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Associate Dean Kathryn Crowe and Dr. Elizabeth Natalle of Communication Studies Share Student Learning Enhancement Award

University Libraries’ Associate Dean for Public Services Kathryn Crowe and Dr. Elizabeth Natalle from Communication Studies won the 2012 Student Learning Enhancement Award from the UNCG Senate Student Learning Enhancement Committee.  Crowe and Natalle’s study assessed information literacy skills in Communication Studies (CST) 300, a core course required of all CST majors. After identifying specific learning outcomes Crowe used a rubric to score a “real-life’ performance evaluation in the form of a worksheet.  After an initial pilot in 2009 indicated that students were not gaining needed skills several changes were made during subsequent semesters: (1) requiring students to take several modules of the Libraries’ online tutorial (2) delaying the library instruction session so that students have more time to develop their topics and absorb material from the tutorial (3) developing a tutorial on primary sources in Communication Studies.  The scores improved dramatically for the 3 learning outcomes:

In the fall of 2010, CST faculty participated in an in-house survey to take further action on improving the delivery of information literacy skills with the goal of fully embedding them into the major. Natalle crafted eight basic information literacy learning outcomes for CST majors and the following student learning outcome was added to all syllabi:

Apply a working knowledge of information literacy as a tool for scholarship in communication studies including APA style for professional writing, library search techniques, and use of primary sources (journal articles and other research publications).

This collaborative model offers an excellent opportunity for many departments to build a stronger relationship between themselves and the Libraries.  This authentic assessment of an assignment that was part of the sequence of the course provided evidence that students were not acquiring the skills that both the teaching faculty and librarians wanted them to learn.  The Libraries and the CST Department partnered more closely to develop focused outcomes and measure them more rigorously.  As a result we worked together to revise the pedagogy that improved students’ performance and integrated information literacy further into the CST curriculum.  Additional information is available in this article.