Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Information Fluency in my (Cecilia's) section

The more I see my own QU 101 students think and discuss and apply critical thinking, and the more Information Fluency sessions I facilitate in other instructors' sections, the more I' make the connection that Information Fluency is a necessary application of critical thinking.  I was worried that by scheduling my section's IF session ahead of doing the taxonomy, I was rushing it before they were ready.  Actually, having it follow Critical Thinking I and II, elements of thought and fallacies, made a great sequence to discussion of the purpose of and process of creating a resource (format as process), how authority of an author or a source depends on their community and the audience for the source, and the value that authors and compilers add to data to create useful information. 

Janet Valeski facilitated our session last Friday afternoon.  She has a friendly, approachable style, and states things simply (but not too simplified) and clearly.  She followed our general format, starting out with the Infowhelm video and a discussion of the sheer size, complexity, interrelatedness, and dynamic nature of the information ecosystem. The exercise listing what students wanted to know in order to choose a college and the sources they used to find the information brought out interesting discussion of sources and the different ways format, authority, and value can be considered.  When Janet and I discussed the session afterward, we had an idea to let groups of students work out the three factors themselves instead of the librarian relating how they work with the various sources.  Janet asked interesting questions about control of and access to information, and led up to the role of libraries in general and of ABL in particular, finishing with our virtual presence (getting from MyQ to the internal, research-oriented website) and a friendly invitation to visit and remember librarians as consultant and guides for students' research projects.

Feedback from the students was positive.  A few even mentioned points from the session in their Reflection Papers.  A few succumbed to the distraction of (presumably) friends texting or on social media planning the weekend, but overall attention and participation was good.

On Monday, I was able to reinforce one of Janet's points when we talked about wicked problems being complex, not merely complicated.  We're on to Design thinking and SPERM now, and will return more specifically to Information Fluency late next week, after and AAR, the PSP, and the ETS.  At that point, I'm curious to see how the students question and analyze their sources, both in the book and beyond.

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