|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2012 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 77-78
Lessons Learned From a Faculty - librarian Collaboration in Teaching the "AIDS and the global society" College Course
Bojana Beric1, Lisa R Coats2
1 Department of Health and Physical Education, Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies, Monmouth University, USA
2 William Madison Randall Library, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA
|Date of Submission||20-Aug-2011|
|Date of Revision||29-Feb-2012|
|Date of Acceptance||12-Apr-2012|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Jul-2012|
Department of Health and Physical Education, Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Beric B, Coats LR. Lessons Learned From a Faculty - librarian Collaboration in Teaching the "AIDS and the global society" College Course. Educ Health 2012;25:77-8
How do we as teachers, mentors, and facilitators help undergraduate college students reach their maximum potential in learning content and attaining skills?  How do we transform a passive student into an active, engaged learner?  In an attempt to respond to these challenging questions, we proposed a semester long faculty-librarian collaboration in a health promotion class. This strategy included library instruction sessions involving the faculty member, in-class sessions involving the librarian, and online and in-person communication between students and the librarian. We intended to stimulate students' engagement with the library by helping them develop and refine library skills, and enhance the quality of reliable published resources they utilize, while working on the specific assignment for the course.
Our collaboration began in December 2008 after establishing strong support for the project from our respective departments. We met several times to define the collaboration in the syllabus, including a timeline, specific dates for library or classroom visits, the requirements for the assignment, and an outline of the library assistance that would be provided to support the research required to complete the assignment. We included two other Health Education courses taught by the same health faculty that required extensive research for the assigned projects as a control [Table 1].
|Table 1: Courses surveyed with number of students enrolled and responses|
Click here to view
The two Health Education courses continued to have a single orientation library session as control groups to measure student satisfaction with the faculty-librarian collaboration. To be able to survey the students and gather their perceptions about the collaboration, research permission was obtained from the University Institutional Review Board (IRB).
The participants in the project were undergraduate students enrolled in a senior-level perspectives course during three academic semesters at a medium-sized private university. They represented a variety of majors with about 10%-25% of the students enrolled in health studies and 75%-90% enrolled in other majors offered at the University. The participants were predominantly female (70%-75%), having a White or Caucasian racial/ethnic background (98%).
The results of the survey showed that most respondents liked the collaboration. They appreciated the additional help from the librarian, the time allotted during class to use the library, and learning new ways of searching databases. In addition, students liked how the librarian checked back on the progress of their research, the librarian's interest in the projects, as well as her being present during poster presentations. On the other hand, some of the students indicated that the introductory session was repetitive, some felt that they did not receive enough individual attention, and some complained that they had to walk across campus for the library session.
As a result of students' comments and suggestions, the general library research information session was revised in the second semester with more emphasis placed on searching for resources for the specific assignment. From the beginning of our collaboration, we allotted time for hands-on research, assisted by both of us - faculty member and librarian. However, the time we devoted to hands-on research and one-on-one assistance increased as the project developed. Several students made positive references to the hands-on, focused research assistance and we decided to increase the librarian's in-class presence during the third semester by adding more classroom consultation with the librarian, and having her attend the students' poster presentations in class.
Based on our students' feedback and our own observations and insight, it may be concluded that collaborative teaching with a faculty member and a librarian is an effective strategy in teaching health topics that require extensive literature research. Interdisciplinary collaboration incorporating the expertise of two professionals stimulates meaningful and purposeful learning. It is important for effective teaching that instructors meet the students where they are in terms of library and research skills and provide them with an opportunity for expanding in areas of need. ,, A valuable lesson learned from our collaboration was that students in senior-level college courses appreciate focused instruction on specific resources with task-oriented support. Also, the online research tools developed specifically for the assignments seem to be effective for continuous student learning after instruction and provide good connections to library support.
Therefore, we recommend that the faculty-librarian collaboration in Health Education classes be considered as a valuable and meaningful teaching strategy in courses that require extensive research for completion of assignments.  Furthermore, based on our experience we recommend that the embedded librarian be instituted earlier in the students' academic career for courses requiring a research component, ideally in the freshmen or sophomore year. Replication of this faculty-librarian collaboration with other Health Education faculty and librarians will bring more personal insight and critique into the evaluation of research projects.
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