Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"I hate EBSCO"

My student Brian, very frustrated, said this to me yesterday as he was trying to find sources for his research assignment. Brian is angry about a few things right now. He has a crummy math teacher who doesn't teach, an art teacher who doesn't explain anything, and now there's EBSCO, which I think is the safety valve he can release. I know that I could have spent some time with him and suggested key words, but he was so worked up, I switched him over to Google Scholar, and we went through the whole keyword process he would have used in EBSCO and found a goodly number of scholarly articles. I also called up the math dept and set him up with an appointment to discuss his complaint, and he himself made an appointment to talk with the dean of his college, so I feel like he made some progress academically, even if he didn't use EBSCO to get there.a side note: the students, many of them, have taken to calling EBSCO, "ebesco." Very cute, i think. And the same day, many students showed me their EBSCO folders with new articles.

Keep encouraging your students in their new skills

Thanks to this faculty library learning community at BGSU, I have seen tremendous growth in my students' independent use of their EBSCO accounts and folders, and of their ability to find articles. Now they tell me they check there first, before heading out to Yahoo or Google. They are now aware also of Google Scholar, of keyword searches, of checking out books from the library (I have to tell you it does my heart good to see students with library books!), of ordering books through OhioLink, to just name the beginnings. I also see students who give up the fight too easily, who want to "change their topics because they can't find anything."Instead of letting them change their topics, I call them in to work beside me, questioning them about other key ideas, suggesting possible key words, and in this way, they feel I care about their own work, that I am a "literate responder" to their scholarly interests--and they get better at deepening their thinking about their topic and at performing their database searches.These are first-year students in ENG112 at BGSU and it is a real joy to see them progress. The more able ones dive right in and ask very advanced questions, which keep me breathing as a teacher!Namaste