Mapping the Old to the New: The Future of Information Literacy Instruction

My primary summer project has been developing an information literacy plan for a course offered in Creighton University’s new Magis Core Curriculum. Information literacy skills will be assessed in the foundations level component Criticial Issues in Human Inquiry, which will be required of all Creighton students. These classes will draw largely from the humanities, but also from the social sciences.

The outcome developed by the curriculum revision committee and my predecessor reads:

Students will develop the basic skills of information literacy, including searching for information, critically evaluating information from sources, and appropriately using and citing information.

I am thrilled that the University has taken this approach to information literacy. Our liaison librarians can now target faculty teaching these courses and encourage/convince them to use our expertise in their classes. The down side to all of this is that we only have four reference librarians and each class will require unique preparation. And the classes vary considerably from “Ethical Issues in Art and Architecture: Cultural Heritage and the Art World” to “Diversity and Justice in Education” to “The Human Induced Climate Crisis: Origins and Solutions.”

From the onset I believed that standardizing information literacy instruction for these classes was next to impossible and would cause resistance from some of the librarians. At the same time, I wanted to provide some standardization to ensure that students are learning the same concepts and skills at particular points in their academic career.

What I have attempted to do is draw a compromise between creating structure and allowing librarians and faculty the flexibility of customization. I created a menu of concepts (in black in the image below) mapped to the action words from the learning outcome(in red in the image below).

Mapping Image

Information Literacy Mapping

The elephant in the room is the Draft Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education. I have mapped the action verbs of Creighton’s learning outcome, which was derived from Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Educationto the frames outlined in the draft framework (in blue in the above image), to the concepts/skills offered to faculty of the Critical Issues in Human Inquiry courses.

I recently met with the Magis Common Core Curriculum Director to discuss the Library’s plan and the changes occurring to the Competency Standards. We discussed if the learning outcome needed to be revised to incorporate the frames. I don’t believe it needs to be changed in that regard, but I explained that adding language in line with the new definition of information literacy may be helpful, in particular “the creation of new knowledge.” He liked this idea.

I’m encouraged about the future of the information literacy program at Creighton University. We have made great strides in the two years I have worked here. I look forward to the challenges ahead with the Critical Issues in Human Inquiry course, the (expected) implementation of the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, and reflecting and revising after we have some assessment data.

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