Motivation case studies - UC Berkeley Library
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  • 1. IDP – Motivation Case Studies 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 CASE STUDY 1 An unseen audience A professor asked AgatheNoisette, an academic librarian, to create an online information literacy training module for a biology class that will be conducted entirely online. The faculty member has high expectations of her students. They are expected to write research papers that resemble journal articles. Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources will need to be used. Students are expected to identify and retrieve these works at the library. The professor also requested instruction on citation management, online tools for PDF annotations, and an overview of the impact of open access on the scholarly communication life cycle (in order to prepare students to be successful in the emerging academic landscape). And one more item: a short exploration on plagiarism to help students understand their ethical responsibilities in academic writing. 16 18 20 Many of the enrolled are on-campus students taking this online class to fit their busy schedules. “This is a lot of content to cover!” thought Agathe. So she decidesto make online course guides with detailed listings of databases and other helpful tools. 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 “But this isn’t enough, is it?” Agathe began to wonder, “Professor Ykspetäjä has high expectations, so I’ll make more guides to help students find advanced materials for their specific research topics.” Six more Library à la Carteguides later, she developed a set of comprehensive pages with detailed listings of many more helpful resources. After developing these pages, Agathe was exhausted. She couldmake no moreand barelyhad the energy to review her guides – plus she had other classes and responsibilities to work on. So she leaves her guides as they are and contacted the faculty member to share the links and to encourage students to contact her directly for library research assistance. The semester started andthere was no immediate contact from students. “Maybe later,” Agathethought, but then November came and still no students contacted her for reference assistance.
  • 2. IDP – Motivation Case Studies 38 2 “How is this possible?” Agathe wondered, “This is a major project and surely one student must be having difficulty finding resources.” 40 42 Agathe reviewed the usage statistics on her library course guides and saw that students have visited the course guide pages, but they spentan average of less than 3 minutes on them. 44 46 Agathe was perplexed. Why aren’t students using these guides more intensively and why aren’t they reaching out to librarians on such a massive research assignment?
  • 3. IDP – Motivation Case Studies 48 50 52 3 CASE STUDY 2 When group workdoesn’t work Alphonse Maçonis a research and reference librarian at an academic library. He read that learning retention is improved when you employ active learning techniques, particularly when teams are able to discuss and work cooperatively on exercises and game activities. 54 56 58 60 62 64 66 He decided to use this team approach for an undergraduate students’ honors thesis seminar. Alphonse’s goal was to encourage students to discuss their research interests and then articulate a specific research question before identifying relevant keywords for their subsequent literature searches. But time is limited to 50 minutes for thisclass, and Alphonse needed to squeeze in five group activities to enable students to work through the different stages of literature searching and writing. So Alphonse made up three different research topics and wrote a background paragraph for each. He felt that these canned topics will help the class run more smoothly, since he is comfortable with these topics, and he’ll be able to demonstrate “tested” searches to show students how library research should work. 68 70 72 74 76 When the class met, Alphonse gave the instructions very quickly, “Alright, let’s form groups of four. In your handouts, I list three different research topics. After reading this background information, discuss and identify a specific research question for this topic. Afterwards, identify the important terms from your question that you’ll use in your literature searches. As you’re extracting these key words, be sure to think of alternative phrasing. Alright, let’s go!” “Easy!” Alphonse thought, “These are undergrad honors students; they will be diligent and complete this first exercise easily.” 78 80 82 However 10 minutes into the class, the three groups of students were at very different stages of theexercise. In Group Alpha, the members seemed frustrated because they couldn’t agree on picking a research topiclisted in their handout.
  • 4. IDP – Motivation Case Studies 4 84 86 88 Group Bravo had one student doing all of the work, dominating the discussion while other team members followed passivelyalong. Group Charlie was overly diligent and members spent too much time craftingthe “perfect" research question while debating semantic disputes. 90 92 Alphonse was frustrated by these results. He wanted students to experience a series of fun and collaborative team exercises, but it looks like they won’t be able to complete the remaining four exercises in the last 40 minutes of the class. 94 96 98 Alphonse concluded, “Students are too distracted to work in groups efficiently. Next time, I’m going to stick to a lecture and demonstration. It may be boring for students, but at least I’ll be able to cover all the content and give students an impression of all the services and resources available at the library.”