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Teaching Today’s Students What we learned……

Teaching Today’s Students What we learned……

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Teaching Today’s Students What we learned……

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  1. Teaching Today’s StudentsWhat we learned…… Vicki Burns Rush Rhees Library University of Rochester

  2. What do undergraduates REALLY do when they write research papers?


  4. Faculty Work Practice Project • What about undergrads? • Project Team • Leadership Group • Three study teams • Reference • Library facilities • Web Site

  5. Research begun Fall 2004 • Led by Anthropologist Nancy Fried Foster • Used ethnographic research techniques • Pre-study: faculty interviews • Objectives broadened to gain broad insight into student lives • More than 100 students participated • More than 1/3 of library staff involved

  6. Faculty commented more extensively on the problems of writing and critical thinking than on those related to locating appropriate sources

  7. Methodologies used • Retrospective interviews • Photo Surveys • Mapping diaries • Reference desk survey • Interviews in student union • Design workshops for web page • Design Charettes • Late night dorm visits

  8. Retrospective Interview

  9. Design Charrette

  10. Mahogany bookshelves, Old style lamps Nice cozy feel Computer Lounge with 802.11g WiFi With Nintendo WiFi Connection Movies and video games on big projection screen

  11. Gleason LibraryDedicated Nov 2007

  12. Something you couldn’t live without

  13. Photo Survey

  14. Reference Desk Survey Rush Rhees Library Carlson Library

  15. “To participate, you must: Be an undergraduate AND Working on a paper that requires you to find books and/or articles OR Working on a project that requires you to find data” Interviews in Union

  16. Mapping Diary

  17. Late Night Dorm Visits

  18. Design workshop for web page

  19. Staff participation • Development of interview and workshop procedures • Video recorded and transcribing of interviews • Co-viewing interviews • Interviewed faculty and students • Developed new programs: Night Owl librarians, Orientation Breakfast

  20. Retrospective Interviews • Most had had a library instruction session • Expected to do well • Found articles and books fairly easily, simply changed topics if did not find enough • Consulted with parents • Found developing a thesis, organizing, and writing difficult • Several had consulted a librarian

  21. Reference Desk Interviews • Students did not come to desk “cold” • All had tried to find information on his/her own • Most students knew names of databases and had used 1-2 of the them • All students reported reference assistance had helped them • Save time • Learned about resources, the library, and how to search

  22. Dissatisfaction with the technique • Interviewed students immediately after assistance • Librarians uncomfortable with asking questions and often to busy to adequately follow-up at the desk

  23. Survey in the student union • Felt they had enough time to do paper • All expected to do well • Found it difficult to narrow topic and organize paper • Most asked professor or TA for assistance • Many expected to have prof review draft • Some uncertain about what a librarian could do for them

  24. In summary, we found students: • Confident about their ability to find information • Heavy users of libraries’ catalog and databases • Do not take the first hits from a Google search • Divide their research and writing into chunks

  25. Often mention databases by name but also heard about the “libraries’ search engine” • Look for a simple interface; for them it is a “point and click” world • Confident of their ability to find what they needed; often if they did not find information they assume it did not exist and chose a different topic

  26. Those who came to the desk • Had tried and failed to find what they needed • Some consulted regularly with librarian • Most had met librarian in class or an earlier consultation

  27. For reference/subject librarians some sobering results: • Lack of clarity about role of librarian or even what library staff had come to their class • Equate librarians with books • See faculty or teaching assistants as subject experts • Consulted with a librarian on faculty recommendation

  28. Brief look at library instruction at UR • No formal information literacy program • Integrated into courses with assignments requiring library research • Library instruction in just about all first year writing classes • Mixed success in other classes, depends on assignments, subject librarians, and interested faculty

  29. So what have we done???

  30. Strength our subject librarian/department liaison program • For some, faculty interviews opened communication • Embedded Librarians • Course Pages • Include faculty in decisions when feasible • Offer more options to faculty

  31. Collaboration with College Writing Center • Built on a strong foundation of good will • Reflects the synergy between research and writing • Development of librarian tutors • Working with the writing fellows • Conducting research and presenting • Increased presence in the pedagogy training of instructors

  32. Critical Evaluation of teaching methods • Meetings to focus on teaching • Led by Suzanne Bell, ACRL, Institute for Information Literacy: “The Intentional Teacher: renewal through informed reflection.” (2006) • Review and trade teaching techniques; develop unique materials

  33. Emphasis • Develop clear goals with instructor • Less lecturing and fewer demos; active involvement of students • Refine and limit amount of information presented • Get the students started; make certain they know how to get further assistance • Creative ways to teach the basics

  34. Developed theme “every class has a librarian” • Course pages • Parents Breakfast • Scare Fair • Appointments/ business cards at desk

  35. Would we do it all again? Would we change what we did? Has it made a difference in our libraries?

  36. Slides available at: