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Thesis anxiety in transition: A faculty-librarian partnership to guide off-campus graduate students

Rosemary Green
Graduate Programs Librarian, Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia USA
Mary Bowser
School of Arts and Sciences, Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia USA
This poster session describes a teaching model in which the population is comprised of off-campus graduate cohorts of Master of Science in Education students. Program courses are typically delivered by university faculty traveling to teach cohort classes at rural sites in Virginia and West Virginia. A graduate education faculty member and graduate librarian collaborate in teaching the thesis course required during the final semester of the program.

Off-campus graduate students consistently report a range of anxiety levels as they undertake the process of designing, researching, and composing the final masters thesis. Addressing the question of whether the faculty-librarian collaboration might have had an effect upon off-campus graduate thesis students in rural settings, the authors investigated levels of various types of student anxiety, including library anxiety. Library based and classroom based strategies were developed and implemented in the team taught thesis class. Students in a control group and an experimental group completed questionnaires consisting of 18 affective items. Using a five-point Likert scale, students were asked to rate tasks such as library research and use of technology, and conditions such as participation in the off-campus environment. Data suggested that, while anxiety continued to exist among students who participated in the partnered course, certain anxiety-producing elements shifted to the supportive context of the team-taught thesis course.

The study adds to the small body of research based literature addressing the team approach in graduate courses. This study also contributes to the relatively small body of research that examines faculty-librarian team instruction in off-campus courses. This project reflects a continuing trend toward collaborative endeavors between librarians and faculty.

In poster format, this session is supported by a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, and other materials. Early research described in this paper was presented as part of a larger pilot study in April, 2002, at the Tenth Off-Campus Library Services Conference.

Please cite as: Green, R. and Bowser, M. (2003). Thesis anxiety in transition: A faculty-librarian partnership to guide off-campus graduate students. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/green2-abs.html

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Last revision: 4 Feb 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/green2-abs.html