Collecting, Organizing and Citing Sources: Zotero
~Situational Factors to Consider~
Specific Context of the Teaching/Learning SituationThe tutorial(s) will be offered online, which makes it difficult to estimate how many students it will reach. However, ideally it would be equally beneficial for an individual to watch it on Youtube, or a class to use it either as a pre-assignment or in-class activity. The videos will be between 2-3 minutes. A handout will be designed that students can complete while watching the videos (this handout will be linked to the videos). The tutorial(s) will be designed at an introductory level with a target of lower division students.
General Context of the Learning SituationStudents are expected to leave research universities with a skill-set in not only finding sources, but organizing them and citing them appropriately. This is an expectation of the university, as well as employers (not to mention library staff!). To meet this need there will be two tutorials: one to deliver more theoretical knowledge of why organizing and citing sources is important/beneficial (with a brief mention of Zotero), and one to explain how to set up a Zotero account and do basic functionality such as auto-generating a bibliography, etc.
Nature of the SubjectWhile learning how to use Zotero initially seems more of a practical skill, learning the importance of organizing and citing sources leads into a more theoretical understanding of research as a conversation.
If there are any important changes/controversies about organizing and citing sources, perhaps it would be related to which sources would be counted as creditable in academic work (tweets, blogs, digital ephemera, etc.), and how to cite them. While Zotero does help students cite such sources, that theoretical discussion may be more appropriate for a tutorial on scholarly vs popular material.
Characteristics of the Learners.Most of the learners will be students at a university, which means that the learners will be coming from a variety of backgrounds. Those who are exposed to the video through instruction will most likely be traditional first-year students; but as they are also on Youtube, the transfer community and non-traditional students may also (and hopefully!) be exposed to them as well. Most learners will likely have already been introduced to citation in school, but will likely view it as something they do to avoid plagiarism. As for organizing their sources, it may be unfamiliar territory to take notes on each one and link sources together through tags, etc. Most likely their learning goals will be to learn how to cite and organize quickly and efficiently, even if not understanding the importance of why they are doing these actions.
Characteristics of the TeacherI believe that learners should walk away with new skills/ideas, and also an understanding of why those skills/ideas are relevant. I believe learning should be a fun process that inspires creativity and encourages the learner to want to deepen their knowledge. I think this subject is very important and will come in handy throughout their academic career and their professional life. I want the students to be relieved of the stress of trying to keep track of sources for multiple classes, and the stress of creating bibliographies. My strengths in teaching are being clear and concise (after a lot of editing the material!), as well as imparting the fact that I truly care about the students’ well-being.
~Questions For Formulating Significant Learning Goals~
"A year (or more) after this course is over, I want and hope that students will" .…have a robust library full of sources, and no longer stress over bibliographies. Furthermore, they will be explaining to their peers the importance of organizing and citing sources.
- Students understand why/how to organize sources
- Students know how to auto-generate their bibliography
- Students understand that research is a conversation
- Evaluate how to cite sources that are not readily apparent (tweets, blogs, etc.).
- Evaluate the bibliographies that are auto-generated and check them for accuracy.
- Organize materials to make it easier to gather and synthesize ideas, then write their papers.
- Students should recognize that organizing information and learning how to properly cite sources pertains to the idea that research is a conversation. Organizing information efficiently helps students remember what has already been said on a topic, as well as what needs more research done on the topic. It also helps students make connections between ideas.
- Students understand that proper citation shows their peers that they have done their research and are aware of the current "conversation," as well as making their claims easier to verify.
- Students should realize that organizational skills are necessary for every academic course (and will be very helpful as students are enrolled in several courses). Being able to clearly keep track of sources will alleviate stress when it comes down to crunch time.
- Students should understand that organizational skills are actually an integral part of a successful career life, as well as academic life.
Human Dimensions Goals
- Students should learn that they are capable of conducting research.
- They should grow confident in their ability to keep track of their assignments and complete them according to the standards of the University.
- Students should understand that ideas should be respected, and attributed to the original author.
- I hope students become more interested in exploring their subjects of interest and expanding upon the ideas of others.
- I hope the features of Zotero will encourage students to delve deeper in their studies, as they no longer have to worry about remembering where they found a source, or how to cite it. Hopefully, much of the stress associated with writing papers and completing projects will be reduced.
- I also hope they learn the importance of their ideas, as well as others. They should grow confident in their ability to conduct research on their subject, then adding their voice to the "conversation."
- I hope students realize that research is a process, and not one that can properly be completed in one night.
- I hope they realize that plagiarism is unacceptable and is unfair to themselves and their creativity/knowledge, on top of being unfair to the original author.
- I hope they realize the best way to do research is to dive into the material, whether that be reading books, listening to oral histories, starting conversations, etc. For example, if they are interested in why their professor is requesting a certain citation style, they should ask!