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How Does This Fit My Need: Improving student research processes by changing the way we talk about web site evaluation
 

How Does This Fit My Need: Improving student research processes by changing the way we talk about web site evaluation

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How Does This Fit My Need: Improving student research processes by changing the way we talk about web site evaluation How Does This Fit My Need: Improving student research processes by changing the way we talk about web site evaluation Presentation Transcript

  • How does this fit my need? Improving student research processes by changing the way we talk about web site evaluation Rudy Leon Instruction & Collection Development Librarian SUNYLA 2007 SUNY Potsdam College Libraries Thurs. 6/14/2007
  • Why do we teach web evaluation skills at all?
    • Because the world of information is rapidly growing and changing, and is outside libraries’ (and librarians’) control
    • Because teaching faculty are increasingly unhappy with the papers they receive
  • Why are faculty dissatisfied?
    • “ students [use] information gathered hurriedly and indiscriminately from the public web and then writ[e] papers which are fragmented summaries of what they have found” 1
    1 VC Judd, LI Farrow, BJ Tims “Evaluating public web site information: a process and an instrument” RSR 2006, 34:1 p. 12
  • Let’s look at that again…
      • students use information gathered hurriedly and indiscriminately from the public web and then write papers which are fragmented summaries of what they have found”
  • Which parses as:
    • These are all lacks in
    • research skills and
    • in critical thinking
      • evaluative skills are lacking
      • information gathering skills are lacking
      • synthesis & integrative skills are lacking
  • Calling for A Shift of Focus
    • BI is about using specific tools. Information Literacy/Fluency is about concepts and transferable skills
    • Checklist approach focuses on surface features , not content .
      • Surface features change.
    • Content is what makes a web page relevant, useful, or appropriate (or not)
    • Evaluating content involves critical thinking and subject knowledge
  • Chuck the Checklist
    • Web Evaluation Checklist is mechanistic and contrary to critical thinking (Meola, and others)
    • Context and research process should drive evaluation
  • Is the Format really the point?
    • We have been focusing on format (the free Web) as the problem, not the skill set (Critical Thinking, content evaluation, synthesis)
    • The skill set is the point
  • Time to shift from BI to IL
    • Web searching is a skill set –navigating an ever-changing ever-growing world of unorganized, non-vetted information.
    • Teaching web evaluation skills should be about teaching Critical Thinking .
  • What I’ve Done
  • Inspiration #1: Libraryjuice.org post
    • Rather than answering the question, “Can I trust it?,” we now tend to answer orienting questions like, “ What is this?,” “How does it relate to my need?” and “Where does this come from?” Helping to teach users how to answer this type of question for themselves… is now how we see our role in teaching information literacy.
  • A new approach
    • “ What is this?”
    • “ How does it relate to my need?”
    • “ Where does this come from?”
    • “ Can I trust it?”
    • vs.
    • Authority | Objectivity | Quality | Coverage | Currency | Relevance
  • Inspiration #2: Online Literacy Quiz
    • November Learning
      • Minor changes :
        • Order of items
        • Removed items I didn’t consider essential skills
        • Added in items to engage student interest, and for shock value
        • Added in items which allowed me the digressions I needed
  • Note:
    • My Online Literacy Quiz is designed to ask questions students will not necessarily be able to answer.
    • A great way to get students to engage in the class and break through their inflated confidence levels
  • Online Literacy Quiz
    • List 4 major search engines & a major directory.
    • List two metasearch engines.
    • What is a blog?
    • Why might you use quotation marks when conducting a search?
    • URL is an initialism for… ? HTTP?
    • Identify three Boolean search terms.
    • How do you find the owner or publisher of a Web site?
    Con’t
  • Online Literacy Quiz, con’t
    • What are the elements of a URL? Identify the elements of this one:
    • http://www2.potsdam.edu/name##/Home
    • Identify these extensions and what they represent:
    • .org     .com .edu    .gov .net .ca .mil     .k12
    • What clues in a Web address might indicate you are on a personal Web site?
    • How would you conduct a search for the following: a list of Web sites of all the government institutions in South Africa? (Hint: South Africa’s country code is .za)
    • How would you conduct a search for the following: US higher education Web sites that contain the word hobbits?
    • How do sites get to the top of a result list in Google?  
  • Q1: List 4 major search engines and a major directory Differences between search engines and directories When to use which: Show off specialty directories, such as LII and Scout Report for Deep Web searching Introduce students to the variety of search engines and results – my favorite is Jux2 A thought-provoking first step; awareness leading to critical thinking
  • Q7: How do you find the owner or publisher of a Web site? This is my favorite question; it gains student attention and drives home the need to verify sources – with ease About Page Footer Web page as page in a book Look up site on Whois Look up author in a search engine Show MLK.org Show T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S You can be fooled by folks who aren’t trying to fool you But it isn’t hard to check Web domains are sold By a number of different sellers Extensions are not reliable
  • What is a blog?
    • Personal edification
    • Allows discussion of authority, peer review, primary sources
    • My personal bugaboo: A college educated information literate student should be familiar with current prevalent technology tools.
  • What are the elements of a URL?
    • If they can’t identify the elements, they can’t:
      • Know if they are on a personal site
      • Know how to back up the URL to the front page (website as book)
  • For the Future
  • The traps
    • The One Shot
      • Someone else’s class and goals
      • A short amount of time to engage the concepts
    • Time/workload
      • Homework?
      • Credit classes?
  • Overall approach
    • Need to focus more, in general, on “What is my information need”
    • “ What is this?”
    • “ How does it relate to my need?”
    • “ Where does this come from?”
    • “ Can I trust it?”
  • Questions? Comments?
      • Rudy Leon
      • SUNY Library Instruction Committee, Chair
      • Instruction & Collection Development Librarian
      • SUNY Potsdam College Libraries
      • Potsdam, NY 13676
    • [email_address] AIM: leonre3309
    • http://www2.potsdam.edu/leonre/ Twitter: rudibrarian