Evaluating Articles Using Active Learning Techniques

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  • Instructor comment: dismayed at level of student initial knowledge about periodicals; misjudged quality of articles at first but learned through discussion


  • 1. Evaluating Articles Using Active Learning Techniques Kristin Henrich Diane Prorak University of Idaho August 15 2013 | PNLA 2013
  • 2. Instruction Background • 9 Instruction Librarians for 12,000 FTE • 5,352 unique students taught in FY13 • 309 unique instruction sessions • 25% of these sessions are for English 102
  • 3. English 102 Context • Introductory composition and rhetoric • Enrollment = majority incoming freshmen • 40 sections/semester • 1 week of library instruction per section
  • 4. Library Learning Outcomes for English 102 After the sessions, students will be able to • find outside sources for a project that are appropriate for their topic, the requirements of the assignment, and their level of expertise. • retrieve reliable sources of information using library based and other information sources. • determine the reliability of an information source regardless of the viewpoint presented. • learn to respect intellectual property by using and attributing sources of information appropriately
  • 5. Integrating Active Learning • Librarians routinely adapted active learning strategies to teach concepts such as: • Topic Development • Library Website Navigation • Finding Books Using the Library Catalog • Finding Articles Using Library Databases • Website Evaluation • But students were still lacking skills to contextualize articles they found…
  • 6. Why did we do it? • Impact of web evaluation activity • Feedback from instructors • Student confusion on articles vs. web • Value of critical thinking skills http://bit.ly/14qxCWD
  • 7. Article Activity • Divide into groups • Each group will receive one article to analyze • Articles: http://bit.ly/14tuc7l * • Use the sample checklist provided to guide your analysis • Bias? • Intended audience? • Popular? Scholarly? • Be prepared to summarize your group’s discussion for the larger audience *Hyperlinked articles are specific to U of Idaho databases; full citations included
  • 8. How did students do? Or what did results reveal about knowledge? • Had difficulty identifying citation components • Had difficulty identifying bias, at article or journal level (Mother Earth News = Reliable) • Confusion about scholarly, trade, popular (E Magazine = Scholarly) • Showed that exercise was valuable—students lacking knowledge initially • Peer teaching during group presentations helped students grasp concepts more clearly
  • 9. Glad we did the article authenticity activity to be certain we understood the lesson Very informative, the group activity helped emphasize the points being made Helped keep the class time less boring Learned how to distinguish articles + their purpose activities allowed us to apply our knowledge Helped me learn how to identify credible sources I learn by doing things so the activities were helpful Very helpful! It was hands on, helped me learn better. What did students think?
  • 10. Benefits • Active learning reinforces concepts • Evaluation reinforces critical thinking skills • Digital + print format clarifies article vs. web confusion • Using “trendy” articles shows students that library resources can be relevant too
  • 11. Challenges • Requires strong instructor cooperation • Requires class participation • Time-consuming; can limit other lessons • Large front-end time investment • Need to find current + relevant articles in a variety of publication formats/types
  • 12. Variations • Have students use links instead of printouts • Have students use links AND printouts • Include weblinks along with article sources • Have students evaluate article prior to class; use class time for discussion • Choose one topic and create links to articles and also other formats (e.g. websites) for small group evaluation.
  • 13. Best Practices • Communicate with instructor • Consider variations on activity based on class needs • Double-check all links/articles • Create alternate lesson plans if activity runs long (or short!) • Assessment!
  • 14. Questions?
  • 15. Additional Resources • List of sample articles (links will only work at UI, but does include full citations) • http://bit.ly/14tuc7l • Further reading on active learning in library instruction: http://bit.ly/13169j5