What Should Geosciences Majors Know?
Writing Intensive Classes and the Geosciences Major
The geosciences department is committed to having students use information resources and information technology as an integral part of their education in the geosciences. Every geosciences major will have had a writing intensive class during their first year. These students already should have learned the following information literacy skills:
Faculty members in the geosciences department must be aware that the information literacy skills possessed by students beginning the geosciences major will require immediate and continuous reinforcement and development as students begin and advance through the major.
Beginning Geosciences Majors
After completing an introductory geosciences course (Geo 101 and 102, or FYS 103, or 108) students should be able to:
After taking an intermediate class (any 200-level Geosciences class), geosciences students should be able to:
Advanced geosciences majors should:
Information Resources for the Geosciences
Libraries Resources in the Geosciences
Databases of Articles in Geoscience
Web of Knowledge
USGS – U.S. Geological Survey
NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NASA - National Aeronautical and Space Administration
EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
In Which Classes Should Students Learn These Skills?
In the introductory courses students will primarily learn about citing and plagiarism via their project reports. In intermediate course laboratories students will be assigned library research and will learn how to locate and use articles. The biggest focus of information literacy training in our curriculum will be advanced (300-level) geosciences courses. In these courses students will be expected to locate and read journal articles, and do their own writing and presenting. All of the skills described above will be taught and/or reinforced in these classes. These skills will also be included in many of our intermediate level required courses, where students will be asked to read and discuss journal articles in the different areas covered by the courses. In some of these courses, students write a research paper and will thus have a direct application of the skills that they have learned. In addition to the information literacy in these required courses, there will be additional content for students doing honors or special studies projects.
In What Ways Will Student Skills be Assessed?
In most introductory and intermediate-level geosciences courses students work on hands-on field and laboratory assignments that commonly involve approaches and methodologies used in the process of conducting actual research. Throughout this process the instructors introduce and keep the students up to date on the current status and advancements in the area of geosciences information literacy. The complexity of assignments increases as the students progress through the geosciences curriculum and the students performance is expected to reflect the skills appropriate for their level. This includes the ability to locate and appropriately use information by students in introductory courses. Students in intermediate-level geosciences courses are expected to critically and resourcefully use information from multiple sources and relate it to their own observations and interpretations in their quests for answers. Most geoscience students also engage in conducting research in advanced-level courses or through working on independent projects or senior thesis research. At this level the students are expected to clearly and critically think about and analyze information as they work on defining questions, designing research approaches, building arguments, synthesizing ideas, and creatively constructing and presenting their results.
It is imperative that geosciences students are able to acknowledge when they incorporate the work of others into their own work. Such ethical use of information is founded on the premise that students can make clear distinctions between new knowledge that they produce and received knowledge from others. Thus, the Department of Geosciences requires that students clearly state the sources of all information incorporated into every written and oral product produced in any geosciences course at Smith College.
March 8, 2013