Elisabeth Tappeiner, Associate Professor
This fall, Title V, CUNY EDGE, and the Hostos Library teamed up to offer a six week information literacy intensive program. Every Tuesday afternoon from the end of September to the end of October, a group of dedicated students showed up to learn about framing research questions, differentiating between different types of sources, working with data and empirical research, quoting, paraphrasing and using information responsibly, and learning insider tips on searching Google Scholar and specialized library databases. Students brought their own research projects to discuss and refine throughout the program. Each week was designed as a standalone workshop, and students were expected to complete a short task independently between sessions. Students chose research questions related to their coursework for the semester to investigate throughout the six week program. The interdisciplinary nature of the students’ projects made the discussions rich and informative. One student was interested in Native American food traditions, another was focused on negative stereotypes of Muslim women who wear hijabs, and another student investigated demographic issues in medical school admissions.
As we discussed how the workshop would be structured, we wondered if students would show up to a voluntary, six week information literacy program. However, we were surprised and delighted by a core group students’ dedication to attending weekly workshops and completing the assignments. The group was truly interested in mastering the finer points of academic research, and they understood how this knowledge would help them in their academic and professional lives. Although we were all strangers at the beginning of the program, by the end we formed close bonds and students were comfortable sharing their struggles and offering advice and support, despite their disparate academic interests. The Information Literacy Enrichment Program was a successful experiment that proves that if you offer students opportunities for academic enrichment, even ones that put pressure on their already busy schedules, they will seize the opportunity.