Information Literacy Assignments

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This guide is designed to help faculty:

Find ideas, tools, and suggestions for incorporating the effective use of information resources in their courses

Develop research assignments that support the development of information literacy skills

Effectively assess information literacy skills and knowledge.

What is Information Literacy?

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." 1Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives.

ACRL IL Competency Standards

Why Information Literacy?

Faculty have noted the need for student skills that go beyond merely knowing how to connect to information through the use of technology. Finding relevant quality information is now more difficult than ever, not easier or quicker. Today's workplace requires graduates who have not just learned how to use technology, but graduates who have learned how to learn, adapting their skills to a rapidly changing information environment.

Accrediting Bodies

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) has led the way in developing and promoting information literacy guidelines and standards. The MSCHE report on Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education states that information literacy skills "apply to all disciplines in an institution’s curricula." The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), in concert with Middle States, developed a set of performance standards, each comprised of multiple skills, that define an information literate college graduate. Many discipline-specific accrediting agencies emphasize information literacy in their standards including: NCATE, IACBE, APA, ACS, CCNE.

 Evaluate Multiple Perspectives on a Topic (Literature Review)

Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Literature reviews require students to synthesize published information. To successfully complete a literature review students must:

  1. Critically interpret published material on a specific subject
  2. Create a summary of the sources consulted as well as an organizational structure that interprets the material on a specific framework or idea

Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to...

  • Use various search services to access needed information
  • Access a variety of sources relevant to their information need
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Identify main idea and relation to research question
  • Use information ethically, socially, and legally

 Comparison of Popular, Trade, and Scholarly

Level: Basic

Students compare and contrast three articles (a popular, trade, and scholarly article) in their discipline to identify authority, purpose, relevance, reliability, audience, and timeliness.

Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to...

  • Evaluate information and its sources for authority, purpose, audience, and point of view

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