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Not everything is Digitized: a York University Biology Research Practicum Project

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Pegah Nazeri, Julien Jayasinghe and Min Kim co-presented this keynote talk at the 2018 annual Teaching in Focus conference at York University, Toronto, Canada.
Professor Pat Lakin-Thomas' explanation of the Biology Research Practicum course can be seen at: https://vimeo.com/306705856

Here is our submitted abstract:
TITLE: Learning that NOT all knowledge is available online by co-creating a research practicum project between undergraduate digital natives and a reprint-request-card professor
AUTHORS: Pegah Nazeri*, Julien Jayasinghe*, Elizabeth Allen, AJ Perez, Do Eon Lee, Barinder Kallay, Namig Aghayev, Ayesha Khan, Amandeep Kaur, Min Kim, Daniel Presta and Dawn Bazely* (*indicates co-presenter at TIF)
ABSTRACT: Experiential learning in the form of hands-on laboratory exercises is embedded in undergraduate science curricula. However, undergraduate students also often seek volunteer opportunities in professors’ laboratories.
York University’s zero-credit Biology Research Practicum course was developed to ensure that unpaid student volunteers in faculty laboratories have a positive, not exploitative, learning experience.
This group of undergraduates co-created, with Dawn Bazely, a research practicum project with the pedagogical goal of improving some essential online research skills, and the practical goal of reducing the clutter that all academics, who are not digital natives, accumulate.
Before digitized books and journals became increasingly available, students and professors accumulated large reprint collections and photocopies of articles and book chapters. Even today, faculty are often reluctant to part with their hard copies, knowing that not all will be digitally available. Our project tackled one of Dawn Bazely’s reprint collections, which filled a four-drawer filing cabinet, and had the following goals:
A. To learn about digital and non-digitized research literature.
B. To hone students’ online fact-finding and library research skills.
C. To create a reprint collection database with Mendeley open access software.
We developed a structured protocol to determine the online availability of each hard copy. Students learned about pay-wall structures in higher education, the open access movement, and error rates in fact-checking. Students also learned about how researchers found relevant literature prior to the availability of Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science, via reprint request cards and shelf copies of Biological Abstracts.
At the semester’s end, we went on a field trip to the Clara Thomas Archives. Our project and these research skills are relevant for all fields, and this exercise can be applied to reprint collections across all disciplines.

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Not everything is Digitized: a York University Biology Research Practicum Project

  1. 1. NOT EVERYTHING IS DIGITIZED! PEGAH NAZERI JULIEN JAYASINGHE MIN KIM DAWN BAZELY DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY FACULTY OF SCIENCE YORK UNIVERSITY Teaching in Focus 2018: Student Engagement 5 December 2018
  2. 2. INCLUDED HERE FOR ONLINE POSTING OF OUR SLIDES LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT • In 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report documenting the many harms done to Canada’s First Nations and Inuit communities. Many survivors of residential schools testified. • The TRC also published 94 Calls to Action: http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/ 2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf • “We recognize that many Indigenous nations have longstanding relationships with the territories upon which York University campuses are located that precede the establishment of York University. York University acknowledges its presence on the traditional territory of many Indigenous Nations. The area known as Tkaronto has been care taken by the Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Huron-Wendat, and the Métis. It is now home to many Indigenous Peoples. We acknowledge the current treaty holders, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. This territory is subject of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.” • http://alternativecampustour.info.yorku.ca/land-acknowledgement/
  3. 3. OTHER EXCELLENT LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS THAT CHALLENGE US TO REMEMBER THE INDIGENOUS HISTORY OF THE LANDS ON WHICH CANADA STANDS • We have included York University's Land Acknowledgement. • Dawn Bazely has heard many of these acknowledgements. They vary depending on where she is in Canada. • Dawn was particularly moved by the Toronto Public Library’s Land Acknowledgement, that she heard when she gave a talk on Local Food & Biodiversity in September 2018. • https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/about-the-library/land- acknowledgements.jsp
  4. 4. MAP OF TALK 1. Introduction 2. The Biology Research Practicum 3. EVERY professor’s problem 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal 5. Treasured hard copies TIF 2018 1. Introduction
  5. 5. THE LONE STUDENT AN ACADEMIC STEREOTYPE TIF 2018 1. Introduction
  6. 6. TURNING THE DREADED GROUP PROJECT INTO A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE A STORY ABOUT DEVELOPING REAL WORLD GROUP WORK SKILLS TIF 2018 1. Introduction
  7. 7. — Pegah I WORRY THAT IN GROUP PROJECTS STUDENTS GET CREDIT FOR MY WORK WITHOUT CONTRIBUTING EQUALLY. ” “ TIF 2018 1. Introduction
  8. 8. — Julien IT’S HARD TO CO-ORDINATE THE WORK, ESPECIALLY IF THE GROUP INCLUDES STUDENTS WHO DON’T SEEM TO CARE AS MUCH ABOUT THE PROJECT AS OTHER MEMBERS. ” “ TIF 2018 1. Introduction
  9. 9. — Min I WORRY ABOUT GIVING CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK TO A FELLOW GROUP MEMBER WITHOUT THEM TAKING OFFENCE. ” “ TIF 2018 1. Introduction
  10. 10. MAP OF TALK 1. Introduction 2. The Biology Research Practicum 3. EVERY professor’s problem 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal 5. Treasured hard copies TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum
  11. 11. PROFESSOR PATRICIA LAKIN-THOMAS ON THE BIOLOGY RESEARCH PRACTICUM: PROVIDING AN INTRODUCTION TO GROUP WORK SEE: HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/306705856 TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum
  12. 12. TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum My Le in the Lakin-Thomas Lab Chanhee in the Lakin-Thomas Lab Photo credits: P. Lakin-Thomas
  13. 13. TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum Julieta in the Lakin-Thomas LabJaveria in the Shore Lab ⬆ Photo credit: P. Lakin-Thomas
  14. 14. TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum Aryan in the Lakin-Thomas Lab Advait in the Lakin-Thomas Lab Ola in the Paluzzi Lab Photo credits: P. Lakin-Thomas
  15. 15. Thomas in the Paluzzi Lab TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum
  16. 16. Cheyenne in the Bazely Lab TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum
  17. 17. BIOL 4000.80 Honours Thesis student, Carrie (left) chats with Luke (right) in the Sharma Lab
  18. 18. TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum Jenny in the Colla Lab Melina in the Colla Lab Photo credits: A. Liczner & S. Colla
  19. 19. IN SUMMER 2017 WE UNDERTOOK A DIFFERENT KIND OF RESEARCH PRACTICUM GROUP PROJECT EXPLORING HOW SOME BIOLOGY LAB. HOUSEWORK COULD HAVE A PEDAGOGICAL / EXPERIENTIAL ED. GOAL 9 RESEARCH PRACTICUM STUDENTS WORKED FOR ABOUT 5-6 HRS PER WEEK DURING THE SUMMER SEMESTER & 2 INDEPENDENT STUDIES, BIOL 4200, STUDENTS CHECKED THE MENDELEY DATABASE OF REFERENCES ” “ TIF 2018 2. The Biology Research Practicum
  20. 20. MAP OF TALK 1. Introduction 2. The Biology Research Practicum 3. EVERY professor’s problem 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal 5. Treasured hard copies TIF 2018 3. EVERY professor’s problem
  21. 21. TIF 2018 3. EVERY professor’s problem
  22. 22. TIF 2018 3. EVERY professor’s problem #ProfsWithPilesOfPaper ⬆ Photo credit: A. Hilliker
  23. 23. FEAR OF THROWING AWAY DOCUMENTS IRREPLACEABLE 💎 MAY BE BURIED IN A PILE OF DEAD TREES! TIF 2018 3. EVERY professor’s problem
  24. 24. MAP OF TALK 1. Introduction 2. The Biology Research Practicum 3. EVERY professor’s problem 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal 5. Treasured hard copies TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  25. 25. PEGAH LED THE PROTOCOL DEVELOPMENT FOR TURNING ACADEMIC CLUTTER INTO PEDAGOGY TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  26. 26. TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  27. 27. TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  28. 28. TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  29. 29. DONEC QUIS NUNC OUR LAB’S KNOWLEDGE DIGITIZATION TIMELINE TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  30. 30. PROTOCOL TO TAKE US FROM HARDCOPIES TO PDFS Our research team included seven Biology Research Practicum students Three steps: 1.Digitization Fact Checking 2.Database Establishment 3.Quality Control TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  31. 31. 1. Digitization Fact Checking TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  32. 32. Green tag: Reprint or photocopy is available online (Google scholar, Web of Science etc) Red: Either NOT available online or PAYWALLED: NOT available through YorkU Library System TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  33. 33. 2. Database Establishment TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  34. 34. 3. Quality Control TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  35. 35. TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  36. 36. DONEC QUIS NUNC RECAPPING HARDCOPY CATEGORIES Green Labels: Digital & Open Access or Digital at YorkU Libraries Red Labels: Not digitized - in reprint/photocopy collection or on library shelf Some with G+R Labels: Digitized but behind a Non-YorkU PAYWALL X
  37. 37. BY THE NUMBERS 7 Research Practicum students reviewed: 4 File Cabinet Drawers: 1081 Unique Photocopies & Reprints 771 received Green Labels 308 received Red Labels 2 received “G & R” Labels TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  38. 38. 0.001% 💻 💻 💰 🗞📖 TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  39. 39. 146 📂 298 📂 363 📂274 📂
  40. 40. STUDENT ACCURACY IMPROVED WITH TIME 2 errors / 146 photocopies 6 errors / 298 photocopies 0 error / 274 photocopies 0 error / 363 photocopies Start Finish
  41. 41. ELECTRONIC DATABASE OF THE REPRINTS Three drawers of the filing cabinet can be emptied with photocopies recycled. Only one drawer is needed & Dawn can digitize these hard copies. TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  42. 42. TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  43. 43. JULIEN’S PEDAGOGICAL REFLECTIONS • Pedagogy is the Science of Learning • Research practicum students moved from learners to active participant • Hands-On Learning • Team-dependent learning • Collaborated with diverse people in a work-school environment • Scheduling • Synergy TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  44. 44. PEDAGOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE PROJECT 1. Joint Productive Activity 2. Language Development 3. Contextualization 4. Challenging Activities 5. Instructional Conversation Center for Research on Educa1on, Diversity and Excellence from the University of California (CREDE) TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  45. 45. 1. JOINT PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITY • Professor and student collaboration • Student-centered learning while being mentored • Sense of accomplishment in collaboration TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  46. 46. 2. LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT • We used clear, concise phrases • To Keep It Seriously Simple: K.I.S.S to minimize confusion • Gained understanding of how language should be used in professional settings TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  47. 47. 3. CONTEXTUALIZATION • We developed a joint protocol • For a nuanced and niche context of scientific learning • Tasks were done with a clear purpose in mind • Students never felt like they were doing-for- the-sake-of-doing TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  48. 48. 4. CHALLENGING ACTIVITIES • Complex thinking was needed • Active Participation was required in searching through research databases • Self-checking and cross- checking emphasize precise work • Motivation was supported by the team TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  49. 49. 5. INSTRUCTIONAL CONVERSATION • An environment where learning is encouraged. • Guidance was provided to ensure students kept on the path • Students had a voice and brought ideas to the table TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  50. 50. TRANSFERABLE SKILLS Concepts: • Organization • Group Work • Referencing • Digitization All are relevant outside of a lab or university setting Torngat Mountains National Park TIF 2018 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal
  51. 51. TIF 2018 5. Treasured hard copies
  52. 52. MAP OF TALK 1. Introduction 2. The Biology Research Practicum 3. EVERY professor’s problem 4. Decluttering with a pedagogical goal 5. Treasured hard copies TIF 2018 5. Treasured hard copies
  53. 53. A VISIT TO THE YORKU CLARA THOMAS ARCHIVES WITH MICHAEL MOIR, YORK UNIVERSITY ARCHIVIST OUR REWARD: TIF 2018 5. Treasured hard copies
  54. 54. TIF 2018 5. Treasured hard copies
  55. 55. TIF 2018 5. Treasured hard copies
  56. 56. OUTCOMES FOR THE PROFESSOR • A Mendeley Database listing my reprint collection • Three empty file drawers to fill with more paper
  57. 57. STUDENT OUTCOMES: TRANSFERABLE SKILLS • Organization • Group Work • Referencing • Digitization All are relevant outside of a lab or university setting Adventure Canada Ecotourism Staff in Nunatsiavut
  58. 58. SOME REFLECTIONS STUDENT OUTCOMES “We saw that research was happening before we were born.” Barry “We’re reading these crazy OLD articles. It helped me to become more efficient in reading and scanning the literature.” Barry “There are articles from the 1980s in these drawers!!!!!” Liz
  59. 59. SOME REFLECTIONS STUDENT OUTCOMES “The way that information and knowledge are organized is very important.” Laiba “We saw see how the structure of articles has changed over time. Formats were more variable in the past than now.” Arshad
  60. 60. SOME REFLECTIONS STUDENT OUTCOMES “Finding research articles can help us to fact-check more accurately to better discover if what we hear in the news is factual.” Pegah
  61. 61. MANY THANKS TO Pat Lakin-Thomas, Course Director of the Biology Research Practicum Kate McPherson, History Professor & Associate Dean, LAPS Michael Moir, University Archivist and Head of the Clara Thomas Archives for hosting our visit Anna St. Onge, Director, Digital Scholarship Infrastructure for organizing our visit to the Clara Thomas Archives
  62. 62. APPENDIX
  63. 63. BY PEGAH NAZERI*, JULIEN JAYASINGHE*, ELIZABETH ALLEN, AJ PEREZ, DO EON LEE, BARINDER KALLAY, NAMIG AGHAYEV, AYESHA KHAN, AMANDEEP KAUR, MIN KIM, DANIEL PRESTA AND DAWN BAZELY* (*INDICATES CO-PRESENTER AT TIF) ABSTRACT SUBMITTED TO TIF 2018 TITLE: Learning that NOT all knowledge is available online by co-creating a research practicum project between undergraduate digital natives and a reprint-request-card professor ABSTRACT: Experiential learning in the form of hands-on laboratory exercises is embedded in undergraduate science curricula. However, undergraduate students also often seek volunteer opportunities in professors’ laboratories. York University’s zero-credit Biology Research Practicum course was developed to ensure that unpaid student volunteers in faculty laboratories have a positive, not exploitative, learning experience. This group of undergraduates co-created, with Dawn Bazely, a research practicum project with the pedagogical goal of improving some essential online research skills, and the practical goal of reducing the clutter that all academics, who are not digital natives, accumulate. Before digitized books and journals became increasingly available, students and professors accumulated large reprint collections and photocopies of articles and book chapters. Even today, faculty are often reluctant to part with their hard copies, knowing that not all will be digitally available. Our project tackled one of Dawn Bazely’s reprint collections, which filled a four-drawer filing cabinet, and had the following goals: A. To learn about digital and non-digitized research literature. B. To hone students’ online fact-finding and library research skills. C. To create a reprint collection database with Mendeley open access software. We developed a structured protocol to determine the online availability of each hard copy. Students learned about pay-wall structures in higher education, the open access movement, and error rates in fact-checking. Students also learned about how researchers found relevant literature prior to the availability of Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science, via reprint request cards and shelf copies of Biological Abstracts. At the semester’s end, we went on a field trip to the Clara Thomas Archives. Our project and these research skills are relevant for all fields, and this exercise can be applied to reprint collections across all disciplines.

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