Integrating Information Competencies into the Allied Health Curriculum
Don Hausrath, MLIS; Shuk-chun Auyeung, MSIS; Jo Anne Howell, MLIS, &
Bedell, MSN, FNP, RN,
TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract and Project Summary
competency is increasingly important to the learning process at
Student scores on an Information Competency (IC) test administered at the beginning and end of each class showed an average gain of 23.8 points. Outcomes include an enlarged cadre of faculty and administrators knowledgeable and enthusiastic about IC as an effective instructional method, more effective use of our technology infrastructure, and more effective working relationships between library and discipline faculty. Students struggled at first through the IC assignments, but came out demonstrating not only better health and medical research skills, but, according to their instructors, improved basic research, report writing, and computer skills. Allied Health faculty reported that integrating IC components helped to maintain currency in their own courses, and enhance the overall quality of their courses. After IC training, students were better able to differentiate the quality of sources, and have a broader understanding of course content. The process effectively institutionalized IC in the Allied Health department. Some “lessons learned,” a planning template and our test instruments are provided. Class websites may be found at http://www.gavilan.edu/library/nursing.
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This project, to integrate information competency skills into the Allied Health curriculum of Gavilan College, evolved from a 1997 California Community College Chancellor’s Office Fund for Instructional Improvement grant to Gavilan to review the current and projected roles of information competency instruction within the California community colleges and to develop a plan for implementation: Information Competency Plan for the California Community Colleges (Auyeung and Hausrath, 1998)
In 1998, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s office provided funding ($35,000 per college) in the Student Success Institutionalization Fund for Information Competency. The projects were expected to have a statewide impact on “the institutionalization of college-based information competency models and or practices which improve student success and constitute student outcomes.”
Why is Information Competency Important?
Information Competency Plan noted
“over a million students enter
Partnering for Change
Library faculty’s initial involvement in information competency (IC) was
through a grant administered by the Chancellor’s Office for researching and
drafting an IC plan to be submitted to the State Board of Governors. The
completed plan called for the integration of information competency components
in the curriculum of all California Community Colleges. (Auyeung &
Hausrath, 1998) Paralleling this report was a position paper commissioned by
California State Community College Academic Senate, which plays a major role,
through its local chapters, in specifically changing and developing the
curriculum in each of
The State Academic Senate’s definition of information competency (IC) “ is the ability to:
+ Recognize the need for information.
+ State a research question, problem or issue.
+ Determine information requirements in various disciplines for research questions, problems, or issues.
+ Use information technology tools to locate and retrieve information.
+ Organize information.
+ Analyze and evaluate information.
+ Communicate using a variety of information resources and technologies.
+ Understand the ethical and legal issues surrounding information and information technology.
+ Apply the skills gained in information competency to enable lifelong learning.”
(Auyeung & Hausrath, 1998)
future planning, however, we suggest using the similar Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education,
developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries, issued on
An information literate individual, as defined by the ACRL board, is able to:
+ “Determine the extent of information needed.
+ Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
+ Evaluate information and its sources critically
+ Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
+ Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
+ Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally.” (ACRL, 2000)
We attempted the integration of information competency skills into the Allied Health curriculum for several reasons. One was to enhance student learning, particularly at Gavilan where student success rates needed improvement and secondly, to make changes due to the rapidly changing nature of the health care professions. Our plan was to address IC issues in the health curriculum at Gavilan, and then take the process to other disciplines, making use of what we had learned in the process.
Since the early 1990s, The American Nurses Association and the National Student Nurses Association have recognized that technology is changing health care and that health care issues are transforming health care occupations; thus requiring changes in nursing education. Of particular importance was the challenge of not only delivering material of a technical nature to health professionals, but also providing health information to audiences unfamiliar with the topic or vocabulary. (ANA, 1993 & Barger, 1994) There are, as well, the changing demographics of the population, an increased focus on health promotion and a sea change in health care reimbursement. Increasingly, nurses must be prepared to work autonomously outside institutional settings. “ It appears,” Mawn and Reece suggest “that an essential change in nursing education, must, at the very least, involve a switch from the skills/content approach to learning to an outcome/competency-based learning environment.” (Mawn & Reece, 2000).
+ Local schools approach a 70% Latino student population
+ Almost half (46%) of elementary school children come from low-income families using school-lunch funds
+ For one in three Gavilan students English is a second language
+ Student persistence– only 12% of Gavilan students reached sophomore status during 1995-99
+ Student retention and completion rates at Gavilan ranged from 45% to 63% across most disciplines
+ In a national study less than 10 percent of
Hispanic families have home access to the Internet. (
To address these issues a series of solutions were proposed in 1999 by an internal Gavilan study. These included the following proposals that seemingly underscored the need for IC components.
+ Revise courses overly dependent on traditional “chalk and talk” instructional methodologies
+ Implement curriculum changes incorporating interactive learning experiences
+ Assure that students develop computing and information competency skills for both success in higher education and the technology-driven workplace
+ Establish engaging learning environments that encourage students to develop lifelong learning skills
+ Provide faculty development training and resources to enhance their knowledge of instructional technology, learning styles and curriculum design.
+ Enlarge student access to information sources, faculty e-mail contact, and Internet resources
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Several planning sessions were held since August 1999 to identify and prioritize specific activities, resulting in a training plan and an evaluation process. A project team was established consisting of the Project Director, Project Consultant, Reference/Technology Librarian and the Allied Health Program Coordinator. Three of these members attended a seminar on Internet for Health Professionals, which provided first-hand knowledge of training topics and important health issues. Outlines of three new courses were developed. The College Curriculum Committee approved these early in the Fall Semester of 1999. These new courses were included in the College’s spring schedule and one course was taught during the spring 2000 semester.
After consultation with Allied Health Program Coordinator and faculty, Reference/Technology Librarian Jo Anne Howell completed research on how best to link information competency activities with key concepts in the first two courses in Allied Health. Then, prototype courses were developed. Developing these prototypes proved useful for the development, not only of other Allied Health courses, but courses throughout the college. Class assignments were carefully selected and updated on each class website. Examples may be viewed at http://www.gavilan.edu/library/nursing [2000, July 19]. An instrument to measure student success was completed.
A core nursing instructor group was introduced to the exercises designed for the first of two courses. Working with the librarians, they each designed an information component for their own classes. These components became part of their spring 2000 classes. Two library staff members were also enrolled in these courses to better their ability to help students in the future.
Students were introduced to the application and use of information technology through a combination of learning modules, hands-on computer laboratories, in and out-of-class assignments and self selected learning opportunities. Assignments focused on the fundamentals of information competency: applications, electronic mail, library databases, and the Internet. The IC components were directed at both the fundamentals of computer applications as well as applying information competency to Allied Health related assignments and projects. This process involves: formulating sound research questions and search strategies, developing an understanding of how databases work, knowing the range of information resources available, and identifying and evaluating specific information resources.
A. The first objective was to further student success in Gavilan’s Allied Health programs by providing instructional models that use alternative approaches to integrate information competency skills into Allied Health curriculum. Towards that end:
+ A curriculum development team was established in August 1999 from Allied Health (AH) and Library faculty and selected students. They identified needed areas of development.
+ The curriculum development team developed course outlines for new integrated courses in Allied Health (as stand-alone or add-on), which would provide an information competency component. These new course outlines and related logistics needs were submitted in Gavilan’s curriculum committee during the August-September 1999 period. The curriculum development team established information-competency instruction models for 22 of the existing AH courses during the last quarter of 1999. Participants included the project team, curriculum development team, and research assistants.
+ The curriculum development committee began the research and development of sample materials for new courses or components during the last quarter of 1999. Participants included the project team, curriculum development team and research assistants. This process took place from September 1999 until the end of spring semester in April of 2000.
+ Three new integrated Library/Allied Health courses were developed and offered in the spring semester 2000. (See Appendix B for details) This was overseen by the Reference/Technology librarian and appointed AH faculty. Developing these prototypes is proving useful for the development, not only of other Allied Health courses, but courses throughout the college. Class assignments were carefully selected and updated in each class website. (Examples may be viewed at: http://www.gavilan.edu/library/nursing [2000, July 6]
+ Substantial time was invested in reviewing nursing texts and other materials to identify the most appropriate instructional activities that make use of information competency exercises. This activity actually involved twice the estimated time. One difficulty was finding appropriate meeting times, particularly in the case of adjunct nursing faculty.
B. The second objective was to evaluate these new course models by developing criteria and indicators of student success.
+ During the period October 1999 to April 2000 the
project team and the development team set the criteria to measure student
success. Two instruments to measure student success were completed. Another
instrument was developed to assess student success from the instructor’s
viewpoint. After surveying the literature and reviewing various measurement
tools, we developed an IC measurement tool adapted from one used, revised and
studied for testing first and second year students at
+ In May 2000, the project team and the curriculum development team designed the tracking, monitoring and reporting of student success and collected data sets towards that end.
+ In May through June of 2000, the project team and the curriculum development team compared and analyzed data from existing and revised courses and revised, as needed, core information competencies in Allied Health.
C. The third objective was to provide faculty training and institutionalize the process at Gavilan.
+ The project team developed print and electronic training resources and prototype training materials during the 1999-2000 school year since a trained faculty would contribute to student proficiency in information competency.
+ The project team developed, during the March-May
2000 period, a more detailed staff development program for
designed an information component for their own
classes. These components are now part of their spring 2000 classes. Two
library staff members are also enrolled in these courses to better their
ability to help students in the future.
The Reference/Technology Librarian planned the training activities. A
training workshop was held on
+ The AH and Library faculty planned to submit the new and revised courses to the Curriculum Committee for approval, thus institutionalizing information competency models. Allied Health faculty in tandem with Library faculty submitted course proposals for three courses, through the Dean of Liberal Arts and the Dean of Vocational Education. The Curriculum Committee, a Faculty Senate committee, consists of representatives from all college departments, various deans, and the Dean of Instruction. All three courses were approved and co-listed in the college catalog under Allied Health and the Library.
+ All Allied Health students were advised to take two of the new courses in Allied Health. Thus, these courses impact all Nursing students. Since all three courses are co-listed as library courses, it has the potential of impacting students enrolled in Library courses as well. Allied Health is co-listed as Biology 11, and thus could impact all Biology students as well. Each year, approximately 450 students are enrolled in nursing courses, 475 in Biology courses and 150 students are enrolled in Library courses.
D. The fourth objective was to evaluate the project.
+ The project consultant and project director identified evaluation elements and monitored progress and began project evaluation in September- November 1999.
+ The project consultant in consultation with the project director began developing an implementation plan, a facilities plan, a training plan and a project evaluation plan in March-June 2000.
+ The project consultant in consultation with the project director drafted a final report in June- July 2000.
+ The project consultant in consultation with the project director drafted an article on the project to be submitted to a professional journal by August 2000.
What the Students were exposed to: Concepts and Activities
1. Allied Health 3. The Person in the Life Cycle. This is a 3-unit course outlining the development and realization of human potential across the life span. Because this is one of the core courses required for all nursing students, we decided to include several information competency components. The class syllabus, case study assignments, extra credit assignments, a list of print and online reference sources, and the weekly schedule are all posted on the class homepage. From the weekly schedule, students access six separate information competency assignments, spread over a period of four months. These assignments cover basic search skills (Boolean strategies, truncation, phrase and field searching), plus basic formats and their differences: books, journal articles, reference sources, and online articles. In addition, students had a basic introduction to accessing their assignments from their homepage (Library Internet Introduction, an online introduction to the library homepage) at the beginning of the semester.
2. Allied Health 11. Nutrition. This three-unit course is designed to meet the needs of the Allied Health and the general education student alike in acquiring relevant information about nutrition, which they can use professionally and or personally. Because this class is co-listed as a biology course (BIO11) and many students outside the nursing program take it, we tailored several IC components specifically for it. From the weekly schedule homepage, students accessed eight separate information competency components covering basic search skills plus the various formats. In the final components, students could take a self-quiz on information competency skills, to test how well they understood the principles. The components were spread out over the entire semester, giving students the opportunity to build their skills and practice them for several months.
3. Allied Health 44. Compensatory Nursing Practice. This ten-unit course (5.5 lecture, 13.5 laboratory) provides concepts and principles of the nursing process applied to preventive, supportive, rehabilitative, and teaching aspects in meeting the health needs of the patients requiring compensatory nursing interventions. It incorporates nursing concepts and experiences with all age groups, including senior adults. For this class, we posted the syllabus, weekly schedule and one information competency assignment online. Because this is one of the more advanced classes, we felt that students would have already have gone through the basics with AH3 and AH11, and therefore needed only a review of the concepts. The one assignment was an extensive virtual tour of the library from a nursing student’s perspective. It could be accessed of course, at any time, and the responses submitted online. Included were online encyclopedias, a subject-specific web directory, an online library catalog, an online index for general and popular magazines, and an Internet search engine for medical websites. Search strategies of truncation, Boolean logic and phrase searching were included. Methods of evaluating websites at various Internet sites were explored. Students were introduced to selected print and electronic reference tools.
4. Allied Health 62. Medical Surgical Nursing. This eleven-unit course (6 lecture, 15 laboratory) provides theoretical and clinical experience in the care of adult, medical-surgical clients, introduces more complicated nursing situations, including pre-operative and post-operative care. Again, because this is one of the more advanced classes, we included only one information competency component. The assignment covered online encyclopedias, online book catalogs, nursing-specific subject directories on the Internet, and Internet search engines. We also covered evaluation criteria and APA citation formats. The course syllabus and weekly schedule were posted to the class website for the students’ convenience.
5. Allied Health 64. Surgical and Pediatric Nursing. This eleven-unit course (6 lecture, 15 laboratory) provides theoretical and clinical experience in medical and surgical pediatric nursing, and includes the care of clients with disorders of the endocrine and neurosensory systems, mental illness, emergency nursing and care of the child. This is another advanced class, but the instructor wanted more components added to the schedule. A total of three assignments were designed and spread out over the semester, so that students had the opportunity to practice searching skills, evaluation criteria and writing APA-style citations. The assignments used topics students were currently covering in their classes, so that students had exposure to more information than what was provided in their textbook. The first assignment covered theories of human development, and led students to encyclopedia articles, specialized nursing directories and search engines on the Internet. The second assignment looked at sources of information on children’s perceptions of death and their expressions of grief. The third assignment concentrated on adolescents and risk-taking behavior.
6. Allied Health 140 or Library 140. Internet & Information Competency for Health Professionals. This one-unit goes into much more detail on how to find reliable, current information in the medical field. It examines the organization of health related literature in traditional print and electronic formats including MEDLINE and other NIH resources. Standard resources such as The Physicians’ Desk Reference and The Merck Manuals were examined in print and online versions. Internet subject directories with medical information in Spanish were introduced. Information resources were evaluated in several assignments. Citation formats for various resources were covered. Students came away from the class with a thorough understanding of the organization and availability of health information; how to find it and how to evaluate its usefulness. Lectures, visual demonstrations, in-class practices, group work, individual research project, worksheets, and a final examination were used. Meeting in the library electronic classroom, students worked interactively on assignments found on their website. They submitted their results to the instructor online. There were as well, outside assignments submitted on paper. Class activities often involved student teams who provided brief reports of their findings. We experimented with a condensed version of this course at a weekend workshop in the Hollister Public Library, training patrons and staff, useful to this largely Hispanic community with very limited health information available.
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used various measures to assess information competency among students in Allied
Health. These included (1) an assessment tool developed for nursing faculty
response: (2) informal feedback from students and faculty, (3) formal sessions
with the project team and (4) a test instrument. This instrument was used as
both the pretest and posttest. It was adapted from a similar instrument
Results of the Test Instruments
The mean score for the pretest was 51.5 % with a standard deviation of 17.95. The mean score for the posttest was 75.33, an increase of 23.83 points. Standard deviation of the posttest was 14.41. Where questions were adapted from the George Mason instrument, both test questions are provided in this report. Results are provided from the fall 1998 class at George Mason and the fall and spring of 1999-2000 at Gavilan. All Allied health classes asked their students to take this exam, thus some students took the exam more than once; however we used only one pretest per student. Questions without George Mason data were added for the Gavilan study.
In assessing the comparative statistics, there
are several variables to consider. Students in
GA: 4. %
GP= Gavilan Post Test
GM= George Mason Post Test
(Percentage selecting the correct response is indicated)
GA: 53 %
GP: 88 % (Gavilan Post Test)
Gav. Gain: 35 %
Gav. Gain: 34%
Gav. Gain: 21%
8. This is a valid format for a World Wide Web page address: http://email@example.com/, http://www.walters.org/, http://wwc.walters.org/
Gav. Gain: 11%
9. Material found on the World Wide Web does not have to follow copyright rules. (True/False) George Mason used the word restrictions rather than rules. Another version of the test at Gavilan states, “Most of the material you’ll find on the World Wide Web is protected by copyright laws. “
Gav. Gain: 24%
10. All search engines on the World Wide Web follow the same procedures. (True/False)
Gav. Gain: 18%
11. Computer searches for library material must be performed on computers in the library. (True/False)
Gav. Gain: 27%
12. To find a broad overview or background information on shock, you might look in: an online periodical index, an encyclopedia, the online GALENET Contemporary Literary Criticism. Not a GM question.
13. The flu has come to your city. You are asked to find out if elderly people would be better off having an influenza vaccination or not. You need to find current and reliable information. Your best source of information would be: The Readers Guide to periodical literature, The Miller-Keene Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health published in 1992, Medline, The Upjohn (Pharmaceutical) Company website discussion of flu treatments. Not a GM question.
Gav. Gain 28%
14. The Boolean connector AND will let you combine search words to narrow down your result list to only those items that are on your subject. Which of these searches would find the least number of items: rash, rash AND fever, rash AND fever AND measles or rash AND fever AND measles AND pneumonia? Not a George Mason question.
Gav. Gain. 40 %
15. If you want to find information on women suffering from bronchitis, which search strategy would find the most results? “women and bronchitis”, women and bronchitis, or wom* and bronchi*. Not a George Mason question.
GP 48 %
Gav. Gain. 30%
16. Putting a star after the root of a word will find all variations of the ending of that root. This search technique is called: Boolean logic, Truncation, Field searching, Faceting. Not a George Mason question.
Gav. Gain. 30%
A friend brings you the following information she found on the Internet “somewhere.” Read it and answer the following questions about it as best you can from the information provided.
the Journal of Dermatology Symptoms,
June 1999 published by
Chemoprevention of cancer is a means of cancer control in which the occurrence of this disease, as a consequence of exposure to carcinogenic agents, can be entirely prevented, slowed, or reversed by the administration of one or several naturally occurring or synthetic agents. Thus, the chemoprevention of cancer differs from therapy in that the goal of prevention is to lower the rate of cancer incidence. Such chemopreventive agents are also known as anticarcinogens, and an ideal agent should have (1) little or no untoward or toxic effects, (2) capability of oral administration, (3) low cost and (4) human acceptance. With regard to naturally occurring agents, several fruits, vegetables and common beverages have been identified as rich sources of cancer chemopreventative agents. While a wide range of laboratory studies has identified many compounds as cancer chemopreventative agents, in this article the main emphasis is on the chemopreventative potential of a flavonid present in artichoke, against different stages of mouse skin multistage carcinogenesis. We also highlight related studies.
17. In evaluating the article, the authority of the author and journal and its timeliness is believable. (True/False).
GA: 74 %
GP: 88 %
Gav. Gain: 14 %
18. The abstract makes believable claims, based on my reading of the paragraph. (True/False)
GA: 67 %
GP: 80 %
Gav. Gain: 13%
19. The “sponsor” of the article, the
GA: 78 %
GP: 88 %
Gav. Gain: 10 %
20. In sum, I would judge this article on the research of the relationship of artichokes and cancer prevention as believable, not believable.
GP: 80 %
Gav. Gain: 19 %
21. Which of the following is NOT a criterion for the evaluation of the quality of information on a website? Currency, Authorship, Awards, Repeatable research. Not a George Mason question.
GA: 34 %
GP 76 %
Gav. Gain: 42 %
22. Which of these information sources will give you journal citations and abstracts to medical literature? Internet search engine, Medline, a medical encyclopedia, Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature. Not a George Mason question.
Gav. Gain: 26 %
Faculty Assessment of the Project.
The Allied Health faculty was surveyed with the Allied Health Instructor Survey, an instrument developed by the Project Team. Beyond this survey, we met individually and in groups with the Allied Health and Library faculty to garner feedback. Four Instructor Surveys were returned -- out of a possible five. Respondents taught classes with IC components in Medical-Surgical Nursing, Nutrition for Health Professionals, Medical, Surgical and Pediatric Nursing and The Person in the Life Cycle.
The four participating instructors were asked to rate each question on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 = strongly disagree, 10 = strongly agree.
Question 1. Students were comfortable using the Information Competency (IC) components. Mean response: 7.75
Question 2. Student participation in classroom discussion increased following IC assignments. Mean response: 5.25
Question 3. After IC training, students seem to understand how to do research better. Mean response: 8.5
Question 4. After IC training, students tend to use better sources for their research projects. Mean response: 9
Question 5. After IC training, students were better able to differentiate the quality of sources. Mean response: 8.67
Question 6. Collaboration with library faculty is beneficial to my course. Mean response: 9.5
Question 7. IC assignments were relevant to my course. Mean response: 8.75
Question 8. IC components enhance ongoing education for topics in my course. Mean response: 9
Question 9. IC components seem to increase class attendance. Mean response: 3
Question 10. IC enhanced the overall quality of my course. Mean response: 9
Question 11. IC instruction enhances students’ requesting help or tutoring. Mean response: 4
Question 12. IC instruction led to students having a broader understanding of course content. Mean response: 8.5
Question 13. In my class, approximately ___ % received an A or B. Mean percentage: 40%
Question 15. In my class, approximately __ % received an F. Mean percentage: 21%. One instructor noted that rather than fail, “most students drop out or do not complete the assignments.”
Question 16. Instruction is enhanced by web-based learning. Mean response. 9
Question 17. Integrating IC components helps to maintain the currency of my course. Mean response: 9.75
In every Allied Health course, students are required to complete a paper or presentation based on library research. These assignments provided an opportunity to compare classes lacking information competency components with the new integrated classes. Allied Health instructors on several occasions noted that students, after completing the IC component, did better on their research papers. The instructor teaching Nutrition stated, “students all had a topic chosen for their research project. In previous semesters, there were always many students who came to me asking for suggestions for the research project. This semester, nobody did, and they all had very personal, very detailed topics. I think this is because they were looking at resources from the very beginning and so easily found ideas. Also the papers used much better sources. They used citations using the standard format and found many sources from the Internet. But in their papers, they justified those sources, telling why the source was a good one. In previous semesters, citations have been a mess, sources have been from all kinds of junk sites, or from less professional journals. I am very happy with the whole project.” Of the four instructors reporting their AH grades with the IC components, an average of 43.3 % of the students earned an A or B with 26.5% earning a C or D.
Thiele observes” the current and future health care environment demands a collaborate approach to work. Modeling this expectation in the nursing curriculum provides essential preparation for the multidisciplinary partnerships that are a requisite for providing quality care, now and in the future…. Use of the web resulted in an increase of collaborative learning among both graduate and undergraduate (nursing) students. These experiences provide preparation for work in a health care environment in which cooperation among and between various professionals is essential.” (Thieve, 1999)
We add that one of the most valuable aspects of this project was the collaborative effort of the Allied Health faculty and the library faculty. Kotter (a librarian) provides a useful outline of what we discovered:
+ A richer understanding of the needs of each instructor.
+ This impacts on collection development, instructional design, classroom instruction, college governance, outreach, library and discipline faculty training needs and more effective budgeting of resources.
+ An enlarged understanding of current electronic resources on the part of both discipline faculty and librarians.
+ Enriched understanding of students in the discipline and their needs and frustrations.
+ Joint publications and training
+ Much more understanding on the part of the librarians on specific facets of the Allied Health Curriculum
+ Much more understanding on the part of the discipline faculty on the role of librarians (even in their discipline) as an information consultant and resource person.
+ “Good relations,” Kotter notes, “ involve not only friendship but also some degree of consensus on the proper goals of higher education.” (Kotter, 1999)
We would add, not only consensus of the proper goals of higher education, but also, a consensus as to how to better use the tools of technology to meet those goals.
However, as in any organization, there will be a collaboration curve. The negative end is one or more faculty who may pay lip service to this kind of project, but may not, in the end, incorporate assignments into classroom instruction or lectures. As one evaluator stated “ this shows that even the best-designed modules by wonderful dedicated librarians won’t do much good without the cooperation and enthusiasm of the instructor.”
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These conclusions and “lessons learned” came from three sources: 1) formal assessment meetings, 2) informal discussions by individual participants and 3) remarks both published and otherwise from others going through this process. (Where we identified an issue at a Gavilan meeting we indicate the level of agreement among the participants by ranking a comment one to five; five meaning the participants were in total agreement, one being the participants were in total disagreement.)
“Preparation of Web-based instruction, “ notes Yucha & Princen, “ is time consuming for both the instructor and instructional designer/HTML programmer. Even when the course has already been taught in the traditional setting, large amounts of time must be invested to adapt the course for optimal use of Web capabilities and resources.” (Yucha & Princen, 2000) The Gavilan team response to this observation was 5, in total agreement.
Yucha & Princen include a useful table: “Preparation Activities and Time Commitment for Web-Based Module Development that provides a rule of thumb for planning. They suggest that for each of their modules (five units formerly taught in three hour blocks) it takes about 97 - 107 hours of preparation: 37 hours of involvement by the instructor and 60 to 70 hours of involvement by the instructional designer/HTML programmer. The activities for the instructor are 3 hours for preplanning, 4 hours per unit for adaptation of each unit, 1 hour of review per unit, 1 hour per unit to develop critical thinking questions and answered and 4 hours of searching the web for resources: a total of 37 hours. For the Instructional Designer for the same module will take 3 hours of preplanning, 10-12 hours of HTML programming of each unit, 1 hour per unit of review and 2 hours of searching the web for web resources.
Improve Faculty IC skills Base.
Library and discipline faculty need, as Young notes, to hold ourselves to the same standards and expectations” we have for our students. Gavilan’s Technology Committee has been helpful in identifying IC needs of the faculty and providing training and opportunities in this area. (Young, 1999)
“It is impossible, Yucha suggests, “ for an instructor who is new to Web-based instruction to consider all the possibilities in Web-based educational systems during the first online offering of their course or module. Therefore, we recommend that courses be revised and new interactive strategies be tested for their effectiveness within each type of course.” Participant faculty agreed on this observation, awarding it a 5 on a scale of 5. (Yucha, 2000)
In designing the specific lessons, we suggest considering a “set of properties” identified by Tom Hill, CEO and president of a software development firm. He provides a “use of technology schema” based upon observations of young people working at the Digital Clubhouse Network, a web development company and on high school projects as well as recent research findings he identifies. He suggests “ during key transition periods in people’s lives like: high school to college, during early college, and college to career, people seem to be more open to learning new skills, concepts and learning strategies than at other times.” (Hill, 1998). He proposes, thus, a “set of properties” that appear to facilitate use of new technology; “design, self-publishing, iterative, self-efficacy and self-monitoring.” These are useful reminders in developing assignments and modules.
+ Design – The more effective students develop shortcuts, often “visualization models” to retain and learn skills.
+ Self-publishing – “the ability to structure personal information and knowledge effectively without an intermediary.” Examples include students who maintain a personal website or contribute to a class or school club website, employing basic HTML, hyperlinks, etc.
+ Self-efficacy – “an individual’s belief in his ability to perform a particular behavior. Hill notes “ Self-efficacy at enhanced levels provided the internal impetus for a person to move ahead confidant in his ability to perform a task or learn a new skill. Of interest is research that indicates self-efficacy is a determining factor above intelligence. Students of above average intelligence but with limited sense of self-efficacy continued to perform poorly in schoolwork.” In our experience at Gavilan, students not altogether comfortable using English, single parents in their first college exposure, and older citizens worried about “breaking the computer” often have lower self-efficacy problems that can hinder their learning. Hill points to Bandura’s findings: “ beliefs in personal efficacy have been shown to have a greater impact on academic performance than personal, social and occupational outcomes expected for proficient performance. Bandura further observes that efficacy beliefs are important in support of creativity (Design) to override established ways of thinking and search for new knowledge. Moreover, perceived efficacy is necessary to persist in innovative endeavors that require prolonged investment in time and effort, where the outcome is uncertain, (and) progress is seemingly slow.” (1997, Bandura) The authors of this report suggest that building this self-efficacy by personal assistance and guidance – both during formal class sessions and informal meetings when students return to the library to do complete assignments – is a keystone to a successful program, and requires librarian trainers who are well organized and confident in their instruction yet able to provide a warm, non-judgmental atmosphere.
+ Self-monitoring (Continuity) – is the ability to “ develop and constantly update a ‘use-of-technology’ schema (in which) the individual must constantly monitor results of present approaches to technology, evaluate effective learning strategies for effectiveness and ease of application.” An example would be a student who knows if she is keeping up, is continually monitoring her performance. She keeps notes, uses learning aids and asks fellow students “in the know” as well the instructor for help when she feels she is falling behind. Such a student has a self-monitoring system. Such a student, Hill writes, has the ability “ to self-monitor, make mid-course personal learning strategy corrections and keeps developing new strategy skills.” This attribute, as Hill states, “is essential to the success of a continuous personal learning program.” (Hill, 1998)
“Over time,” Yucha notes, “ students become more comfortable with the media and are able to focus on course content. It is critical that nursing students become very comfortable with computers since they are used in every aspect of patient care. Some might even argue that the skills gain in Web-based instruction are more important than the (teaching) content itself because of the potential impact the Web has on every aspect of our society)” Gavilan team response: 4 on a scale of 5. (Yucha, 2000)
Rather than just the first assignment done in the library’s electronic classroom --with the help of a librarian-- possibly the first two assignments should use this venue. There were, even after the completion of the first assignment, many students who had major problems with manipulating the computer, problems that had nothing to do with the subject at hand. We overestimated the computer literacy levels of our entering students. Our survey showed that 64% of students ranked themselves as “technologically competent,” 10 points lower than first year students at George Mason. Young at George Mason observes “ it seems likely that some of our students were over-confident in their self-evaluation of their computer skills…we still need better ways of dealing with varying levels of knowledge, motivation and expectations…One of the frustrations of students who arrive fairly IC literate is that they are impatient with the catch-up time spent with the other students, and yet, are unaware of their own lack of knowledge – until after a few sessions – of IC literacy.” (Young, 1999). The Gavilan instructors echoed Young’s observation on self-assessments, noting some students found it took 3 to 4 hours for them to complete the first and second assignments, but dropped to 25 minutes by the time they were working on the fifth and sixth assignments; a striking learning curve. At the close of the course, many students sent e-mails to the participating librarians, stating how glad they were that they had been forced into those online assignments, because they now were more confident in their understanding of the “mechanics” of using a computer.
We need to modify some of the beginning assignments for each class. How to underline when writing citations online is an example: students wasted too much time unsuccessfully attempting that at their computers. We need to be sensitive to what we expect beginning students to already know about computers and do a better job of explaining required computer and word processing techniques. “ Since many students are not computer or Web literate, courses offered … must be user friendly and an orientation to the media must be provided, notes Yucha. (Yucha, 2000) Gavilan team response: 5, in total agreement.
Improve IC Integration
Our test results echoed that of George Mason’s students. That is, for those students reporting “ a high level of experience” with IC when entering the class, “ their knowledge with (IC) was relatively unchanged “from the beginning to the end of the course, perhaps due to the variables outlined in the report.” (Young, 1999). We agree with Young’s comment that “we still need to do a better job of integrating (IC) concepts at all levels of our curriculum. In the first-year courses, singular efforts need to be viewed in the context of the yearlong, big picture.”
Some boilerplate information should be repeated and adapted for each class website such as FAQs, definitions of the Internet’s jargon, search terms, and similar items. This would also allow the instructors and students to print out this short information sheet as well.
Our faculty librarians taught the introductory assignments in the library electronic classroom, and asked the students to submit their assignments to them via e-mail. This turned out to be a problem. The two librarians involved with the project report they “ spent a lot of time making lists of students who had completed each of the assignments, sending them to the instructors, then getting questions about individual students who claimed to have done the assignments. Some were already on the list and the instructor had missed them when she transferred grades into her records. A few had never been received, which indicate that some students did not send them or thought they had sent them but never clicked the submit button. In any case, it would seem much easier to have the students submit their assignments directly to their instructors, who can immediately respond to their student’s needs. W e left assignments up on class websites for the entire semester. We found this reinforced “assignment dribble,” whereby assignments tended to dribble in to the instructors long past the stated deadline. This could easily be remedied by allowing the instructors to de-activate a class assignment at a specific period after the due date. Without this feature, “ record keeping for 6 assignments from two or three classes is a nightmare.” We note, after-the-fact, that this process is a common feature for many online classes.
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Angel, Duffy & Belyea note, the National League of Nursing (NLN) mandated a plan “for systematic evaluation of critical thinking as a required outcome” for baccalaureate and higher degrees, to, as they suggest, “ prepare practitioners capable of the autonomy and level of thinking required in an increasingly complex health care environment.” (Angel, 2000) This useful discussion, appearing too late to be incorporated into our study, provides a structured format for health pattern assessment that appears suited for IC training at Gavilan, particularly in web-site evaluation. Angel et.al. report an investigator scored student responses to a case study questionnaire, placing responses in one of the following categories:
+ Transmission of facts and truths from an authoritarian source.
+ Acceptance of uncertainty and ambiguity of knowledge: personal opinions are equally valid.
+ Recognition that though uncertainty exists, all opinions are not equal.
+ Independently makes and commits to choices of ideas and action applying the methods and criteria of the discipline in the context of the student’s consciously identified values.
We suggest that such a process be reviewed in reworking our method of assessing the critical thinking assessments in our future testing of results.
Improve Assessment Tools
“Gather more and different kinds of data,” was a suggestion of Young’s that the Gavilan team supports as well. Young explains, “ our assessment efforts should reflect our value (placed) in active learning; that is, we should measure our students’ ability to demonstrate their knowledge not their ability to “recall” information on a multiple-choice test. Since we are working with a unique population of students experiencing the same curriculum over an entire academic year, we have a great opportunity to chart learning and growth. The (IC) assessment model should be applied to other components of the curriculum. Each competency should have a working group and assessment plan.” Young alluded to a “tracking” database established at George Mason for these first year students. This should be considered at Gavilan as well. Such a database could be used as a tool for instructors, a tool for creating study groups and seminars and useful for anyone in the AH department, the library faculty, counselors, etc. (Young, 1999)
Use Real World Assessment Activities
Glenda Prime (1998 Prime) points to studies of Lewis and Gagel (1992) and Layton (1987) to provide a clearer understanding of the specific core literacy components which we attempt to teach and assess. Prime posits that technological literacy (TL) is “ essentially about functional competencies in the real world (that) may be the course of the greatest assessment challenge, that is, to design assessment tasks that incorporate the salient elements of the real world in which TL is actually displayed. School assessment, even performance assessment, runs the risk of being too formalized and decontextualized to provide evidence about real-world functional competencies…” In Allied Health occupations, particularly, we would like our assessment tools to simulate, as much as possible, the real-world, which requires health workers, more and more, to work autonomously outside institutional settings, without the support of nearby hospital or research libraries, likely often finding needed information via networked interactions. Prime makes some useful suggestions in that regard; suggestions that fall outside our present assessment activities, but that we believe would enhance the students’ engagement with IC, and thus, their capabilities and competencies. Some examples:
+ “Use concrete activities that are relevant to the lives of students and are grounded in the real world.”
+ “ Appropriate strategies should involve multiple approaches yielding multiple types of data. Assessment should be open-ended to allow for the unique expression of individual achievement.”
+ “The use of portfolios, student documentation of activity, graphic displays, and product demonstrations are useful techniques. They are, however, limited in that they are passive manifestations of capability. The more active manifestations that are indicative of the complex interaction of values, intentions, knowledge and skills are perhaps better tapped by means of teacher-student conversations (we made extensive use of e-mail conversations), peer-group discussions (used in our electronic classroom demonstrations, and observational techniques conducted during student project work.” (Prime, 1998)
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standards for higher education.
http://www.ala.org/acrl/ilcomstan.html [2000, 6 June].
American Library Association. Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. (1989). Final report.
[On-line]. Available: http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/whitepapers/presidential.htm [2004,10 September].
American Nurses Association (1993). Strategies to position nurses for the future in a reformed health
Angel, A. Duffy, M., & Belyea, M. (2000, May). An evidence-based project for evaluating strategies
to improve knowledge acquisition and critical-thinking performance in nursing students. Journal
of Nursing Education, 39 (5), 219-228
Auyeung, S., &
Hausrath, D. (1998, August). Information
Competency Plan for the
Colleges submitted to the Chancellor’s Office California Community Colleges [96 paragraphs]. [On-line]
Available: http://www.gavilan.edu/library/infocomp/cover.html [2000, 6 June]
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy – the exercise of control.
Barger, S. (1994) Educating nursing students for community-based practice. Dean’s Notes. 15, 1-3.
(Cited by Mawn, 2000).
courses in nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 39 (2), 60-71.
Hausrath, D., &
Auyeung, S. (1998, November) An Information Competency Plan for
Community Colleges. Library Hi Tech News, 157, 1-3, 30.
Hill, T. (1998, December) Dimensions of the workforce 2008: Beyond training and education, toward continuous
personal development. Paper presented at the conference: Technology applications in education: A
view to the future. Institute for Defense
1998. [On-line]. Available:
http://www.eoe.org/FMPro?-db=Objects.fp3&-token=librarypapers&-format=/Library/PaperDetail.htm&refcon=4231&-lay=all&-find [2004, September 10]
classroom faculty. Journal of Academic Librarianship. 25(4), 294-303.
& N. Bolton (Eds.), Technology education project: Paper 1 (Papers submitted to the consultation held
on November 15 & 16, 1985: pp. 4-8).
Lewis, T., & Gagel, C. (1992). Technological literacy: A critical analysis. Journal of Curriculum Studies,
24 (2), 117-138.
Mawn, B., & Reece, S.M. (2000, March). Reconfiguring a curriculum for the new millennium: The
process of change. Journal of Nursing Education, 39 (2), 101-108.
Prime, G. (1998, Spring-Winter). Tailoring assessment of technological literacy learning [40
paragraphs]. Journal of Technology Studies [On-line serial]. Available:
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTS/Winter-Spring-1998/prime.html [2000, Sept.19]
paragraphs]. Leadership Abstracts [On-line serial], 13. Available:
http://www.league.org/publication/abstracts/leadership/labs0002.htm [2004, September 10]
behaviors of undergraduate and graduate students. Nursing and Health Care Perspectives, 20 (4), 199-
Young, J. (1999, August) Report on information technology, 1998-99.
World Wide Web. Journal of Nursing Education, 39 (2), 68-72.
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Recognizes that knowledge can be organized into disciplines that influence the way information is accessed.
Identifies the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g. popular vs. scholarly, current vs. historical)
Differentiates between primary and secondary sources, recognizing how their use and importance vary with each discipline.
(Skin cancer authority question)
Posttest: 88 %
(Question on believability of article)
Outcomes: Selects efficient and effective approaches for accessing the information needed from the investigative method or information retrieval system.
Constructs a search strategy using appropriate commands for the information retrieval system selected (e.g., Boolean operators, truncation, and proximity for search engines.)
Implements the search strategy in various information retrieval systems using different user interfaces and search engines, with different command languages, protocols, and search parameters.
Implements the search using investigative protocols appropriate to the discipline (e.g. Allied Health).
(Question on http address)
Pretest: 77 %
Posttest: 88 %
(Question on OPAC)
(Question on searching for periodical articles)
(Question on Boolean connector)
(Question using truncation)
(Question on search terms)
(Question on medical literature abstracts)
(Question on Medline)
Gain: 28 %
(Question on search engines)
(Question on access to websites)
Examines and compares information from various sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias.
Identifies relevant sources of information (books, journals, organizations with relevant library collections in the MOBAC area and systems (OPAC, ProQuest, CD ROMs, Periodical holdings in paper and electronic format.
(Question on claims of abstract)
(Question on timeliness of abstract)
(Question on sponsor of abstract)
Posttest: 88 %
(Question on quality of information on website)
(Question on criterion for quality of website information)
(Question on online catalog)
Pretest: 53% correct
Posttest: 88 % correct
(Question on broad overview)
The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.
Demonstrates an understanding of intellectual property, copyright and fair use of copyrighted material.
(Question on copyright):
Pretest: 40 % correct (mean)
Posttest: 64 % correct
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format uses a grant application template developed by the Chancellor’s Office
of the California Community Colleges and suggestions found in Mawn (Mawn, 2000)
Develop an ad-hoc curriculum revision committee using members of the discipline faculty and the library faculty. Examine “the issues within the current program and those outside” the educational institution. (Mawn, 2000) Using a workshop or general meeting, discuss key concepts, such as the need to make changes in the curriculum vis-à-vis the mission and objectives of the department. If it is agreed to proceed the ad-hoc curriculum revision committee will identify objectives.
The ad-hoc curriculum revision committee establishes objectives. They should address:
+ Development of integrated instruction models with alternative approaches to integrated information competency into (discipline) to further student success.
+ A method of evaluation of models – develop criteria and indicators of student success.
+ Faculty training and institutionalization.
+ Evaluation of the project.
developing an integrated instruction model with alternative approaches to
integrated instruction models, we suggest
Planning session to identify and prioritize specific activities and work groups
+ Outcome: An implementation Outline, a training plan, and an evaluation plan
+ Timeline: Month 1 into project
+ Responsible person (s): Project team (Project director, Project Consultant, Instructional Services Librarian and discipline faculty coordinator
Form curriculum development team from discipline faculty and library faculty and selected students
+ Outcome: Areas of development identified
+ Timeline: Month 1 into project
+ Responsible person(s) Project team
Develop course outline of new course(s) and/or integrated course(s) in (discipline) as stand-alone or add-on with an information competency component.
+ Outcome: New course outlines for submission to College Curriculum Committee
+ Timeline: Month 1-2 into project
+ Responsible person(s): Development team
Develop course-integrated instruction models for (x number) of (department’s) existing (discipline) courses
+ Outcome: Revised course outlines for submission to Curriculum Committee
+ Timeline: Month 2-4 into project
+ Responsible person(s): Project team, Development team & research assistants
Begin research and develop sample materials for new course(s)
+ Outcome: Updated class assignments
+ Timeline: Month 2-8 into project
+ Responsible person(s) Project team, Development team & research assistants
Teach new courses or revised courses in (discipline)
+ Outcome: Integrate information and research skill into the entire (discipline) curriculum
+ Timeline: Next term
+ Responsible person(s): Instructional services librarian(s) & selected (discipline) faculty
In developing evaluations of courses or course modules, and indicators of student success, the following steps are suggested.
Develop a hierarchy of anticipated accomplishments & verifiable indicators of information competency skills in (discipline)
+ Outcome: Set criteria to measure student success
+ Timeline: Month 2-8 into project
+ Responsible persons(s): Project team & Development team
Design the tracking, monitoring and reporting of student progress
+ Outcome: Collected data sets
+ Timeline. Beginning & ending of term (pre- and post-tests)
+ Responsible person(s) Project team and development team
Compare and analyze data from existing and revised courses
+ Outcome: Revision of core information competencies in (discipline)
+ Timeline: Month 9-10 into project
+ Responsible person(s): Project team & Development team
Faculty Training and Institutionalization
To provide faculty training and “institutionalize” the project the following steps are suggested.
Library faculty training and (discipline) training: Develop print & electronic training resources and prototype training activities
+ Outcome: Trained faculty ensures student proficiency in information competency
+ Timeline: Month 2-9 into project
+ Responsible person(s): Project team
Develop a more detailed staff development program for (name of institution)
+ Outcome: Campus-wide awareness of information competency concept
+ Timeline: Month 8-10 into project
+ Responsible person(s): Project team
Submit all new and revised courses to the Curriculum Committee for approval
+ Outcome: Information competency courses or components will be institutionalized
+ Timeline: Month 10 into project
+ Responsible person(s): (Department & Library)
+ Outcome: Monitor process and begin project evaluation
+ Timeline: Months 2-4 into project
+ Responsible person(s): Project Consultant and Project Director
Develop an implementation plan, a facilities plan, a training plan and a project evaluation.
+ Outcome: A planning template useful for related programs and for use by other colleges
+ Timeline: Months 8-11 into the project
+ Responsible Person(s): Project Consultant in consultation with Project Director
+ Outcome: Final report
+ Timeline: Months 11-12 into the project
+ Responsible Person(s): Project Consultant in consultation with Project Director
Contribute to professional journal and/or conference on the project
+ Outcome: Article
+ Timeline: 2 Months after the project is completed
+ Responsible Person(s): Project Consultant in consultation with Project Director
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