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Instruction: Information Literacy & Competencies

Information Literacy Instruction Plan for Gonzaga University

Gonzaga University ♦ Foley Center Library

Information Literacy Instruction Plan

June 2016 (Updated August 23, 2017)

 

Introduction

As faculty librarian instructors at Foley Center Library, we believe that information literacy competencies are essential for excellence in every human effort. In support of the development of student proficiencies in information handling we are updating a plan to guide our work, focusing on the intersection of Gonzaga University’s Mission Statement adopted February 2013, the University Core adopted December 2015 and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy adopted January 2016.  We focus on the intention and direction of these documents because of their prominence in our professional life in general and our work at Gonzaga specifically, for it is at their intersection that we find our identity, purpose and direction.

Gonzaga University’s Mission Statement sets the tone for activity across the University, articulating Gonzaga’s Catholic, Jesuit and humanistic identity and our commitment to move with our students toward lives lived with and for others.  This Mission underlines our dedication to excellence in academics and thought, pointing out our increased capacity and disposition for a life of solidarity and service as well as creativity and fulfillment. The revised University Core centers the thoughts of students and faculty on themes and questions worthy of consideration and reflection.  It is right to take into account this structure for student learning as we imagine the best placement of information literacy instruction.  And finally, our professional perspective is informed by the Information Literacy Framework endorsed by the ACRL, a branch of the American Library Association.  The vision in the Framework helps coalesce information literacy instruction across the field into a shared conversation while allowing for local diversity in circumstance and implementation.

 

General Overview

Foley Center Library’s instruction program serves Gonzaga University with eleven librarian instructors teaching at all levels and across nearly every discipline.  We provide IL instruction both in-person and online.  We act as ambassadors for the University as we meet with visitors from outside Gonzaga to make available tours and orientations to Foley Center Library.  We also meet with Gonzaga groups that are not affiliated with specific classes, such as students in the BRIDGE and Pathways programs. 

While in-person, in-library classes are what often come to mind when thinking of librarian research partnerships, these are by no means the only option for connecting with research and scholarship assistance.  Faculty invite librarians to meet in their classrooms for a la carte style instruction: short bursts of tutoring on a specific aspect of research.  These include topics such as copyright, citation, Boolean searching, introduction to a specific database, etc.  Librarian faculty meet with professors to enhance their own pedagogical techniques for teaching IL concepts in the classroom.  We meet with students and professors giving individualized and targeted research assistance.  When practical we have accepted invitations to become embedded librarians and in this way act as co-instructors reinforcing good research practice as student skill develops over the trajectory of a course.   

A central principle in the provision of instruction at Gonzaga is that reference is “instruction at the point of need”.  With this in mind, reference services at both our in-person service point in the building and our online reference services ensure that members of the Gonzaga community have access to professional research help 24/7.  Online tutorials, including content of the Online Library Orientation, is available through the library webpage.  The webpage is a scholarship and research support portal that never closes.

In these ways, our team meets with visitors, students and faculty addressing all levels of information literacy need in both synchronous and asynchronous settings all hours every day.

 

Structure (*)

We observe that students are best able to integrate and apply research coaching targeted to their level and experience. Therefore, in our previous Information Literacy Instruction Plan and continuing forward in this plan, we will employ a scaffolded approach to instruction that supports students at different levels.  Our goal is to meet with students at three points in their undergraduate academic careers: when they come to the university, when they enter their major, and during their senior experience.

Currently we meet with large numbers of incoming students by collaborating with English 101 instructors and Communication 100 instructors.  In the revised core, IL instruction is specifically articulated in the learning outcome goals within the Writing requirement.  This is both an “entry to the university” level opportunity to meet with students in the core English 101 Writing sections but also invites us to engage with professors teaching Writing Designated core courses throughout the curriculum.

All instruction is done by way of an invitation from a content professor.  It is clear that many more classes could be taught at the point of student’s entry to their major, and it has been part of my sabbatical study to understand majors and minors offered by Gonzaga University and identify the most strategic places within those degrees for IL instruction. Using a curriculum map (updated August 2017), we are beginning a targeted effort to open conversations with department chairs and the faculty who teach appropriate courses on how to give the best scholarship and research support for students in their program.

With the implementation of two new core courses at Gonzaga, the First Year Experience Seminar for incoming students and the Core Integration Seminar for graduating students, it is our goal to seek partnerships that will further enhance scaffolded instruction and student IL abilities in these settings.  The FYE Seminars will be implemented first and we are already opening conversations with faculty teaching these classes.  We are also considering designing and teaching our own FYE Seminar in spring 2017.  The creation and implementation of this seminar will help us understand the FYE Seminar development process, put us in proximity to other instructors doing seminar work and it is exciting to us professionally. 

Obviously the senior capstone setting is an ideal opportunity, and rises to the top of our attention as this would complete the scaffolded IL experience.  Both the First Year Experience Seminars and Core Integration Seminars are under development and so it is not possible to have a detailed plan for IL instruction for these courses at this time.  However, as faculty design the seminars we will contact them.

(*)The remainder of this document focuses on instruction in the undergraduate core and degree programs where our most detailed articulation of IL learning outcome goals and assessment takes place.

    ­

Making Way for a New Framework

The approval of the new IL Framework by our professional organization opens many new opportunities.  A reading of the Framework immediately reveals a different approach to engaging students in strategic IL thinking. 

Previous to the adaption of the ACRL Framework, information literacy instruction was influenced by the ACRL Information Literacy Standards.   This document has been in use since January 2000 and though officially rescinded by the ACRL Board of Directors on June 25, 2016, I’m sure the Standards will continue to echo through the profession as an iteration of many of our aspirations.

While we acknowledge the IL Standards’ contribution to our work, we greet the IL Framework with keen anticipation.  The Framework is much more focused on the thoughts and values of students and not just their IL practices as were the IL Standards.  Gonzaga librarian instructors have crafted learning outcome goals for each of the three levels of undergraduate IL instruction, using the Framework as inspiration.  We anticipate that these outcomes will guide our work for the next 5-8 years.

 

Assessment

Foley Center Library participates in University assessment on both the program and instruction levels. 

We have devised and implemented various methods to evaluate the effectiveness of our instruction.  Normally, members of the instruction librarian team meet in the summer and identify a learning level and outcome goal that will be assessed.  We approach a discipline faculty partner and seek collaboration on the project.  We work together to design an assessment, meet with students to deliver instruction, collect appropriate artifacts that demonstrate student proficiency with the learning outcome goal, and proceed with analysis.  The inquiry and reflection pieces involves a team of librarians who read and evaluate individually with the help of a rubric or other tool, and then gather to cooperatively review our observations.  This is when we can determine, “Were learning outcome goals met?”  Finally, after we have done the analysis, reflection and synthesis pieces of the assessment project, we write a description which chronicles our process and conclusions, and closes the assessment loop by expressing ways the findings will inform our next round of instruction.  The report as well as related artifacts, are uploaded into the TracDat system creating a record and data point that aid us when we rotate through to assess this learning outcome in the future. 

As noted, the Framework has a more metacognitive approach to instruction and we look forward to trying out some new assessment methods while maintaining the rigor or our present assessment schedule. 

 

Conclusion

This plan is an expression of our current practice and our goals for the future.  We identify these as a commitment to:

  • Continue to uphold Gonzaga University’s Mission as we plan and act in IL interests.
  • Carry out our work within the structure of the University Core and University degree programs and meet student IL needs, specifically targeting the core writing requirement, core First Year Experience Seminars, Core Integration Seminars and entry to the major courses. 
  • Update learning outcome goals based on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy that complement the scaffolded teaching/learning structure.
  • Practice our assessment regimen with an openness to changing methods that may be more in tune with new learning outcomes.

Below are listed additional ideas that inspire us, and while not formally chosen as instruction program outcome goals, our librarian faculty team continues to actively explore new ways to engage with our students and community in the context of enhanced IL service.  This vision includes:

  • Formation of partnerships in Gonzaga’s digital humanities conversations.
  • Association with Gonzaga’s CTA to enhance IL instruction skills for discipline faculty.
  • Creation of a Digital Media Commons.
  • Development of an institutional repository.
  • Encouragement of primary document research.
  • Expansion of IL assessment to include non-academic and graduate programs.
  • Implementation of a “Personal Librarian” initiative.
  • Increased attention to instruction in STEM degree programs.
  • Engagement with the University of Washington colleagues around IL instruction for their students.  
  • Interest in copyright instruction.

Information Literacy Instruction at Gonzaga has a robust footing in current practice and opportunities for practical and significant contributions looking forward.  The plan outlined here is grounded in both experience and shared professional wisdom.  It is undertaken in the belief that the challenges facing our human family will be better met by those who not only have a heart and will to act, but also the skills necessary for informed discernment in how to better live and serve.

Information Literacy Learning Outcome Goals (Updated August 23, 2017)

Scholarship/Knowledge

Students demonstrate an understanding of the importance of citation and the value of information through the practice of citation.

Application 

Students will choose specific sources in a variety of formats to explore their topic.

Analysis

Students are able to critically assess resources and contextualize each source for the right project.

Evaluation 

Students will select appropriate topics for their research and identify which resources are likely to be most useful.

Synthesis

Students are able to explain the criteria they used to evaluate sources for credibility.  

Information Literacy Rubric (Updated August 23, 2017)

Goals for Students ACRL Framework Component Assignment Measurement Suggestions Excellent = 3 Satisfactory = 2 Unsatisfactory = 1
Scholarship/Knowledge
1. Students demonstrate an understanding of the importance of citation and the value of information through the practice of citation.
  •  Authority is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Has Value
  • Bibliographies (References or Works Cited Pages)
  • In-Text Citations
  • Consistent Use of the Proper Citation Style:
    o APA
    o MLA
    o ASA, etc.
Students use accurate citations of information sources to differentiate their work for the works of others. Students complete a Reference page or Works Cited page listing all resources used whether quoted or paraphrased. All citations are in the proper style. Students only partially differentiate their work from the works of others in the assignment with incorrect citation skills. Students list only sources that are directly quoted within their paper. Citations are listed but not properly formatted. Students do not use citations of information sources in their research. Student copy and paraphrase throughout the assignment with no attribution of sources. Reference page or Works Cited page is not present.
Application
2. Students will choose specific sources in a variety of formats to explore their topic.
  •  Information Creation as a Process
  • Information has Value
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration
  • One Minute Paper
  • Research Log
  • Research Checklist
Students use appropriate resources to complete their assignment. Students use a mix of appropriate and poor quality resources and/or use popular or poor quality resources when scholarly ones would have been more appropriate. Students use only popular and/or poor quality resources.

 
Analysis
3. Students are able to critically assess resources and contextualize each source for the right project.
  •  Information has value
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration
  • Bibliographies (References or Works Cited Pages)
  • One Minute Paper
  • Research Log
  • Research Paper Scholarly vs. Popular Article Assignment
Students can articulate differences between scholarly and popular references. Students use appropriate resource for conducting research. Students can articulate differences between scholarly and popular references, but have confusion about when to use scholarly material. Students cannot articulate differences between scholarly and popular resources. Students only use popular search engines and resources with no use of scholarly or appropriately authoritative.
Evaluation
4. Students will select appropriate topics for their research and identify
which resources are likely
to be most useful.
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Research as
    Inquiry
  • Concept Map
  • One Minute Paper
  • Research Log
Students select a topic that is appropriate and well defined for the amount of research
required for the
assignment.
Students identify
keywords and create
search strategies that
lead to meaningful results.
Students do not select an appropriate topic for the parameters of the assignment – it is either
too broad or too narrow.
Students mix natural
language and
keyword/subject search
terms.
Students cannot identify an appropriate topic for scholarly research.  Students use:
• phrases
• sentences
• natural language
• slang
instead of keyword/subject
search terms.
Synthesis
5. Students are able to
explain the criteria they
used to evaluate sources
for credibility.
  •  Authority is
    Constructed
    and
    Contextual
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Bibliographies
    (References or
    Works Cited
    Pages)
  • Evaluation
    Checklist
  • Scholarly vs.
    Popular Article
    Assignment
Students can articulate
evaluation of sources
using:
• currency
• bias
• authority
• accuracy
Students use a mix of
appropriate and poor
quality resources and/or
use popular or poor
resources when scholarly
ones would have been
more appropriate.
Students use only popular or
poor quality resources.
Students use sources that are
not relevant to the research
topic.

This rubric is adapted from work done by Keri Thomas-Whiteside