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Teaching study garners national attention for OU's library programs

Friday, July 30, 2010
Teaching study garners national attention for OU's library programs
By Katie Land, news editor

Three of Oakland University’s librarians are garnering national attention, as finalists for the second annual Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award at the 2010 Teaching Professor Conference in Cambridge, Mass.

Elizabeth Kraemer, associate professor of the library; Shawn Lombardo, associate professor of the library; and Frank Lepkowski, associate dean of the library; co authored the study, “The librarian, the machine, or a little of both: A comparative study of three information literacy pedagogies at Oakland University.”

“We are really thrilled with the award and the reception our study has received in academia,” Kraemer said. “We expected to have created a useful article, but we were surprised by the broad attention and recognition.”

As a teaching library, the study sought to uncover what method of instruction worked best for writing and rhetoric students: all online, all in person lecture, or a blended version of internet and live teaching.

Utilizing four different control groups and analyzing test results, the researchers determined that a blended method of instruction provided the optimal results. Kraemer anticipated a larger disparity between the control groups, but was pleased to see that the blended teaching methods used by the library are in fact working, and working well.

Students fared slightly less well in the straight online courses, demonstrating a need for the human touch, Lepkowski said. Still, the study’s outcome provided a basis for discussion about effective teaching styles and how students learn as a whole.

“It is heartening to see that people outside of the library are interested in this,” Lepkowski continued. “Our study has implications in teaching that goes beyond our field, which is usually considered to be a niche area.”

Sponsored by Magna Publications and McGraw-Hill, the Teaching Professor Conference is devoted exclusively to pedagogy and teaching excellence. This year’s conference was the largest ever, attended by 800 college educators from 48 states and three countries.

Articles up for consideration had to have been published after 2007 in a discipline-specific or cross-disciplinary pedagogical periodical, or a general higher education publication. The piece could address any topic related to college-level teaching and learning.

One winner and two finalists were selected from more than 100 submissions.

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