Course-Embedded Information Literacy
BCUSP 135: Research Writing
“What are the stakes? Writing social, cultural, and political worlds.”
Dr. Sharleen Mondal, CUSP: Center for University Studies and Programs, UW Bothell
Spring 2010-Spring 2011
Jackie Belanger & Rebecca Bliquez, UW Bothell/Cascadia Community College Library
For their major research paper, students select a topic that addresses the broad theme of the course, “What Are the Stakes? Writing Social, Cultural, and Political Worlds.” Students produce an 8-10 page scholarly essay that provides an original, thoroughly researched, carefully written argument on their chosen topic.
The following assignments were designed collaboratively by the course faculty and librarians:
- Research Writer’s Journal #1 (pdf)
- Research Writer’s Journal #3 (pdf)
- Conventions of Academic Writing (pdf)
- Research Writer’s Journal #4 (pdf)
What We Learned
In our year-long partnership with Dr. Sharleen Mondal we collaborated to embed information literacy (IL) instruction into the curriculum of this lower-division composition class. We also partnered to evaluate the effectiveness of IL instruction and impact on student learning using a variety of assessment tools/strategies.
Tools used included pre- and post-surveys, student and faculty feedback, librarian self-reflection and analysis of student final research paper bibliographies (examples of these tools can be found on our Assessment Guide).
As a result of our librarian-faculty partnership we were able to tailor IL instruction more effectively to course assignments and make significant contributions to the curriculum. As an example, many of the prompts/questions from the IL instruction have been integrated into course assignments, adding a library research component to the regular curriculum.
I collaborated with librarians Rebecca Bliquez and Jackie Belanger to create assignments and instruction for my BCUSP 135 (Research Writing) course for four consecutive quarters (spring 2010-spring 2011). Our collaboration included a planning session before the start of each quarter during which we discussed my goals and learning objectives for the course as well as how to best scaffold my assignments with library instruction sessions.
Working together truly was collaboration rather than disconnected library instruction inserted into my course calendar. Because Rebecca and Jackie understood my pedagogical approach to the course and supported the full picture of what my students were doing, the library instruction they created was tailored specifically to my class. We planned pre- and post-library session assignments so that students were motivated to make the most of their library instruction time, knowing that they would need what they learned in the library classroom in the next stage of their writing process.
It served my students immensely to work with librarians who knew each student’s topic and what each student’s struggles had been throughout the research and writing process. Rebecca and Jackie checked in with me periodically about how students were doing and followed up with me at the end of each quarter so that we could adjust our instruction the next quarter based on the feedback we got from students and based on how well students incorporated the sources they had found into their research papers. Although it does take some advanced planning to collaborate with librarians in this way, the benefits for students are clear as they are supported throughout the quarter by their librarian and professor.
- Dr. Sharleen Mondal