Information Literacy and Critical Thinking


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Focus on developmental English courses at a community college and how to teach library instruction and information literacy

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Information Literacy and Critical Thinking

  1. 1. Melding the Nitty Gritty of Critical Thinking and Information Literacy into English Developmental & Composition Classes Mark Thompson, Library Director Middlesex County College
  2. 2. “Intervention” brings library services, staff, and skills to a point of need outside of the library proper.   Question: Can we place ourselves wherever and whenever there is an intersection of help & student need? Today, let’s do a review– ◦ What’s been considered or done before? ◦ Uncover the whole spectrum. ◦ Your feedback on possibilities or accomplishments.
  3. 3.  New Perspectives on Library Values ◦ Focus on institutional goals, such as student learning outcomes, student success, and student retention  Bridge the gap to poor performers ◦ Serve “reluctants,” non-users and attendees at help sessions -- wherever intervention is already occurring  Help other service depts ◦ Tutoring / EOF / Minority Affairs / Writing Center / Learning Center / Developmental Classes Lab / Counseling
  4. 4.   Campus Partners: Librarian / Tutor / Counselor / Instructor / Advisor Campus Activities: Advising / Supplemental Instruction / Learning Communities / Writing Center Triage / Referral Self-Scheduling / First Year Experience / Probation Seminars / Orientation / CARE (returning adult student)
  5. 5. Share our common problems in serving students, especially helping with their learning skills Ex. from Tutoring’s perspective – “What problems I see..”  Failure to launch ◦ Lack of understanding about research process or research paper process ◦ Lack of topic or topic narrowing  Some come up with their thesis statements before doing any research. ◦ Inability to create the core research question.  Poor use of information ◦ Not using research output effectively  Large chasm between getting 5 articles and then writing the paper.  Do not understand rationale for citing or for need to evaluate sources.  Reading comprehension is a problem. Some of the articles are unreadable.  Frantic need for good quotes – students told to quote something.
  6. 6. Can we develop student-friendly, agreed upon language and common goals? ◦ What is the research paper process?  Standardized across a department?  Tutorial or guide for the Adjuncts? ◦ Which citation format(s) are acceptable?  What are the learning goals?  Where is it taught? Reinforced? ◦ How to pick a research topic?  Select, narrow, research, re-select  Come up with the research question.
  7. 7.  Union County College ◦ Federal Grant: “Center for Student Success/Institute for First Year.” Partner w/NJ City Univ. on retention.  Bergen Community College ◦ “Special Topics Program Review: Focus on Bergen’s Expectations for Student Learning, June 2009.”  Monmouth University ◦ Writing Center Collaboration Program  New Learning Assistance Centers (BCC, MCC)  Academic Support Center concept- merged Library, Tutoring, and Advising service center.  Siena College ◦ “Guidelines for the Writing Seminar/Library Collaboration, Fall 2009.”
  8. 8.  Books: ◦ Elmborg, James K., and Sheril Hook. Centers for Learning: Writing Centers and Libraries in Collaboration. Publications in Librarianship, no.58. Chicago: ACRL, 2005. Print. ◦ Geller, Anne Ellen, et. al. The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2007. Print.
  9. 9.  Articles:  Andrade, Maureen S. “Learning Communities: Examining Positive Outcomes.” Journal of College Student Retention 9:1 (2007-2008): 1-20. Print.  Brady, Laura, et. Al. “A Collaborative Approach to Information Literacy: First-Year Composition, Writing Center, and Library Partnerships at West Virginia University.” Composition Forum, Spring, 2009. Web. 2 June 2010.  Kuhlthau, Carol C. and Leslie K. Maniotes. “Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st Century Learners.” School Library Monthly. 26:5 (Jan 2010):18-21. Print.  Landsberger, Joe. “Academic Support Centers: Quo Vadis?” TechTrends 49:4 (Jul/Aug 2005). 8-12. Print.  Mahaffy, Mardi. “Exploring Common Ground: US Writing Center/Library Collaboration.” New Library World. 109:3/4. 2007. 173-181. Print.  Roselle, Ann. “Community College Library Practices in Developmental Education.” Journal of Developmental Education. 32:2 (Winter 2008). 24-32. Print.
  10. 10.             Tutoring Centers Learning Communities Peer Leaders Writing Centers First Year Experience Joint Workshops Scoring Rubrics Academic Support Centers Developmental Education Outcomes Assessment Learning-College Concept And more….
  11. 11. How can we assist in providing help? What mix will work for both of us? 1. Joint staff meetings  Librarians coach or train all new tutors  During faculty and new faculty plenary sessions; and faculty development days: joint library/tutoring sessions 2. Share knowledge  National Tutoring Association (NTA) 3. Special techniques     Referrals Learning Communities Supplemental Instruction Which curriculum? Writing Center?
  12. 12. What are the issues from the two sides? Side 1-1. Refer student from library to tutoring center, if they need help with:       Reading their papers to see “if it makes sense” Grammar or spelling questions Sentence structure Developing a thesis statement How to cite a source Learning a citation format
  13. 13. Side 2-1. Refer student from tutoring center to library, if they need help with:         How to use the library How to find and borrow a book How to use e-reserves Selecting the right library database to use Find materials at other libraries Narrowing a research topic Selecting a resource type Evaluating websites
  14. 14. Establish and partner on learning communities: 1. What are they? A cohort of students who at registration enroll for a “learning community” who are jointly taking the same two courses  Two courses are linked in registration and must be taken together  Ex. Developmental English and a History course 2. Tutoring, academic dept., and library partners in each learning community.  Faculty members and tutoring work together to see that the writing assignments and research papers are linked and integrated.  Library instruction is aligned to these efforts.
  15. 15. Establish extra help through Supplemental Instruction- Use of peer mentors who provides instruction in addition to the classroom sessions.  This SI leader is a student who recently completed class and is hired to “take” the class again  SI leader attends all classes, takes notes, observes other students and how they are doing.  Available for 1:1 help; and arranges for Study groups to be held twice per week.
  16. 16.  How can we help? What mix will work for both of us? 1. Periodic co-location of staff  Ex. Librarians are available twice a week 2. Instant Referrals   Ex. Joint appointment scheduling through system, e.g. TutorTrac Or self-scheduling with students scheduling themselves for tutoring or 1:1 library help. 3. Joint troubleshooting  Resolve database selection, search problems, citation process, evaluating sources.
  17. 17.       First Year Experience Joint Workshops Scoring Rubrics First Year Experience Academic Support Centers Learning College
  18. 18. How can we help? What mix will work for both of us? 1. Students enrolled for their very first semester at the college  Or whoever is enrolled in at least two developmental courses (math, writing, reading) Give them their first exposure to college Raise the bar 2. 3.  Basic student success curriculum  Study habits; taking tests; etc.  Information literacy  Three assignments/2-3 library sessions Include info lit assignment 4. ◦ Librarian either teaches library session; some teach the entire class section.
  19. 19.  Other service center offerings: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ College: Not What I Thought It Would Be Preparation for Mid-Term Exams Strategic Planning for Academic Success Job Search Basics Ingredients for Success The Way to an A How to Write an A Paper Choosing your College Major Stress Management
  20. 20.  Library offerings: Welcome to Library 2.0 What’s valuable in the non-Google world? Getting an A on your research paper Finding the information you need Using 1:1 library help Ready for your interview:? Researching a potential employer ◦ Searching for scholarships ◦ Avoiding plagiarism ◦ How to cite your sources ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦
  21. 21.  Outcomes Assessment ◦ Focus on Student Learning Objectives ◦ Develop joint measurements (scoring rubrics) for how well a student did in their paper, as regards several factors, ex. research, synthesis, concepts, organization… ◦ Both faculty and librarian review both paper and bibliography. ◦ Score and review. ◦ Develop norms and benchmarks ◦ Assess ways to improve outcomes
  22. 22. Can we combine operations? 1. Co-located or 2. Integrated into a “Learning Assistance Center” /”Academic Support Center” Using a holistic approach to learning and development, the Learning Assistance Center supports students in becoming independent and successful learners by providing skill-based tutoring across disciplines… Through collaboration with programs, departments and the larger campus community, the Center works to respond to the diverse needs of the students. Source: San Francisco State Univ.
  23. 23. Many community colleges embraced the concept of the Learning College which "places learning first and provides educational experiences for learners anyway, anyplace, anytime." -- Presidents of the League's Alliance for Community College Innovation ( Terry O’Banion’s book, Focus on Learning. Team: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Writing Center Supervisor Tutoring Center Supervisor Library Instruction Coordinator Writing Center Faculty Liaison Student Support or Student Services Coordinator
  24. 24.  Discussion ◦ What initiatives or mandates are you under? ◦ How well do you work with Tutoring, Writing Center, Developmental Center? ◦ What has worked on your campus? Thanks, Mark Thompson, Library, Middlesex Community College, Edison, NJ 732-906-4252