Fink Exercise – Week Two, Post Two

Step 5: Integrating Steps 1-4

1.  Situational Factors

  • Due to the online nature of the course and the fact that it may be assigned by an instructor as extra credit or as a low percentage of their grade, students may approach the course without much motivation or with the view that it is ”just another thing I have to complete.”  If the learning activities and feedback and assessment are something the student can relate to their real life, then they may find the course more interesting and be able to get more out of it.
  • The earning goal of learning to evaluate information may be too high level for an introductory course about the library geared towards first-year students who most likely have no experience using an academic library or conducting extensive research before.

2.  Learning Goals and Feedback & Assessment

  • Because the range of goals for the course range from teaching the student basic information about accessing library materials to higher level information literacy concepts, the assessment procedures may need to vary from simple recall type exercises to more involved reflective type of assessment.

3.  Learning Goals and Teaching/Learning Activities

  • The learning activities do support the learning goals, but there may be activities that could be refined to do so more clearly.

4.  Teaching/Learning Activities and Feedback & Assessment

  • The feedback loop works well for clearly defining the criteria and standards that will assess their performance.
  • Learning activities and the associated feedback that will be provided should prepare students for the assessment as they will tie in closely and use similar language and situations.

Fink Exercise – Week Two, Post One

Forward-Looking Assessment

Problem:  You’re out having dinner with two of your good friends.  You bring up how you have tried so many different diets, but still can’t seem to lose any weight and feel tired all the time.  One of your friends starts touting the Paleo diet as the perfect solution, while your other friend disagrees, saying ZapIt!, a new quick fat loss pill, they recently tried is your best bet.  You’ve heard a little bit about both, but really don’t know if either is a good choice for you and feel like you need more information about them before you decide what to try.   Gather information you need to make an informed decision about which approach to take to help you lose weight and feel healthy, whether it be Paleo, ZapIt!, or something else altogether?

Criteria & Standards

Main Learning Goal:  Locate information on a topic from trustworthy, non-biased sources and authors.

Criteria 1:  A variety of quality information sources have been located on a topic.


Exceptional:  5+ resources from scholarly journals, government or trustworthy medical sites have been located.

Acceptable:  3 or less resources, at least two from a scholarly journal, government or trustworthy medical sites have been located.

Poor:  2 or less resources, zero from a scholarly journal, government or trustworthy medical site have been located.

Criteria 2:  Provides evidence an information source has been evaluated and deemed trustworthy.


Exceptional:  Provides evidence the author/s is/are respected in the field and has/have published additional articles that have been referenced in published scholarly articles.

Poor:  Provides no evidence the author/s is/are respected in the field and has/have published additional articles that have been referenced in  published scholarly articles.


Provide a list of quality, trustworthy sources on the topic and have students compare their sources to it.  Ask students to reflect on the information they found and decide if they feel they can use it to make an informed decision.  If not, why not?

“FIDeLity” Feedback

Ask for students to enter specific characteristics of an information source (where it was located, scholarly/peer-reviewed article, date published, etc.) and provide a scale for evaluating their source based on the characteristics.  Explain clearly why or why not a characteristic helps to qualify a source as trustworthy or not and provide additional suggestions for evaluating a source.

Week 1 – Fink Exercise

1. Specific Context of the Teaching/Learning Situation

A series of self-paced, online modules will be available online to an any number of students. Participants will largely be made up of 1st and 2nd year students and may include those taking remedial courses.  Modules will be taken either voluntarily or assigned by an instructor.

2.  General Context of the Learning Situation

Learning expectations of students is that they leave the course with a basic understanding of how to locate and evaluate sources of information they find online and in the library.  They will also learn how to use the library website to get help research and with writing and citing papers.

3.  Nature of the Subject

The subject is primarily practical.  The are numerous access points to locating information in the library and online, but the process is similar across these points.  With the move from The Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education to the soon to be released Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education by ACRL, there are some possible changes or alternative methods for teaching this subject.

4.  Characteristics of the Learners

A large percentage of the learners will be first-time in college, first generation college students.  Most will also be working, many with family responsibilities and will either be aiming to earn an associates or a bachelor’s degree.  Their prior knowledge on the subject will be minimal and they may feel intimidated or apathetic.  Learning styles and expectations will vary across the learners.

5.  Characteristics of the Teacher

As a teacher I believe that most learners have the ability to be inspired and motivated to learn a subject, if the information is presented in a way that they can relate to their life or if they can see how it impacts them directly.  Beyond basic information finding skills, being information literate has impacts for students in their education and throughout their life.  I have nearly 9 years of experience teaching the subject in a face to face environment and a graduate degree in the field.  I believe my strengths in teaching are a willingness to try new approaches to teaching a topic and being open to feedback.

Answers to worksheet on pages 11-12:
“A year (or more) after this course is over, I want and hope that students will…”

Foundational Knowledge

Information is everywhere.  Be proactive in evaluating the source and content of the information you find so that you can make informed decisions.

Application Goals

Critical thinking is the most important, as it will help them professionally and personally.

Integration Goals

Students should be able to connect the idea that taking the time to evaluate the information they find will impact their grades, their personal decisions and their career decisions in the future.

Human Dimension Goals

Students should learn that they are capable of making informed decisions, if they are willing to put in the effort to gather the information they need.

Caring Goals

I hope that students will feel more confident in their ability to locate information and develop an interest in using information to make informed decisions in their life.

“Learning-How-To-Learn” Goals

I would like students to learn that putting into practice what they learn will increase their confidence and that there are many tools in place within the library to aid them in expanding their knowledge on the subject.