designing effective writing assignments and the teaching of information literacy irmin allner, ph.d....

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  • Designing Effective Writing Assignments and the Teaching of Information Literacy Irmin Allner, Ph.D. Jernigan Library September 2009
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  • Overview (First four topics based on Designing Effective Writing Assignments. In Barbara Gross Davis, Tools for Teaching (pp. 213-221). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001. General Strategies The Assignment Alternatives to Typical Research and Term Paper Assignments Research and Term Papers Different conceptions of what constitutes information literacy, i.e. research skills Some pedagogical approaches to the teaching of research skills
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  • General Strategies Assign several short papers Occasionally test out the assignment by pretending to be a student and completing it yourself Keep copies of good papers in a department or library file Keep notes on the success and pitfalls of each assignment
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  • The Assignment State the topic Define the task Create realistic writing situations For first-year students, turn each step of a large assignment into a smaller assignment
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  • The Assignment Distribute a handout for each written assignment Discuss the assignment in class Ask students to select someone to read their first draft
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  • Alternatives to Typical Research and Term Paper Assignments Article for a professional journal Abstract for a professional journal Book review for a professional journal Update of the readings
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  • Alternatives to Typical Term Paper Assignments Letter of critique to the author of the textbook In-class poster session Interview
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  • Research and Term Papers Clarify what skills you expect students to develop as they complete the term paper assignment. Check with your library to make sure it can support your research requirement. Invite a librarian to make a presentation to your students
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  • Research and Term Papers Do not send an entire class in search of the same information. Break the term paper assignment into manageable chunks. Specify a style manual.
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  • Close interrelationship between writing assignments and teaching of information literacy Designing effective writing assignments is an integral part of teaching information literacy.
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  • Why is information literacy important? Abundance and diversity of information resources Question about authenticity, validity, and reliability We need to be able to evaluate, understand and effectively use information
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  • Definition and Learning Outcomes Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information. [Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, Assoc. of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)]
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  • Definition and Learning Outcomes The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed; accesses needed information effectively and efficiently; evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system;
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  • Definition and Learning Outcomes uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose; understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally. [Information Literacy Competency Standard for Higher Education, Assoc. of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)]
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  • Development of information literacy competencies takes times Students need instruction in these competencies throughout their academic career. They need to have repeated opportunities for seeking, evaluating, and managing information gathered from multiple sources and discipline-specific research methods.
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  • Seven Faces of Information Literacy (C. S. Bruce) Definition of Information Literacy (Australia) The information technology conception information literacy is seen as using information technology for information retrieval and communication (Category one) The information sources conception information literacy is seen as finding information (Category two)
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  • Seven Faces of Information Literacy (C. S. Bruce) The information process conception information literacy is seen as executing a process (Category three) The information control conception information literacy is seen as controlling information (Category four) The knowledge construction conception information literacy is seen as building up personal knowledge base in a new area of interest (Category five)
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  • Seven Faces of Information Literacy (C. S. Bruce) The knowledge extension base information literacy is seen as working with knowledge and personal perspectives adopted in such a way that novel insights are gained (Category six) The wisdom conception information literacy is seen as using information wisely for the benefits of others (Category seven)
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  • Australian Version of ACRL Standards Australian version of ACRL Standards for information literacy has additional two standards: Recognizes that lifelong learning and participative citizenship requires information literacy. Expands, reframes or creates new knowledge by integrating prior knowledge and new understandings individually or as a member of a group.
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  • Recognise information needDistinguish ways of addressing gap Construct strategies for locating Locate and access Compare and evaluate Organise, apply and communicate Synthesise and create Novice Advanced beginner Competent Proficient Expert Basic Library SkillsIT Skills Information literacy SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy (England)
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  • Behaviorism or Stimulus- Response Approach Setting measurable observable objectives and developing standardized ways to measure learning are all based on the Behaviorist approach.
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  • Behaviorism or Stimulus- Response Approach Learning is based on reinforcement of desirable behavior. Immediate reinforcement or feedback must follow desired behavior for the behavior to be learned. Undesirable behavior should never be reinforced.
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  • Behaviorism or Stimulus- Response Approach Active participation is crucial to learning. Learners should be allowed to move at their own pace. Learners should be tested for mastery at each stage of learning and should not be allowed to proceed to the next level unless they have mastered preceding ones.
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  • Constructivist Approach Focuses on students engaging with information to solve a problem and thereby creating new understanding through active investigation and thought, instead of memorizing facts presented in class lectures. Learning is viewed as a process in which learners construct understanding rather than merely take in ideas and memorize them.
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  • Constructivist Approach Emphasis on Discovery Instructor designs learning experiences in which learners discover for themselves solutions to problems and by extension the concepts, skills or strategies needed to formulate these solutions. Teacher steps back from center-stage and allows the learners to find their own way to solutions.
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  • Relational Approach The relational approach to information literacy refers to the experiences that people encounter in using information and the capacity to discern which forms of information literacy are applicable to different situations of need.
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  • Current practice Research / advocacy Library skills Information skills Information literacy Careys (1998) information literacy continuum
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  • Careys description of differences in student learning outcomes Library skills: Students find information from multiple sources and use it in preparing reports and presentations. Information literacy: Students construct personal solution strategies for information problems, and generalize, test, and adopt those strategies in new problem situations.
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  • Different levels of competencies Different level of information literacy competencies require different pedagogical approaches. Library skills of locating and accessing information are not the same as the higher thinking competencies of knowing how to evaluate, interpret, and use information. Necessary to use a number of appropriate approaches.
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  • Problem-Based Learning Problems are deliberately ill-structured (or open-ended) and are typically based on real-life simulations; they are designed for thoughtful and careful analysis to help improve critical thinking skills by applying the learners own expertise and experience to data collection, analysis, and formulation of a solution.
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  • Problem-Based Learning First step in developing a PBL activity is to find or create a problem or situation that needs a solution. Best resources of good problems are newspapers or popular magazines. Contemporary situations work best for writing problems that get and keep a learners attention. Problems are deliberately ill-structured (or open-

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