Friday, November 20, 2020

Professional Development Award Report: FYE (First Year Experience) Conference

Carrie Papa-Schold was a recipient of one of the two WHSLA 2020 Professional Development Awards. Below, she tells us about her experience at a pre-COVID conference. 


Thank you WHSLA for the grant towards attending the FYE (First Year Experience) Conference in Washington, D.C. on February 21 – 24, 2020.  (Yes, just before Covid hit the US.)

In my current job at George Williams College (GWC) in Williams Bay, WI, I am the Assistant Director of Academic Support and Disability Services.  I also help out with the library as the “campus librarian”.  GWC is part of Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois where the Phillips Library Director manages of all of the contracts through CARLi.  We have a small library (located at one end of a building on two floors with two fireplaces, 8 computers, three study tables and seating for an additional 8 more students) that is staffed mostly by student workers.

In my role, in academic support, I am an academic coach working with students who are underprepared for college.  Most are from low income and first generation families. The work with the freshmen class is what brought me and my supervisor to the FYE Conference.  The purpose of the conference is to bring together educators and administrators to teach and learn about enhancing the first year student experience.  I was thrilled to find that about a dozen of the presentations and poster sessions were on Information Literacy.  I was fortunate to attend 3 of them.

Poster sessions (The following was the one I was most interested in seeing and talking with the presenter)

Information Literacy Misconception of Students in First-Year Experience Courses. Michelle Keba. Palm Beach Atlantic University.

This poster was of a study (not yet published) done by Michell Keba at her institution using the methods from the research article Predictable Information Literacy Misconception of First-year College Students (Hinchcliffe, Rand, & Collier, 2018).  The original study was designed to determine if students either lacked knowledge versus misperceived their information literacy skills using the “misconception inventory”.  By identifying common misconceptions, potential learning outcomes were developed to guide information literacy instruction.  The misconceptions identified in the Hinchcliffe et al. (2018) article are:

·         Library

o   First year students believe they are supposed to do their research without assistance

o   First year students perceive the library as only a place to get books or to study

o   First year students believe that all library sources and discovery tools are credible

·         Information Access

o   First year students believe that freely available Internet resources are sufficient for academic work

o   First year students think Google is a sufficient search tool

o   First year students believe that accessibility is an indicator of quality

·         Research Process

o   First year students believe that research is a linear, uni-directional process

o   First year students think that every question has a single answer

·         Information Literacy

o   First year students believe that they are information literate

Hinchliffe, L., Rand, A., & Collier, J. (2018). Predictable Information Literacy Misconceptions of First-Year College Students. Communications in Information Literacy, 12(1), 4–18. Retrieved from

The New Library Session: Forget the Library - Focus on Information.  Elizabeth Johns, Kristen Shonborn, Kristen Welzenbach.  Goucher College.

Faculty request librarians to teach students about the library and how to use it.  What students need is how to identify appropriate information sources from the internet to library databases.  This is a shift to teaching students about information literacy to address the information era abundant with credible and non-credible information.

Developing Interdepartmental Information Literacy Solutions: The First Year Experience in the Misinformation Era. Kate Otto, David Lemmons, & Sherry Larson-Rhodes. Marquette University.

Information is easily accessible through the library, internet, and social media to name a few.  Students need to learn the value of good information versus bad.  Information literacy efforts help to educate students on how to locate, evaluate, and effectively/ethically use the information they are accessing regardless where they find the information.  Librarians play key role in leading information literacy efforts.

There are three types of “information”.

1.       Misinformation – unintentional

2.       Disinformation – intentional, false, shared to cause harm

3.       Mal-information – intentional, true, and harmful

This is a life-skill to be used throughout college and career.

Education on information literacy can be achieved through collaborative efforts on campus.  The first step is to define “information literacy” to ensure understanding between faculty and staff.  The Association of College & Research Libraries Association (ACRL is a section of the American Library Association) offers guidelines and a framework for information literacy in higher education that can be used to guide initiatives in the college setting.

Outcomes from conference attendance:

·         Gathering information on where information literacy is being taught on campus to identify gaps in student learning regarding information literacy

·         Created a module on information literacy that has been incorporated into academic coaching

·         Developing a module for the senior seminar class on how to effectively locate information post college when they no longer have access to the subscription databases.

Respectfully submitted by:

Carrie Papa-Schold, MLIS
papaschold at gmail dot com

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