Embed Information & Research Literacies in the Curriculum
The most effective strategy for embedding information literacy starts with assessments where:
- information literacy is included in the objectives and learning outcomes of units of study and assessment tasks
- a variety of methods of assessment for information literacy learning are used
- information literacy is included in the marking criteria
- information literacy assessment is planned and sequenced throughout the entire degree providing a developmental framework.
Adapted from Lupton, M. Curriculum alignment and assessment of information literacy learning. In Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework, principles, standards and practice (2 ed.).
Information & Research Literacies Learning Outcomes
Providing explicit learning outcomes is a key step in evidencing the GLO in subjects and courses.
Learning outcomes for a subject can be drawn directly from the CSU Information & Research Literacies Graduate Learning Outcomes.
Alternatively, see the ALA Higher Education Information Literacy Standards, Performance Indicators, and Outcomes for more ideas.
Assignments that have information literacy embedded typically include the following characteristics:
Specify acceptable and unacceptable sources.
- Tell students what kind of sources they are expected to use, and help them make distinctions where ambiguities occur.
- For example, students need to recognise the difference between general and scholarly information, whether found freely via Google, in open access journals, or through CSU subscription journal databases.
Grade the research, not just the paper.
- Make clear to students that you will pay close attention to the sources that they choose, and that their grade for the assignment will depend partly on the quality of their reference list.
- Discourage the indiscriminate use of the web resources, and encourage the use of peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles. Assign tutorials to help your students through the process.
Encourage critical independent thought.
- Assignments that emphasise comparing, contrasting, and evaluating ideas are more likely to spur independent thought in students than assignments that emphasise processes such as comprehension and knowledge.
Break longer assignments into steps.
- For research papers or presentations, have students first submit an outline with their research question, short outline of what will be covered, and an annotated bibliography.
- This helps students by giving feedback on their topic selection and preliminary research, and gives the instructor a chance to assist those students who may be struggling.
Use an information literacy grading rubric.
- Share this rubric with your students, and make them aware that it will be used as the basis of their grade for the assignment.
Adapted from St John’s University. (2009). Characteristics of effective information literacy assignments.
Information Literacy Assessments
It is essential to ensure that students demonstrate their application of the Information & Research Literacies. These assessment tasks relate to specific elements of the Graduate Learning Outcome.
Prepare brief annotated bibliographies which include primary and secondary resources.
- This assignment may ask students to retrieve a variety of sources - articles, books, personal accounts, web sites - and describe the contribution of each source to an understanding of the topic.
- This can help students develop a sense of the scholarly conversation around a topic.
Design assessment to demonstrate structure and sequence a complex task.
- A staged essay with an annotated bibliography, peer reviewed essay draft, final essay and reflections on how the essay could have been improved.
Retrieve and compare two sources of information on the same topic.
- Demonstrates the impact that the author's background, intent and audience may have on the information presented, and may highlight the differences among various disciplines.
- Works well when students are asked to locate deliberately disparate sources, such as an article from a popular magazine or website and another from an academic journal, articles from conservative and liberal sources , articles from different disciplines, or a personal and an organizational web site.
Look at the treatment of a topic over time.
- Builds awareness of the process of scholarship on a topic -- what do researchers now know that they didn't know before, how might the social context of research have had impact on a topic, etc.
Critically review a research paper, with consideration of its impact.
- Builds understanding of research methodology, requires deep reading of a research paper, and improves information search skills as students locate and retrieve later papers that cite the original.
Compare items retrieved by searches using different search engines or journal databases.
- Demonstrates that journal databases and search engines have different functions. This helps them learn to make deliberate choices about which finding tool to locate information in various fields, at differing levels, or in differing formats.
Starting with a short article or announcement in the popular press, locate the original research and evaluate the accuracy of the announcement.
- This highlights the distinction between popular and scholarly press, and helps students understand the differences in audience and level of authority.
Identify a significant event and compare the contemporary news reports with the later scholarly treatments.
- Heightens awareness of difference in perspective between the immediacy and detail of the contemporary account and the treatment of the event by later scholars.
- Students are often intrigued with old newspapers and magazines, and finding a topic, then using an index to find another article, helps them understand the use of indexes.
Write a proposal for an extended research project.
- This can require students to do almost everything involved with writing a paper, including preparing a literature review to identify gaps, and consider sources of data.
Compare the treatment of the same topic in two different disciplines.
- This helps students both practice physically locating material and learn to identify the perspectives and approaches of different disciplines.
Prepare a response plan for a situation.
- Introduces students to standards and evidence based practice. Asking students to distinguish between licensed and freely available information helps them see what may be available in workplace settings and understand information as a commodity.
Develop an infographic supported by statistics and data on a topic.
- Introduces students to primary data sources, teaches them to synthesize information and meaning from data.
Create a class subject bibliography online that all students contribute to.
- Use online tool such as EndNote Online, Mendeley or Diigo and ask students to contribute annotated references. This can introduce managing and organising information, as well as copyright and licensing issues around sharing and distributing information.
Adapted from Drew University's Designing assignments to develop information literacy.
Information Literacy Marking Criteria
|Use of search strategies to explore & define the topic.||A wide variety of scholarly, topical & cross disciplinary sources have been read & annotated demonstrating skilled & creative searching strategies.||A variety of scholarly, evidence based sources from cross disciplinary areas have been used.||Sources include not only set text & given references but a selection of scholarly articles demonstrating some searching along conventional topic areas.||Sources largely rely on set texts, given references & limited search strategies.||No evidence of searching beyond the set texts.|
|Evaluation and justification of selected information.||Justification of selections demonstrates sophisticated use of evaluation criteria and deep understanding of the topic.||Justification of selections demonstrates good use of multiple evaluation criteria and an understanding of the topic.||Justification of selections shows evaluation criteria have been applied, and evidence of some straightforward linkage between ideas within the topic.||Sources are relevant to the topic but there is limited justification or evidence that evaluation criteria have been applied. Limited connection between ideas within topics.||Sources cited are not scholarly. No connection drawn between ideas.|
|Use of professional and scholarly sources of information.||Professional and scholarly resources have been used, integrated into the student's answers seamlessly. All of the resources used have been cited correctly in-text and in the reference list.||Relevant professional and scholarly resources have been used to answer the questions about the chosen area well. They have been cited correctly throughout.||Appropriate professional and scholarly resources have been used in the report. They are correctly cited throughout the report and in the reference list.||The professional and scholarly resources are mostly relevant and of sufficient level to answer the questions about the area of information work chosen. The resources are mostly cited correctly in-text and in the reference list.||Resources used are unsatisfactory. There may be no scholarly resources at all. The resources may not have been used or cited appropriately in the report.|
|Legal and ethical use of information.||Creates new work or synthesizes and summarizes to create new knowledge, without compromising intellectual property rights, copyright, or licencing restrictions. Maintains academic integrity in their own work and the works of others.||Synthesizes and summarizes without compromising intellectual property rights, copyright, or licencing restrictions. Maintains academic integrity in their own work and the works of others.||Isolated incident of unintentional misuse of others work due to misunderstanding of a single concept (e.g. misunderstanding paraphrasing, quoting, open access or creative commons, copyright etc.).||Repeated incidents of unintentional misuse of others work due to misunderstanding of a single concept (e.g. misunderstanding paraphrasing, quoting, open access or creative commons, copyright etc.).||Consistent incidents of unintentional plagiarism/ misuse of works of others showing little understanding of intellectual property rights, copyright, or licensing restrictions.|
|Selection and use of contemporary technologies to access, organise, share and communicate information.||Use of technology demonstrates sophisticated understanding and features have be utilised to full potential. Elegant user-centred structure, classification and organisation of information with multiple search, browse, and access points. Maintains academic integrity without compromising intellectual property rights, copyright, or licencing restrictions.||Use of technology demonstrates good understanding and most features have been used to create an engaging digital information resource. Effective, user-centred structure, classification and organisation of information with options to search and browse, multiple access points provided. Maintains academic integrity without compromising intellectual property rights, copyright, or licencing restrictions.||Use of technology demonstrates some understanding and some features have been used to create a useful digital information resource. Clear, user-centred structure, classification and organisation of information with more than one option to search, browse or access. Maintains academic integrity without compromising intellectual property rights, copyright, or licencing restrictions.||Use of technology demonstrates limited understanding. Only basic features have been used to create an adequate digital information resource. Simple structure, classification and organisation of information, possibly only one option to search, browse or access. Intellectual property rights, copyright, or licencing restrictions have been met.||Very limited, unsuitable digital resource selected. No structure, classification and organisation of information. No search, browse or access points provided to user. Intellectual property rights, copyright, or licencing restrictions have been breached.|
Multiple choice library quizzes.
Students are required to complete 20 multiple choice questions by selecting the most appropriate response. Questions will assess knowledge acquired through completing online library tutorial.
|To meet this level you will attain a cumulative mark between 85%-100%. A mark in this range indicates that you have selected the best answer option for each question with no more than 3 incorrect answers. Overall, in meeting this level you will demonstrate exceptional understanding of the concepts and skills required to locate, evaluate and use library and information resources.||To meet this level you will attain a cumulative mark between 50%-64%. A mark in this range indicates that you have selected the best answer option for each question with no more than 10 incorrect answers. Overall, in meeting this level you will demonstrate basic understanding of the concepts and skills required to locate, evaluate and use library and information resources.|