Assessment in Action

University of Guelph: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

(No) Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport

(No) Enrollment

(No) Retention

(No) Completion

(No) Graduation

(No) Articulation

(No) Graduates' Career Success

(No) Testing (e.g., GRE, MCAT, LSAT, CAAP, CLA, MAPP)

(No) Other (please describe)

Primary Library Factor Examined (select one or more)

(No) Instruction

(No) Instruction: Games

Instruction: One Shot

(No) Instruction: Course Embedded

Instruction: Self-Paced Tutorials

(No) Reference

(No) Educational Role (other than reference or instruction)

(No) Space, Physical

(No) Discovery (library resources integrated in institutional web and other information portals)

(No) Discovery (library resource guides)

(No) Discovery (from preferred user starting points)

(No) Collections (quality, depth, diversity, format or currency)

(No) Personnel (number and quality)

(No) Other (please describe)

Citing Sources: One Shot Citing Sources: Self-Paced Tutorials

Student Population (select one or more)


(No) Graduate

(No) Incoming

(No) Graduating

(No) Pre-College/Developmental/Basic Skills

(No) Other (please describe)

Discipline (select one or more)

(No) Arts

(No) Humanities

Social Sciences

(No) Natural Sciences (i.e., space, earth, life, chemistry or physics)

(No) Formal Sciences (i.e., computer science, logic, mathematics, statistics or systems science)

(No) Professions/Applied Sciences

(No) English Composition

(No) General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

Page 2


Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

Pre/Post Test


(No) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

Other (please describe)

Problem-based Learning Group Assignment

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

Other (please describe)

perceived self-efficacy reports grades on specific rubric criteria

Page 3

Executive Summary (150 words open)

  • How does the project align with your institution’s priorities and needs?
  • Why did you choose the outcome and library factor as areas to examine?
  • Why was the team composition appropriate?

  1. The University of Guelph Library has identified online and blended learning as a priority in its Integrated Plan. The Library provides institutional data to the ARL, participates in LibQUAL, and surveys students on their use of technology. We are actively seeking effective ways to demonstrate our direct contribution to, and impact on, student learning. This project aligns with these areas of focus.

    Our primary research questions were: 1) In what practices do students engage when finding, selecting, and citing information in their assignments? 2) What impact do face-to-face and online instruction have on the information literacy and writing skills of first-year management students?

    The composition of the team--librarians, academic support staff, and faculty with expertise in the areas of information literacy, blended learning, writing, and SoTL research--was key to the completion of the project.

  • What are the significant contributions of your project?
  • What was learned about assessing the library’s impact on student learning and success?
  • What was learned about creating or contributing to a culture of assessment on campus?
  • What, if any, are the significant findings of your project?

  1. Our project reinforced the value of looking at student work as direct evidence of the Library's impact on student success. We cannot generalize the results of our study because of the small sample size, however, our case study data indicates that confidence, as indicated by student self-reports, is not a good indicator of enhanced ability when it comes to evaluating and citing sources effectively.

    The team learned valuable lessons about study design, the research ethics approval process, and tools and methods for analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data. We also take away from this project a new appreciation for the amount of time required to engage in this type of assessment.

  • What will you change as a result of what you learned (– e.g., institutional activities, library functions or practices, personal/professional practice, other)?
  • How does this project contribute to current, past, or future assessment activities on your campus?

  1. Team members from the Library have expressed a desire to engage in more action research projects related to assessing our impact on students' writing and research skills through the use of authentic assessments and an examination of students' work. Such research would enhance our understanding of students' research and writing practices and, as a result, our ability to design effective instruction.

    In addition, we hope to work with the course instructor to redesign sections of the rubric used to assess students' information literacy and writing skills, and to rethink our approaches to student and T.A. training in the MGMT*1000 course.

Please list any articles published, presentations given, URL of project website, and team leader contact details.

  1. Parlette-Stewart, M., Nicholson, K., Garwood, K., & Tucker, T. Evaluating the Impact of Face-to-Face and Online Information Literacy and Writing Skills Instruction Using a Mixed Methods Research Design. WILU 2014 Conference, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, May 21-23, 2014.

    Garwood, K., Nicholson, K., Parlette-Stewart, M., & Tucker, T. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Face-to-Face, Online, and Blended Learning Approaches in Teaching Research and Referencing Strategies to First-Year Students. Canadian Writing Centres Conference, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, May 21, 2014.

    Team Leader: Karen Nicholson, Manager, Information Literacy, University of Guelph Library

Evaluating the Impact of Face-to-Face and Online Information Literacy and Writing Skills Instruction Using a Mixed Methods Research Design

In our AiA research, we evaluated the impact of F2F, online, and blended approaches to information literacy and writing skill development in a large, first-year Management course using a mixed methods, case-study approach. Our results are not generalizable but they did prompt us to question the efficacy of these common approaches to instruction. They also raised our awareness of pitfalls to avoid in research design.