Program Schedule for
2011 Kathleen A. Zar symposium

3rd Biennial
Kathleen A. Zar Symposium
Friday, April 25, 2014

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Video of presentations from the 2011 Symposium

There are three ways to view content from the 2011 Kathleen A. Zar Symposium, so choose the method that works best for you.

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Program Schedule

9:15 AM


9:30 AM

Barbara Kern and Andrea Twiss-Brooks, Co-Directors, Science Libraries, University of Chicago
Welcome and introductions

10:15 AM

Megan Oakleaf, Assistant Professor -  iSchool at Syracuse University

Megan Oakleaf is an Assistant Professor in the iSchool at Syracuse University. Her research areas include assessment, evidence-based decision making, information literacy instruction, and reference services. Prior to this position, Oakleaf served as Librarian for Instruction and Undergraduate Research at NC State University and a teacher in Ohio public schools.

Slides | Handout 1 and Handout 2

10:45 AM

Rebecca Starkey, Reference Librarian / Instruction Services Specialist and Bibliographer for Education - University of Chicago
Developing "One-Size-Fits-Most" Library Instruction Assessment Tool
In 2009, the University of Chicago Library embarked on a pilot program to integrate library instruction into the Department of History's thesis seminar. As part of the pilot, the Library developed a brief assessment consisting of a pre- and post test of student library research skills. Over the next several months, we tested different versions of the assessment to develop a quick and easy form that could be used in most of our library instruction programs (especially for BA and MA seminars). By encouraging our librarians to use a common assessment tool, we hope to gain a broader picture of library research skills at the University.


Video (forthcoming)

11:00 AM

Networking break

11:30 AM

Brook Stowe, Coordinator of Instruction - Library/Long Island University
Assessing the Assessment: One Academic Library's First Year Journey into Curriculum-Integrated Information Literacy Instruction
As accreditation bodies have shifted their focus of evaluating the success of institutions of higher learning from input (e.g. volume and pedigree of faculty publications) to outcomes (e.g. measuring levels of student learning), so have academic libraries evolved from institutions tethered to the comfortable familiarity of their physical holdings to steadfast facilitators of an often overwhelming amount of information bombarding users from myriad external sources, with availability often trumping authority for the novice researcher. Central to the success of the academic library's standing in this ever-expanding information landscape vis-à-vis its pedagogical mission is the effectiveness of the design and delivery of information literacy skills through library instruction. By evaluating the pre- and post-outcomes assessment data of more than 2000 undergraduate students enrolled in freshman English composition and the subsequent multidisciplinary writing-intensive course it feeds into, this presentation will examine the peaks and valleys, hits and misses that one mid-sized, urban academic library experienced during its first-year implementing curriculum-integrated information literacy instruction. Working in partnership with English Department and other teaching faculty, the Library designed its linked outcomes assessment to measure the effectiveness of a heightened Library instruction presence aimed at increasing student information literacy skills at the introductory research level. Incorporating valuable lessons learned from this initial year, the Library will endeavor to increase both the level of integration in its institution's core curricula and the degree of effectiveness in helping students become information literate.


Video (forthcoming)

11:30 AM -

Kari Weaver, Assistant Professor of Library Science and Library Instruction Coordinator - University of South Carolina Aiken
Reflective Thinking : The Key to Student Learning Outcome Assessment for Library Instruction
When it comes to assessment, librarians largely fall back on traditional value-added or quantitative assessment measures. However, these assessments frequently fail to demonstrate a marked impact on student learning based on specific course, programmatic, or institutional outcomes. Reflective writing prompts offer a perfect answer to this conundrum. When embedded in student coursework, reflection offers a unique opportunity for students to express, in their own words, their learning and search processes. Through reflective writing students will better internalize their own work flow and think more critically about their work. However, real learning cannot be assessed without a representative product. Journaling provides such a product and a golden opportunity for librarians to explore real student learning through coding journal responses. Additionally, such assessments may improve librarian input in the assessment process as information from reflective writing can be used in real-time to adapt course material to the unique challenges of individual classes, along with after course completion to improve the course for subsequent presentations. The presentation will introduce participants to the use of reflective writing prompts in information literacy instruction sessions. Participants will also have the opportunity to develop their own prompts for student reflective writing, discuss the process of coding responses, and review approaches for developing faculty and librarian partnerships.

Slides | Handout | Prompt writing exercise

Video (forthcoming)

1:30 PM

Quadrangle Club, 1171 E 57th St - map

2:00 PM

Shawn Tonner, Director of Library Services; Betsy Whitley  - North Georgia College & State University
Getting Real With Authentic Assessment
The purpose of this presentation is to explore the use of authentic assessment to evaluate learning within the 50 - 90 minute library instruction one-shot classroom. Authentic assessment informs both the learner and the instructor whether learning actually takes place using concrete and observable demonstrations. Authentic assessment shapes all aspects of the teaching and learning experience by requiring instructors to define learning outcomes and to develop clear expectations for the learners' performance and proficiency in advance of instruction. Authentic assessment provides instructors with a reliable feedback loop for assessing the quality of the instruction. Additionally, authentic instruction provides the learner the opportunity to self-assess performance, synthesize, apply new knowledge, and reflect on what they have learned. In the time provided, the presenters will 1) define authentic assessment 2) compare it to more traditional forms of assessment , 3) share 4-5 samples of authentic assessment techniques that can be adapted for use, and 4) present the advantages and challenges of applying authentic assessment in the one-shot classroom. The presenters will focus particularly on the 50-90 one-shot teaching and learning environment where the library faculty member works in collaboration with the classroom faculty member. Participants in this session will leave with a greater appreciation for the value of authentic assessment, the courage to try it, and how to recover gracefully and learn from failure.


Video (forthcoming)

2:30 PM

Mark MacEachern*, Liaison Services Librarian/Taubman Health Sciences Library; Darlene Nichols, Librarian for Diversity Initiativies and Programs; Angie Oehrli, Learning Librarian; and Julie Piacentine, Public Services Librarian - University of Michigan
Engaging Library Instructors with Assessment: A Case Study from the University of Michigan Library's Instructor College
In an effort to cultivate a culture of assessment amongst University of Michigan (UM) Library instructors, the UM Library's Instructor College (IC) Steering Committee identified assessment as a theme for its 2010-11 programming. IC is a specially focused initiative of the UM University Library (UL) whose goal is to strengthen the instructional skills of library staff with teaching responsibilities and interests, and each year organizes and sponsors a series of instruction-related brown bags, workshops, and presentations to support that goal. With assessment as its 2010-11 theme, the IC invited instruction and assessment experts from around campus, including faculty from the UM Center for Research on Learning and Teaching and the Department of Medical Education, to speak to library staff about formative assessment, learning outcomes, and assessment techniques that are conducive to standard library instruction environments. In conjunction with these IC sponsored sessions, the UL established an Assessment Committee, which developed an online instruction evaluation form for librarians to distribute to attendees of their classes. By using the online form, librarian instructors are able to extract assessment data from all sessions they teach, and can, as a result, use the data to identify trends in attendee responses. This presentation will describe the IC, its activities and programming, and provide a case study of how IC is actively encouraging UM library instructors to incorporate assessment into their teaching.

Slides | Handout

Video (forthcoming)

2:45 PM

Lightning Talks 

Stephanie Kerns, Head of Education and Outreach/Curriculum Librarian - Galter Health Sciences Library Northwestern University
Information Management Competencies: Partnering with Faculty to Assess Information Literacy Skills
In 2009 the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University developed competencies that were implemented to assess all incoming medical students, including two that incorporated information management objectives. The curriculum librarian was on one of the competency committees. In the first year of this competency-based program, the curriculum librarian, partnering with faculty and teaching in the Medical Decision Making I course, used these information management objectives to assess the assignment given to the M1 class at the end of the course. This rubric provided standardized assessment criteria in which to objectively grade the students and provide feedback to them. The assignment being graded included clinical scenarios and required the students to search for information to answer questions they framed. In the second year, changes were made to the system and the assessment process, informed by the successes and failures of the previous year. First, the librarian created standardized comments in order to provide effective feedback for common issues, both positive and negative. This allowed for more efficient grading, which meant the students could receive their feedback more quickly. Second, an online portfolio was developed by the medical school, providing the students access to the feedback much more quickly than they could the previous year. Because of this, they were able to apply what they learned to another course they took immediately following MDM I, where they were researching medical resources for information relating to patient cases. Faculty response from that course has been positive about the students’ information management skills.


Video (forthcoming)

Jim Brucker, Instructional Design Librarian and Stephanie Kerns, Head of Education and Outreach - Galter Health Sciences Library Northwestern University
An inside perspective: Leveraging peer assessment to improve instructional approaches and class design
In the search for instructional improvement, education librarians at the Galter Health Sciences Library wanted to go beyond traditional learner-generated class evaluations and focus on the actual learner experience. They coordinated a peer review process in which fellow education librarians participated in classes and observed instruction from the learner's perspective. The Galter librarians created a peer assessment rubric, focused on both class design and pedagogical details. After piloting and revising the rubric, the librarians attended a variety of existing classes as fellow learners, and were able to observe typical class activity from a perspective that was distinct from that of the instructor. Leveraging the standardized framework of the rubric, the librarians then met for general feedback and review sessions for each of these classes. The rubric allowed for detailed analysis of instructional nuance and breakdowns of class structure. Each instructor was also able to learn from each other's teaching styles. Some classes were redesigned in accordance with group consensus, steering them into a more learner-centered, interactive paradigm. Every instructor crafted personal, measurable goals, and the Education Department created overall goals in instructional design and pedagogy. The focused, impartial review provided by a group approach to a single rubric helped instructors target attainable nodes of improvement, demystify certain self-perceived problems, and integrate interactivity into classes that were previously somewhat static. Follow-up assessments are based on the same process, repeated over several iterations, providing both qualitative and quantitative measures of instructional efficacy in a sustainable framework.

Slides | Handout

Video (forthcoming)

Debra Werner, Biomedical Reference, Outreach and Instruction Librarian - University of Chicago Library
Assessment on the Fly: Using Clickers to Assess Learner Comprehension in Real-Time

Library instruction is often limited to a one-shot session, in which there is limited opportunity to follow up when a post-session survey reveals low comprehension of some of the topics covered. Audience response systems, or clickers, allow the instructor to assess comprehension during the instruction session. By building polling slides into presentations, instructors can immediately assess participants' comprehension of concepts just presented, and have the opportunity to provide further explanation if needed. And because clicker responses are anonymous, learners do not have to admit they didn't get it the first time.


Video (forthcoming)

3:00 PM

 Networking and refreshment break

3:30 PM

Anne Pemberton, Instructional Services Coordinator - William Madison Randall Library, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Getting More Bang for Your Buck: Using a Template to Create Rubrics and Worksheets for Library Instruction Assessment
Utilizing worksheet and rubric templates to create assessment tools to measure student learning outcomes in library instruction is both effective and efficient. Librarians need not reinvent the wheel in designing assessment instruments when common student learning outcomes are the goal. A template for a worksheet or a rubric can be created and then modified for the specific needs of the librarian. At the University of North Carolina Wilmington, a template for a "research strategy worksheet" was developed to use as an assessment instrument for multiple library instruction sessions. This worksheet has been used for several semesters to assess students' abilities to identify appropriate databases and keywords and to locate books and articles after library instruction has been delivered. Worksheets provide a means for direct assessment and require students to demonstrate achievement of relevant student learning outcomes. In addition, they serve as an active learning exercise for students and help reinforce library instruction concepts. A rubric was also developed to score this worksheet. Using rubrics to score worksheets provides consistency in scoring and helps librarians determine what constitutes student "achievement" after library instruction. Student learning outcomes, the worksheet and rubric templates, and selected assessment results will be shared. A discussion of how the worksheet, rubric, and library instruction activities have been modified over time (“closing the loop”) will also be discussed. Attending librarians can modify the worksheet and rubric to meet the needs of their library instruction program and can easily begin to assess the effectiveness of their library instruction activities.


Video (forthcoming)

4:00 PM

Melissa Bowles-Terry, Instruction & Assessment Coordinator - University of Wyoming
Does Library Instruction Make a Difference? Mixed Methods Study of the Library Experience of Graduating Seniors
Librarians hope to affect student achievement by meeting students in the classroom. At University of Wyoming, the number of instruction sessions offered by librarians has increased from 127 sessions in 2001 to 357 sessions in 2009, and our institution is part of a national trend. But does all the time and effort expended on library instruction help students succeed academically? This study will attempt to establish a connection between library instruction and student achievement via a focus group with graduating seniors and a transcript analysis correlating students' library instruction experience to GPA. I hypothesize that seniors who have had library instruction in their sophomore, junior, or senior year (in addition to the expected instruction in their freshman year) will be more successful than students who did not have library instruction after their freshman year. Hopefully, students who attend multiple library instruction sessions at UW succeed, achieve, and learn more than those who do not. Learning more about the student experience via the focus group and analysis of a large sample of senior transcripts will give us more information about which students receive library instruction, at what point they receive it, and how we can improve the library instruction program for students in different programs of study. We are working to create a tiered approach to information literacy teaching, and this study will provide us with some of the information and supporting data we need to make that happen.

Slides | Handout

Video (forthcoming)

4:15 PM

 Closing remarks

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