MADISON, WI, August 30th, 2010 Undergrads often take communication courses unrelated to their major or discipline. The Iowa State University Department of Horticulture teamed up with the Library and English Departments to develop a course section to teach students to research and understand literature searchers and incorporate them into papers and posters.
Andrea L. Dinkelman, Jeanine E. Aune, and Gail R. Nonnecke, Iowa State University faculty from the library and the Departments of English and Horticulture, developed the section in an required undergraduate foundation English communication course. A description of the collaboration was published in the 2010 Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, published by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.
The course section was designed for horticulture majors. Undergraduates often do not see the relevance of required English to their major. Communication and information literacy skills were taught in the context of Horticulture. The faculty collaboration has been ongoing since spring 2006.
First, the librarian instructs students about how to find and evaluate information sources. During the course of the semester, students complete an annotated bibliography and a research paper. At the end of the semester, the students redesign their research paper into a poster. The horticulture faculty review and provide feedback on the research papers, and they also attend and evaluate the posters at the poster session.
Additionally, the horticulture faculty serves as guest lecturers in the English course. They reinforce the importance of knowing how to search for and critically evaluate information.
Based on feedback, both students and horticulture faculty value and appreciate this teaching approach. With regards to the library instruction component of the course, the majority of stude
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American Society of Agronomy