Learning from Student Learning: A Librarian-Instructor's View of Her Information Literacy Class

By Wilkinson, Carroll Wetzel | Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources, Fall 2006 | Go to article overview

Learning from Student Learning: A Librarian-Instructor's View of Her Information Literacy Class


Wilkinson, Carroll Wetzel, Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources


Introduction

This article is a sequel to "Stronger Students, Better Research: Information Literacy in the Women's Studies Classroom," published in Feminist Collections v.25, no.4 (Summer 2004), and available online at http://www.library.wisc.edu/libraries/WomensStudies/fc/fcwilkinson.htm. It will summarize my experiences and insights based on three more semesters of teaching an experimental, three-credit course now entitled "Gender and the Research Process.

Background

The course started out in 2004 as "Women's Studies Research in the Information Age." It originated in women's studies literature and the ideas of information literacy. To reach a larger audience of students, I expanded its focus in 2006 to the even broader area of gender issues and information and retitled it "Gender and the Research Process."

The students spend the semester involved in various aspects of the research process. This includes framing research questions related to their subject of choice and learning to identify what the characteristics of a good subject actually are. They learn methods of searching for information, deep reading, problem-solving models of research, critical evaluation of information sources, greater sophistication about the genres of publishing, and an appreciation of the services and expertise of the people available in libraries who can facilitate a person's research process.

The course is customized to the students' interests, and so long as their topics have something to do with the socially imposed roles of men and women, the students may choose their own research subjects. They learn several definitions of gender so that they can grasp the cultural imposition of sex-role stereotypes and integrate this into their evolving research process and learning. Many of the tools the students learn are based in the social sciences, although if they are interested in the sciences or humanities, they'll learn to use appropriate sources in those disciplines. Everything else is about the research process and the students' increasing ability, over the semester, to make meaning for themselves through guided learning. You could say the course is fundamentally about learning to learn. By digging deeper and deeper in the resources they find as they do the experiential learning assignments, the students learn the decision-making processes necessary to acquire pre-qualitative and pre-quantitative research competence.

It's my way of teaching "information literacy"--broadly defined as the set of abilities that allow a person to recognize when information is needed and to act effectively and efficiently on that need. The course is also about the ethical applications of information--avoiding plagiarism, understanding the social context from which information comes, and respecting intellectual property created by others.

In 2002, Carleton College's librarians developed an elegant statement, now posted on their website, about the characteristics of a fully informed, information-literate individual in today's complex world:

  An information literate person has to develop a sophisticated
  relationship with information by fostering appropriate expectations
  for information sources, effective search strategies, critical
  evaluation of information sources, and respect for the intellectual
  work of others.

This emphasis on developing a student's relationship to information, appropriate expectations for it, and evaluation skill, matches the fundamental course results I seek.

Questions and Emerging Answers

At the end of "Stronger Students, Better Research," I posed several questions that I would like to answer here:

* Will my hybrid classroom, with its community information stations stacked with examples of feminist publications and URL lists, catch on as an immersion method?

* Will my "process approach" to teaching research have staying power? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Learning from Student Learning: A Librarian-Instructor's View of Her Information Literacy Class
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.