Turning Educational Standards/Recommendations into Information Fluency Courses: A Case Study
Wagner, A. Ben
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In October, 2005, the American Physical Society/American Association of Physics Teachers Joint Task Force on Graduate Education released a report in October 2005 recommending that physics departments "require communications training and information literacy/fluency in their graduate programs." <http://www.aapt.org/Resources/upload/TFGradStudies.pdf>. This recommendation was used by the author, the physics librarian at the University at Buffalo, to initiate an information literacy 1-credit class for physics graduate students under the auspices of the physics department as part of their formal course offers. Students learned how to efficiently find, evaluate, and use scholarly information to further their research and educational goals. The process of finding and using information was emphasized from getting background information to in-depth literature searching to the writing of scholarly articles. Key physics resources such as INSPEC, SciFinder Scholar, arXiv, and Web of Science were covered in detail. Resources that permit efficient access to properties, data, and special forms of literature such as patents, theses, and government reports were also reviewed. Students learned about proper citing of sources, copyright, and the EndNote citation manager. The he course involved extensive hands-on training in a computer lab. The major assignment was to create a comprehensive bibliography of a topic directly related to their current research interests.