Title:  Information Competence for Future Teachers
Roz Van Auker and Linda J. Goff, California State University, Sacramento

Poster Session presented at the American Library Association, San Francisco, June 18, 2001.

Abstract:  The purpose of this CSU-funded project was threefold:  1) to provide information competence skills to future K-6 teachers, contrasting web-based instruction with traditional delivery methods, 2) to determine whether instruction via a web tutorial is an effective alternative to in-person instruction by a librarian and 3) to evaluate the use of WebCT course management software.  Subjects were students in five sections of Child Development 133, Research in Human Development.  This course is required for all K-6 pre-credential students.  Sections were assigned to receive either traditional instruction from a librarian or to take an online tutorial, based on the CSU Information Competence Tutorials developed at our sister institution, Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  In order to reduce variability, participating faculty divided their sections so that one received traditional instruction while the other took the online tutorial.  All sections received the same printed materials and post-test.  A special effort was made to align the presentation content so that the librarian’s sessions included similar material to that included in the tutorial.  Since sessions were limited to one hour and fifteen minutes, it was not possible to include the same level of detail available in the tutorials.  Comparison of post-test scores between the section receiving librarian instruction and online instruction indicated little difference in student outcomes.

The project proposal is located at: http://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/goffl/libinst/infocompprop.htm

The preliminary project report is located at:  /services/inst/indiv/IC/ICES/infocomp/report.htm

Statement of the Problem:  In 1995 the California State University System established a system-wide goal for all students of the 23-campus system to graduate with the ability to find, evaluate, use and communicate information in all of its various formats.  This is what became known as “Information Competence” or IC.  A definition that emerged from the system-wide workshop, and which is recommended by the Work Group, is that:  Information Competence is the fusing of library literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, technological literacy, ethics, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Each campus was asked to develop an IC plan and given opportunities to apply for IC project grants.  At CSU, Sacramento there was already a project targeting the lower division General Education Basic Skills classes; so our focus was on integrating these skills into a subject major. 

Objectives:  Our goal was to  present instruction sessions, whether online or in a traditional librarian lecture, that would teach Information Competence skills that could then be tested in a post-test.  Additionally, we wanted to test the hypotheses that factors such as attendance at a previous lecture, having taken a library tour, the number of semesters at the institution and also self-identified comfort level score would have positive impact on both the pre-test and post-test scores.  We felt that students more familiar with the library would have higher scores.

Methodology:   Existing IC tutorials and related exercises from the San Luis Obispo project had been previously modified for use at CSUS during Spring 1999. These were rewritten with topics and examples chosen which related to education and child development issues.  A sixth tutorial on ethical use of information was transferred and a brand new tutorial on ERIC FirstSearch was developed and incorporated into Module 4 of the project.  The Education Librarian incorporated interactive online instruction in her face-to-face instruction sessions.

The pre-test was based upon the existing assessment instrument developed at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  Data from the pre-test was used as a needs assessment to identify problem areas that would benefit from future attention.

For the post-test, our original proposal indicated that we would use an existing IC assessment instrument developed at Cal Poly, Pomona.  It was necessary to make some modifications in their instrument to allow us to better align it with the tutorial content in our project.  This revised instrument was then used as the post-test to assess both in-person and web tutorial instruction.

The survey, pre-test and post-test were all administered using WebCT in order to simplify data collection.  Subjects were students in five sections of a pre-credential education research course.  Each student answered 4 survey questions before taking the pre-test: 

The five sections were assigned either to receive traditional instruction from a librarian or to take the online tutorial. In order to reduce variability, two of the three participating CD 133 faculty divided their sections so that one received traditional instruction while the other took the online tutorial. All five  sections received the same printed materials and took the same post-test. 

A special effort was made to align the presentation content so that the librarian’s sessions included similar material to that included in the 6 modules in the tutorial. However, since these session were limited to one hour and 15 minutes, it was not possible to include the same level of detail available in the tutorials.  Each group began at the same page.

Major Findings/Outcomes:  While none of our hypotheses about previous library experience improving student scores were proved, our project did help us decide that use of the online tutorials was an effective delivery method for Information Competence instruction as a traditional library lecture:  average student scores in the two instructional settings were equal (76%).  The interesting factor that we had not controlled for was that the average pre-test score for those who received instruction from the librarian was 11% less than those who did the tutorials.  While the average post-test scores were the same for both groups, the improvement was greater for those who had the librarian lecture because they had lower scores to begin with.

While not articulated as part of the original proposal, an added benefit was that the pre-test portion of the project provided a preliminary needs assessment for the targeted population of Child Development majors.  The opportunity to administer a library skills assessment instrument to a significant number of students (approximately 100) most of whom had been on campus less than two semesters, has identified a number of weak areas that can be included in future IC instruction.

Librarians were able to evaluate the potential of using WebCT course management software for collection and analysis of student data.  Development of  a productive relationship with the WebCT consultant in the CSUS Computer Center has paved the way for future collaborative projects.  It also gave librarians a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of WebCT and its potential for future IC activities.

Working relations with Child Development faculty have always been cordial but the project has enriched this partnership with librarians.

Significance/ Conclusion:  The pilot project validated our plan to use a web tutorial for delivery of instruction.  The following semester, we fully implemented the IC program for lower division General Education classes in the Communication Studies Department, using it with 55 sections during Fall 2000 and 45 sections during Spring 2001, but that’s another poster session.

Roz Van Auker, Education Librarian
California State University, Sacramento
2000 State University Drive, East
Sacramento, California 95819-6039
(916) 278-6776  Fax (916) 278-5661
vanaukerr@csus.edu
Linda J. Goff, Head of Instructional Services
California State University, Sacramento
2000 State University Drive, East
Sacramento, California 95819-6039
(916) 278-5981  Fax (916) 278-5661
ljgoff@csus.edu

LJG Updated 5/20/2002