A variety of academic support programs assist students and faculty in developing skills and attitudes needed to use knowledge responsibly. Instruction in information literacy, and assistance in developing strong documentation habits, are available through the Library, the General Education curriculum, and the Learning Center.
Information Literacy in General Education Courses. Information literacy, a significant aspect of all learning, is formally addressed within several courses and via workshops and seminars hosted by professional library staff members. All first-year composition courses, including ENGL 110 College Composition I, ENGL 120 College Composition II, and ENGL 125 Introduction to Professional Writing include specific lessons related to information literacy and the responsible use of knowledge. Members of the professional library staff conduct presentations and workshops in all sections of these courses. The instruction includes information on how to conduct research, how to evaluate sources, how to correctly cite sources, and how to incorporate the use of sources in classroom research activities.
Some points included in all presentations include use of library databases, internet searches, and the evaluation of the sources that are found via these types of searches. Students, faculty, and staff understand that all sources are not equal in reliability or quality, and the professional library staff provides tools and information necessary to evaluate sources.
Faculty & Staff Information Literacy and Ethical Use Training. In addition to information provided in the required General Education courses listed above, members of the professional library staff also conduct professional development seminars and workshops for faculty and staff members regarding the search for and use of high quality information.
VCSU professional library staff has presented literacy sessions at fall workshops, brown bags, summer institutes and other faculty/staff gatherings, as well as specially scheduled training opportunities. A new initiative in 2010-11 offered Mini Info Lit Sessions for VCSU Faculty and Staff, featuring seven sessions highlighting various databases and topics:
To increase participation during 2011-12, the library staff is considering alternate delivery possibilities.
Student Information Literacy Efforts. Student information literacy presentation requests continue to grow as more and more faculty invite the professional library staff into their classrooms to present research and information literacy training. During 2010-11 presentations by professional librarians were made to over 25 classes reaching 300+ students. Topics included
The library website is undergoing an upgrade and a web form for faculty to request a classroom information literacy session has been added. Information literacy, copyright, and database use/training modules will be added to the distance student resources, most likely in the form of webcasts.
The University's information literacy program informs students and faculty about responsible, ethical use of knowledge in general education courses and courses in their majors. Since online students have less direct access to this type of training, the professional librarians are attempting to correct and improve this gap.
Learning Center Support of Academic Integrity. The Learning Center supports the research and writing needs of all VCSU students, including campus undergraduate students, online students, and graduate students. Learning Center tutors are available to offer in-class workshops to explain APA/MLA rules for citing sources, in addition to providing individual assistance for any student requesting help with source citation.
Action Research and the Graduate Program. Graduate students in the Master's in Education program are required to complete an action research project, which they present as part of their portfolio defense. Since action research requires the use of field research, students are introduced early to the Institutional Review Board purposes and policy and required to seek IRB approval before pursuing their research. Information about the purposes of IRB approval are posted on the graduate website (www.vcsu.edu/irb). In addition, several courses (EDUC 685, Action Research, and LMIS 688 Collaboration, Management and Leadership) include units on action research and ethical research practices to assist students as they prepare their proposals. Beyond this more general coursework, each student works with his/her advisor to prepare the proposal and IRB request, which provides individual support for student questions and an opportunity for faculty to model appropriate attitudes toward responsible research methodology.
VCSU supports the responsible use of knowledge through the implementation of policies and programs that support students in developing the needed skills and attitudes to use knowledge responsibly. The Library staff, the Learning Center, and the Institutional Review Board all play important roles in assisting faculty, staff, and students in this area.
Strengths: The Library staff have developed a strong information literacy program to support classroom instruction, and they are diligent in seeking opportunities to work with faculty and students. The development of the Institutional Review Board has helped highlight issues of responsible scholarship as it becomes more widely understood and used by faculty across campus.
New Initiatives: The current revision of the Copyright policy to provide more useful guidelines for fair use of digital materials, especially in the online environment, will provide an important tool for faculty who may not always be cognizant of current thought regarding copyright.
Challenges: Faculty face a continued challenge to communicate clearly on matters of integrity, to make this an internalized standard that guides teaching and learning.