GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 145-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


FOX, Lydia K., Dept. of Geological & Environmental Sciences, University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA 95211-0110, FORTNER, Sarah K., Geology, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH 45501, KRAAL, Erin, Department of Physical Science, Kutztown University, 425 Boehm, P.O. Box 730, Kutztown, PA 19530 and WILSON, Carolyn, American Geosciences Institute, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302

The National Academies Report: Science Literacy Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences (2016) identified that promoting knowledge and understanding does not directly result in science-informed decision making, so new efforts are needed to provide knowledge and address impediments that hinder the use of science. One common impediment to the use of science is information and digital literacy. Less than half (41.6%) of all geoscience faculty responding to an AGI survey on civic practices reported that most (50-100%) of their entry-level courses required either digital or information literacy training. This is problematic for both our major and non major students who need these foundational science literacy skills. Incorporating undergraduate research into geoscience courses is one way to address this shortfall. A starting place for research expertise is evaluating the reliability of both popular and scholarly literature.

Here we review the information and digital literacy barrier to geoscience literacy and describe curricular designs that help students gain skills. Models are from introductory to upper level courses and scaffold information literacy training so that students have multiple touch points to build literacy. Examples are from both public and private 4 year institutions including: Wittenberg University, University of the Pacific, and Kutztown University. Key takeaways include: emphasizing the social nature of science literacy by using peer review, repetition of information source access and evaluation, effective communication of referenced material, and connecting reliable information to the success of research or community engagement projects.