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Reaching Out to Transfer Students:

Reaching Out to Transfer Students:. USC Upstate’s Foundation in Information Literacy Andrew Kearns and Chris Vidas University of South Carolina Upstate LOEX 39 th Annual Conference Fort Worth, Texas May 6, 2011. Why transfer students?.

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Reaching Out to Transfer Students:

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  1. Reaching Out to Transfer Students: USC Upstate’s Foundation in Information Literacy Andrew Kearns and Chris Vidas University of South Carolina Upstate LOEX 39th Annual Conference Fort Worth, Texas May 6, 2011

  2. Why transfer students? • What do you do when you learn that nearly half of your new students are transfer students? • Library and Education Literature: initiatives for transfer students must be separate from those for first-year students. • Library response generally minimal. Phillips and Atwood (2010) call for professional dialogue.

  3. Who We Are • Largest branch of University of South Carolina • Metropolitan Mission • Main Campus in Spartanburg • Largest undergraduate presence at University Center in Greenville • Student enrollment 5000 FTE • 22 undergraduate degrees, 1 graduate degree also offered at USC Sumter, increasing distance education and online courses

  4. Our Transfer Students • 48% or more of new students • More than half of USC Upstate graduates entered as transfers (53% in Spring 2010) • 40% of students on the main campus • Most students at University Center in Greenville • Half or more come from area technical and community colleges • Articulation agreements and a Direct Connect program ease process of admissions

  5. Information Literacy Program at Upstate • First-Year Information Literacy Program in three first-year courses includes three mandated library sessions • Sessions for GE and upper-level disciplinary courses taught on demand by subject liaisons • Many students in upper-level classes have not gone through the First-Year Program

  6. Instruction Gap? • We didn’t really know what kind of information literacy instruction our transfer students had at their former schools, in spite of articulation agreements. • There are things specific to our local situation (physical layout and services in library, selection of electronic resources, etc.) that students need to be aware of. • “Disconnect” in students’ minds about information literacy-focus on survival skills rather than process of research

  7. What is FIL? • A group of librarians began work on our Foundation in Information Literacy (FIL) project • Collaboration with Mary Theokas, Student Success, and Donette Stewart, Enrollment Services • FIL consists of 15 questions • While presented in a testing format, we consider FIL to be an inventory of students’ information literacy skills

  8. How is FIL structured? • Completing the questions is not mandatory • The inventory is expected to take 30 minutes • The goal is to address the information literacy skills that we expect our first year students to possess • All five information literacy standards are covered

  9. Why Blackboard? • Students are introduced to Blackboard during the admissions process • Blackboard provides a testing feature, complete with useful statistical data • Blackboard allows us to provide students with feedback at the end of the test • We can use the data to follow-up with students with additional instruction

  10. FIL Question, Multiple Choice

  11. FIL Question, Matching

  12. FIL Question with Screen Shot

  13. Feedback in Blackboard

  14. Marketing • Announcement cards sent to students during admissions process • Reminder e-mail sent at beginning of semester • In Fall 2010 we had a drawing for gift certificates as an incentive. Participation rates: • Spring 2010 19.7% • Fall 2010 9.6% • Spring 2011 4.4% (no announcement cards)

  15. Evaluating the Results • Students scores are consistent, but low • 56% for Spring 2010, 58% Fall 2010, 60% Spring 2011 • The majority of students answered each question correctly, with the exception of three questions • Certain types of skills were found to be more difficult by the students

  16. The Follow-up to FIL • Feedback provided at the end of the inventory • Voluntary instruction sessions at the beginning of the semester • Link to LibGuide reviewing FIL topics sent to all students who completed the inventory (http://uscupstate.libguides.com/FIL) • Other options for outreach continue to be explored

  17. Follow-up LibGuide on FIL Topics

  18. What are your thoughts?The following slides summarize comments made byaudience members during a discussion at this pointin the presentation.

  19. What are you currently doing to reach out to transfer students? • Table at “Transfer-Transition Fair” – info for incoming transfer students. • Not much. Our efforts are really focused, in any systematic way, at 1st and 2nd year students; so we mostly miss transfer students. • Not much-try to build a partnership with Transfer Student Orientation Program-has been some resistance there. • Web page for some basic info-not much else.

  20. How would you like to improve your efforts? • Have a better idea of where transfer students are and if we are reaching them with instruction. • Pretty much in all ways. • Have a better connection as students arrive to campus. Have a better understanding of their unique needs. Have a better understanding of what skills and competencies they actually have-moving beyond assupmtions. • Target and assess-figure out best way to reach them and follow through.

  21. Who on campus might you collaborate with? • Admissions, EMM (Enrollment Management and Marketing), Student Services • Dean of Undergraduate Students • Transfer Student Orientation Program, other transfer student coordinators, Campus IT-has specialized transfer student program • Admissions, advisors (academic), Gen Ed courses, Student Success

  22. Admissions Process – Pros and Cons • Gives library a presence in the admissions process • Collaboration with Enrollment Services and Student Success is valuable • Access to all targeted students through Blackboard course, including email addresses • One potential problem is coordinating our efforts with a year-round admissions schedule • Time constraints make FIL less comprehensive that we would ideally like.

  23. Where do we go from here?Improvements to FIL • Continuous revision and evaluation of questions. • Can we develop questions that better get to the essence of Standards 3 and 4? • Is the level of FIL “right”? (We intend to test a cohort of English 102 students to measure level).

  24. Increasing ParticipationTrend towards eliminating barriers to admissionmakes it unlikely that FIL can become a requirement for admission. Therefore . . . • Redesign FIL to be a more interactive, game-like, experience, allowing students to play until they come up with right answer. • Retain ability to record students’ first answer choices. • Better coordinate our efforts with the admissions process (year-round): distribute announcement cards in welcome packs, add FIL to transfer student “to do” page, library presence at transfer student orientations

  25. Direct Connect Students • Program that guarantees admission to certain community/technical college students once they have completed their Associate’s degree. • We plan to target a version of FIL to these students beginning in Fall 2012. • Some results can be reported back to other institutions. • FIL is a work in progress and will continue to evolve, perhaps in more than one direction!

  26. Thank You! Andrew Kearns Coordinator of Library Instruction akearns@uscupstate.edu Chris Vidas Electronic Resources Librarian cvidas@uscupstate.edu University of South Carolina Upstate 800 University Way, Spartanburg, SC 29303

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