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The University is working on determining learning outcomes for academic departments, and since we offer classes, we also need to come up with relevant ones. This is going to be an ongoing project. This year we just reported on the goals for LIB100:

  1. Learn how to determine the nature and extent of information needed for identifying a research topic.
  2. Become familiar with the strengths and limitations of different types of information resources in order to access resources effectively.
  3. Learn strategies for the critical evaluation of information in order to evaluate the reliability of a resource and determine the biases that are inherent in a resource.
  4. Learn how to structure and implement research strategies in order to plan and execute an effective search.
  5. Acquire in-depth knowledge of library services and resources in order to be lifelong learners.
  6. Develop awareness of the legal, economic, political and social aspects of information resources in order to use information ethically.

And now we embark on the process of determining Learning Outcomes for our program. Luckily, this is a process that can help energize those of us who teach LIB100 and can help us determine what our students really come away with.

Learning Outcomes are statements that specifically identify something measurable about what you want your students to learn. You can then create classroom activities to help students learn these things, and you can measure their learning with assessments.

Yesterday many LIB100 faculty got together to talk through how to create LIB100/200 learning outcomes with the most boring powerpoint presentation I’ve ever created (but appropriately so, since this wasn’t a talk meant to inspire, but rather meant to walk us through a complex process):

LIB100 faculty will plan learning outcomes for their specific classes over the summer, we’ll get together to share notes next month and see if we have any overlap and common areas, and we’ll report back at the end of the semester to see how they worked, if the assessments showed learning, and plan for the next semester.

It’s really quite lovely to implement learning outcomes at this point in the growth of our LIB100 program. People have taught long enough to have an idea of what they can cover and what makes the most impact for students. We can use this experience and information to craft clear learning outcomes that allow us to prove the effectiveness of our teaching and inform our daily interactions with students. I, for one, can’t wait to see the results.