Students in all disciplines need to be able to efficiently and ethically access, evaluate, use, and create information. Landman Library’s information literacy instruction program works to help students develop their skills in these areas, so that they can be active and responsible participants in the global information landscape.
Studies have shown that students learn information literacy skills best when they are integrated into the curriculum and into individual course syllabi. Librarians have thus made it their mission to support student learning by partnering with faculty to identify desired student outcomes, conduct instruction, and design assignments.
Information Literacy at Arcadia
Information Literacy Plan: Scroll below to learn about our developing campus wide information literacy program designed to help ensure that Arcadia graduates information literate students.
Library Instruction: Scroll below to learn to learn more about possibilities for active and engaging library instruction.
Information Literacy Portal. Developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), this website includes definitions of information literacy, information literacy standards for higher education, examples of information literacy program, and many other resources.
The Goal of Information Literacy
Information literacy instruction helps students address the challenges of an information-rich digital age and teaches them to become critical consumers of information, both in school and throughout their lives.
Information Literacy Defined
Information literacy focuses on a wide variety of critical thinking skills that go beyond mere information seeking to help students effectively evaluate information and use it to solve problems, form opinions, and create new knowledge.
- Involves the use of information technology to retrieve information and communicate findings to others.
- Consists of a “set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” (ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education.)
- Encompasses broader social and cultural issues dealing with the ethical and legal use of information, such as copyright and plagiarism.
While none of these skills are new in and of themselves, by combining them in the context of information literacy we can more effectively address the challenges of an information-rich digital age and teach students to become critical consumers of information, both in school and throughout their lives.
Information Literacy and Arcadia
The teaching of information literacy skills will help support the mission of Arcadia University to “prepare students for a life of scholarship, service, and professional contribution” (Arcadia Mission Statement). Our society is one where information is increasing at an exponential rate. This flood of information is also being delivered through new media formats posing unique challenges to information seekers, such as the challenge of evaluation. Solving problems is a life skill involving being able to collect and evaluate information to make an informed decision. This critical thinking skill is important for success in a career, for informed citizenship, and lifelong learning.
Desired Information Literacy Program Model
According to Middle States, a successful information literacy program is one where faculty and librarians collaborate to integrate information literacy outcomes throughout all levels of the curriculum and throughout all disciplines. Outcomes are created for each level and tied to course material to increase relevancy and allow for progressive stages of learning (Middle States Guidelines for Developing Research and Communications Skills).
Areas of Focus in the Arcadia Curriculum
To integrate information literacy into the curriculum, the library focuses on reaching out to the following curricular elements.
- First Year Seminar
- English 101
- Research Writing
- Senior Capstone
We partner with faculty to provide classroom instruction, schedule one-on-one research appointments with students, and work to assess our outreach and instruction efforts.
The library is also working hard to address the unique needs of specific groups of students, such as international students and graduate students.
Library Instruction to Promote Information Literacy
Only a few students will enter college as capable researchers, and fewer still will be truly adept at the research process. Most students entering college will not be able to effectively use library resources to find information, let alone use the resources specific to their chosen discipline.
Library instruction helps to improve the quality of student research, teach students the skills they need to use higher quality resources, and result in students spending less time searching for information and more time analyzing and synthesizing the information they find.
Library instruction can take on many forms:
- interactive lab sessions
- customized handouts and resource lists
- research guides added to Canvas course
- online tutorials
Arcadia’s librarians customize instruction sessions to the academic needs and schedule of an individual class. Instruction can be provided:
- in the classroom
- in a computer lab
- virtually using distance learning technology
The skills that librarians can teach students are also numerous.
- introduce basic research skills to new students
- show upper level students advanced search strategies
- review discipline-specific resources and tools
- effectively evaluate information
- discuss the importance of scholarly and peer reviewed journals
- help students learn how to cite information and avoid plagiarism
To learn more about information literacy instruction or to schedule instruction for your students, contact Melissa Correll, or reach out to your liaison librarian directly.