April 19th Provisions Session Summary: “Teaching Information Literacy in the Age of Google”

**The access the audio recording from the session, click here!**

Our last Provisions session of the Spring Semester explored the theme of” Teaching Information in the Age of Google.” Presenters shared previous experience with teaching courses dealing with literacy, and effective strategies for improving success for a diverse range of college students. An audience of approximately 35 faculty and staff members attended to hear presentations from Steve Black, LibrarianCailin Brown, Department of Communications, and a joint presentation from Elizabeth Yanoff, Department of Teacher Education and Mary Lindner, Librarian. 

Steve Black from the Library kick started the session by presenting on “Information Literacy: An evolving perspective.” Steve first provided the audience with an overview of the new definition, standards, and framework for the evolving category of “Information Literacy.” Information literacy can be defined as “a cluster of interconnected core concepts, with flexible options for implementation, rather than a set of standards or learning outcomes, or any prescriptive enumeration of skills.” This new definition of information literacy is brand new, as it was just recently adopted in January. Steve stated that following the evolving definition, information literacy is now more difficult to assess in practice. Included in the new framework for information literacy are:

  • Threshold concepts, which are like “aha moments”
  • Authority, which is considered both constructed and contextual, as opposed to strictly peer reviewed articles
  • Information creation is a process and has value
  • Research should be inquiry based
  • Scholarship as conversation, meaning that students should contribute to the knowledge conversation
  • Searching as strategic exploration

Next to present was Cailin Brown from the Department of Communications. Cailin started off by explaining how she introduces the concept of journalism to her students. She discusses the elements of journalism and then asks her students, “why journalism?” Throughout the course, Cailin will take her students on a walk around the neighborhood, which allows them “to get up and get looking.” For the fall semester, she will take the students early on in the course, and for the spring semester this will happen towards the end (due to weather conditions). Exploring the surrounding neighborhood allows her students the opportunity to make connections between the college and community. In opposition of the “stranger danger” rule, Cailin encourages her students to strike conversation with strangers. Cailin stated that by simply asking one question, you can learn an abundance about an individual, as people are very willing to share information when asked. In addition to community experience, Cailin exposes her students to the legal aspect of journalism by working closely with a local lawyer, Bob Freeman. Bob Freeman assists Cailin in teaching her class how to access public information, such as fire records. In ending her presentation, Cailin shared these two examples of her students’ journalism work that is published on The Pine Hills Blog:

Cailin also shared the website, The Committee on Open Government, which provides additional  information on the freedom of information.

Lastly, Elizabeth Yanoff from the Department of Teacher Education and Mary Lindner from the Library presented on three different ways of examining information literacy. Elizabeth and Mary reiterated the new standards of information literacy, but focused on content area reading, disciplinary literacy, and new literacies.

1. Content area reading refers to before, during, and after processes of reading comprehension.  For this type of reading, K-12 educators typically use KWL charts, which allow the students to reflect on what they already know, what they want to know, and what they learn from the particular reading. For the ECE 230 course at the college, Elizabeth discussed how she requires her students to review and edit their writing. This process encourages her students to locate their topic sentences, reflect on how their ideas were developed, and create an appropriate conclusion. 

2. Disciplinary literacy focuses on skills that are discipline specific and inquiry based. Work in a specific discipline is able to be contextualized. Educators of a discipline are able to view writing as an objective and have specific skills that allow them to excel in their discipline. Educators must be aware that their speciality allows them to view literacy with a discipline specific lens.

3. New literacies refers to the new age of digital literacy. Mary spoke about the research that Donald Leu and his colleagues have done regarding the digital age. Leu and his colleagues found that researching information should be treated like problem-solving. This means that students should identify important questions, locate relevant information, critically evaluate information, synthesize the information, communicate effectively, and monitor/evaluate along the way. Florida Memory is an online platform where students can explore specific skills needed for online learning, such as audio and video. Mary and Elizabeth spoke about how this online resource shows students how to access information, how to narrow results, and how to navigate online websites. Other online resources that are utilized for information literacy include Wimba and ZOOM (which were mentioned in the previous session, “Teaching Online.”Elizabeth shared a recent example of how she utilized technology as an online learning platform when class was cancelled due to the snow conditions. For the missing class, Elizabeth required her students to complete an online WIKI, post on Pinterest, engage in an online discussion, and post on the blog.

Following the brief presentations, the floor was opened up for discussion and questions from the audience. Here are a few points and observations that arose from the discussion:

  • There are an infinite number of stories to be written in journalism
  • There are connections across the themes of this session and the previous session about online learning
  • Suggestions to support learners across disciplines include:
    • Making more connections across work together as professors
    • All writing includes literacy skills, therefore all should teach information literacy
    • Professors should improve their communication and collaboration
    • Use the same “language” and ideas in all disciplines
  • Students are novices in their discipline and need to be taught how to prioritize information
    • Professors need to remember what it was like to be a novice, and be aware of how that can influence their work
  • How can we get support across discipline incorporated into the Liberal Education program?
  • How to get students from point A to point B?
    • Disperse information throughout the curriculum
  • How to encourage student inquiry but maintain boundaries?
    • This is a constant balancing act

April 19th Session Reminder

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Please join us for our upcoming session held tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19th. The theme for the session is Teaching Information Literacy in the Age of Google.” Our esteemed presenters for the April 19th session include:

Cailin Brown-Department of Communications
Elizabeth Yanoff– Department of Teacher Education & Mary Lindner-Reference Librarian
Steve Black -Reference Librarian

Provisions’ sessions are held from 12:00-1:15 in Standish A&B. All are welcome and no reservations are required. Free lunch and refreshments will be available! Hope to see you all there!! :)

The Academic Minute: Technology & Education

 

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On the Academic Minute, The Phantom Vibration Syndrome,” Robert Rosenberger describes the sensation of feeling your phone vibrate, when it actually has not vibrated at all. In a study of undergraduate students, approximately 90% reported that they experienced this “phantom vibration syndrome.” When medical staff were surveyed, approximately 70% experienced the syndrome. Although many have experienced it, only less than 2% consider the syndrome bothersome. There are many speculations as to why this occurs, including:

  • “Brain wiring” form phone useage creates cognitive pathways, which lead to the misinterpretation of other stimuli as phone vibrations.
  • Perceived phone vibrations are a side effect of a general rise in anxiety caused by technology.
  • The perceived phone vibrations are caused by a learned bodily habituation, meaning our bodies are trained to feel an incoming call or text, and thus experience the “phantom vibrations.”

On the Academic Minute, The Digital Divide,” Marshall Jones discusses that internet access has increased by 153% from 2010-2012 in North America and by 3,606% on the African continent. One-to- one programs (one computer/device for each student) are helping to close the “digital divide,” which is the separation between those with and without access to internet and technology. With one-to-one programs, internet access is almost equal to living in a city with access to a large research library.

  • A few pros of one-to-one programs are they allow:
    • creative ways to manage classrooms (45 degrees-laptops half closed)
    • free wifi hotspots for those without access at home
    • unique ways to shrink the digital divide
  • A few cons of one-to-one programs are:
    • they are expensive
    • they allow too much screen time
    • there is not enough administrative support and professional development for teachers
    • vendors oversell the benefits

Teaching Information Literacy in the Age of Google: April 19th Session

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What exactly is information literacy??

“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.” – Association of College & Research Libraries.

Dr. Daniel Russell, a technologist who studies how people use Google to access information in a literate way, presents on “The Evolution Of Literacy. ” In approximately an hour, Dr. Russell speaks about how the electronic search system can change one’s understanding of reading, writing, and construction of knowledge.

In January 2015, The American Library Association launched an eCourse:Teaching Information Literacy To College Students. In the course, the instructor, Joanna M. Burkhardt, demonstrated how to create engaging and challenging content to help students learn how to correctly use online searching tools and techniques. Included in the course were ways in which to help students discover which sources of information are the most beneficial. To access more information about Teaching Information Literacy, you can refer to Joanna Burkhardt’s book that accompanies the course. Although the eCourse is not currently offered, it predicted to be available again in the future.

According to Temple University, there are five categories of percieved expected outcomes from students of an information literacy course. These categories include to ability to:

  1. determine the nature and degree of the information needed
  2. access information in an efficient and effective manner
  3. evaluate information critically
  4. apply the information effectively
  5. conduct infromation searching with an understanding of accompanying legal conditions (plagiarism, copyright, citations, etc.)

Courtney Kueppers reports that according to a recent survey (“Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey”), university faculty believe that their undergraduate students do not have adequate research abilities upon arriving to college. 54% of the particiapants reported that they “strongly agreed” to statements saying that their undergraduate students had poor information seeking skills. Faculty reported the importance of the library and its resources to helping students improve their research abilities. In sum, results from survey concluded that undergraduate students may need more direct instruction of how to effectively conduct research, and faculty are willing to put in the effort.

In an effort to improve student research abilities, professors have access to a variety of sources that can help in teaching the critical skills. The Temple University and Smith College Libraries contain a collection of information literacy resources for teachers and librarians. The websites also provide links to other online resources and book references for assessments, plagiarism, and conducting research. In addition, the Association of College and Research Libraries provides an extensive collection of resources and information on the “Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.”

Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a large-scale, national study about early adults and their research habits, conducted in partnership with the University of Washington’s iSchool.” Project Information Literacy provides an extensive understanding of young adults’ information literacy abilities, lack of abilities, and patterns over time.


Please join us for our upcoming Tuesday, April 19th session on “ Teaching Information Literacy in the Age of Google.” Our esteemed presenters for the April 19th session include:

Cailin Brown-Department of Communications
Elizabeth Yanoff– Department of Teacher Education & Mary Lindner-Reference Librarian
Steve Black -Reference Librarian

Provisions’ sessions are held from 12:00-1:15 in Standish A&B. All are welcome and no reservations are required. Free lunch and refreshments will be available! Hope to see you all there!! :)

March 22nd Provisions Session Summary: “Teaching Online”

To access the audio recording of the session, click here.

Our second Provisions session of the Spring Semester explored the theme of” Teaching Online.” Presenters shared previous experience with teaching courses online, and effective strategies for improving success for a diverse range of students. An audience of approximately 30 faculty and staff members attended to hear presentations from Lily Shafer, Instructional DesignerSilvia Mejia, Department of World Languages and Cultures & Associate Professor of Spanish, and Daniel Nester, Associate Professor of English.

Lily Shafer, Instructional Designer, started off the session by emphazizing that the most important aspect of an online learning environment is the interactivity. There needs to be a balanced amount of teacher-student interaction. To be successful, online courses need a strong sense of instructor presence. Lily recommends that teachers should only give an opinion at the end of a discussion or to intervene to steer the discussion in a different direction. If a teacher intervenes early on, students will be less likely to challenge or have a different opinion on that particular concept. Lily also recommends that instructors deliver feedback as an accumulation of the whole class’ misconceptions and concepts that were understood well, in order to avoid singling out one student. A diverse set of online tools that are currently available for professors to access for their online courses are:

  • Discussion boards are a great, interactive tool on BlackBoard for:
    • Ice-breaker activities
    • Scavenger hunts
    • Debates
    • Peer evaluations
    • FAQ and Q&A pages
    • Creating an informal student community
  • Blogs are great online resources to share:
    • Research reports
    • Group projects
    • Writing assignments
    • Long-term status updates
  • Journals are great ways to maintain individual student-professor commnitcation because they allow students to:
    • Share private issues/problems
    • Reflect on their learning process
    • Express any concerns regarding the course work
    • Gain one-on-one feedback from the professor
  • Wiki’s are a useful tool for creating a collaborative space for students to share information, as well as giving students the opportunity to work together in a digital environment. Wiki’s can be used for many things, such as:
    • Group projects
    • A glossary of course terms
    • Peer evaluations
  • Voice threads are a great tool for building an online community
  • ZOOM– creates a face-face online conversation by including each student in the class using webcams

Second in line to present was Daniel Nester, Associate Professor of English, on “Building Online Community: Teaching Poetry In Performance Using WordPress, Facebook, Dropbox, and SoundCloud.” Dan teaches the English 218 course: Oral Interpretation of Literature. For this class, students are required to record their poetry performances and upload them to various media sites, such as SoundCloud, WordPress, Facebook, Dropbox, and YouTube. Dan also discussed how he uses many other “online features” for his course, such as video lectures, a teaching blog, a “secret” Facebook page only for his students, and GoogleDocs. Dan’s course teaching blog has a collection of course materials for his students to access, including the course syllabus and class tutorials.  In addition, his students are required to perform to a live audience at “Poetry Slams.” In preparation for live performances, students are in charge of publicity using a setup crew. The setup crews are in charge of creating flyers,  taking photos of the events, and creating Biographies of the performers. A final online tool that Dan uses for his course is Odyssey. Odyssey allows his students to freely write about their experiences in his class, experiences of their performances, and overall experience with the course material.

Lastly, Silvia Mejia, Department of World Languages and Cultures & Associate Professor of Spanish, shared her experience with teaching a hybrid class-Spanish 203: Memory and Culture. Silvia described that she was reluctant in the beginning to be teaching a hybrid course. However, now she believes that the hybrid format is very beneficial for her students, and it also produces much less stress for herself and her students. For her course, Silvia uses a “flipped classroom” approach, meaning that students are required to complete tutorials and practice at home, and class time is used for discussion and interactive activities. Silvia assigns her students tutorials on the content, which allow her students to watch as many times as needed. If she were to explain the same thing in class multiple times, it could be redundant for some and take too much class time. Having to learn the material at home allows students to learn at their own leisure and pace. This then leaves more class time for Silvia to clear up misconceptions and allows students to practice their communication skills with their peers. Silvia believes that the in class interaction of conversation and communication is the most valuable part of the hybrid course. Silvia shared the instructions for one assignment, in which her students must use the vocabulary (clothing, shopping and daily routines) that they have learned in a creative and meaningful way by producing a video. Silvia recommends for her students to use Wevideo, however they are free use another one if they prefer to do so.

Following the brief presentations, the floor was opened up for discussion and questions from the audience. Here are a few points and observations that arose from the discussion:

  • Blogs are a useful resource for expressing opinions, sharing introductions to research papers, and for competition in the workplace.
  • Grading online…should there be a grade assigned to all work?
    • Most thought yes, every assignment should count for a grade.
  • The majority of students are very comfortable with online learning, and at times are more knowledgable of additional online resources to use.
  • Do students need to be self-regulatory to be successful in an online class?
    • Yes, self-regulation is necessary for success.
  • Online assignments should have very clear and specific instructions.
    • For dissuasion posts, instructors should be specific on the dates of when posts are due, the times that the posts are due by, and the amount of posts required for the grade.

Please join us for our upcoming Tuesday, April 19th session on “Teaching Information Literacy in the Age of Google.” Provisions’ sessions are from 12:00-1:15 in Standish A&B. All are welcome and no reservations are required. Free lunch and refreshments will be available! Hope to see you all there!!:)

March 22nd Session Reminder

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Please join us for our upcoming Tuesday, March 22nd session on “Teaching Online.” Our esteemed presenters for the March 22nd session include:

Lily Shafer– Instructional Designer
Silvia Mejia– Department of World Languages and Cultures
Daniel Nester– Associate Professor of English

Provisions’ sessions are held from 12:00-1:15 in Standish A&B. All are welcome and no reservations are required. Free lunch and refreshments will be available! Hope to see you all there!! :)

March 22nd Session: “Teaching Online”

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Online Learning…Good Or Bad??

Distance education was founded in 1728, but there has been an increasing focus on online learning in recent research and literature (“Infographic history of distance education”). Online learning has become more widespread and popular due to the many benefits it offers. Some benefits of online learning include: greater flexibility, a broader target population, cost efficiency, self-discipline and self-directed learning, and the attainment of college credentials.

Advancing technology has allowed us the opportunity to create a new way to earn an education. Although there are many benefits of online learning, it has its disadvantages as well. A few drawbacks of online learning include: decreased retention, self-discipline (lack of), lack of social interaction and reliance on technology. However, research has shown online learning to be just as effective as traditional learning . According to a meta-analysis by Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia and Jones (2009), online learning and traditional learning were found to be statistically equivalent in their effectiveness. The meta-analysis also found that students in online learning environments performed better than those in a traditional setting.

Three well-known MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) that are currently operating are Coursera, edX, and Udacity.

  •  Coursera is dedicated to providing educational access to all. Through a partnership with universities and organizations, Coursera presents online courses designed to be available universally. Coursera provides an online training course for educators to master MOOC’s. The Learning To Teach Online (LTTO) MOOC was created to help educators enhance and advance their skills for teaching online and/or blended courses. The duration of the online course is 6 weeks, averaging  between 3-6 hours of work per week. There are 8 different modules required to be completed in order to pass the course. For any educators that may be interested, a form to apply for the course can be accessed here.
  • EdX was founded in 2012 by Harvard University and MIT, with the goal of providing a free education to all. EdX has more than 90 partnerships with universities and institutions around the world. EdX is currently the only MOOC operating as a non-profit organization.
  • Udacity, founded by Stanford University, strives to create an affordable and effective higher education program available globally. Udacity is dedicated to “teaching the skills that industry employers need today, delivering credentials endorsed by employers, and educating at a fraction of the cost of traditional schools.”

In The Limits Of Open, Carl Straumsheim discusses some of the shortcomings of MOOC’s. According to Carl, without paying for courses, students are only able to view graded assignments. Only those who pay for the courses can have full access to the graded assignments. Although it is free to explore materials such as, videos, lectures, discussion, and practice quizzes, learners must pay in order to receive an actual certificate of completion and to receive academic credit.

According to the article, How To Break Into Online Teaching, there are certain preliminary actions to be considered before beginning to teach online.

  • Identify your skill level of:
    • Time management and organization
    • Online communication
    • Teaching in an online environment
    • Technology
  • Know what kind of teaching job to search for
  • Activate and use your social networks
    • Academic groups
    • Alumni
    • Professional associations
  • Choose which courses you have the ability to teach
  • Examine alternative options

**The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching and Best Practices for Teaching Online websites provide helpful resources pertaining to online learning strategies for professors of online courses. In addition, Anastasia Salter has written several helpful articles to aid professors on their online teaching journey. These can be accessed from one of her posts, Wrapping Up A Large Online Course.**


Please join us for our upcoming Tuesday, March 22nd session on “Teaching Online.” Our esteemed presenters for the March 22nd session include:

Lily Shafer– Instructional Designer
Silvia Mejia– Department of World Languages and Cultures
Daniel Nester– Associate Professor of English

Provisions’ sessions are held from 12:00-1:15 in Standish A&B. All are welcome and no reservations are required. Free lunch and refreshments will be available! Hope to see you all there!! :)

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