The Arizona Desert Lamp

March of the Modules

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 28 January 2009

The first step towards module-based General Education (which I wrote about at length here), will be implemented in the field of “information literacy”:

One of the first casualties of the impending budget cuts will be a face-to-face instructional program meant to teach English 101 and 102 students how to navigate the library, Stoffle said. Instead, this program will soon be delivered as an online course.
. . .
Hall said, the new online modules are set to be tested in the fall semester of 2009, and would be structured as a one-credit course that will teach the research skills previously taught in the face-to-face program.

She said this would be the first time the English writing department would require an online course. It would be set as part of the curriculum in spring 2010.

Laura Rupprecht, a sociology senior, has experienced the current research training program from her honors English courses. She said this new online course may have potential for some students.

“For people who haven’t learned this stuff that might be more useful,” Rupprecht said. “I don’t think (honor students) are going to like it much.”

As I remember it (back in my day . . .), the whole thing was quite a sham. To be fair, it was a nice field trip, and walking across the mall with the class reminded me of the day trips I used to take as a kid at my Midwest elementary school, to the local museum of art or the park or wherever. We spent the rest of class lazily wandering the library to find various call numbers. The ‘hardest’ part of that exercise was finding various articles among the tomes of archived journals — an exercise that is largely defunct in the wake of JSTOR and LexisNexis. The class as a whole, however, was formative, and Mr. Skeffington was one of the best teachers that I’ve had here.

Honors kids probably won’t like this unit — because it insults their intelligence. But they also don’t like most of the GenEd program, core introductory classes, etc. The beauty of this program is that it can probably be knocked out in one hungover early afternoon. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice if you could do this with all (or, at least, a great majority) of your GenEd classes?

NB: The headline of the article reads, “Budget cuts may force UA library closure,” implying by its formulation the library that everyone is associated with — the main library. Of course, the “library” in question is never specified, and the lede describes the potential closing of “a” library. So no, we’re not at the point where the library is going to be closed, ever.

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One Response

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  1. Laura Donovan said, on 28 January 2009 at 7:52 pm

    The library article is misleading. They said “a” library, and there are many on the UA campus. It was a nasty headline to scare people.


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