Beginning in 2011 a geology instructor, a biology instructor, and an academic librarian worked to design materials and classroom applications to ease first-year community college students into successfully reading and analyzing scholarly journal articles. The customizable lab exercise we developed at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, has since undergone several editions and further refinement, and has been used with hundreds of students in natural and applied science courses and in a student success course. Notably, these earlier versions of the materials and their classroom applications have been well received. An external evaluation by SACS-COC ranked the exercise’s use in a biology class for non-science majors as 2nd of 25 similar classroom activities for its success in improving students’ critical thinking skills. After adoption of the ACRL Framework in early 2016, possible applicability was explored through attendance at regional Framework workshops. During summer 2018, I adapted the exercise for use with online courses, and also developed a website with selected journal articles—including some outside the sciences—grouped in 16 employment clusters to provide English-114 (Professional Research and Reporting) and career coaching faculty with a tool to advance students’ expertise and confidence in tackling advanced reading tasks. As our library instruction seeks to incorporate the Framework concept of “Scholarship as Conversation,” we believe that these resources will serve as a “translation app,” that helps undergraduate students enter the conversation even when they are far from fluency.
Cathy Burwell– Assistant Library Director, Cape Fear Community College