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Information Literacy Lab for Instructors

Resources to assist faculty and instructors with integrating information literacy into their courses.

Philosophy and Learning Objectives

Traditionally, information literacy instruction has been limited to library workshops wherein students are exposed to the major instruments of library research. This would generally include demonstrations of the library catalogue, specific databases, and in some cases the library’s bibliographic management systems. While a clear idea of the available information resources is important, what is often missed in these sessions is a deeper sense of how information is created and distributed, how authority is constructed, and how the student’s specific context or needs are reflected in their choice of sources. Without an understanding of these concepts, students will have a difficult time engaging meaningfully with the tools that are available.  Conversely, students who have gained a broader conceptual understanding will also be more fluent in the use of the instruments of research, even if those instruments where not explicitly covered in class.

In addition to assisting in the discovery of academic resources, the UW librarians and library staff are here to promote a thoughtful and critical approach to using information. With this as the overarching goal, the library’s information literacy program has these major learning objectives:

  • Students will understand the nature of scholarly conversations. This includes the publication cycle for scholarly information, modern alternatives for sharing research, and citation and referencing conventions in academic writing.
  • Students will understand the contextual dimensions of authority. This includes methods for assessing the legitimacy of information, both academic and popular, as well as a critical perspective on the contexts in which different types of information are suitable.
  • Students will have the confidence to develop their own flexible processes for gathering and absorbing information. This includes the recognition that each project comes with a different set of constraints, that each researcher will approach a problem differently, and that a variety of search strategies should be employed to capture the diversity of available information.

These objectives have been loosely adapted from the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

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