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From how to why: critical thinking and academic integrity as key ingredients in information literacy teaching - Helen N. Andreassen, Lars Figenschou, Vibeke Flytkjær, Mariann Løkse, Torstein Låg & Mark Stenersen
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From how to why: critical thinking and academic integrity as key ingredients in information literacy teaching - Helen N. Andreassen, Lars Figenschou, Vibeke Flytkjær, Mariann Løkse, Torstein Låg & Mark Stenersen

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LILAC 2014 Poster

LILAC 2014 Poster

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  • 1. From how to why: Critical thinking and academic integrity as key ingredients in information literacy teaching Helene N. Andreassen1, Torstein Låg1, Vibeke Flytkjær2, Mariann Løkse1, Mark Stenersen2 & Lars Figenschou1 1University Library & 2Resource Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology, UiT the Arctic University of Norway INTRODUCTION - An online resource in information literacy is currently under development at UiT the Arctic University of Norway. - To meet the students’ present-day study behaviour and to answer to the university’s policy on open access and flexible education, the course is developed as a sMooc on the edX platform. - To provide students with the necessary tools to handle information we focus on 4 key areas: learning strategies, searching & retrieval of information, evaluation of sources, and referencing. All 4 modules contain exercises and learn more-sections. - Our philosophy centres around critical thinking and academic integrity, often given little priority in information literacy teaching. - This poster presents our philosophy and how we are building the course to implement the notions of critical thinking and academic integrity. / MODULE 1: LEARNING STRATEGIES / MODULE 2: SEARCHING & RETRIEVAL PURPOSE: To highlight the fact that information literacy is about learning, and to anchor the whole course to this central idea. ACTIVITY: Students are given the opportunity to rate themselves on selected items adapted from extant motivation and learning strategies questionnaires. e.g. 3,4 TARGET LEARNING OUTCOMES: • Effective planning of study activities. • Effective monitoring and self-regulation of learning through the techniques of practice testing, self-explanation, and elaborative interrogation. see 5 PURPOSE: To incite curiosity about the vast number of information resources available to students at UiT. ACTIVITY: Students are asked to rank order four different search tools according to their relevance and quality for a given academic writing project. Next, they are asked which search tool they would actually use themselves, and to explain any discrepancy between the two answers. TARGET LEARNING OUTCOMES: • Simple known-item search and retrieval. • Basic topic searching using UiT’s discovery system. • Thoughtful analysis of information needs. • Acceptable topic searching using discipline appropriate databases. PURPOSE: To incite critical thinking and provide students with criteria for evaluating the quality and relevance of information resources. ACTIVITY: Students are asked to describe their perception of an optical illusion. By analogy, this illustrates that our first reading of a piece of information is not necessarily correct. Only a critical treatment of the information allows us to infer its quality. TARGET LEARNING OUTCOMES: • Define sources that are appropriate in terms of quality and relevance. • Define appropriate information channels. • Critical evaluation of sources. PURPOSE: To make students understand the importance of correct citation of sources and to provide them with tools helping them succeed in this task. ACTIVITY: Students are given 6 scenarios illustrating citing sources along ”a scale of acceptability”, and must draw the line between acceptable vs. unacceptable use of sources. Based on a revised version of an exercise published in 6, with reference to 7 TARGET LEARNING OUTCOMES: • Define academic integrity. • Distinguish acceptable use of sources from non acceptable one. • Use sources to improve the overall quality of the academic paper. • Citation of different types of sources, in- text and reference list, in a reference style used in the student’s discipline. OUR PHILOSOPHY • Background: Previous experience teaching information literacy has taught us that both the students and we as teachers tend to get a little hung up on the technicalities and details of searching and referencing. The students feel slightly overwhelmed by details, bored by the lessons, and they tend to miss the big idea: Why it is important. • Lofty and slightly unrealistic goal: Make the student want to be information literate. • How: (1) By emphasising the purpose of information literacy and highlighting the student’s immediate and long term gains (e.g. better learning, better grades, less stressful student life, becoming trustworthy and persuasive). (2) By infusing aspects of critical thinking and academic integrity in every element of the course. • Difficult balancing act: Enough technical details to be a useful ‘how-to resource’ vs. enough overall purpose and profundity to make it interesting. / PHILOSOPHY: CRITICAL THINKING / PHILOSOPHY: ACADEMIC INTEGRITY Critical thinking has its place in any course on information literacy. Usually, though, it is assigned a relatively minor role as part of a section of source criticism. This may be due to a common perception of critical thinking as closely tied to scepticism. Our conception of critical thinking is much broader: It involves the goal directed, judicious application of principles and skills suited to bring about valid knowledge (true beliefs), good decisions and sensible courses of action.e.g. 1 As such critical thinking is a key ingredient and an important basis of both learning in general and of all the component skills of information literacy. Critical thinking therefore colours the entire build-up of our course. While naturally elaborated upon in Module 1 “Learning Strategies” and Module 3 “Source Evaluation”, we let critical thinking shine through as a guiding principle in reading, searching, evaluating, and using sources. Academic integrity has its place in any course on information literacy. Usually, though, it is assigned a relatively minor role as part of a section of source referencing. This may be due to the immediate importance – from the teacher’s as well as the student’s viewpoint – of mastering basic referencing techniques. We consider academic integrity to be an essential element of the student’s training: It involves knowledge about the student’s own role in Academia, respect for (the work of) others and honesty and reliability as guiding principles when writing an academic paper.cf. 2 As such, academic integrity is a key ingredient and an important basis of both learning in general and of all the component skills of information literacy. Academic integrity therefore colours the entire build-up of our course. While naturally given a separate section in Module 4 “Using Sources”, we let academic integrity shine through as a guiding principle in reading, searching, evaluating, and using sources. The breadth of competences, experience, and perspectives held by the people involved helps to ensure the quality and relevance of the course for its intended users. • 4 (Senior) Academic Librarians, responsible for the development of the course content. • 1 Senior Adviser (specialist, pedagogical supervision and flexible education), responsible for the pedagogical and flexible quality of the course. • 1 Graphic Designer, responsible for development and implementation of the course platform. • 2 students, from the humanities & health sciences, respectively, hired for continuous evaluation the course’s content and layout. • Students and teachers from 5 different departments at UiT, involved for beta testing of the course, to be carried out in the autumn 2014. FUNDING AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Our project is in part supported by Fleksibel utdanning (“Flexible Education”) and Læringsmiljøutvalget (“Learning Environment Committee”) at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, 2014. We thank Jude Carroll for her advice and inspiration. / MODULE 4: USING SOURCES/ MODULE 3: SOURCE EVALUATION BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Halpern, D. F. (2014). Thought and knowledge: An introduction to critical thinking (5 ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis. 2. Gynnild, Vidar (2008). God uten juks. Etiske valg i utdanning og forskning. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. 3. Pintrich, Paul R., & de Groot, Elisabeth V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of Education Psychology, 82(1), 33-40. doi: 10.1037/0022-0663.82.1.33 4. Vermunt, J. D. H. M., & Rijswijk, F. A. W. M. (1988). Analysis and development of students' skill in self-regulated learning. Higher Education, 17(6), 647-682. doi: 10.1007/BF00143780 5. Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58. doi: 10.1177/1529100612453266 6. Carroll, Jude (2002). A Handbook of Deterring Plagiarism in Higher Education. Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development. 7. Swales, John M. & Feak, Christine B. (1994). Academic Writing for Graduate Students. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. / MILESTONES / THE PEOPLE INVOLVED • January – May 2014: Production of course content. • June 2014: Implementation of course on the edX platform. • August – October 2014: Beta testing. • November – December 2014: Revision and English translation. • January 2015: Launch. For a project status update, visit: www.colourbox.com

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