IDE Week 2 Integration

So now it’s time to see if/how well the goals and outcomes from week 1 correspond to week 2’s assessment strategies.

Learning Goals Assessments Learning Activities Helpful Resources
Develop Topics

  • narrow a broad topic
  • create keywords
Developing a Topic worksheet

  • brainstorming bubbles
  • blanks for keywords
  • blanks for combining keywords into searches

*feedback given in class as students complete the worksheet

Students use the Developing a Topic worksheet to think through their topics and create the keywords they’ll use to search. Mind Mapping video from Joshua Vossler
Search a Library Database

  • use keyword strategies to find sources
  • use database limiters to refine results
  • find the citation generator
1. Search & Source worksheet

  • Name of database used
  • List of limiters used, if any
  • Space for at least 1 source the student plans to use (in citation format)

*feedback given in class as students complete the worksheet

2. Bibliography Rubric

*feedback given before final project when they submit an annotated bib.

Students search using at least one library database to find at least one source they will use for their assignment.  ProQuest Research Library

My two main goals are students developing a general topic into a manageable research topic and then being able to navigate (ie search) a library database or two.

Considering the students I teach, my teaching style, and the assignments and what instructors want, I think I’m on the way matching these with the goals, feedback, assessment, and learning activities. I’ve tried to keep the goals simple but practical. In the back of my mind, I keep thinking, “what is the minimum students would need to complete this assignment” and not go crazy with the minute detail – I save some of that for ENG 112. Some of the sub-goals are related, but too lofty and I need to pull them back. I’ve already been simplifying my lesson plan, but this exercise helps focus my reasoning and gives me a target.

I usually go around in class commenting and making suggestions on what I see students writing on their worksheets. While I don’t collect the worksheets, I can tell how well a student has thought about their topic by how much information they write. The worksheet is the activity, along with searching in class, but it doesn’t have a very fun vibe to it – just a work/practice feel. One day I may try to jazz it up a bit.

From experience I know some students just don’t bother doing the worksheet in class. If I think they are having trouble, I’ll walk them through it a little more, but if I see them on Facebook or general web searching, then I can’t waste my time when there are students trying who need my assistance. Another conflict comes from students who don’t know how to brainstorm or what information to put down. I’ve also noticed that students have a hard time picking keywords. They want to use words like effects or causes instead of choosing specific ones.

We know that many students think they already know how to search, but it’s maybe not so obvious that students think searching = research. I make a point that the two are not the same but rather, searching is a part of research – there’s more to research. I also try to help them realize that research is an “organic” process, there is no one right way to do it and there will be dead ends and/or tweaks as they go.

My worksheets (assessments) only help me see them develop their topics, it doesn’t provide me a clue about what sources they find. We are thinking of creating a rubric to evaluate final bibliographies and I’m going to work with three instructors on my campus to see if they are interested in requiring an annotated bibliography for one assignment (one already does). I like the idea of a pre-assignment before the final paper is turned in, so they can get feedback. A good rubric can help students assess their own performance – or at least see what they need to do more of after the fact. The trick is creating a clear rubric. Oh, and finding the time to evaluate all those assignments.

Originally, I had students create a thesis or research statement, but it was hard to get across to students in 5 minutes, so I’m taking that out and just having them create keywords from their brainstorm. I’m not requiring synonyms in ENG 111 anymore, either. Again, it eats up time and I’d rather have them searching. Not to mention, many students think all blanks must be filled, even when there really isn’t a synonym for a term.

2 thoughts on “IDE Week 2 Integration

  1. Michael Mitchell says:

    The worksheet for developing keywords sounds like one that I’ve used in a composition class. What you wrote about students getting stuck by writing down terms like “causes” and having trouble thinking of synonyms was true in my experience, too.

    The one benefit that I’ve found with having them think of synonyms is that it sometimes helps them when their first choice word doesn’t work well in a database search. But like you said in your post, there’s just not always enough time to cover it all in one session.

    It sounds like walking around the classroom and checking in with students on their worksheets is a great way to give some timely feedback!

  2. Elizabeth Henry says:

    It looks like we both are working along very similar lines – trying to teach the most basic tasks of searching a database using keywords within a short amount of time! I too, usually do the same thing with feedback when walking around the classroom while the students (usually with great reluctance) try to locate an article.

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