Assessment in Action

Towson University: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

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: Games

(No) Instruction: One Shot

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)

Other (please describe)

Course-Embedded Consultations

Student Population (select one or more)


(No) Graduate


(No) Graduating

(No) Pre-College/Developmental/Basic Skills

(No) Other (please describe)

Discipline (select one or more)

(No) Arts

(No) Humanities

(No) 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

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

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

Other Librarian

Other (please describe)

Course Coordinator

Page 2


Methods and Tools (select one or more)

(No) Survey


(No) Focus Group(s)


(No) Pre/Post Test


Other (please describe)

Quizzes in electronic modules

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

Research Paper/Project

Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

(No) Other (please describe)

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

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. Towson University's Cook Library is in the process of establishing information literacy learning outcomes for its first-year program. While the traditional research paper is the focus of Towson's first-year seminar, English 102 requires unique but complementary outcomes and assignments. Also, staffing and space limitations led us to look for alternatives to high-volume, face-to-face one-shot sessions as a delivery method.

    In Fall 2013, we decided to conduct a pilot with eight English 102 classes and one English 190 (Honors) class. We offered instruction tied to four different learning outcomes (improved internet searching, source type identification, website evaluation, and source usage) and delivered that instruction via Blackboard using electronic modules with quizzes.

    Our assessment project asks whether these modules positively impact students' learning. In order to answer this question, it was important to enlist as core members of the team the English 102 course coordinator and a librarian skilled in statistical analysis.

  • 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 offers valuable insights about possible ways to improve electronic module design, about which learning outcomes might be most critical for our first-year students, and about how consultations might best be coordinated with modules. Although at this point no significant impact on student learning can be attributed to the modules themselves, the evidence indicates that this instructional method can be improved in specific ways so that student learning would be positively and clearly affected.

    The significant finding of the research was that follow-up consultations clearly coincided with improved student performance on source usage, the skill with the overall lowest performance levels.

    As a result of this project, we broadened our use of rubrics as assessment instruments, learned how assessment aids in refining our current questions for further and more concerted research, and witnessed how formalized library assessment can contribute positively to broader conversations about first-year course definition.

  • 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. As a result of this project, we will re-design these electronic modules and hold a workshop on general module design for librarians. The findings are also helping to determine when we might more strategically utilize electronic modules -- instead of other delivery methods -- within our larger instructional plan. Further, the course coordinator has approved expanding this support method past the pilot phase, and we will be offering a workshop to the larger English 102 faculty on working with the modules and consultations.

    This project has helped solidify our first-year instructional program, forming a portion of the data which the library is newly reporting internally on a regular basis. As such, the project has contributed to a greater institutional visibility of library value. It has also informed -- with other assessment projects -- decisions about how to expand our instruction program, about how to design and deliver upper-level library instruction.

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

  1. Jason Ezell

Teaching in Two Steps: The Effectiveness of Using Electronic Modules + Consultations in a First-Year Composition Course

Towson University's Cook Library piloted instruction for ENGL 102 which combined electronic modules with one-on-one consultations as a complement to the instruction in our research seminar. This approach allowed for both self-directed learning and point-of-need personalized instruction. This assessment project seeks to determine the impact on student learning while gathering information about how to improve these new pedagogical tools.