Dr. Christine Angel will be presenting at the 2019 IARSLCE Conference. Her co-presenter is Ashley Gabriele.
Ashley Gabriele is a Graduate Assistant in the Outcomes Assessment department of the Vincentian Institute for Social Action (V.I.S.A) at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. In her role at V.I.S.A, Ashley supports outcomes-based research in the areas of service-learning, community engagement, and global citizenship. As such, she studies the impact of student, faculty, staff, and community-based initiatives and/or programs on learning and social-justice related outcomes. Outside of V.I.S.A, Ashley is pursuing her doctoral degree in School Psychology. To date, Ashley has obtained bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Human Services from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in School Psychology from St. John’s University. Professionally, Ashley aspires to blend her love for the field of School Psychology with her passion for service-learning and social justice-based research into a career centered on the implementation of evidence-based community interventions.
Measuring Academic Skill Development as Related to Student-Learning Outcomes utilizing Academic Service-Learning Assessments within an Online Graduate Course
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to assess the development of student achievement as related to pre-defined learning outcomes within an online graduate course. The two main research questions asked were: (1) What skill-sets are students coming into the classroom with? and (2) What new skill-sets are students leaving with?
Narrative: Successful completion of an online Master of Library and Information Studies degree program requires each student to be able to demonstrate proficiency of the external accrediting agency’s – that is, the American Library Association (ALA) – eight core competencies (ALA Core Competencies of Librarianship, 2009). Finding innovative ways to deliver an effective course that results in student mastery of the ALA core competencies within the online environment is key. This is because “while the use of technology is very important in the delivery of course content, focusing on the pedagogy of teaching online…classes is paramount when constructing a comprehensive teaching platform” (Angel, 2016, p. 4). Academic service-learning (AS-L) offers an effective means for students within the online learning environment to be able to demonstrate mastery of ALA core competencies while also providing the opportunity for students to network and gain experience within a real-world environment.
As to the conceptual framework of this study, the benefits of incorporating the AS-L teaching pedagogy into an online graduate course is that it increases the quality of education for students, faculty and service-learning community partners. This is an inherent characteristic found within the academic service-learning pedagogy because its methodology is constructed to “…serve as one bridge, connecting students with their need to learn, faculty members with their need to stay refreshed and connected to today’s work environments, and librarians who need to help prepare new librarians” (Roy, 2009, p. viii). The purpose of this study was to assess the academic skill development as related to six pre-defined learning outcomes within one required online Library and Information Studies (LIS) graduate course. The main research question within this study was to determine the impact of service-learning on student achievement within an online Library and Information Studies graduate course. Within this main research question, two sub-questions were posed. The first sub-question was to determine if student reflection surveys demonstrate evidence of achievement between service and learning. The second sub-question posed was to determine if student reflection surveys demonstrate differences in achievement when participating in online versus onsite academic service-learning projects.
Academic service-learning (AS-L) is a required component of one LIS graduate core course titled Organization of Information within the online Library and Information Studies program. The course is structured so that students demonstrate achievement in meeting six pre-defined learning objectives. Students demonstrate achievement of these learning objectives through a set of scaffold assignments constructed during the semester. These assignments are directly tied to the student’s service-learning community partner and culminate in the creation of a community-specific service-learning blog post published by each student on the Hidden Heritage Collections website located at www.hiddenheritagecollections.org.
For the faculty member to assess the academic development of each student within the online Organization of Information graduate course, a pre- and post-reflection survey was delivered in the form of a Google Forms document (survey attached). At the beginning of each semester, students are required to report on their existing knowledge of course concepts, as well as their skills specifically related to the pre-defined learning outcomes of the Organization of Information course. Each of the six learning outcomes are directly tied to one ALA core competency and pre-defined course assessments that are used during the semester in order to measure student achievement. The questions related to each of the six learning outcomes are divided into two different types: (1) specific skills-based questions, and (2) growth-related questions. The purpose of this assessment was to collect a baseline of student’s entry-level knowledge and skills.
A final set of general questions asked within the pre-reflection survey is used in order to obtain a student’s personal, professional and academic point-of-view of the benefits (or lack thereof) of the service-learning pedagogy. This block of questions asked students to: (1) evaluate service-learning as a pedogeological method of teaching and learning, (2) the potential of service-learning to influence professional career development, and (3) to articulate their personal experiences and/or opinions of the service-learning pedagogy.