Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Library Services Delivered to Distance Users

If you are or will be teaching off-site, online, or VOALC courses, consider collaborating with an information specialist who will bring library resources and services to you and your students.

We would like to collaborate with you to empower your students and enable them to undertake academic research effectively and efficiently. We are searching for ways to partner with you in order to provide library services to Miami students enrolled in off-site courses, at the VOA Learning Center, and in online courses.
You expect university students, upper division and graduate students, to know how to undertake research papers and projects using academic resources specific to your discipline. Librarians find students are unfamiliar with today’s electronic resources and services and do not know how to proceed:
• to locate authoritative academic resources, print and electronic

• to understand copyright issues & cite sources properly using APA or MLA

• to narrow a topic and select search terms best suited to the research topic

• to utilize full-text databases, eBook collections, and digital media

• to understand the difference between popular and scholarly sources

• to evaluate Websites

Typically most instructors assume these information literacy skills are in place and do not take class time to teach students how to search for information. Sadly, many students do not possess these essential information literacy skills, although they surf the WWW, download music, and text wonderfully well. Moreover, the information world is ever changing. New tools are released such as Reference Universe, new database interfaces are released as was the case of for all EBSCOhost databases in July 2008, and then specialized, subject-specific databases are available about which students know next to nothing.
Students become anxious and overwhelmed by research assignments, but may say little to you, the Professor. Who wants to admit such things to one’s professor? We librarians see these students at the library, wondering and wandering.
Gardner-Harvey librarians are adopting a proactive approach to information literacy for students who may never walk through the doors of our Library. We are offering MUM Faculty who are teaching off-site, online, or VOA courses a suite of library services to strengthen student achievement. See the list below and determine which ones would work best in your class. Then contact one of GHL Librarians to create the services selected. Let’s work together to ensure your students have the research skills they need to succeed.

1. We will come to your classroom and provide information literacy instruction, customized to your student research project or paper. Typical sessions last from 45-75 minutes.
2. We will create research guides listing research strategies, full-text databases, and citation tools to assist students in completing research assignments for Nursing, Botany, Computer Info Tech.
3. We offer individual research consultations by appointment, using an online form
4. We have built a series of brief screencasts covering essential information literacy concepts and skills which you may link to from your Blackboard course.
For example: “The Ins and Outs of Searching for Information
5. We will build new Captivate screencasts if one is not already available.
6. We will post reference works and authoritative Websites relevant to a specific course on Delicious.com See one example for Nursing 105
7. Pilot Program: Embedded Librarian in Blackboard, Spring Semester 2009
Because Gardner-Harvey librarians teach credit courses using Blackboard, we are able to work with students in your Blackboard course as an instructor or course builder. We will partner with you during the research component of the course or throughout the semester if you prefer, by answering students’ questions dealing with research in the discussion board, blog, announcements, or email. We will suggest sources, research tips, and new ways of working efficiently. We are eager to connect your students with the many and ever-expanding collection of electronic resources available to Miami University students.
To ensure January 2009 Library Services are in place for your course and students, contact the Gardner-Harvey Librarians now to discuss the most effective suite of library services for your course requirements.

Blackboard Embedded Librarian Pilot Program

What is a Blackboard embedded librarian?
An embedded librarian partners with faculty members in the Blackboard environment as an instructor or course builder. One of the Gardner-Harvey librarians will assist with your class research endeavors. These research efforts may include links to library resources, methods of narrowing a topic, explaining how to identify search terms, or using RefWorks to manage bibliographic citations. Today’s students possess technology skills, but may feel uncertain when embarking on the “Research Voyage” alone. A knowledgeable, available navigator may be welcomed to address students’ questions and concerns. Through the Discussion Forum, Blog, Email, Announcements, Library Resources Button, or FAQ the librarian will interact with individuals or the class as a whole. In this way the librarian may comment on the student’s selected research topic, suggest relevant academic resources, and provide strategies of solving information problems, explain confusing concepts like intellectual property and plagiarism, administer online information literacy quizzes, and generally encourage academic scholarship among your students. You remain the subject expert but collaborate with a professional librarian versed in current academic research methods.

Why would I want an embedded librarian turning up in my Blackboard course?
Academic librarians are passionate about instructing students in information literacy. We want to develop these essential 21st century skills in your students so they become effective, efficient researchers. These skills are learned and cannot be assumed to be in place. Sometimes students survive on a slim set of research skills. When they encounter the semester term paper, the capstone project, or the graduate thesis, which all require subject specific resources and research strategies previously unknown, they falter. So many sources of information; so many questions… Enter the librarian, proposing this joint venture with you.

How long would this relationship last?

Gardner-Harvey librarians are willing to engage your students during the research component of your Blackboard course for several weeks or throughout the entire semester. If you prefer, we will assist at start-up only to spotcheck your research assignment from a research perspective, to build a library resources page customized to the course to include reference works, databases and collections, authoritative Web sites, supply controlled vocabulary and subject headings, links to screencasts teaching core skills we have created or endorse, and our contact information. You tell us which collaborative arrangement best fits your needs.
Contact us by December 15, 2008 to set this working relation in motion so as to be ready for the January 2009 Pilot Program.
Gardner-Harvey Library, Miami University Middletown
John Burke, Director burkejj@muohio.edu 73293
Beth Tumbleson, Assistant Director tumbleb@muohio.edu 73232
Sarah Frye, Public Services fryesm@muohio 73291

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What College Faculty Say Freshmen Students Don't Do

At a recent state-wide conference for academic librarians, I was introduced to the following list titled “What College Faculty Say Freshmen Students Don’t Do.” This list highlights many skills which librarians at the Gardner-Harvey strive to teach Miami University students. Take a look at the list – if you are a student, do you think that this list accurately describes your skills abilities? If you are faculty or staff, do you think this list accurately describes your students or even yourself?

Librarians revel in sharing their knowledge on these topics and at GHL we eagerly seek opportunities to work within the campus community to debunk lists of things which students “Don’t Do.” We encourage you to challenge yourself! If you notice unfamiliar terms or concepts in this list, stop by the library and see what your librarians can do for you!

Albert Einstein said it best: “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it? :o)

What College Faculty Say Freshmen Students Don’t Do

- Know what they don’t know
- Know who to ask for research help
- Understand library jargon, ex. “full text”

- Follow research process steps, ex. information literacy model
- Estimate time required for research, ex. Interlibrary loan
- Define a research question or topic that’s not shallow or ‘pop’

- Find different formats of information
- Understand that web search engines rarely locate college-appropriate information
- Distinguish between OPACs and online databases
- Conduct effective searches using
o Keywords, alternate search terms
o Boolean terms, ex. AND, OR
o Controlled vocabulary, subject headings
o Field searching, ex. author, title

- Interpret search results
- Find full text of articles
- Find books using Library of Congress (LC) classification, not Dewey
- Use reference books in the library
- Regroup when first attempts to find resources don’t work, ex. try a different database

- Weed through search results to find adequate and accurate information
- Evaluate information using standard evaluation criteria
- Distinguish between popular and scholarly articles
- Disregard inadequate or inaccurate information

- Synthesize, communicate, and argue a thesis using evidence
- Analyze data and statistics
- Represent, analyze, and critique the ideas of others ethically
- Write without plagiarizing (accidentally or otherwise), ex. use in-text citations - Cite sources properly using multiple citation styles, ex. Citation Builder

P. Owen & M. OakleafUsing Evidence to Bridge the 12-13 Gap OELMA 2008