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Library/Faculty Collaboration for Information Literacy

by Heather Jagman 2/19/2013 3:25:00 PM

According to a recent blurb on Glamour magazine’s website, recent research suggests that gum chewing just might reduce your stress levels. How hard is it to locate the original research study?  Who wrote it?  Where was it published? Can anyone access the research study for free, or is it only available via library subscription databases? How accurately does the popular media report and interpret the results? And how did Glamour magazine become a teaching tool?

Last November, Coordinator of Library Instruction Heather Jagman, and College of Science and Health (CSH) instructor Dr. Michele Shade teamed up to present the Teaching and Learning Certificate Program (TLCP) workshop, “Teaching Information Literacy.” The workshop, developed in response to the announcement of DePaul’s new learning goals, highlighted national information literacy standards and student research readiness, provided an overview of the DePaul University Library’s information literacy instruction program, and illustrated ways in which faculty and the library have collaborated to teach the information literacy skills central to student success. 

Library Instruction Coordinator, Heather JagmanWhile knowing where to click to get to library research resources is certainly important, understanding how to think about information, who creates it, and how it can be discovered by those who need it, when they need it, is just as critical.  

As part of the workshop, Dr. Shade discussed how her class, HLTH 202: Health Research Literacy, evolved as she became more familiar with her students’ skills and needs. In order to complete their final project, students must locate an article that discusses a research study in the popular media, locate the research study that the popular media piece is based on, read and interpret it, and then read and carefully compare the two. In preparation for this, students  are provided with a different research article each week, and then get together in small groups as they work to identify the hypothesis, describe the methods involved in the study, interpret charts, tables and graphs, as well as articulate the conclusion drawn by the authors, among other things. After repeatedly practicing this process together as a class, students are better prepared to tackle their final project. Library instruction for HLTH 202 evolved as well. Instead of students passively watching a librarian demonstrate a search, they were presented with three health-related articles from the popular media (including Glamour magazine) and challenged to work in teams to find the original research studies using library databases and internet searching skills. This exercise served as a springboard to discuss how scientific information is created and distributed, and gave students real world problem solving experience. 

The goal of the TLCP workshop was for faculty participants to leave with a greater understanding of how to integrate information literacy skills into their assignments and teaching in support of DePaul’s new university learning goals and strategic plan. Alex Stummvoll, Catholic Studies, remarked that he “was surprised to learn just how much the average student seems to depend on Google,” and that, “as a teacher, I cannot take my students' information literacy for granted or  rely [assume] that my students will learn all the necessary skills from other specialized courses.” Instead, Alex now plans to integrate information literacy into his own teaching, to “teach students where and how to access reliable up-to-date academic facts, arguments, and debates.” Michael Staron, School of Music, was impressed by the research resources students can access via the DePaul libraries, and noted that “students can greatly increase their information literacy through asking for personal assistance from one of the DePaul librarians.”

We look forward to developing these collaborations with faculty to ensure that DePaul students develop these essential, life-long learning skills.

For more about the Teaching and Learning Certificate Program, please visit  https://depaul.digication.com/TLCP/Home.

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