“Fake news” and “alternative facts” are now ubiquitous terms. Teaching information and scientific literacy is essential if we expect students to become well-informed citizens prepared to navigate today’s digital landscape, political climate, and 24-hour cable news cycle. A professor and a research librarian designed assignments over the course of the semester to address the following information literacy outcomes in an undergraduate epidemiology class. Students should be able to: 1) Examine and compare information from various sources in order to evaluate accuracy, authority, currency, and point of view; 2) Recognize the cultural, physical, or other context within which information is created and how that context impacts interpretation; 3) Evaluate information and explore multiple perspectives while maintaining an open mind and critical stance; 4) Recognize that information may be perceived differently based on the format in which it is presented and 5) Investigate differing viewpoints encountered in the literature and determine whether or not to incorporate or reject these ideas. Student decision-making was evaluated at baseline using Screencast-O-Matic, a free online tool to record student searches. Students were prompted with a scenario in which they were asked to find reputable information on climate change and health to settle a family argument. Additional case studies with strong scientific consensus (e.g. vaccinations and autism), yet politically controversial, were used. Baseline and end-of-semester rubric scores will be compared. Individual assignment rubrics used to determine if students achieved all learning outcomes will be shared. At minimum this approach engaged undergraduates in scientific discussions around climate change and vaccination safety.
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Dailey, Amy and Smith, Meggan D., "From Climate Change to Vaccination Safety: Teaching Information Literacy in an Undergraduate Epidemiology Course" (2017). Musselman Library Staff Publications. 76.
Additional FilesDailey HS 326 Epidemiology assignments Spring 2017.pdf (146 kB)
APHA General Rubric_11_1_17 edited.pdf (85 kB)