Methods: The library staff is providing formal training sessions in communication technology and online resources to students at Life University, with the specific goal to introduce skills in using the scientific evidence base and information literacy. To encourage participation, students may earn extra-credit for attendance to these basic skills workshops. Online Resources Workshop Objectives include to search and retrieve specific information from the library resources, such as locating books in the catalog (and stacks) or articles from scientific publications; to provide students with insight regarding the current literature that may provide guidance for them as they progress through their chosen field of study; and to introduce the concept of using an "evidence-based” learning method. Topics covered at each session include library homepage with various links to databases; WebCat – online library catalog; literature search: citation, abstract, full text; Medline; GALILEO; Index to Chiropractic Literature; MANTIS; Sportdiscus and methods of article retrieval, including interlibrary loans, full text online and journal hardcopy. Handouts are provided and satisfaction surveys are completed following each session. Participation in these workshops is reported to each instructor. Instructors hope to use participation to determine effect on performance.
Results: Participation has steadily increased to 58 for spring 2005. Surveys indicate high satisfaction. Two evening sessions were held summer 2005 and yielded 21 participants with 21 completed surveys. As a result, evening workshops will be included in future schedules. In an attempt to determine if the workshop has had an impact on student performance in an introduction to research methods class, we noted that in spring 2005, there were two groups (attended versus did not attend workshop) represented in this convenience sample (N=49). Participation score is 5 points for attending the workshop added to the participation score. The total points are weighted for final grade (25% midterm 25%participation and 50 % term paper). A point biserial formula was used to compare students mean scores. For the whole group, (Mean = 83.02 SD = 8.469) the coefficient r=0.506. The maximum possible r using this formula is 0.71, at p=0.95.
Discussion: It is important to track the number of participants and their satisfaction. However, long-term monitoring process needs to be developed to see if these activities do significantly contribute to effective lifelong learning. To that end, we have developed a follow-up survey. This work is collaboration among educators, teaching faculty and library staff, willing to contribute to improving the academic performance of students. These interactive workshops will prepare students to be better prepared for the future. Success is based on the number and frequency of sessions and participation. Further study using follow-up surveys is needed.
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