GSA 2015 Abstract & PowerPoint - Laying the Foundation for Information Literacy in Introductory-Level Earth Science Courses Public

Introductory-level Earth science courses provide the opportunity for science and non-science majors to expand discipline-specific content knowledge while enhancing skill sets applicable to all disciplines. Two courses at Penn State Brandywine designed as general education science courses, Environment Earth (EARTH 100) and The Sea Around Us (GEOSC 040), established the overarching course goal for students to understand, communicate examples, and make informed decisions relating to big ideas and fundamental concepts of Earth/ocean science. To develop the scientific literacy of students and their ability to read, interpret, and evaluate sources of scientific news, a semester-long Literacy Project was designed in collaboration between the Earth science faculty member and a Reference and Instruction librarian. Each week, students were required to locate one Earth/ocean science article published in the past five years, evaluate the article with the CRAP test (currency, reliability, authority, purpose/point of view), and write an annotated bibliography. Students had two instructional sessions in a computer laboratory with the librarian to learn how to find and evaluate sources, as well as instructional time to learn how to use the online citation database management tool Zotero. The students were required to match their article annotation with the Earth Science or Ocean Science Literacy Principles to enforce the relevance of the course content and emphasis on scientific literacy. The completed annotated bibliography at the end of the semester served as a foundation for a take-home final exam. Overall, the Literacy Project assisted students in developing a foundational skill necessary for undergraduate research in any discipline.