ACRL 2013: Problem Based Learning, Narratives and Emotional Intelligence

  • Using Problem-Based Learning to Facilitate Student Learning Across the Curriculum
  • Tell Me A Story: Narrative in University Level Instruction
  • Feeling Our Way – Emotional Intelligence and Information Literacy Competency

Using Problem-Based Learning to Facilitate Student Learning Across the Curriculum
Karen Downing , University of Michigan , Ann Arbor , MI

First traditional instruction (sage on the stage) – rigid curriculum.  Then Active learning – instructor is still teaching – students told what to do, particular flow.

Problem Based Learning – no lecturing. Librarian facilitates. Peer to peer learning. Focused on how to solve problems but also thinking about how to do that. Real life problems so very relevant.  Nurturing environment with systematically aligned goals. Learning how to learn, think about thinking (metacognition)

PBL and Metacognition – how did we get to the solution? Generalizeability of problem solving. Put what’s learned into practice. Problem solver can change thinking and thus behavior.

Goal of lib instruction is connection to critical thinking. PBL promotes critical thinking while working with info lit concepts. Also better for teaching conceptual concepts. Promotes peer to peer learning, which is how students work.

Has used PBL with: open web vs hidden web, primary/secondary/tertiary sources, scholarly vs popular, narrowing topics meaningfully.

PBL – professional ethics in health sci & use of social media. Students broken into small groups or pairs. Give each a resource to look at, they work through particular questions, then teach it back to class with librarian facilitating/supplementing.

This has changed how she interacts with students and with faculty. Faculty notice that students have improved – gone from googling to “entering into the scholarly conversation.”

Next up – looking to apply this virtually. So far only found examples of F2F.

Q&A – for the most part these sessions are 90 minutes – really hard to do this in 50 minutes.  Tells students up front what the list of things they need to know when they leave is.

When students demoing – big spread between those who get what’s happening and those who aren’t sure. Also big differences in search skills. To fill in she adds points and redirects as needed.

Tell Me A Story: Narrative in University Level Instruction
Joanna Szurmak , University of Toronto Mississauga , Mississauga , ON
Mindy Thuna , University of Toronto Mississauga , Mississauga , ON

Science librarians focused on different subjects and have different styles. Joanna is theory, Mindy is practical.

Class – Biology Behind the News – Mandy totally embedded as she helped create it. Storytelling gives the students a new context on the lecture.

What is a story? What is a narrative? Literary perspective and social science perspective.

Literary story definition: linear, beginning, events in the middle w chronological order,  end. Literary definition of narrative: representation of those events – many paths through the events.

“People do not deal with the world event by event or with text sentence by sentence. They frame events and sentences in larger structures” – Polkinghorne, DE

Course about the process of research – as they discuss as a class how to do research, she gives little tips and asides here and there. This helps them see the bigger picture.

Constructivist theory – learning results form experience but only occurred if there is lasting change in the learner. So the learner keeps interacting with that learning experience. Learning is complex and involves emotion, cognition, perception. Brains need social context, feedback, look for patterns, practical context, detail and structure.

Science education course – students have no experience with education but are interested in being science teachers. Talks about places you can go to buy a banana – general store, grocery store, farmer’s market. Then carries this over to databases. This relates it to what they already know.


Feeling Our Way – Emotional Intelligence and Information Literacy Competency
Miriam Matteson , Kent State University – School of Library and Information Science , Columbus , OH
Omer Farooq , Kent State University , Columbus , OH

Is individual affect related to a student’s acquisition of IL skills? Looked at emotional intelligence (monitor emotions, use to guide thinking and action) and dispositional affect (captures how we typically perceive events from an emotional perspective – positive and negative – both are degrees, not a scale with the two)

More positivity with the problem space increases engagement, creativity, etc. with negative you see narrowing/closing.

No meaningful correlation with pos or neg affectivity for IL skills. But emotional intelligence was positively associated with IL skills.

Emotional intelligence does impact learning and thinking – in particular around managing and prioritizing emotions. Helps point to times when students need intervention during sessions – enhance quality of instruction.