The high school and college librarians met again to discuss best practices for preparing students for academic research. The following notes are from our December 7, 2017 meeting. The meeting was convened by Lara Patel, SUNY Orange.
In today's meeting, we let some participants present a problem they were having. Then, the group asked questions to clarify the problem, and followed up by giving advice. Finally, the participant used that information to make connections and set a goal for action items. These are notes from the three conversations:
PROBLEM: A high school English & film studies teacher has students doing research on controversial topics. One of the topics was specifically: Pro/con gun control, they all used the first site that came up on Google, which is "pro/con," an amalgamation of other sources. She wanted to know if they should cite the website or if they should look for the original research. She polled librarians and English teachers to figure out where the citations came from.
Maybe you can bring the teacher to the workshop a week from tomorrow to hear from the Britanica and other resources.
Use MLA container theory to separate original source and the place where they got it, they can’t just use quick Easy Bib.
There’s a citation for a source within a source, but is it worthwhile to find that original source?
Sometimes it matters how the teacher words an assignment and suggesting that they work with a librarian at the start might help them to get a refresher.
If this is an elective or an honors class, you can frame it in a way that it will help for how they can use the information when they get to college, and encourage them to get used to using college librarians.
You can call Gale database to remove questionable items, such as Infowars popping up.
She needs to have them bring the seniors in to reiterate what they learned in the past year. She needs to see them in the beginning so they are familiar with the citation rules before they begin. They need to know exactly what is expected at the beginning. Using the MLA containers will be helpful.
Go to the site and find something, and then follow the trail, let them learn the research process.
PROBLEM: There is a need to take a broad view at the information literacy program at the college. Either that or to come up with a creative way to communicate with faculty about information literacy instruction. The librarians have made strides and sees the freshmen and the seniors, but there’s a gap in the middle years. Last spring, they were able to present to the faculty, but there hasn’t been time to follow up.
Question: How do you communicate with faculty on a large scale? How would you best approach teaching info lit to faculty? How do you get them to update their information? How would you talk to them about teaching information literacy skills at key moments in their curriculum? There are some faculty that you have great relationships with some, and others not so much. Has anyone looked at the curriculum of other faculty, like lesson plans and curriculum mapping?
If you have a professor that you know with a sophomore or junior class, you can work with them to get those kids in for that level class. Going to the school meetings (ie school of education) has been helpful, and a lot of the faculty enjoy that they get one class where they don’t have to teach.
There’s a lot of faculty who think they know it all, but they come in for help when interfaces change, so it’s helpful to use those changes to offer faculty an opportunity to come in. You can use that opportunity to help them look at their lesson plans.
You can’t expect that one lesson in a first English class will stick long after a first info lit class. There’s an assumption among faculty that the students have had library instruction, even if they haven’t. It’s always good to start with another into/recap after the 101 class. They need review in the middle years, and makes sure that library instruction is building on previous work.
Balance that you want to build but not constantly repeat yourself, so how much of what you taught needs to be re-learned.
You can flip it by recording videos first. It also helps for students who miss the class with the original library instruction.
If there is an adjunct orientation, that is a helpful place to get in front of them for library instruction. That can also help with the middle years.
If there are student major committees for the middle years, and let the students do it amongst themselves.
One library has a skills class that’s free, and faculty can use it as extra credit on any topic. Students can sign up early and take it at the start of the semester.
Find out what departments are up for program review, and start by working with them while they are looking at making improvements.
She realizes she needs to go to division and school meetings, despite being busy and feeling that it’s a bother.
It’s probably time to create official liaisons within the librarians, and that might ease the workload. It’s actually a possibility to make that happen. When the time comes for a gen ed committee, it will be good to get involved with them.
*How do you teach the teachers if they’re not willing to learn? One district has 21st century classes, and they are required to take a certain amount of credits, so compulsory classes happen sometimes, and having open hours helps as well.
PROBLEM: The college has a faculty member doesn’t want the students to use the online databases because they want students to use a particular methodology and make use of older research methods. They don’t want them to just use the digital materials. They want to use microfilm.
There is a History professor who only wants students to use books, and the students need to learn that ebooks are books in that circumstance.
The student might just have to use good sources.
One high school teacher uses citations the old-fashioned way first, and then they put it into easyBib, perhaps the professor would be open to newer methods if they use the old version first.
You can give them the options of doing both the physical version and the analog version.
You could find it on ProQuest first and then follow up by following up with the microfilm copy.
It would be great for all the students to have all the resources. Like the idea of asking the professor if there can be a follow up that connects the two sources. Time is the main thing for the students.
Discussion / Reflection
Faculty can take small steps within the assignment instead of just bigger picture changes.
Curious to hear more about the extra credit – how to pitch that to professors. Maybe you just need to offer it and get it going. Pilot it with a teacher you already work with. Keep communication going and open and that’s a way to do it. They might be open to the idea if it’s part of a participation grade.
Word of mouth is so important. Using case studies from the past helps to sell the class a little better. It helps to have them talk amongst themselves. You might even get the students to talk with each other. All about outcomes.
Talking to high school students about the college library helps to get them interested in what’s to come (even just Dewy vs. LOC is an interesting topic.)
Some of the college librarians are part of the orientation, and they talk about plagiarism, and use that to talk about other ways they can help. There isn’t one at community colleges.
If you are interested in attending the 3-day workshop series planning meeting on December 13, please contact Carolyn.
The next meeting of the High School to College Transition SIG will be on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Look for registration information soon!
Lara Patel SUNY Orange - Convener
Carollynn Costella Vassar College
Danielle Yeomans Ulster BOCES School Library System
Diana Wendell Orange-Ulster BOCES School Library System
Ellie Horowitz Dominican College
Felicia DaVolio Newburgh Free Library
Geralynn Demarest Columbia-Greene Community College Library
Joanna Arkans New Paltz High School
Michele Sherman Monroe Woodbury High School
Sharon Fetters St. Thomas Aquinas College
Teri Richardson Washingtonville High School
Tiffany Davis Mount Saint Mary College