Capstone ePortfolio: Joanna Russell Bliss 

ALA Competency 5: Reference & User Services

    INFO 5900, Profile of Adult Learners

    This assignment allowed us to create a profile of the learning community of our choice. I researched the demographics of first-year learners at three separate universities here in Texas, turning in a paper on January 25, 2021. 

    As this class on instruction began, we started with discussions of the qualities of adult learners. The lectures are quite broad as the class includes people from all points in the instruction spectrum: students like myself who hope to work with undergraduate students at colleges and universities to others wanting to create public programs at libraries that appeal to fresh graduates, new parents, and even Boomers learning new skills. The assignments are therefore quite broad, allowing us to find our own pertinent research and creating work that reflects the types of programs we hope to lead.

    The paper touches on the first competence for Reference and User Services, 5A: The concepts, principles, and techniques of reference and user services that provide access to relevant and accurate recorded knowledge and information to individuals of all ages and groups. In particular, it reminds us that in order to serve our populations, we must first understand who they are and their specific needs.

    INFO 5330, Information Literacy Presentation

    The purpose of this assignment was to create a brief presentation on information literacy for first-year college students preparing to write a research paper. I created my slides and recorded the presentation using Canva and Zoom, submitting the below embedded presentation, as well as a PDF handout that included all text from the slides and a transcription of the audio for accessibility, on December 7, 2020.

    While this was submitted for my course through UNT, as I am working at SMU, I'm more comfortable presenting about using the resources available through SMU Libraries. The presentation covers the basic steps of the research process while also discussing several guidelines from the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education as published by the ACRL: exploring the construction of authority, the process of information creation, research as inquiry, and strategic exploration through searching.

    The presentation touches on two of the competences for Reference and User Services: Techniques used to evaluate and synthesize information (5B), and information literacy techniques and methods (5D).

    INFO 5000, Career Development Project

    The purpose of this assignment was to work with an information professional to learn about real-world practices and important current topics. I interviewed Megan Heuer, the Head of Information Literacy at Southern Methodist University, about teaching information literacy to college students. A paper summarizing our interview and what I learned was turned in on December 1, 2019.

    While we learned about the RUSA guidelines for teaching information literacy, I wondered how we teach this topic in a world where phrases like “fake news” or “alternate facts” are used in environments like our federal government, institutions that were previously considered trustworthy and a reliable source of facts. My goal was to discuss how Ms. Heuer does this in the classroom, as well as how she teaches students to discern bias and authority in a variety of settings.

    The act of researching new topics and ideas should include the ability to perceive bias and recognize disinformation. Students today are used to doing a basic Web search when looking for general information. How do we take those instincts and show them how to apply these skills to scholarly research? And, conversely, how do they apply critical reading and thinking to non-scholarly sources, in order to recognize what is well-researched vs. what is disinformation? Information literacy is not only a key component of the ALA competences for research and user services, it is a necessary skill in today's digital society. 

    Our interview focused on two of the competences for Reference and User Services: Techniques used to evaluate and synthesize information (5B), and information literacy techniques and methods (5D).
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