This is Dave Mazella, posting a follow-up to Anna and Eleanor’s previous discussion of teaching with ECCO. As we talked about pedagogical strategies for including ECCO in eighteenth-century courses, the question arose of how one might assess these kinds of activities and their impact on student learning.
Julie Grob, a UH special collections librarian and a collaborator of mine, has generously agreed to share this IL pre-course assessment that she designed for a research-intensive course we developed together. This kind of assessment, taken at the beginning and end of the semester, can help you assess the impact of a semester’s work in primary sources. These questions were administered through surveymonkey.
The background to the course can be found in this co-written article we published in portal, a scholarly library journal available on JSTOR and Project MUSE. Julie developed these questions as we both worked through the ACRL Research Competency Outlines, which were very helpful for designing both assignments and assessments.
- Have you previously taken ENGL 3301, Introduction to Literary Studies? [this is my Intro the Major course, which includes some work in Spec Collections]
- Have you ever visited Special Collections, either with a class or on your own? If the former, for which class?
- materials from the 18th century only
- the first sources you should look at when doing your research
- sources that contain contemporary accounts of an event, written by someone who experienced or witnessed that event
- any sources held by a library, regardless of format
3. From the answers below, which is the best definition of secondary sources?
- any materials held by a library that are not rare
- sources that are not relevant to your particular research
- sources that interpret an event, written by someone at least one step removed from that event
- any materials that were published after the 18th century
4. What kinds of materials are found in the UH Libraries’ Special Collections? (Please check any that apply).
- old books
- new books
5. How would you find out if a book about Benjamin Franklin is located in Special Collections?
- Come to Special Collections and look at the paper card catalog
- Come to Special Collections and wander through the book stacks
- Search for books about Benjamin Franklin in the library catalog, then “limit” your search to Special Collections
- Search for Benjamin Franklin under “archival finding aids” on the Special Collections website
6. Which of the following are common features of an 18th century book? (Select four).
- printed on vellum (animal skin)
- printed on paper
- bound in leather
- bound in colorful bookcloth
- illustrated with engravings
- illustrated with photographs
- words have a “long s”words have a “double y”
7. What kind of source would be most important for a scholar to consult if he or she wants to do original research (that is, research that creates new knowledge in their field)?
- an electronic source
- a primary source
- a secondary source
8. Which of the following databases would be most useful for finding articles about literature? (Select three).
- Philosopher’s Index
- Project Muse
9. If you search one of the Library’s electronic databases using a keyword and get back 500 hits, how might you most effectively change your search to get back a more manageable number of results?
- use a totally different keyword
- add a second keyword
- do a keyword search using Google instead
10. Where are you most likely to find accurate information about a famous person from the 18th century?
- Wikipedia (web site)
- MLA (database)
- Dictionary of National Biography (database)
We used this as part of our documentation of student learning for the SACS QEP, which helped fund the acquisition of some special collections material for the course.