Cracking the code: Building an assessment plan with student discussion boards
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Library instruction sessions offer students a chance to learn a variety of information literacy skills and often give them a chance to apply these abilities with a librarian close by for assistance. But how can the librarian be sure the tips and tricks being taught are retained beyond the classroom? In the Fall of 2019, librarians at the University of Missouri-Kansas City recognized an assessment gap in their library instruction program. Undergraduate student responses to source evaluations were assessed after completing the program’s flipped classroom educational module but not after in-person instruction sessions—a pre-test without a post-test. In an effort to measure the effectiveness of classroom instruction, librarians created an assessment plan and tool to capture results post-instruction. Students were asked to respond to information literacy questions in a Canvas discussion board within 24 hours of receiving instruction regarding sources found. A total of 231 students reported 411 sources on the discussion board. The posts were extracted from Canvas and imported into OpenRefine, where the data was anonymized, organized, and generally cleaned up. Data was then coded by the librarians using Google Forms, replicating the assessment process for each source presented by the students, both scholarly and popular in type. With a new data set, the librarians were able to create visualizations and identify trends from the student responses. After analyzing the coded information, librarians were able to then alter lesson plans with the intention of better meeting the student learning outcomes for undergraduate library instruction.