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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The UCLA Library is a campus-wide network of libraries serving programs of study and research in many fields. In addition to its extensive and varied print collections, the Library provides access to a growing collection of electronic resources and collaborates with UCLA faculty and staff on a variety of digital projects.

Cover page of UCLA Information Literacy Program.  Blended Instruction Course (BICo) Task Force Report

UCLA Information Literacy Program. Blended Instruction Course (BICo) Task Force Report

(2005)

In Spring 2005, the UCLA Information Literacy Program charged a Task Force to investigate blended instruction options for information literacy credit courses and labs. The BICo Task Force was charged with investigating and making recommendations for a model 1-unit information literacy blended instruction course which would combine elements of in-person and online instruction. The Task Force looked into existing blended instruction courses, both for information literacy and for other disciplines, including those proposed by faculty in response to a 2004 UCLA Office of Instructional Development RFP for blended instruction courses, and made recommendations regarding expected learning outcomes, curricula, assignments and grading, instructional formats, types of technology (hardware & software) used to teach "blended courses," and assessment of effectiveness, as well as training needs.

Cover page of Faculty Focus Groups: UCLA Information Literacy Initiative

Faculty Focus Groups: UCLA Information Literacy Initiative

(2005)

The UCLA Library’s Information Literacy Initiative sponsored faculty focus groups in May 2003 to gather information on faculty's perspectives on undergraduate students' abilities to locate information efficiently, evaluate it, and use it effectively and ethically. Twenty-seven faculty from a variety of disciplines and departments across the campus participated in the discussions.

A review of the transcripts indicates that the participants have many concerns surrounding this issue. Most notably were students' lack of understanding regarding the issues surrounding plagiarism and intellectual property; the inability of students to critically evaluate the quality of the material they have found; and students' lack of understanding of what constitutes the scholarly process (how that differs in different disciplines, how to not only gather information, but to analyze it, synthesize what is found and come up with their own interpretation of the material).

Faculty indicated that they handled the problem in a variety of ways. Some did not assign papers or projects that required the students to gather information from the literature in the field. Rather these faculty members had students analyze designated material or data sets, either in print or online, and draw conclusions from them.

Of those who did make assignments that required the use of the literature in the field, some restricted students to predetermined material either by putting it on reserve or giving students lists of titles and/or resources that were acceptable. While they acknowledged that this did not directly teach critical thinking and evaluative skills, the faculty hoped students might learn by example. The rest of the faculty that required literature-based research, tried to give the students some direction, but allowed the students to research on their own.

Other possible approaches were discussed from the perspective of the library, the faculty and the campus at large. Solutions included creating assignments or adapting ones already used to help introduce students to the problematic concepts and to the appropriate use of library materials; developing library sponsored and librarian taught courses to address the issues and bringing the issues to the attention of curriculum oversight committees on campus. Faculty and librarian collaborations were viewed as very effective approaches to dealing with these issues.

Cover page of Information Competence at UCLA: Report of a Survey Project

Information Competence at UCLA: Report of a Survey Project

(2001)

Librarians have long had anecdotal evidence that undergraduates do not possess adequate information skills for some of the coursework they are required to complete. To obtain an objective measure of their information competence, the UCLA Library's Instructional Services Advisory Committee (ISAC) conducted an assessment project. The committee created a list of competencies and a survey instrument, which was administered to a sample of 453 undergraduates in Spring 1999. This report explains the research problem and methodology, explores the findings and conclusions of the research project, and makes recommendations based on the data.

The main goal of the project was to identify ways to make library instruction more effective at UCLA. A practical objective was to obtain data to use in discussions with faculty about students' information and research skills, the impact of those abilities on students' coursework, and the potential of library instruction to improve them.

The instrument ISAC created sought to measure how skillful or knowledgeable students were in general with library resources, online searching, and information-seeking concepts, rather than to assess the efficacy of existing library instructional programs. The instrument was vetted in several ways over the course of the project and was administered in a non-course-related classroom setting to a broad sample of students. A data analyst from the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) oversaw the coding of data and performed several types of analysis on it to test hypotheses and verify significant findings.

Results indicate many gaps in students' understanding of resources and methods, which are discussed in detail in the report. The general level of information literacy as assessed by the instrument was low. Statistically significant findings based on an analysis of average scores and student demographics are:

-Students who reported frequent use of library resources scored higher on the test.

-Seniors scored higher than each of the other classes taken separately or combined. While seniors scored highest, class level was otherwise not a significant factor; that is, there was no difference between the mean scores of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.

-Students whose majors are in the humanities scored higher than students majoring either in the social sciences or sciences.

The results did not allow ISAC to identify causes for these findings, although a number of hypotheses are possible. It is not clear whether or in what way the statistically significant results are substantively significant.

The mean scores of students who reported having had a high quantity of library instruction or tours were also analyzed. Although these students did not score significantly higher on the test, two thirds of them had their library classes or tours in high school; the number who had the sessions in college was so small that the result for this variable is not particularly meaningful.

Based on the results of this project and the collective experience of committee members, ISAC has made several recommendations aimed at the goal of increasing information competence. Library staff should share the key findings with faculty and create a dialogue about the information competence of their students. This might include discovering how faculty view students' information skills and exploring the effect of increased library use on information competence. Library staff should work with faculty and academic departments to define, adopt, and promote sets of basic and discipline- or major-oriented competencies; these should be used to develop library instruction that is part of a curriculum-integrated information literacy program. The Library should take a more systematic approach to instructional initiatives - which may include Web-based instruction, course-integrated instruction, courses, and remote learning mechanisms. Areas for further research and recommendations about the use of the instrument are also included in the report.