Objectives: Librarians wanted to determine whether LibGuides developed for first-year dental students in their first trimester increased the use of authoritative resources in their assignments. These guides are intended to help students transition to the unfamiliar problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum and expectations for individual learning.
Methods: In 2019, librarians developed LibGuides for each PBL case administered to first-trimester dental students. Dental faculty and librarians identified high-quality resources that addressed learning needs for each case (e.g. information about dental anxiety). Librarians added links to books (print and online), databases, trusted websites, and institution-specific resources into each guide. Guide-specific surveys were distributed after each case closed, as well as a final survey at the end of the trimester to solicit general feedback about the LibGuides. Librarians collected usage statistics through the platform’s internal tracker and gauged faculty support through informal feedback.
Results: There are 144 first-year dental students, and the guide for the first case received over 2500 views. The number of views per guide depended on the case’s length, but there was a general decline as the trimester progressed. Students reported that the suggested keywords and textbooks have been the most useful elements of the guides. The quality of cited references in 2019 show improvement when compared to assignments from 2018, which was before LibGuides were implemented. Feedback from faculty has been positive. Reference interactions for PBL-related questions has also declined since the deployment of these guides.
Conclusions: PBL case-specific LibGuides support students in their first trimester by offering structure, guidance for appropriate resources, and anytime access. As evidenced by the number of views and quality of cited references, we believe students access these guides and appreciate the suggestions made. Further research is needed to determine any statistically significant improvements to information literacy.