Teaching Reflection: Information Seeking and Evaluation in a Digital Library Environment

Publication Date

Spring 1997

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In this article, we explore influences of electronic information systems on teaching methods. Data are analyzed from the information literacy portion of an introductory computer science course. This curriculum was taught by the first author, whose pedagogical goal was to teach students to search for and evaluate information using a variety of systems. Her teaching methods were informed by three complementary theories: Kuhlthau’s (1993a) process model, cognitive flexibility theory, and situated cognition. She also employed Schon’s (1983) reflective practitioner model, which stipulates that teachers evaluate their pedagogical methods as a course is in session. Although this work is far from being completed, we have confirmed that teachers must be able to reflect on specific incidents and adjust their teaching methods according to individual situations rather than strictly follow prescribed models. Even though the new information systems encourage interaction and offer user-friendly interfaces, the ability to search effectively across systems and critically evaluate retrieved information still needs to be taught. In other words, the digital library environment demands instructional intervention which is flexible and responsive to the situation. Thus we perceive digital libraries as systems comprised of the user, digitized information and software tools, and human mediators.

Publication Title

Library Trends





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