Brandeis Library & Technology Services

Information Literacy Grants awarded for 2017-2018

July 24th, 2017 · No Comments

Brandeis Library has awarded four Information Literacy Grants to faculty members who will work with librarians to integrate information literacy into a course during the 2017-2018 academic year. Each faculty recipient will receive a $2,000 stipend. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

Grant Recipients:

Faculty member: Melissa Kosinski-Collins
Librarian: Melanie Radik
Class: Plant Biology

Faculty member: Carina Ray
Librarian: Laura Hibbler
Class: African History in Real Time

Faculty member: Doug Smith
Librarians: Chloe Morse-Harding and Aimee Slater
Class: Immigration and Human Rights

Faculty member: David Engerman
Librarian: Laura Hibbler
Class: Colloquium in US History, 1865-present

Comments from faculty members who received grants for the 2016-2017 academic year:

Caren Irr, ENG 238a Capitalism and the American Novel
Librarians: Zoe Weinstein & Lisa Zeidenberg

“Thanks to this grant, I was prompted to organize a new course that brought disciplinary differences in the treatment of “information” to the fore.  My students gained invaluable experience locating and analyzing new types of documents, and together we all reflected earlier and more intentionally on our various literacies.”

Kathrin Seidl-Gómez, German 30a Intermediate German
Librarian: Anne Woodrum

“Having been awarded one of the Library’s Information Literacy Grants allowed me to introduce an experiential learning module to one of our key German language courses. Supported by the expertise of Special Collections Librarian Anne Woodrum, my students can now explore under professional guidance Brandeis’ outstanding collection of incunabula, rare books and handwritten documents in German and immerse themselves in archival research. Our students excelled at the presentation of their research, both orally and in writing, even though the material was more challenging than most other material encountered throughout the course. The reason was simple: We had instigated their passion by allowing our students to work with primary sources that were absolutely novel and captivating for them. Many reported in their end-of-semester portfolio that this was the one activity they found most challenging and most rewarding. Studying handwritten letters from Max Planck and Albert Einstein or the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493 and being able to share their findings in a foreign language filled them with pride and spurred students on to surpass themselves. A true success story!

“I am truly grateful for the unique opportunity the Library Information Literacy Grant has brought to our students in the German language program and I thank Anne Woodrum and the Department of University Archives & Special Collections for their support.”

Kerry Chase, IGS 10a Introduction to International and Global Studies
Librarian: Aimee Slater

“Working with Aimee Slater on my information literacy project greatly enhanced my ability to prepare students in IGS 10A to write independent term papers. IGS 10A enrolls many first-year students and I attempt to use the term paper assignment as an opportunity for students to learn how to locate, assess, and properly cite sources for college-level writing. In the class, students are asked to choose a treaty or other international agreement and to answer a set of structured questions about the purpose, design, and effectiveness of the agreement. Their work unfolds in steps over several weeks during the term as they choose an agreement, locate an original copy of its text, focus analytical attention on specific elements of the agreement, select good scholarly sources related to the agreement, and then proceed to thesis, argument, evidence, and write up, including thoroughly documenting all sources. Aimee’s assistance in the course was invaluable in two important ways. First, Aimee worked with me to create a Library Guide for the class on treaties and international agreements which functioned as a gateway into students’ independent work on the assignment. In the Library Guide they could find examples of treaties and international agreements that they might choose to study and links pointing them to places where they could find copies of their original text, and they could also access search engines to locate good secondary sources. Second, Aimee and I used a session of the class for a library instruction session to preview the Library Guide and demonstrate searches and search strategies for students. In demonstrating strategies for locating scholarly sources and for evaluating their usefulness, and providing guidelines and best practices for citation management, including a brief introduction to citation software, we sought to provide students a hands-on feel for how to tackle the research and citation process. As students researched and wrote their papers, they could refer back to Aimee’s handout “How to Find, Assess and Cite Sources,” and Aimee is always terrific about meeting students to work with her one-on-one. Aimee’s assistance and support enabled me to integrate important aspects of information literacy into the course in the hope that this would help students add to their toolkit of transferable skills to apply in writing assignments throughout college and beyond.”

Lucy Goodhart, POL 119a Red States, Blue States: Understanding Contemporary American Voters and Parties
Librarian: Aimee Slater

“I loved working with the Academic Outreach Librarian for the Social Sciences, Aimee Slater, on a section of my course that would be about how students first identify and engage with data. One of the useful parts of that, for me, is that I was forced to think about works that would get my students thinking about data is collected so that the, and we, can be more informed users of that data. That gets to vital points about human subjects and confidentiality, but also to issues that will be more relevant for the emerging world of big data — like whether the data is collected by non-profit, non-partisan institutions or whether by corporations with agendas that include profit-seeking. Thus, on reflection, I will keep that part of the readings in seminars with a data component for years to come.

“Second, Aimee created this amazing web page/portal into the world of data that Brandeis LTS has. That was incredibly useful for a small number of people and, while it would be costly to do that for every class, I believe that she is using that page as a reference tool for Politics students in general. My own goal would be to create an interface that can help students navigate from their frequent departure point — they care about issue X — to identifying and using data. In other words, if a student wants to study migrants in the US, how do we enable them to get very quickly towards actual data? And could we do this even online? Finally, is it kosher to just say to students to google “data variables attitudes to migrants US” because this is what I might do myself and I am trying to figure out if I should just say that to students.

“Thirdly, and this is great for me, it’s just been great for me to have more of an ongoing relationship with Aimee, and LTS. I refer other students to Aimee and she has also been in contact with me to ask about how political scientists might value and use particular types of data. It’s been really helpful. Given my own desire to incorporate more empirical analysis into teaching, it’s been great to have that connection.”

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