Thursday, May 28, 2015

Final Project - Julie

Below is my final project. Thanks, everyone, for a great course!

English 3 is an introductory writing course, most often taken by lower-division students (although a few students wait until their junior or senior year to take it). English 3 instructors who choose to include a research component in their courses commonly request in-person one-shot sessions from librarians. These one-shots are tailored to the research assignment and can range from basic database demos to discussions about critically evaluating sources.

The English 3 one-shot is 1 hour and 15 minutes long, with the general goal of acclimating students to college-level research and familiarizing them with library resources.

Learning Outcomes
Although learning outcomes can vary from session to session, these outcomes are at the core of many sessions I teach:

Students will be able to:
1. successfully find useful sources for their assignments using library resources;
2. distinguish between scholarly and popular sources
2. get help from UCLA library staff

I plan to use a Google Form that will ask for the following information based on each outcome:

1. Students will paste a link to at least one source they find, along with which the search terms and database or other resource they used to find it.
2. A brief quiz will describe different sources (eg., a magazine article written by a scientist) and ask them to classify them as scholarly or popular.
3. Students will be asked to list at least 2 ways they can get help from Library staff.

Learning Theories
Outcomes 1 and 2 rely heavily on constructivist theory. In each segment of the class, I will allow students to experiment first and then follow up that experimentation with explanations and troubleshooting. Since most of the class is focused on helping students learn how to use databases and other tools, having them dive in is usually more effective than demonstrating features to them. Details like using subject headings can get swallowed up in a lecture, but if students already have articles or book records up on their screens when I mention subject headings, they can instantly connect the concept to their own research.

Outcome 3--and 1 and 2, to an extent--also relies on behaviorist theory. I want students to know that they're more likely to get a higher grade if they get help from a staff member.

The course will be based around the English 3 LibGuide, which contains links to all relevant resources and tools. I find that the LibGuide works best because students new to college-level research can be overwhelmed by the vast array of resources available at the library. I also plan to use Google Forms for several assessment activities: a pre-session questionnaire, a method for students to send me sources they find, and a quiz.

I'm so glad I know about Backward Design! Planning my assessment activities first has not only helped me improve my assessment methods, but encouraged me to think more deeply about the way I deliver content. I'm also glad that I know a little more about Bloom's Taxonomy, because it will help me match my assessment techniques and learning outcomes to the skills the students need to acquire.

Everyone's blogs were so good that it's hard to choose just a few. However, I'm eternally grateful for the feedback I received in the forums! Raquel Gabriel's response to my Week 3 post was especially helpful.

Critical Pedagogy
Unfortunately, with the limited time and scope of the class, I'm still struggling to incorporate critical pedagogy into my instruction. The closest I've come is my scholarly/popular exercise, in which I show students some sources that disrupt the dichotomy of "scholarly good/popular bad" and encourage them to think about all the ways one can evaluate a source. For example, is an article on poverty written by a journalist automatically less trustworthy than a study performed by a sociologist? Are experiments performed and written up by scholars automatically objective and unbiased, or do scholars have agendas, too? Flawed and retracted scholarly articles are very useful for demonstrating that you can't blithely trust something simply because it's in a scholarly journal. I'll probably use this retracted paper as an example in my next class:

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