2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Psychology Department Learning Goals: Developing the Information Skills Pathway

Erika N. Feldman - Psychology, Laura Barrett - and UW Libraries, Beth Kerr - Psychology

We detail an interdepartmental effort to address learning goals for undergraduate psychology majors at the University of Washington. The Psychology Department began by identifying five categories of learning goals: Content, Methods, Critical Thinking, Diversity & Multicultural Awareness, and Communication. To further enhance the curriculum, we identified skill development pathways that cut across different psychology courses; these pathways include writing skills, quantitative skills, and information-literacy skills. We collaborated with UW Libraries to outline the information-literacy pathway.

Our process had three major phases:

  • articulating information skills,
  • identifying activities that develop these skills and placing them in a developmental sequence, and
  • creating a curricular map for information skill development

We began by articulating specific information skills using the broader literature and pedagogical materials already used in Psychology (e.g., Psychology Writing Center and UW Libraries handouts). Next, we created a table with all of the information literacy skills taught in librarian-led workshops in Psychology classes over the last three years. Then, we built a menu of activities with an appropriate sequence of information skills development. For example, we classified basic library research skills, like finding and reading the full-text of journal articles, as appropriate for 200-level classes. We will use the menu to advertise information-skills activities to instructors and to promote awareness of information literacy among students.

To assess how well psychology courses address information-literacy skills, we created a curricular map for the information skills pathway. Individual professors are currently reviewing how their course-specific learning goals fit with the broader department learning goals and skill development pathways. Soon, we will begin to plan assessment of information-literacy skills. We expect information skills to be assessed in conjunction with communication, methods, and critical-thinking goals by evaluating student work in labs and 400-level classes.




Index of Symposium Presenters