Information Literacy: A combination of knowledge, understanding and skills that enable independent research and inquiry for lifelong learning
Information literacy is increasingly recognised as an important educational outcome for university students. The ability to handle information with skill and understanding cannot, however, be taught exclusively through library instruction which is often presented as one-shot training sessions. This is not conducive to include the full scope of what is required to conduct proper research. Information literacy is a complex set of skills which requires long-term development over a significant period of time and cannot be learned by rote. For students to acquire the skill of becoming information literate, the research process has to find a home in the curriculum, where the academic guides the student as they acquire and use information to solve problems.
The University designed graduate attributes to guide lecturers in developing the knowledge, skills and competencies of students to become lifelong learners. Considerable efforts are made to align the attributes with curricula at faculty and institutional levels.
Therefore, the Library, too, has a responsibility, in collaboration with other stakeholders, to provide leadership and expertise to develop and enhance 21st Century literacies and hence, graduate attributes, so that students are equipped to become lifelong learners. Librarians have valuable roles to play in processes of embedding literacies and promoting relevant teaching and learning practices that develop graduate attributes.
While departments may have already aligned graduate attributes with their curriculum, it is not certain to what extent this is enacted in teaching and learning activities and assessment. The Library uses the ACRL Framework for Information literacy for Higher Education as a guide to embed critical literacies in teaching and learning across the institution. This document was officially adopted in 2016 and contains concepts which are relevant to independent learning and engagement with information. Collaboration with lecturers and faculty librarians is aimed at weaving these concepts strategically into library training and all other teaching and learning activities at UWC.
For a detailed overview of the ACRL Framework and its relevance to student learning please view the tutorial below
Contact Shehaamah Mohamed for more information.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 021-959-2922
This guide details how the library’s instruction program addresses the learning outcomes of the ACRL Frameworks for Information Literacy.
Click on the link below: 21st Century Literacies and Graduate Attributes Tutorial
Many faculty request single-session library instruction. These sessions are most effective when designed around a particular assignment or student need. Single-session instruction typically focuses on one or more of the following:
Librarians can work with you to craft the instruction session that fits the unique needs of your student and class. Example: Database instruction is a popular topic, and librarians can instruct a class in using any of the databases, alone or in combination. In a single-session database class, students come to the course with an assignment for which they need scholarly resources.
Research indicates that instruction works best at the student point of need, and that students attending multiple sessions show “improvement in the type and quality of resources used for academic writing” (Henry, Glaunder and LeFoe, 2015, 28). Thus, it can be ideal to incorporate instruction at multiple points in the semester to provide exactly the right instruction at exactly the right time. Multiple sessions also enable a class to engage more deeply with materials, develop advanced skills, and provide time to address more complex research questions. Faculty may choose the best times to have librarians come to their classroom, bring the students to the library, or request course-specific eLearn modules. Instruction can comprise a series of anywhere from 15 minute to full-class sessions, depending upon the material covered. Sessions can be scheduled at any time in the semester. In addition to the material covered in single sessions, multiple sessions can address topics such as:
In addition to meeting with the full class, librarians can meet with small groups and/or individual students. Example: In a chemistry course the students have a library session in which they begin their research to prepare for an upcoming lab experiment. The librarian provides introductory instruction on developing keywords and effectively using a subject-specific database. After they have completed the lab, students return to the library to find additional research to support their findings. The librarian helps students refine the keywords used in the first session and demonstrates advanced search techniques. The librarian attends the class for a third session to discuss citation and proper documentation when writing the lab report.
Integrating a librarian into your course can be an effective way to achieve your information goals. Librarians are available to collaborate on courses throughout their creation, implementation, and evaluation. We can assist during syllabus design with the creation of research assignments, recommend resources, provide in-person instruction at multiple points during the semester, create eLearn modules or participate in eLearn discussion boards to respond to students’ research questions, and provide resources for assessment and evaluation. Example: A first-year history lecturer meets with a librarian while revising their syllabus to incorporate a new research assignment. The librarian identifies potential databases, readings, and open-source digital resources. Some of these are assigned to the students by the lecturer as course readings, and others are incorporated into planned library instruction sessions. The students meet with the librarian for basic database instruction prior to starting their assignment. The librarian provides feedback on iKamva on students’ research proposals. Using information from those proposals, the librarian conducts a second instruction session on more advanced search strategies and assists students as they brainstorm ways to refine their research questions. Students then meet one-on-one with the librarians for individual assistance. When their assignments are submitted, the librarian provides the lecturer with an evaluation of students’ research practices and the sources used, and the lecturer uses this feedback as part of the grading process. If you would like to add a librarian to your modules on iKamva or discuss a collaboration contact any of the reference librarians.
Bici, T Ms / Chiya, K Mr
|Faculty Librarian (Arts)||Level 8||2296|
Cook, K Mrs
|Faculty Librarian (CHS)||Level 11||2684|
Davids, F Mr
|Faculty Librarian (Dentistry)||Dentistry||021 937 3165|
Kotze, C P Mr
|Faculty Librarian (Education)||Level 11||2928|
Louw, G Mr
|Faculty Librarian (CHS)||Level 11||9471|
Mgquba, S Ms
|Faculty Librarian (Science)||Level 14||2930|
Mpandle, K Ms
|Faculty Librarian (EMS)||Level 7||3211|
Van Niekerk, G Ms
|Faculty Librarian (LAW)||Level 9||2919|
Mangadi, J Mr
|Faculty Librarian Services|
Authority is Constructed and Contextual
These learning outcomes are informed by the concepts of the ACRL Framework and are aimed at developing information literate ways of thinking and behaviour in student learningThe authority of an information resource depends upon its origins, context, and suitability for a current information need. Learners who understand this concept will critically examine sources and ask questions about them; they will also recognize and acknowledge biases that privilege some sources of authority over others and be able to define contexts in which unlikely resources are appropriate and authoritative. Learning Outcomes Students can:
Information Creation as a ProcessInformation is used to convey knowledge, and it exists in a variety of formats that reflect a range of research, revision, and editorial processes. Learners who understand this concept will recognize that different formats are valued differently based upon their context and the researcher’s information need; they will examine the process of creation as well as the final product to critically evaluate the usefulness of information. Learning Outcomes Students can:
Information Has ValueThe value of information takes many forms: it is a means for educating individuals and influencing ideas and a tool for negotiating and understanding the world. Learners who understand this concept understand their rights and responsibilities when creating and using information; they will recognize how information can be used to effect change or for civic, economic, social, or personal gains.
Learning OutcomesStudents can:
Research as InquiryResearch is iterative and requires us to ask increasingly complex questions that lead to new questions and areas of inquiry. Learners who understand this concept see research as a process and understand that research is used to meet personal, professional, or social, as well as academic needs; they recognize that inquiry ranges from the simple query, to the complex investigation requiring sophisticated research methods and a broad range of information sources.
Learning OutcomesStudents can:
Scholarship as ConversationCommunities of scholars, researchers, and professionals engage in ongoing discourse that is open to new contributions and diverse viewpoints. Learners who understand this concept will recognize that ideas are formulated, debated, and weighed against one another over extended periods of time and may not have established answers; they recognize that existing power and authority structures further influence which individuals have a voice in scholarly conversations.
Learning Objectives:Students can:
Searching as Strategic ExplorationSearching is a nonlinear process that involves inquiry, discovery, and serendipity. Learners who understand this will evaluate a wide range of sources to meet their information needs, and will display the persistence and mental flexibility to pursue different routes as their understanding develops. They will have the ability to broaden their search resources and strategies.
Learning Objectives:Students can:
Creating a Program
Integrating Information Literacy into Assignments
* These lessons were prepared by the MacPháidín Library, StoneHill College, Easton Massachusetts
For application of the Frames see articles in this book:
“Searching as strategic exploration” from a Nursing perspective.
“Authority is Constructed and Contextual” threshold concept from a Social Work perspective
There are seven modules to help you develop your knowledge and skill in working with information sources. The tutorial does not have to be completed in one sitting.