Returning this week once again to the problem of information literacy delivery for the coming year, I turned to the research literature. The last time I did that I found it unhelpful because publications were dominated by arcane (unkindly: airy-fairy) discussion of the nature of academic literacies. This time around, by focusing my searches onto "information literacy" AND "science" (a spot of Boolean karma there), I came up with a more satisfactory outcome. Sifting of the literature in this restricted area now gives a more clear cut consensus on the best and possibly only solution: a pragmatic approach involving learning by doing - an authentic assessment apprenticeship model. Which unfortunately causes rather than solves a problem.
Numbers - that's the problem. If I had the luxury of delivering this content for half a dozen students on a single degree course, I'd have them write essays recursively until I knew they'd got it. Not viable with 400 students. So my alternative is ... peer assessment, either using the Blackboard Self and Peer Assessment tool or the Turnitin PeerMark system (comments on these welcome please). Which is fine, except it leads me into a discussion about formative versus summative assessment. Have students peer assess and only force completion by completion, or going down the hairy (and possibly unacceptable) route of having students summatively peer assess?
Information literacy assignment
1000 word Microsoft Word report on assigned topic:
- List and justify which keywords you used for your search (2 marks)
- List and justify which synonyms you used for your search (2 marks)
- List and justify which wildcards you used for your search (2 marks)
- List and justify which Boolean operators you used for your search (2 marks)
- Display search results (screenshots) from each of the following databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, WoK. (3 marks)
- Annotated Bibliography - list your choice of the 10 most relevant and important papers for your assigned topic - explaining why you chose each one. (10 marks)
I would really welcome your comments and insight on this.
Thompson, L, and Blankinship, L.A. (2015). Teaching Information Literacy Skills to Sophomore-Level Biology Majors. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, 16(1): 29. doi: 10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.818