I am an Information Literacy Librarian at Guttman Community College, which is the newest school at CUNY (City University of New York)
Today I am going to talk about active learning techniques and information literacy instruction in my presentation: All for One and One for All: Active Learning, Student Engagement, and Information Literacy.
Let me give you some background about Guttman.
When we opened in 2012, we had 300 inaugural students, which now has increased to about 1000. This upcoming Monday will be our 4th commencement. Currently we have 45 faculty members, which includes 3 librarians
Guttman was envisioned as an institution offering a non-traditional educational model.
Follows an experimental educational model
Students in the first-year experience (city seminar) are situated in learning communities: houses with 3 cohorts of students aimed to be no larger than 25(in reality 30ish)
Each house has an instructional team that meets weekly to discuss: Instructional design Integrated assignments Student success/challenges
Librarian included on the instructional team…opportunity to be part of assignment building
Information literacy was originally meant to be part of student learning outcomes. Written in the concept paper it states:
It’s advantageous to us as librarians that in the concept paper that IL skills are considered essential for students.
The GLO aligns with ACRLs definition of information literacy.
As librarians and information professionals, we know how essential it is for students to become more skilled and adept at understanding the often overwhelming information environment
I started at Guttman in 2015 and it was the intention that my colleague and I would create an information literacy program that would be embedded across the curriculum. We had the backing of the founding members who understand the important of these information literacy skills for building critical thinking skills and student success.
My colleague and I made a curriculum map where we could identify essential IL skills that aligned with the first year curriculum. We solicited assignments from instructors in the FYE so we could see specific places where students are asked to demonstrate IL skills.
Noted where in certain FYE classes:
Critical Issue Quantitative reasoning Reading and Writing Ethnographies of Work (EOW)
Where certain IL skills should be introduced, reinforced, and mastered.
So, why engage active learning techniques when teaching the already challenging one-shot?
Research has show that active learning increases student success and critical thinking skills by actively engaging them and making them more accountable for material:
Innovative and collaborative (Students have to engage in the material)
Reinforces the material / concepts (Students for example can contextualize the necessity of learning how to evaluate resources for their daily lives)
Builds student self-esteem (For example, if students can see themselves as ‘experts’ and contributors to knowledge, than it can boost their confidence)
Actively engaging in the material can address how motivated students are. Peer-to-peer teaching for example can increase their motivation as they will be accountable for the material that they’ll be sharing with their peers.
This quote discusses utilizing active learning and other non-traditional pedagogies.
Peter Otto from Librarians, Libraries, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the journal New Directions for teaching and learning.
It echoes the challenges faced by librarians teaching the one-shot IL instructions session.
At Guttman, we had the it was our intention that many of the IL lessons that we created would / should be taught by faculty.
Common student struggles:
Outlined specific learning outcomes so that students will know what they are meant to take away from the session.
Very detailed lesson plan that faculty could follow easily or adapt as needed.
Include handouts for student engagement and formative assessment. (For example, a handout would include work that engages students, but additionally includes a homework assignment that allows students to contextualize the lesson and apply it to the course material.
Allows faculty to see if students are understanding material or needs to be reinforced.
In helping students to understand how to evaluate sources for both academics and real lives.
Lesson is 55 minutes long
Explain why students need to evaluate info sources for credibility and relevance. Student reflection: What are you good at? How did you get that expertise? How do you know someone else is an expert at something?
Ask students to share responses
Define authority Instructor shares your own authority
Break class into groups and have them brainstorm criteria for evaluating resources on big post it, rotate and add criteria round robin
Discuss criteria they come up with as a group (add as necessary).
Provide handout detailing how to determine particular evaluation criteria
CARDIO Currency Authority Relevance Documentation Info type Objectivity
Homework: Find resource for topic related to course or student research Use evaluation criteria handout to evaluate source
Professor can assess how well-equipped students are to choose quality sources for their research assignments
Okay, so now I am going to give a couple of examples of active learning lessons that we created for Guttman students.
In one of our Creating keywords lessons for students who have already developed a research question, students are taught that they will need to identify relevant search terms for their topic so that they can generate effective search statements.
The lesson is 45 minutes, so faculty can easily integrate it into their course, but not so long that students disengage from the material.
Initially, explain keywords (succinct keywords necessary/ different language can describe the same thing, better to use between 2-4 keywords as opposed to phrases)
Show a image of a bottle of Coke (ask students to brainstorm synonyms and related terms as a group), jot on board
Apply exercise to an actual research question. (Have students choose main concepts from research question and come up with synonyms / related terms.) Instructor would use example research question relevant to course material
Demonstrate 2-3 searches in Google or discovery tool using different language to show how they yield different results
Have student start answering the questions on the front of the handout: Write research question (circle main concepts) What do they already know about topic? What questions about their topic? Identify synonyms / related topics
Homework: Students reengage with the material from class List combinations of the synonyms / related terms Go to discovery tool from library and try different search term combinations List # of results Were they useful? Which terms yielded best results? How has research question changed after background research?
Those are a couple of the active learning lessons we have created to teach specific IL skills. We have many more.
As a way to get faculty to start utilizing the resources that we have created and embed them more in the curriculum, we have created a IL Faculty toolkit where they can access many of these resources.
We share these and reinforce their use during our instructional meetings, which have led to greater use of the materials, faculty’s understanding of IL, and faculty collaboration.
By Barry Mangham [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
Getting to work - Hamlett
GETTING TO WORK
Courses, and Digitally
Alexandra Hamlett, Guttman Community
•Opened in 2012 as the newest CUNY campus
•Enrolled students: nearly 1000
•45 full time faculty
•Experimental educational model
•Concept Paper and Guttman Learning Outcomes (GLO)
FIRST-YEAR EXPERIENCE @
•City Seminar Course Includes:
• Composition I
• Critical Issue
• Quantitative Reasoning
• Ethnographies of Work (EOW)
CAREER SKILLS @ GUTTMAN
The Concept Paper states:
“The Professional Studies course
will make work-based learning
an integral part of the college’s
mission through visits to work-
sites connected to the case
studies, which will provide
opportunities to witness first-
hand how experts in the field
address the real-world problems
of the case studies. (25)
Guttman Mission Statement
“They will graduate with a greater
sense of responsibility for their
academic success and personal
growth, prepared to pursue
additional studies, a career and
ETHNOGRAPHIES OF WORK
•Introduce different perspectives of work
•Garner greater understanding of the world of work
•Explore occupations to help students make informed decisions about
major and career path
EOW I & II LEARNING
•Pose questions about the
•Discuss occupations and career
•Discuss stereotypes about the
•Gain appreciation of why work
•Explore changing nature of jobs
•Draw connections between self
•Conduct investigations on career
•Analyze data on trends involving
salaries, benefits, entry level
requirements, hiring forecasts,
•Work on effective communication
•Reflect on personal ethnographic
LITERACY AND EOW?
“Workplace information competencies for today require the ability to locate
information in multiple formats and synthesize diverse viewpoints, by taking a
flexible, critical, and iterative approach to solving workplace information problems”
“We are able to identify competency-gaps between graduate information solving
skills and those required in the evolving, information-intensive workplaces”
“Although graduates demonstrate considerable competency in finding information
online, their habits tend to include using information found only online; the ability
to also draw from non-digitized sources—and to synthesize multiple sources—is,
in the employers’ view, lacking”
—Head, Van Hoeck, Eschler, &
ACTIVE LEARNING, IL SKILLS,
•Innovative and collaborative
•Reinforces important material and concepts
•Increases student motivation
LIBRARIANS AND ACTIVE
“Librarians, with just one brief chance to present a rather complex
and sequential set of skills to a group of students with whom they
may be completely unfamiliar, need to be able to create learning
experiences that are appropriate for students’ variation in
background knowledge, learning styles, and motivations” (Otto,
EOW I LESSON
•Learning Outcomes: •Learn how to evaluate sources
using specific criteria to
determine credibility and
usefulness of info.
•Use specific databases to find
•Evaluating Information Sources
•In-Class Active Learning Activity
EOW I ACTIVITIES
•What information abouve stands
as meaningful to YOU?
•What are you most curious about
knowing in terms of career
•What should be your next
step from here?
EOW II INSTRUCTION
•Discussion on Authority
•Explore Research Questions
•Create Keywords / Related Terms
• Information Type