WVNCC | West Virginia Northern Community College
Information Literacy Statement
An information literate individual has the skills to find, access, retrieve, analyze, synthesize and use information effectively and ethically. Information literacy is the basis for lifelong learning. It is common in all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education.
Community college students must be information literate learners who can:
• Determine the nature and extent of information needed
• Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
• Evaluate information and its sources critically
• Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
• Use information ethically and legally and understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information
Information Literacy in Gen Ed classes:
The Information Literacy Statement should be linked to the second goal of General Education
2. Employ or utilize information access and literacy skills
Outcomes for students:
Students will demonstrate the ability to…
• Appropriately cite information using electronic and non-electronic resources
Information Literacy Assignments and Activities
It is important to stress information literacy activities in the Gen Ed classes starting with English Comp I, English Comp II, Speech. Then in any other class to reinforce the skills learned.
One of the most important areas is Comp I. The research paper assignment here is very important in developing good research skills. These skills provide students the necessary intellectual framework for successful progress in a variety of workplaces, as well as academic or professional settings.
This assignment needs to stress the basic information literacy concepts. It needs to include the use of our library databases to demonstrate the availability of academically credible information outside of the free Internet and the importance of students being able to access that information.
It is vital that all of our faculty and adjunct faculty understand the basic research paper and the outcomes of the master course guides and use information literacy assignments when possible.
Information Literacy Assignments
Pitfalls to Avoid
Assuming most students know the basics –
Don’t think they learned this in high school; many of the local high schools do not have school libraries or librarians. Some students have finished school without ever doing a research paper.
Don’t assume they learned how to do research in another college course.
Don’t think that they have the computer skills necessary to do research. Many students know a lot about the social media, texting, and computer games – don’t assume they know email, databases, search strategy, or finding appropriate background materials.
Don’t require resources that are not available.
Don’t require print sources only; the majority of the library’s resources are online. Explain the difference between getting a library resource online from one of our databases and just using the free Internet and a search engine to find information.
Don’t give everyone the same topic.
Never assign scavenger hunts or random research because looking for trivia is seen as busy work and ultimately frustrates students
Make sure the assignments require current research methods and resources - information retrieval is constantly changing.
Do test out the assignment yourself.
Encourage the students to ask the library staff (librarian) for help
Be consistent with the master course guides and objectives
Consider scheduling a library instruction session
Match the assignment to the research level of the students - College Freshmen are not grad students.
Be clear – describe all the specifics of your assignment in detail (give the library a copy of the assignment)
Discuss plagiarism and citation
Ideas for Information Literacy Assignments
Locate articles on a particular topic using a specified online library database. Discuss the topic of the articles in class or have students write a short summary of each article and why it is relevant to the search topic.
Find information on an assigned topic or find answers to assigned questions among reference sources in the course subject area (Credo Database)
Popular Vs. Scholarly Information
Find two articles on the same topic, one from a popular magazine and the other from a professional journal. Compare the treatment of the same topic or current event.
Brief Annotated Bibliographies
Ask students to retrieve a variety of sources – articles, books, personal accounts, web sites – and describe each source as a contribution to the topic.
All but the Research Paper
Conduct the research for a term paper. Do everything but write it. Students submit a clearly defined topic, an annotated bibliography of useful sources, and outline of the paper, a thesis statement and a summary.
Compare a database search with a search engine search.
Pick a search topic, and search strategy (keywords or subject headings to use) and search two different search engines, two different databases, or a general database and a search engine. Compare the results and evaluate the information found.
Locate and compare two contemporary accounts of an event
Find an article from a newspaper, a magazine, a blog or a journal describing the same event. Describe the differences among the stories.
Evaluate a primary vs. secondary sources on the same topic
Compare the information and the differences found in each.
Examine Coverage of a Controversial Issue
Examine the treatment of a controversial issue in several different sources such as newspapers, books, magazines, scholarly journals and web sites. Ask students to take a position based on the information.
Locating and Evaluating Internet Sites
Have students find web sites of interest to them on a specific topic. Write a paragraph or two on the information they found and how they evaluated this information