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English 110 Syllabus Study and the Development of Student Learning Outcomes

In January 2009, a syllabus study of English 110 classes was conducted to ensure that library instruction to English 110 directly addresses current student needs.  The goal of the syllabus study was to identify which library-related skills are necessary for English 110 students to successfully complete their assignments, but were not currently being addressed within the curriculum. 

The methodology of this study was as follows:  A list of English 110 instructors teaching during fall 2008 and winter 2009 was compiled using the UDSIS system.  Instructors were each assigned a number, and a random number table was generated, reflecting about 50% of the instructor population.  This random sample of instructors was solicited via email for syllabi.  Upon reviewing the collected syllabi, broad categories of tasks required for completion of assignments were generated (find books, find scholarly articles, find popular articles/news, find websites).  Within each of these categories, ACRL student learning outcomes were identified which were deemed essential for the successful completion of the task.  Information literacy outcomes that were thus identified were entered into an Excel spreadsheet to tabulate frequency of occurrences across the syllabi examined.  Those outcomes which appeared most frequently were isolated (about eight in all), and the English 110 tutorial committee selected the five outcomes which were deemed most essential.  The Reference Department endorsed these outcomes, and they were then approved by the Director of the Writing Program.

The outcomes generated from the study are as follows.

After attending a library instruction session students will be able to:

  • identify keywords, synonyms, and related terms for their information need.
  • construct search strategies using appropriate commands for the system selected.
  • consult a variety of search systems to retrieve information in a variety of formats.
  • use classification schemes to locate information resources within the library.
  • identify specialized services to retrieve information needed.

These student learning outcomes now form the basis of both the English 110 Library Tutorial as well as all library instruction sessions for English 110.  It is significant that library instruction for English 110 is now both evidence-based and curriculum-integrated.  Librarians who teach these classes operate from a student-centered, learning model, rather than from a purely content-driven, teaching model.  In this way, library instruction sessions for English 110 have become more challenging and academically rigorous for students.

This page is maintained by Meg Grotti, Coordinator, Library Instruction, Reference Department. Last modified: 09/09/13