INFO 287

Rewarding Risk: A New Emphasis for Academic Research

I chose to explore ideas about the hyperlinked academic library for this module. The readings within this topic cover a variety of fresh approaches to integrate library research into the classroom and curriculum. I will highlight here some of my favorite ideas expressed in this module.

In Sparking Curiosity, Deitering and Gascko Rempel (2017) discuss how libraries and course curricula can emphasize curiosity in the research process. In their studies, they have explored why students choose dull, overdone topics in compositions courses. They conclude that students choose “safe” research topics to ensure better grades on assignments. In order to integrate curiosity inside and outside the classroom, the authors call for more collaboration between librarians and instructors in assignment creation. They suggest that the research process should be modeled using adjusted language to help students “learn more about” a topic instead of rely on “X” number of sources as the research information goal. An incorporation that would guide their development of information literacy is a proposed emphasis on browsing scholarly literature. This will ensure that students are exposed to the scope and language of academic information. Using this type of approach will help students experience more success in topic selection and avoid stale approaches in which they may not learn novel information. Deitering and Rempel end with a call to reward student with taking risks in their research. I was impressed with this proposed integrated relationship of librarians and professors. It will help students direct their learning and actively immerse themselves as participants in their research topics.

Another reading, by Basgen and Testori (2016) also touched upon the need for rewarding risk taking in learning and discussion. Although they do not discuss libraries specifically, they touch upon academic classroom models that incorporate active learning models that move beyond passive student learning of the past. Their suggested learning models, scaffolded learning, debating, and structured discussions flip the traditional classroom learning model. The goal of these models are for students to research and learn outside of class and participate in active learning environments where students teach one another while the professor serves as a guide. Allowing students to explore ideas in debates or discussions with low stakes will help the group learn from one another, yet engage themselves to explore actively and synthesize ideas. They also allow students to attempt different roles and perspectives in the exploration of concepts. Building these approaches into the curriculum will help students acclimate to the feeling of exploring information while giving them the confidence for attaining success in their research.

In both of these visions, libraries can actively contribute to curriculum and facilitate research that will help undergraduates and graduates take charge of their learning. As curriculum has become centered on grades, students often lose important information seeking and knowledge creation opportunities. These active and social approaches will create stronger senses of information literacy in their users and help libraries and campuses fulfill their student-centered missions.


Detering, A.M. & Gascho Rempel, H. (2017, February 22). Sparking curiosity – Librarians’ role in encouraging exploration. In the Library With the Lead Pipe. Retrieved from:

Basgen, B. & Testori, P. (2016, March 7). Socially engaged learning. Retrieved from:

Mouse image. Retrieved from:

6 thoughts on “Rewarding Risk: A New Emphasis for Academic Research

  1. The more I’m reading about this model the more intrigued I am. So many times academia gets stuck in a certain mindset of teaching things the same, stale way. I really like the approach of these authors.

    • I love these new models, too. They focus on helping students learn “how” to analyze and think for themselves. These are so important for school and life in general.

  2. Kristi, I also chose to read and reflect on Academic libraries – your image of the mouse with a helmet assessing the mousetrap with cheese is so appropriate and analogous to students wanting to just get through it and figure out the puzzle! I focused my post on the Deitering and Gascko Rempel article, but an intersection between both readings is the role that academic librarians have in building collaborative partnerships with instructors in order to assist students in their learning objectives. Thanks for the great post! @steve

    • Hi Steve,
      Yes, the Deitering and Gascko Rempel article was such a good read! I love how they show how librarians and professors can collaborate to benefit the students on a holistic level. I found the mouse pic to be so fitting! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. I am a big believer in the power of curiosity for learning – perhaps this “Choose Your Own Adventure” module is evidence of that. Your ideas about the engaged learning piece resonate as well. Confidence is also an important part of the process.

    • I find that curiosity is such a great motivator for learning. I found the timing of this Choose Your Own Adventure module to be perfect! The confidence factor is tricky one to foster. I liked how Deitering and Gascko Rempel mentioned that browsing literature would be helpful in choosing realistic research material. This familiarity fostered confidence, and hopefully success.

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