust best what’s recommended by instructors, advisors, peers. 


Strategies: Relate it to careers – boss asks you to write a white paper – where are you going to go for the information? Bring up the cost of the database – information isn’t free.  How are you going to get this information?   Anecdotal information – who wants a cardiologist getting info from Google?


“Science information literacy for real life” – hour session standalone.  “Freshman English for Engineers” class.  Philosophy, sociology of science journalism – how do you search through the ‘net for the most credible information.

PW – three part class:  half finds topic on “free web” other half from databases.  Students compare.


Bill uses 5-6 versions of the same story, science, blog, creationists view, news release, etc.  How do you determine who sourced the different versions of the same information?  


For those without dedicated labs, do classes where others can overhear … 


Students are doing an analysis of why should I  learn all these different databases when I can use Google.  Databases are just the full text repository.  But individual databases have alerts, RSS feeds. 


Highlight where faculty are publishing. 


Another article – 2004 out of Dublin: “ Information seeking behavior of engineering and law students.”  Preference for channels that require the least effort.  Professional engineers use what’s within arms length.  


Students don’t want to go to databases – too many steps, and don’t know the language. Use recommendations of instructor and peers.  Then internet, THEN handbooks and print resources.  Few seemed to link to the online resources of the library. “I found it online” is the mantra.


Engineers don’t want to move for information – Tenopir’s research. 


Talked to all professors in petroleum – didn’t know about Knovel ebooks. Use soared with MARC records. 


How do faculty put into syllabus?  Hyperlinked?  Colo School of Mines – still seeing print syllabus.  


Faculty are giving arcane, incomplete references. Use as an entrance to contact professors.  Get syllabus and develop libguides and take back to professor – see what we can do. 


Faculty orientation – three librarians try to divide into the different sections and give presentations.  If you only have 5 minutes – focus on self.   


It’s about trust. Go to users with questions about understanding what their specialities are.  


Contributing to institutional repository – hey, your colleague is doing this. Get faculty to give 5 minute orientation on value of library.


NREL – running into foreign language issues. VaTech paper: Liao, Y., et al. 2007. Information-seeking behavior of international graduate students vs. American graduate students: a user study at Virginia Tech 2005. College & Research Libraries 68(1): 5-25. (http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/crljournal/2007/jan/liao07.pdf)


Teach Boolean logic?  Have to, since some of the databases that the faculty use databases that require it.  Teaching Boolean and Subject headings – everyone had favorites, rational.




NCBI tutorials – Blast, GenBank http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov


Brown bags a couple times a semester.  8:00 Guarantee – most popular topic – “How to Search Google?”  One session on “holiday shopping”  


Use databases to find experts in the field; fellowships, job opportunities, etc.  

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