Today at 11 was my third time facilitating an Information Fluency session in QU 101. These are the sessions that a group of librarians have offered to QU 101 instructors back in May. This is where we introduce students to big ideas in information fluency, related to individuals in communities. These sessions lay the foundation for the more detailed, step-by-step introductions to finding specific resources that we do in other courses.
The challenge in lesson planning is cutting down the large number of things we could “cover” and prioritizing as to what makes the most sense to begin with and relate to first-semester students. Janet Valeski, Matt Flaherty and I located two short videos, “Infowhelm” and “What's the difference between academic andpublic libraries?” and chose three of the threshold concepts from the proposed Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Matt developed an activity asking students to list factors of interest in choosing a college and the sources, including visits and talking to people, that they consulted. We introduce the academic library by staring with the mission of libraries in general to provide equitable access to information with a variety of viewpoints to support critical thinking, decision-making, and citizenship. The short video describes how an academic library may be different from public libraries that some of the students re used to, and then we focus on ABL and how we are there to consult with and guide students through a huge, complex, and interacting information ecosystem. A later addition is to close with our “virtual location” – how to find the OneSearch page, then let everyone explore from there. A survey to assess the effects of these sessions is almost ready to distribute to the early sections.
OK, so that’s what it is, how did it go? It went with all the variations of a fairly structured QU 101 class. I asked questions and split up the lecture parts into smaller bits. Participation is spotty the first weeks of class, and better with a Peer Catalyst and/or instructor present. Students take well to the choosing a College exercise, naming all kinds of sources from the official university website, to Naviance (a subscription database of college information offered by many school districts for high school students), to College Prowler for student reviews of various factors, to friends, visits and calling Admissions with questions. These sources allow us to talk about the process that goes into creating or collecting information, the economic value of information and why some is protected by copyright and costs money, and the way different communities consider sources of information for different purposes authoritative.
Some highlights so far –
- Discussion and debate sparked by this Ray Bradbury quote: “Without the library, you have no civilization.”
- An OT student who checked up on the program’s accreditation
- A question about how public libraries are funded
- A student who asked seniors he knew about research opportunities
- PCs stepping in to expand on questions I ask and get more discussion going