Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week 2 - Looking forward

A student just came to me.  He's writing the capstone paper for his degree and he is trying to accurately cite his sources.  He cannot do this because he doesn't know what he is looking at.  This is one of the reasons why I want to make more of an emphasis on source type in the early part of their programs.  How timely!

Thinking about the reading: As a result of this source type exercise at least 75% of the students will be able to identify where to look for information, and when faced with a citation, figure out where it came from.

1. Forward looking assessment.  The above case is certainly a situation, but would only be applicable to the students getting BAs rather than associates degrees because associate students don't write capstone papers..  The critical thinking class I mentioned in the first week is required of all programs so I really want to consider a forward looking assessment that would encompass all students.  One thought is to ask students to look up product reviews in trade publications.  This would be appropriate for any program with a technical component.  And, this would require that students be deliberate in their searching.  Students struggle with the idea of authority and REALLY want authority to lie in the boring old academic journal, but they will not find product reviews there!

2. Criteria and Standards
In order to be deliberate in their searching, students need to formulate an information need.

This could be
a. a clear thesis statement
  • Below Expectations: Thesis statement does not include keywords. Idea is all over the map.
  • Meets Expectations: Statement is a clear information need with searchable key words included
or
b. a specific data element (demographics for example)
  • Below Expectations: Student is looking for impossible or proprietary information. Information need is either overly specific or far too broad.
  • Meets Expectations: Student is looking for specific and reasonable data (a review or  industry demographics)

3. Self assessment would ideally come in the form of them practicing a search and discovering it's usefulness or not.  This may take the form of group work in which students attempt to determine where a source is from.  

4. FIDeLity Feedback.
This is tough in a one-shot class.  I am always available to these students, but am not in the position of grading them.  I have tried to have follow up meetings with students, but that seems unlikely in this case.  This would probably have to be done in conjunction with the course instructor.

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