Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU) (45th : 2016)

Discovering the junction : professor expectations and student interpretations of academic skills Parlette-Stewart, Melanie; Schnablegger, Laura; Rushe, Shannon


As reflected by the movement in higher education to develop and assess learning outcomes, there is a demand to demonstrate the competencies, sometimes referred to as graduate attributes, a university education will provide. These competencies or attributes include skill sets required to succeed in academic pursuits, broadly including writing, learning and research skills. As members of the Learning Commons, we provide front-line support to students and witness, first-hand, the challenges in student skill development in the areas of information literacy, learning and writing. Through a collaborative, cross-unit research project funded by the University of Guelph’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research grant, we have identified, in the teaching and learning in third year university courses, a series of disconnects A. between the learning, writing and information literacy skills professors expect students to possess and the skills students actually possess when they enter the course; B. between professor expectations of student skill requirements and student interpretation of skill requirements from the course outline; and C. between professor and student understandings of where students should develop these skills (i.e. in class or outside of class). Based on our findings, we aim to inform the academic support delivery of units within the Learning Commons of the Library, as well as to encourage collaborations across units that support teaching and learning. This session will present the literature; introduce our research methodology and approach to recruitment of both students and faculty; offer interpretations on student understandings of course outlines; and demonstrate the value of both collaborative, cross-unit and cross-departmental research, as well as cross-disciplinary research. After the presentation, we will encourage dialogue and questions, and hope that these conversations will inform avenues for potential collaborations between staff that focus on student skills and curriculum development.

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