I’m trying to work as systematically as possible through these questions, so I’m starting with the first piece:
“A year (or more) after this [lesson] is over, I want and hope that students will know that a database called Web of Science exists, they thus must access it through a subscribing library, that is indexes more than science topics, and they they can use it to find articles as well as analyze those articles in various ways.”
- What key information is important for students to understand and remember in the future?
Students should know that Web of Science is a database that indexes articles and reports published in various fields.
Students should know that Web of Science is only available through a subscription, usually through a library.
Students should know that Web of Science is only one database and that it may not be the only one or the best one for their particular assignment or question.
Students should know that Web of Science can be used to do more than search and retrieve articles.
- What key ideas are important for students to understand in this course?
Students should understand the way in which databases interact with research.
Students should understand that databases can carry and perpetuate biases.
Students should understand that databases are products that are ways for vendors to make money.
Students should understand that there are large debates surrounding publishing research and that databases are not insulated from these debates.
- What kinds of thinking are important for students to learn?
- Critical thinking: students need to understand how to determine whether or not they need to use a database and if so, which database; students need to understand how to think about choosing a database; students need to be able to analyze and track their own research process(es)
- Creative thinking: students need to be able to think about assignments or questions in creative or unusual ways in order to formulate the most effective searches;
- Practical thinking: students need to know the steps for accessing and using databases, even when superficial interfaces or institutional affiliations change
- What important skills do students need to gain?
Students need to be able to access the internet.
Students need to be able to navigate in a web browser to access the database through the library’s website.
Students need to be able to run searches in the database and manage results, which may include downloading, printing, exporting, or saving lists or articles.
- Do students need to learn how to manage complex projects?
Yes, though this particular lesson will not address this need. This less would logically be part of a larger curriculum that would take students through managing a research project.
- What connections should students recognize and make
- Among ideas within the course: students should make connections between the library, the database under discussion, and databases as resources more generally; students should connect using a database with using the library as a variety of resources (human, technological, informational)
- Among the information, ideas, and perspectives in this course and those in other courses or areas: students should be able to connect this database and library resources as an idea to other courses and other research-related assignments
- Among material in this course and the students’ own personal, social and/or work life: students should being to understand that research is not and need not be confined to academic environments and that the ideas and processes that work in the context of this database will work in other contexts (work, personal, etc.); students should begin to understand that a database is a single example of a wider set of resources and processes that, when mastered, make all information goals easier to attain
Human Dimensions Goals
- What could or should students learn about themselves?
Students should begin to learn about their own assumptions about research.
Students should begin to understand how they need to interact with information resources to achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals.
Students should endeavor to identify limitations they have about research (unwillingness, a bad experience, limited vocabulary, lack of experience) that they can work to overcome.
Students should strive to see themselves in competition with themselves only, and not others, when it comes to improving research skills.
- What could or should students learn about understanding others and/or interacting with them?
Students should learn that other people will approach the same question differently from themselves and that this is often not a value judgement.
Students should learn that often research is more effective when done collaboratively and/or with open communication and sharing.
Students should learn that their instructors are also researchers and that this is a different mode than they may be used to.
Students should understand that everyone has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to research and that there is no “one way” that always works or is “right.”
- What changes/values do you hope students will adopt?
I hope that students will become more interested in research as an activity with its own rewards.
I hope that students will become invested in how information is shared (or not shared) in their communities and nationally and internationally.
I hope that students begin to feel or reinforce positive feelings about research processes and information resources.
- What would you like for students to learn about
- How to be good students in a course like this: I would like students to be comfortable asking questions and practicing these skills and processes frequently.
- How to learn about this particular subject: I would like students to learn that database expertise comes through practice and use. I would like them to learn that if a database rarely or never meets their informational needs, then they have no reason to become an expert at using it and they should feel empowered to spend their time and attention with other, better resources for their needs.
- How to become a self-directed learner of this subject, i.e., having a learning agenda of what the need/want to learn, and a plan for learning it: I would like students to learn that practice and use are valuable and they will learn more about their own needs as they explore their initial needs.