Associate Professor of Information Studies Purdue University Libraries & School of Information Studies West Lafayette, Indiana
Background: Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies (PULSIS) recently began offering for-credit courses under its own course designation "ILS." Librarians were encouraged to propose new courses that fill a gap on campus. In this case, the librarian designed a one-credit, 8-week course for upper level undergraduate students who intend to attend professional school (MD, DO, DVM, DDS, etc.) or graduate school (MPH, Ph.D.) in a health sciences related discipline. The result was a one-credit, eight-week course called "Information Skills for Health Professionals." The concept of evidence-based practice was used as a vehicle for readings, discussions, and assignments throughout the course.
Description: The librarian used principles of backward design to create the curriculum, starting with what the students should be able to do upon completion of the course, and working backward from there to create appropriate course content. The learning outcomes for the course were: "By the end of this course, students will be able to: Plan for comprehensive literature searches by clearly defining your information need and mapping search terms to those concepts; Find information relevant to your information needs using appropriate subject database(s), including the use of keywords or controlled vocabulary, and available search facets; Evaluate the level of evidence of various research methodologies; Save, organize, and use materials in multiple formats (journal articles, books, book chapters, web sites) using a citation management system; Discuss what evidence-based practice means to you in the context of your career goals."
Conclusion: The course was taught in fall 2019 and spring 2020, with 5 and 6 students enrolled, respectively. Students' feedback indicated that the course was very relevant to their educational and career plans. Student requests from the first semester led to some adjustments in the curriculum for the second semester, including creation of a LibGuide for the course, spending more time on building a complex database search, finding health-related data sources, and publishers' requirements for submitted manuscripts. The course will continue to be marketed to both upper level undergrads as well as new graduate students in health-related disciplines.