Your Resource for Information Literacy
In case you missed it, School Library Journal gave a stellar review of ResearchReady earlier this month. We are truly honored and so grateful for Jeff’s enthusiastic review.
More great news arrived last week when we learned there is another review of ResearchReady in the May 15 print issue of Library Journal! Bonnie Swoger, science librarian at SUNY Geneseo and blogger for Scientific American, checked out all of the robust features of ResearchReady.
Swoger was impressed by the user experience, which our talented developers have worked hard to perfect:Read More
The latest installment in our ongoing librarian profile series features librarian Jo Davis, who works at Chatham High School in Chatham, VA. In March, she was named Librarian of the Year in the Roanoke Region of the Virginia Association of School Librarians.
Much of Jo’s life has been spent in libraries. Throughout secondary school and college, she worked as a student library assistant (some of her schools didn’t even have a librarian). Initially, she dodged the idea of becoming a librarian; it wasn’t until she was earning her Master’s in Media that she realized the connection between her degree and librarianship, and then it clicked–“Oh, this is what I was supposed to have been doing!”Read More
A couple weeks ago I co-hosted a professional development webinar with the team at OCLC on how students in higher education approach research (you can view an archived recording here). It was one of the highest-attended webinars we’ve had lately, and there was ample participation.
While the positive feedback from the content of the presentation was great, it was more far more intriguing to see what other librarians had to say about their day-to-day experiences working with college students. Relaying statistics, studies and scholarly reports is great and all, but it speaks volumes when reinforced by real-world experiences.
Unsurprisingly, most of the responses related to students’ understanding (or lack thereof) of conducting research. During the webinar, Denise Marshall, a librarian from Fairleigh Dickinson University, said that “students don’t even know what peer-reviewed or even scholarly articles [are].” Another librarian said she had a capstone student who was trying to write her entire reference list from journal article abstracts (!). The librarian had to acquire the articles via inter-library loan so the student could actually read them.
Beyond understanding how to use specific resources, there were a handful of stories in the chat room about how students view the entire research process. Craig Beard from the University of Alabama at Birmingham said, “I wonder how many students understand paper writing as part of a learning experience? Perhaps they see the paper as merely ‘a project.’” From my past experience working in academia and current position at a public library, I have to agree. Research assignments are often seen as stepping stone to the finish line, another item to check off the course syllabus “to-do” list. Another librarian mentioned Carol Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process, where the first stage of research is confusion (seems about right, no?).
This discussion was impossibly timely, as I had a strikingly similar experience just a few days later when I was behind the reference desk. A young woman, maybe 20 years old and rather meek, tip-toed over to the desk. She asked if I could help her with a research paper. I was pumped—I help high school students with their research papers frequently, but it had been a while since I worked with a college student. Highly complex research topics and having access to ample scholarly databases is a rarity at our small library.
It was a quiet day, so I was able to work with her for the better part of an hour without many interruptions. Her first question was how she can access an American Psychological Association article for free because she didn’t have the money to pay for it. What I learned over the next 60 minutes was that she did not know:
We eventually figured all of these things out together, even if it involved my showing her quickly and then writing down steps for future reference. Little to my surprise, she had never visited her academic library or talked with a librarian at her university. She was heading back to college after Easter and said she would finish her research paper with the help of an academic librarian then (let’s hope she did!). Regardless, it seems fitting to contribute this small story to a growing discussion of just how unprepared many college students are for scholarly research.
Have you had similar experiences working with college students? Tell us in the comments!
Emily Gover is the in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. She enjoys a good karaoke session as long as ’80s tunes are involved. You can find her on Twitter, @Emily_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.Read More
Lots of exciting things to discuss today! Have you checked out our citation or research guides yet? We’ve also put together some resources for educators. These guides have always been available for free (and are licensed under Creative Commons), but we’ve recently made an exciting upgrade. They’re now hosted on SkyDrive.
Cloud computing has been the latest “thing” for a while, but it’s not a fad — it’s a revolution. Usage in cloud computing is expected to increase 12-fold by 2015, and with more people using mobile technology as their primary access point for information, it’s not terribly surprising. If you or your students haven’t made the switch to cloud computing yet, now is the time.
SkyDrive works with Office Web Apps to enable you to create and edit real Office documents online in your browser, for free. If you have a group project, or want someone to help you revise a paper, you can even work together with others on your documents at the same time – either in the browser or in Office. It is similar to Google Drive, but I’ve found the functionality of Google Drive’s apps lackluster (has anyone else dealt with formatting problems, too?). When I build presentations for our webinars, I store them in the cloud, but I build them in PowerPoint. (I’ve fiddled with web-based presentation platforms, too, but most webinar providers I’ve used favor PowerPoint files).
Working together online is great for teachers and students, especially for group projects. For those of you working on Common Core implementation, taking advantage of this feature enables students to use the Internet to interact and work with others (one of the Common Core Anchor Standards for Writing).
Another bonus to SkyDrive is that you get 7GB of free storage to start, which is the largest available from the major free services (Google Drive offers 5GB, Dropbox 2GB). Upgrading to more space is significantly cheaper through SkyDrive, too… 10 bucks will get you an extra 20GB. (See how SkyDrive stacks up against competitors on price and other features here.) If you’re already an Office 365 user, the extra 20GB is included with the Office suite. You can also create a document in Office and save it directly to SkyDrive through the software.Read More
It seems like we have exciting new updates to report on ResearchReady every week! Our cloud-based information literacy instruction platform is constantly evolving, and we wanted to fill you in with some recent updates.
This week, we’ve added the functionality to grade free-text questions. ResearchReady automatically assesses multiple choice and “check all that apply” questions, but free-text questions require analysis from the educator. We’ve added a simple grading tool within the Admin panel to grade free-text questions — simply hover over the response, then select a grade from the scale and add your comments.
In order to protect all of our users’ privacy, we’ve also added SSL encryption to ResearchReady. What this means is all of your personal login information stored within ResearchReady is secure and protected from hacking or phishing. Make sure you log in to https://app.researchready.com/ to ensure you are protected.
Emily Gover is the in-house librarian for EasyBib and ResearchReady. She recently enjoyed the most delicious grilled cheese of her life and is still savoring the experience (yeah, it was that good). You can find her on Twitter, @Emily_EasyBib, or posting news you can use at the EasyBib Librarians Facebook page.Read More