Information Literacy Instruction in ARTS 001 ("Choices and Decisions")

Librarians from the Library & Technology Services Team for the College of Arts and Sciences use the venue of Arts 1 classes to address research skill areas for first year students. By examining the results of the Research Skills Assessment given to incoming students it is possible to identify areas of weakness in their information gathering and usage skills. Team members Roseann Bowerman, Kathe Morrow and Brian Simboli provide research skills instruction for Choices and Decisions classes using a unique 50-minute presentation based on the results of the Research Skills Assessment of the incoming classes in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

Utilizing “audience response system” technology, the interactive quiz focuses in on those areas of greatest need as shown in the assessment results. Students immediately see how well they do on the quiz with followup instruction to reinforce the skill being taught. The assessment showed that these students are uncertain about interpreting citations, formulating searches, differentiating between primary and secondary sources and when to cite to avoid plagiarism. In addition, an introduction to finding library resources at Lehigh, choosing and using databases, using Lehigh Links (SFX) to access full-text articles and to use ILLiad (the enhanced interlibrary loan service) are part of the class. Acting on the results of the Research Skills Assessment is a key part of our information literacy initiative. The work group believes that such an evidence-based approach makes sense both from a pedagogical and campus engagement point of view. The Choices and Decisions course is ideal for research skills development. The A&S Team librarians hope to reach as many of the first year A&S students as possible, either in the Choices and Decisions or Freshman Seminar classes.

Faculty members teaching Arts 1 Choices and Decisions are invited to contact one of the librarians listed above to set up a session for their class.