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2018 ALI Information Literacy UnConference: 2018 UnConference Session Notes

At Purdue University, July 13th


Notes from each breakout session, organized by room number, below.


See to add to or view the Google Doc notes.

Final breakout session notes and photos of the whiteboards will be up around Wednesday or Thursday of next week!

Closing Session Notes

  • ACRL Framework can be useful across the board for scholarship
  • Important to be conscious about teaching students the different kinds of sources, even though they’re all on a screen
  • Usage of databases - INSPIRE serves us as professionals as well as students; important to show consistency from K-12 setting to college, to ease transition
  • Students’ discomfort in research process is important; research is complicated and iterative, so important to get them to feel okay with discomfort while also making them feel supported; librarians are become guides rather than answer-givers.  K-12 librarians: the maker movement can help address open-ended questions. Also, having teachers work across disciplines can help, because they can develop questions and multidisciplinary assignments for students.

Breakout Session 1 - 3121

Collaboration Between k-12 Librarians and College Librarians


Breakout Session 2 - 3121

Privacy/Ethics: Engaging Students in Discussion


Breakout session 3 - 3121

Students Transitioning from Information Consumers to Information Producers

Example: 6th grade class researched Keystone Pipeline. Called, interviewed, skyped with ranchers, pipeline company, oil company, Sierra club, etc. Both in US and Canada. Students found the sources. Half of groups were for, half were against.

Made formal presentations at end to audience that included public officials

Library of Congress lessons


Breakout Session 1 - 3132

Digital Citizenship


Digital citizenship Involves: 




-not just legal, also ethical

-using credible sources

-identify format

-acting responsibly and appropriately  online

-differentiating among different types of communication, ie formal vs informal, professional vs social

-transitioning from one venue to another, not really cultural gatekeepers anymore

Key questions about digital citizenship:

- How do you help students realize what they are looking at?

- How do they evaluate sources?

- How can we help them become more aware of format types?

Dr. Thomas Ho shared resources:

-Indiana’s Be Internet Awesome presentation

-DOE website for the program

Read horizontally, not just vertically

Authoritative vs tentative source

How do we get this information to students?

- Teach the teachers

- Offer to teach bibliography

- Students think they know Google

- Campus-wide initiatives (e.g. Digital Strategy)

-Try to get that top level at institution (

- What are go-to sources? Too many students think it’s their peers

- We could spend more time connecting them to experts

- Sources are not necessarily stable

Too often people don’t realize the consequences until later

News literacy, echo chamber vs. “filter bubble”

Apps: where is your information going? Privacy

Movie Pass: was sharing location information beyond what they said


Breakout session 2 - 3132

Google -- getting students from surface to deep searching

  • Google search patterns are transferred to databases. They are comfortable for students.
  • What’s the difference (between Google and other search products) Making the case for and educating users about search.
  • How to integrate Google? What language are people using?
  • Understanding what is happening when a student or teacher performs a Google search.
  • How the system functions? Will this change as we move away from a era of net neutrality? Filter bubbles (your search patterns follow you).
  • Discussion on Google vs. Google Scholar
  • Limitations of tool -- indexing, irreproducible results (in a Google search), keyword vs. subject searches
  • What if the assignment is the problem? Are the questions the students are trying to answer poorly craft


  • What are we seeing students do in the classroom?
    • Typing in the entire research question into the search box.
    • Some tools already try to do natural language searches.  Google provides better answers when asking a full question. This does not work with databases.
    • Students are not crafting and modifying searches
  • Boolean search strategies in Google (or lack thereof)
  • Discussion of acceptable sources (what is okay to include in a assignment?)
  • Communication struggles between what teachers are teaching for research requirements (must bring in a physical source, which confuses and discourages students from using online databases
  • Discussion of predatory journals. Jeffrey Beall’s list
  • Making the case for searching beyond Google
    • “Triangulation of data” as a evaluation method for doing research in Google
    • Ways to promote Inspire and other library databases
    • Research log assignment, articulate back the steps used in research
    • Research is not tested in English K12 assessment, so not taught as much (if at all) in the classroom prior to college
  • Integrating Google
    • Teaching Google side-by-side commercial databases
    • Identify domain, format, bias,
    • Google is one click. Databases take so many clicks and authentication. “32 clicks to get where we want and remember a password”
    • Teaching that ease of access does not mean quality
    • Research is messy, examples of teaching this.
    • Keeping s research journal
  • Using Google Scholar


Breakout session 3 - 3132

Teacher Support/Development for Students' varying background [will transcribe soon!]


Breakout session 1 - 3148

College Readiness: Diversity, Research, and Experience 

One question:  what do we mean by college readiness?  Broad topics:

  • students often transition from one culture/country to another;
  • students transition from one part of the country to another, experiencing culture shock
  • adult/non-traditional students experience transitions re: technology
  • senior students have to remember resources they learn about in their first year

College readiness:  

- students start out at different points.  Have to contend with duality of the library as both a physical place where they have to find things and a digital space where they have to find resources.  

- How do students begin to view themselves as researchers?

- How does it all come together for students?

- Important to find out what they already know, and use that as the basis for what you do.  

-Discussion about database searching and how to teach students.

-Important to emphasize for students to look at a variety of sources in a variety of formats (print, images, etc.). Also, different resource tools are appropriate for different assignments.  

-Suggestion: One librarian: databases are tools, and Google is just one of them. You need more than one tool to build a house.

- Example: One librarian struggles with helping students understand what they’re looking at, given how similar the ‘containers’ look. How many of us use print?  Let’s flip that: how often do you use print?

- Example: One librarian: “Getting students to look more than one place is painful.” Response: change the assignment so that it engages students more.

- Example: Another librarian: students experience discomfort, and we have a desire to make it go away.  But discomfort is an important part of the process, and it’s important to recognize that.

- Example: One librarian: and this is tied to students’ point of need.

Top four points:

1--what do we mean by college readiness?

2--research isn’t always tied to writing (e.g., engineering, business)

3--meet students at their point of need

4--students are coming from different starting points



Breakout session 2 - 3148

Adapting to the Scholarly World and College 

  • Adapting to the scholarly world of college. Also includes writing, critical thinking

- Big Question: What is a scholar?

- Discuss ways of knowing & tools for investigation

- Book by Ernest Boyer Scholarship Reconsidered

- Some are the responsibility of the instructors and specific departments

- Some of it is cultural

- Culture of Learning

- Question/Consideration: What about students who are first-generation students?

- First day of class-predictions from observations of students-- usually dead wrong (could be extroverted schmoozers)

- Assumption: How we think someone is a good learner could be wrong

- Best learners often fail

-Suggestion: Have former students come back and talk to current students

- Sometimes what we think is the most important thing about college is not what they are curious about (e.g. search ‘country music suicide’ on Google Scholar. Back and forth on both sides of argument)

- Suggestions:

- Emphasize to students that not all things are settled, are worthy of discussion

-ACRL Framework can be useful across the board. “Scholarship as Conversation” frame is useful

- Start with article written by faculty member. Check source material

-College readiness should start before high school. Start on the path sooner

-How college is marketed to younger students is important

-Some students are crushed when they have a long-time dream and discover they don’t qualify (ex: nursing, engineering)

-Example: Greater Clark: 8th grade required to have a college readiness class. Pre-service teachers are paired up with write to them.

- 21st Century Scholars have 4 sessions

- Consideration: Time spent working does not necessarily correlate to success

- Question: Do students want quicker results? More instant gratification?

- Question: What are differences in expectations of undergrad vs. grad students?

(first sem is boot camp for writing, some have writing center just for grad students)

Some have opposite experience

Difference between those continuing on, vs those who have been out in working world

May not learn the jargon of occupations

Many students do not look at college in term of careers, but as of jobs

The mindset of learning is important

-Example: IUS and Prosser Vocational HS have job-shadowing program for teachers in the summer to have them share with students




Breakout session 3 - 3148

Lack of go-to Sources at a New School

  • “Go-to sources” includes databases, as well as parents, teachers, other ways we gain information. How do we support interpersonal information? What does information literacy say to this? Discussion of transferable skills.
  • How do we prepare students for career sources, especially once students no longer have library databases but another set of resources?
  • Moving out of silos
  • Personal connection beyond “just searching things”
  • Conversation about OER resources
  • Question of the day: how do we get students to do things that we don’t do ourselves?
  • Change the wording: “Learn about” instead of “research
    • Work into information literacy standards?
    • This whole topic is missed in higher education
    • Scholarship is a Conversation is the framework, BUT scholars always work alone and this is instilled through academic integrity / not plagiarizing.
  • “Fight for your right to party”
  • Discussion on database demonstrations and online education