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Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) and The Framework for Information Literacy: VTS Sessions & Evaluation

Research to see how VTS influences student confidence in scholarly discourse.

UNIV135: Academic Excellence Seminar

UNIV135 Academic Excellence Seminar, is a course designed to help students explore their academic inhibitions-- what may be holding them back from academic success. The course is capped at 15-20 students. Students self-select for the .5 credit course and meet for two hours each week for the duration of the semester. Topics in the course include time management, motivation, goal setting, self-regulation of emotions, social environment, study environment, learning and memory, and more.

As a librarian teaching the course, Kayla includes a research and libraries component. Visual Thinking Strategies fit well with the unit on research, as well as the study environment. Unless the students are Art/Art History majors, they often overlook the galleries or the Peeler Art Center as a place of inspiration or study. Visual Thinking Strategies can help give students an introduction to the galleries space, as well as a reason to return.

Prior to VTS session

Planning between curator and librarian to discuss learning outcomes, images, and outline for the first VTS session. The curator was tasked with finding possible images from the university's collection, and together choose an appropriate image/artwork to present at the first and second VTS sessions. This was an intentional process for Alexandra and Kayla- the first image, Doisneau's Le Petit Balcon, includes human figures and various possible stories; the second image, Hinrichsen's Big Circle, is more abstract and unclear as to story. This challenged our teaching as well as our students, and we felt it would help with the assessment of student confidence.

Prior to the first VTS session, students complete a pre-survey, based off of a Cornell survey, assessing student confidence and their academic background (major, language, and free-response on how they research). A link to the survey is available HERE. A copy is also available on the Pre- & Post-survey tab.

During the VTS session

VTS Session #1 (beginning of a semester)

Robert Doisneau

Le Petit Balcon

1953, 1982.12.8

18-1/4(H) x 22-1/8(W)

Silver Gelatin


VTS Session #2 (towards the end of a semester)

Sonja Hinrichsen

Big Circle (from Snow Drawings)

2009, 2009.11.1.5

21-3/16(H) x 25-15/16(W) (Framed)

Ink Jet Print

The curator/art educator runs the session, first by introducing themselves, then running through the VTS process. The professor of the course is part of the process by completing the discussion rubric- attached below.

After the VTS session

After the VTS session

  • Just after the first and second VTS sessions, the curator and professor gather the worksheets the students completed during the session to review the written responses, in conjunction with the discussion rubric.
  • Also, after the first VTS session, the professor assigns a journal entry topic related to the VTS session. This method of assessment has shown to give telling results about students' impressions of their experience, as well as their potential applications to what they learned.
  • At the conclusion of the second VTS session (towards the end of the semester), students will complete the post-survey, a repeat of questions from the pre-survey, so that the researchers can assess change over time. A copy of the Post-Suvey is on the Pre- & Post-Survey tab, or link to survey HERE.