Using Analytics to Advance our Future Instruction Services

Image of poster presented at the 2018 Library Assessment Conference.

Background

Our university is accelerating its education and innovating strategies to shape the future of learning.  We want students to be risk takers, to create and share knowledge, and to be engaged global citizens. The Library’s goals are to teach at critical points in the curriculum, to expand our reach to students who may be less prepared, and to partner with increased focus on experiential learning.  

Without a general university information literacy requirement, the Library needed to make connections to where there might be high impact on the curriculum and on student success. To better articulate our goals with schools and colleges, the authors launched an ongoing analytics-based assessment of the Library's course-integrated instruction program.

Data Sources

We used two sources of data in this study. First, we collected data on students who participated in our course-integrated library instruction programs, as recorded by library instructors in our scheduling application for library instruction (known as SALI). Second, we obtained IRB approval to work with student information contained in the university's learning analytics architecture (LARC) database. SALI tracks course and section numbers for each instruction session. LARC provides access to demographic, socioeconomic, and academic data on individual students. 

We extracted data from systems for students who graduated in May 2017 and May 2018. We ran analyses on the students 4 years of undergraduate work to examine several measures of student success. We also assessed students of different socioeconomic, demographic, and academic discipline backgrounds and their attendance in library instruction sessions to assess the integration of our program with various schools, colleges, and campus programs. 

Results

Highlights of our findings from in-depth analysis of two four-year cohorts of undergraduate students and library course-integrated instruction services revealed that 77.7% of students received library instruction during their undergraduate experience.  The analysis allowed us view the trends in the top 10 courses where the most students received library instruction, as well as:

  • socioeconomic status
  • special populations like, first generation, underrepresented minority
  • gender
  • discipline

We also identified instructional gaps, such as 64% of students who do not receive library instruction during their undergraduate experience are male.  We are exploring additional analyses to identify why this gap exists and what, if any, actions the library can pursue to decrease this gap. 

What we learned through this assessment effort has direct implications for our program planning (demographics, sequencing, curriculum development), resource allocation, and delivery of library instruction.  We also shared outcomes of discussions this data has had on our instruction activities with specific departments as well as other campus service partners. For those institutions who do not have a required information literacy component in their general education requirements, this assessment offers a replicable methodology to understand current impact and to open discussion for future possibilities. 

Our poster from the Library Assessment 2018 Conference can be found here. We would love to hear feedback or other ideas to further our work. Please feel to contact us: Laurie Alexander (lauriea@umich.edu) or Doreen Bradley (dbradley@umich.edu).

(Submitted by Laurie Alexander and Doreen Bradley.)