Bell Library’s Information Literacy program offers many opportunities for faculty to collaborate with librarians in designing research assignments and research skills instruction sessions that support your educational objectives while encouraging student success.
What is information literacy?
According to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Information literacy is the 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.1 Like critical thinking, which it closely resembles, information literacy is not just a set of skills but a habit of mind – a way of looking at the world – that cannot be taught in one or two sessions.
The challenge of developing information literate graduates belongs to both faculty and librarians, and it will be met most effectively through faculty/librarian cooperation in the development and delivery of a systematic approach to the introduction and repeated application of information literacy concepts.
The teaching staff of the library are currently working to integrate the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (2015) into the instructional mission of the library. The goal is to move away from the skills-based approach of the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) toward the development of a curriculum that will expose students to a more nuanced and complex set of core ideas about information creation, dissemination, discovery and use.
Embedding information literacy into the academic life of the university will help lay a foundation for lifelong learning. Ideally, students should encounter these concepts repeatedly and in different disciplinary contexts throughout their studies at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi for maximum retention and deepest understanding. If students develop these skills during their time at university, then they can apply them in their daily life as they seek information to solve problems or for learning or personal enjoyment.
The instruction staff at Bell Library participates in the design and delivery of research skills instruction classes that directly contribute to both student success in research assignments and the mastery of information literacy concepts across the curriculum.
Liaison librarians can also help faculty design research assignments and structure research skills classes tailored to specific assignments or learning objectives.
Scheduling a class
If you would like to schedule a class for research skills instruction, please contact your liaison librarian or the Instructional Services Librarian.
When’s a good time?
Classroom assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend making appointments as far in advance as possible. The busiest times of the year are typically September/October and February/March.
When planning your visit, it’s also important to consider your course schedule. If the students receive research skills instruction too early, before they are fully aware of the assignments they will be doing research for, then the instruction will be less effective. We recommend that students come to the research skills session with topics in mind, so that a portion of class can be spent actually searching for resources and getting a good start on their assignment.
Finally, please allow us time to prepare for your class. A week, preferably two, will give the librarian a chance to develop a presentation that is tailored to your students’ needs and the requirements of the assignment. With rare exceptions, we do not make arrangements for classes with less than one week’s notice.
Location, location, location
Classes are usually held in one of the Library Instruction Centers, Room 109 or 216A in Bell Library. Having the class in a lab gives each student a computer they can use to apply what they’ve learned immediately. Hands-on, active learning activities help students retain the material. If you plan to have the class in your classroom, you may want to ask your students to bring laptops so that they can follow along. For online courses, library instruction can be conducted via WebEx or other technology as appropriate.
Do I have to be there?
We appreciate your presence during these instruction sessions. Having you there to reiterate the importance of the session, answer questions your students might have that we cannot answer, and help keep them on task is invaluable to the success of the session. We understand that sometimes the faculty member cannot attend, but realize that your absence will in most cases reduce the effectiveness of the class.
An assignment that requires library research can be an effective tool for introducing students to research resources, tools and strategies. However, not all library assignments are created equal. Here are some suggestions for making your assignment successful and productive!
This handout describes the characteristics of effective assignments, and provides suggestions on how you can design your assignment to be most successful.