Professional Development

Roz at LOEX – Information Ethics as an Instructional Tool

Friday, May 2, 2008 12:45 pm

This presentation, from Elmhurst College, called Laying an Ethical Foundation: Information Ethics as a Good Beginning

IL in a first-year seminar (new program to Elmhurst) —

  • Dean brought it into the curriculum
  • Went to First Year Experience conference (in Hawaii!!!)
  • Partnered with Student Affairs personnel
  • Wanted FYS to be very academic in nature (rather than an extended orientation class)
  • 4 pilot classes (Business, Geology, Education, Rhetoric/Composition)
  • Rhetoric/Comp Professor was an honors section “Exploring Chicago” — place as text — history/politics/economics/culture/immigrants
  • All 4 sections taught at the same time — they would get them together for larger discussions
  • For all 4 classes – 5 specific goals
    • Articulate an understanding of the value of a liberal arts education and its synergy with professional preparation.
    • React ethically to varied perspectives and experiences to stimulate intellectual curiosity and to expand cultural awareness
      • Attendance at campus events and reaction papers
      • off-campus trips that required critical & reflective thinking about the experience
    • Respond critically to varied texts from different disciplinary speheres of knowledge and perspectives
      • critical examination of readings from many different perspectives
    • Contribute to the campus and/or society through varied means including civic engagement
    • Articulate and demonstrate ways to ethically gather, synthesize and present information in school, work and life
  • Last goal was Information Literacy — library partnership
  • Focus on access and evaluation in first year programs results in lack of time for consideration of communication and ethics
  • College’s mission to teach ethics and values
  • Millennial students as creators and users of information
  • Goals of the Information Literacy Module
    • Engage students where they are
    • Prompt them to think about information ethics
  • 3 blog assignments
    • Academic dishonesty — group discussion, followed by reflective writing
    • Sources of information — critical thinking exercise on web-based resources — analyze Wikipedia and Britannica entries
    • Ownership of information – blog ‘reports’ on events with multimedia component

Results (Librarian Perspective):

  • Most students completed blog assignments
  • Used information ethically
  • Did not comment on each others posts -
  • Did not use this blog for other assignments or recreationally
  • Resistance to blogging
  • Engaged students in learning with librarians
  • Embedded librarian in a course
  • Introduced information ethics as part of information literacy
  • established information literacy as essential skill in gen ed revision
  • Importance of integrating information literacy instruction with ocourse content
  • collaborative course design
  • understanding faculty styles

Results (faculty perspective)

  • Very positive
  • Supportive expertise
    • In-depth knowledge of most current reference materials
    • Understand best practices regarding ethical use of resources, source evaluation, citation, etc.
    • experience with the latest technology
  • Enhanced academic experience
    • Integrated instruction
    • content focused
  • Class blog
    • resources materials
    • student postings

Results (student perspective)

  • Initially anxious about research and the technology
  • Glad (and surprised) to know the librarian knew more about blogs than students
  • Learned a lot from in-depth exploration of mis-use of information….. ‘don’t cheat’ does not make students understand the use and misuse of information
  • Librarian contact and instruction took away the excuse ‘I didn’t know how to find the research’ –
  • Students connected with each other…..through exploring Chicago, etc.
  • Time in class might have made students read each others postings
  • If more assignments had used them, students may have been more comfortable….
  • Blogs did help students synthesize the information…..

Next Year

  • expanding to 8 sections then to 28 sections for all students
  • assignments will be more integrated with course content
  • spread workload out over librarians
  • follow up with students over the summer

Q & A

1 librarian assigned to all 4 sections

went to most of the common sessions

did grade blog assignments

workshop for faculty beforehand on blogs

Interesting discussion about whether the blogs should be public……

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