by Joseph Hartnett
Information Services Librarian and Assistant Professor
Baruch College, City University of New York
Encouraged by the ACRL Framework’s call for librarians to adopt more engaging methods to teach students, as well as for students to assume more active, creative, and reflective roles in relation to the information landscape, the author questioned whether methods put forward by creativity training proponent Edward de Bono for fostering creativity might have any potential value for of helping students to engage in divergent thinking related to developing a research strategy, or as the framework would have it “Searching as a Strategic Exploration.” In order to answer this question, the author investigated the work of Edward de Bono and conducted a small experiment where 20 students in an information literacy credit class were randomly divided into a control group and an experimental group. The experimental group was presented with a set of directed strategies offered by de Bono in addition to regular instruction, while the control group was not. Afterwards, all members of the class were given an open ended writing assignment about a vaguely worded topic where they were asked to be creative. Student responses were evaluated for indications of divergent thinking by counting the number of interested parties identified in their writing in relation to the topic. It was found that the experimental de Bono group engaged in significantly more divergent thinking than did the control group, both in terms of originality and in the total number of interested parties that were generated. As such it would appear that de Bono’s methods and other similar approaches have potential value for promoting divergent thinking, an essential capacity for creativity, and likely for helping teaching librarians develop more active, creative, and reflective classroom practices. The model used is original within the realm of library pedagogy and has the potential to help librarians apply divergent thinking strategies to information literacy programs. Continue reading Exploring Creative Information Literacy Practices via Divergent Thinking
Nicole Tekulve, Chapel Cowden, Jaime Myers
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Faced with the annual revision of curriculum and activities for first-year Rhetoric and Composition courses, a group of instruction librarians at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) created a versatile board game, based on The Game of Life, to address the pitfalls and rewards of the research process. Librarians quickly learned, however, that creating an engaging, meaningful, and fast-paced game for library instruction is no small feat. Developing The Game of Research was a reminder that, just as librarians encourage students to be adaptive and creative in their research, we must also be adaptive and creative in our curriculum design in order to meet information literacy and course learning objectives. To that end, The Game of Research not only underwent many revisions but it also prompted the creation of a second game, The Research Road, based upon common learning objectives.
Continue reading The Game of Research: [Board] Gamification of Library Instruction
Author: Bethany Messersmith
Information Literacy Librarian/College Liaison
Southwest Baptist University Libraries
Website usability studies are by no means brand new. In many respects they are a close relative to the focus group session because they utilize prompts to assess opinions, as well as the usability of a product. According to Dr. Jakob Nielsen, a leading web usability consultant, “Usability allows us to make everyday life more satisfying by empowering people to control their destiny and their technology rather than be subjugated by computers” (qtd. in Chow, Bridges, and Commander 254). While website usability testing is a practice that was adopted a little over a decade ago by the library sector, librarians have always invested time in assessing user wants and needs (Battleson, Booth, and Weintrop 190). Today public and academic librarians are devoting more attention to seeking user feedback on the ease of website tasks, as “the library as ‘place,’ traditionally defined in a physical building, has expanded into a virtual environment” (Bakoyema and Groves). In light of this, developing partnerships with web design experts is critical in the academic library setting.
Continue reading Fostering Website Usability Partnerships in the Academic Library Setting
Maura A. Smale, Associate Professor
Chief Librarian, Ursula C. Schwerin Library
New York City College of Technology, CUNY
Using games in the library classroom is an active learning strategy that can increase student engagement. However, not all librarians are equally familiar and comfortable with bringing game-based learning to the library. Game On for Information Literacy is a brainstorming card game to help librarians create games for information literacy and library instruction. Inspired by other successful brainstorming card games, this game was developed, playtested, and iterated over several years in workshops, graduate-level MLIS courses, and professional development programs. Game materials are all available to download, use, remix, and share.
Keywords: game-based learning, games in education, information literacy, library instruction, brainstorming, professional development
Continue reading Play a Game, Make a Game: Getting Creative with Professional Development for Library Instruction
Alexander J. Carroll and Robin Dasler
University of Maryland College Park
Introduction: Information Literacy & Scholarly Communication Instruction
When addressing scholarly attribution, citation, and plagiarism in one-shot instruction sessions, librarians often fail to present these issues in a manner that has relevance for students. Librarians often focus on intellectual honesty and the potential ramifications of plagiarism, both individual pursuits, rather than explaining that by creating an academic work, students are participating in academic discourse. Within Pluralizing Plagiarism, Anson argues that scholarly attribution instruction that emphasizes “policy, detection, and punishment” is antithetical to the mission of institutions of higher learning – the education of students (Anson, 2008). One of the major deficiencies of this compliance-based instruction is that it presents students with a false dichotomy that does not align with their authentic life experiences; plagiarism is demonstrated as a black and white issue, rather than existing in shades of gray. Students who have come of age within a twenty-first century information ecosystem rife with remix and parody culture will likely find teaching that presents the re-use of source material as a non-nuanced issue unconvincing. Because students respond positively to instruction that aligns with their authentic experiences, this suggests that librarians need to develop new methods for teaching attribution and scholarly discourse that not only recognize the nuance inherent to these topics, but also presents these concepts within a familiar framework (Klipfel, 2014). As a familiar platform for social interaction with multiple avenues for giving credit and a shorter timescale, Twitter presents an opportunity to place attribution, plagiarism, and integrity into a humanizing, real world context that models how discourse unfolds in an authentic manner for learners. By embedding attribution instruction into a meaningful context, librarians and other educators can make substantial and much needed improvements to traditional compliance-based instruction, which is often built upon the slow, rigid, and unfamiliar patterns of how to cite scholarly works.
Continue reading “Scholarship is a Conversation”: Discourse, Attribution, and Twitter’s Role in Information Literacy Instruction