Profiles of Best Practices in Teaching Information Literacy Online
Implementation of Service Learning One in-depth example of the integration of support services with online learning was the implementation of a service learning course in the online LIS curriculum, in which both on-campus and distance students are able to participate. Service learning is an approach to experiential learning that emphasizes working with the community in ethical, reciprocal ways. As such, self-reflection and consideration are valuable tools to ensure that the student is engaging thoughtfully with the experience. In this course, the students increased their understanding of and empathy toward people who might not visit the public library in their own communities. They identified a community organization and spent time working with clients and developing a project that met an information need at that site. The behind-the-scenes coordination between students and organization took up significant time and energy. Not all organizations have the capacity to work with a student and finding a project that mutually benefited both parties was sometimes difficult. Additionally, finding the time was particularly challenging for students who already have work or caretaking responsibilities. However, students’ opportunity to experience in-depth, hands on learning with an emphasis on community engagement was determined to be valuable enough to keep on working towards offering these types of experiences. (For more details, see Bossaller, 2016).
The 76-page study profiles the efforts of four higher education institutions to teach information literacy online: the University of Missouri, Columbia; Indiana University, Bloomington; the University of Washington, and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, which jointly serves the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. The report was written by Emilee Mathews who became interested in online learning after developing and teaching an online course through Indiana University’s Information and Library Science Department in 2018 and is now engaged in transforming this course into an open educational resource. Mathews is currently the Fine Arts Library Supervisor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
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