TEACHING PRIMARY RESEARCH IN THE INTERNET ERA: CONNECTING COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS TO COMMUNITY RESOURCES THROUGH RESEARCH WRITING ASSIGNMENTS
Clatsop Community College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:In the new millenium, this age of information, complete with Facebook, wikipedia, online databases and a veritable tsunami of information available via the World Wide Web line, it's too easy for college students to lose track of the wisdom and information available in their own local communities. That's why I organize my composition courses to include required primary research assignments prior to any secondary research assignments. Most recently, I've organized these primary research assignments around the theme of "Food & Identity." Primary research techniques taught include the journalistic approaches of interviewing, oral history transcription, observation notetaking as well as carefully composed and analyzed peer surveys. Class activities include visits to the local retirement home, where students interview their elders about shifting attitudes surrounding the theme of "Food and Identity". Next students research, draft and revise a restaurant critique. Finally, students combine their skills to research, draft and revise a detailed profile of a local individual employed in the food service or production industry. Throughout the course, primary research projects are supported by assigned readings, documentary screenings, and seminars which further explore the question of America's shifting attitudes and economies surrounding food. Students present their work orally and through publication in local and school newspapers. Finally students are encouraged, and many choose, to followup on what they have learned through primary research by drafting an 8-10 page argumentative essay that includes secondary research into a food related thesis. My paper opens by exploring North American standards for Information Literacy which acknowledge the importance of students learning "how to structure a search across a variety of sources and formats to locate the best information to meet a particular need." Then, I review the primary research curriculum in detail, including bibliographic review of excellent background readings within the theme of "Food & Identity". I close with a discussion of place-based pedagogy, describing the importance of learning which invites students to engage directly with their local communities, thereby cultivating their sense of place while teaching skills necessary for lifelong service as active, informed citizens of any community.