Inside and outside of higher education, students face challenges when it comes to finding, evaluating, and using information effectively. For teachers, it can be difficult to help students navigate an unfamiliar and complex scholarly research process while also addressing the information skills they will need throughout their lives after they leave the college environment. The TRUE Workshop Series allows a cohort of instructors to consider connections between skills students need as academic and lifelong researchers. Over five sessions, TRUE cohort members will gain new techniques and classroom activities for teaching research while engaging in discussion with fellow instructors from departments across campus.
Schedule and Topics
The Spring 2020 TRUE cohort will meet for five weeks to discuss the following topics. All meetings will take place in Morris Library 200B from 3:30-5.
- February 25: Introduction: Supporting Lifelong Researchers
- March 3: Entering Conversation
- March 10: Contextualizing Information in Communities
- March 17: Creating Information
- March 24: Lesson Plan Workshop
Participation and Registration
Become a Cohort Member: Participation is open to everyone who teaches at UD, as well as graduate students who are not yet in a teaching role. Cohort members attend all five sessions and engage in discussion about weekly themes and example classroom activities, and will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the series. On the final week, participants will bring their own activity ideas or lesson plans to workshop with the group. Registration closes February 21.
Each week, a different facilitator will share a classroom activity, ask participants to engage with the activity, and lead a group discussion. Facilitators receive a $250 honorarium. Contact Lauren Wallis and Shailen Mishra prior to filling out the proposal form if you are interested in facilitating a session.
Week 1: Supporting Lifelong Researchers
To tackle the current climate of disinformation that has deep civic and psycho-social implications, we must think of research skills in a wider context. This week’s activities and discussion will address the following questions:
- How do we bolster students’ research and source evaluation practices in day-to-day life?
- How do we build connections between research/information used outside academia and research practices valued within academia?
- What tangible tools and frameworks can we pass to students which will serve them in strategic search and source evaluation in a wide range of contexts (academic, personal, and professional)?
- How can we address students’ motivation level and anxiety when it comes to academic research by identifying commonalities with students’ search styles, skills, or interests in non-academic settings?
Week 2: Entering Conversation
Scholarly conversations are ongoing and complex, and there are specific rules for participation. Outside of academia there are also conversations—on social media, through journalism, and elsewhere—each with varying conventions for entering. This week’s activities and discussion will address one or more of these questions:
- How does a researcher enter a conversation in a particular discourse? How do they find strategic entry points and follow the “breadcrumbs” of conversation?
- How does entering a scholarly conversation look similar to or different from entering an ongoing conversation on social media?
- What strategies and/or frameworks can help researchers who are new to a discipline or conversation as they search for and/or evaluate sources?
- How does the speed and ease with which information can be obtained influence students’ ability to enter a conversation? How do we help students navigate the stark differences between conversations in scholarly and popular contexts, from the lengthy discursive prose of scholarly essays to bite-sized information in social media to the rabbit hole of news clips on YouTube?
Week 3: Contextualizing Information in Communities
Information is almost always created in the context of a community—a group that engages in ongoing conversation and debate on a topic of shared interest. Communities can take many forms: a long-established academic discipline, a profession, a government agency, a loosely connected group that uses a shared social media hashtag to discuss a topic, and more. This week’s activities and discussion will address one or more of these questions:
- How do communities define and confer the authority required to create information?
- How can understanding and critiquing processes of earning authority aid students in evaluating information?
- When searching for information related to a project or question, why is it important to seek out sources created by different types of communities? How do the tools we use to search for information influence the type of information we will find, and the voices that are represented?
- What are the issues of power and privilege that influence who gets to create information, as well as what information gets created (and what does not)?
Week 4: Creating Information
As an author/creator considers how to convey a message to an intended audience, they make decisions about what to include and exclude, the form of the piece, where and when it will be posted or published, and who will be able to access it. These concepts are relevant to traditional methods of information production, such as academic publication and journalism, as well as continually emerging and evolving digital modes of information creation. This week’s activities and discussion will address one or more of these questions:
- What tools can we give students to help them understand and compare traditional and emerging modes of creating information?
- How can understanding and critiquing the process of information creation aid students in evaluating sources, especially when considering sources in a variety of formats?
- How can we support students in reflecting on the choices they make about content, medium, and accessibility when creating and sharing information, whether in a personal or academic context?
- How do the creation process and ultimate format of a source influence the ways students are taught to value information in academia? How might implicit or explicit messages about the value of information impact students’ information skills outside of academia?
Week 5: Lesson Plan Workshop
Cohort members will bring a teaching activity to workshop with the group.
The TRUE Workshop Series is a collaboration between the Library, Museums and Press and the English Department. For more information, contact:
Post-Doctoral Researcher in Writing Pedagogy
Department of English
First Year Experience and Student Success Librarian
Library, Museums and Press