What’s Going On with Information Literacy at the William H. Hannon Library?

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Today’s post was written by Lindsey McLean, Instructional Design Librarian. It originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of the Happenings @ Hannon.

At the William H. Hannon Library, we are always searching for ways to improve the already stellar services we offer to the campus community. We have, in collaboration with LMU faculty, developed a nationally recognized information literacy program that helps teach a “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” (ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education). Regardless of our status as an “Exemplary Program,” we always make continual improvements to our instruction based on assessment data and faculty feedback. This past year, we focused our improvement efforts on the information literacy component of the Rhetorical Arts course – a core course that students take in their first year.

We collaborate heavily with LMU faculty and instructors to incorporate information literacy education into LMU’s core curriculum; most notably in the first year core courses. In students’ First Year Seminar courses they complete an in-depth, online module developed by the library that introduces them to the basic mechanics and concepts of scholarly research. For the Rhetorical Arts courses, we have worked with faculty and instructors to develop information literacy based assignments for the course and an in-person library workshop that further enhances students’ skills in finding and evaluating information.

Based on assessment data we gathered from Rhetorical Arts students’ and instructors in 2015, we made a number of improvements to information literacy assignments and our instructional materials. We revised the Developing a Topic assignment to enhance its connection to social justice issues; a cornerstone component of this course. We also created a video about doing preliminary research to develop a topic that assists students with using library resources as they complete this assignment.

In 2014, we developed an online activity, the RADAR Challenge, which students participate in during their library workshop. This activity is an online game where students team up and earn points for accurately and thoroughly evaluating an academic source for quality and usefulness. This spring, we added two additional academic sources that students can choose from. Each source in the challenge represents one academic discipline: Science, Social Science, and Humanities, allowing students to choose a source that most closely matches their major. The addition of these two new sources has made the activity even more popular with students and instructors!

Finally, we made many improvements to the point-of-need materials we create for Rhetorical Arts students. We improved our Rhetorical Arts LibGuide – a mini website that students can access at anytime and includes all sorts of useful information such as where to find sources and how-to videos. The improvements to the LibGuide include clearer navigation and more information on the topics students have the most difficulty grasping; notably evaluating academic sources. We also revised the take home materials students receive during their library workshop, making sure that they are directed to the most useful sources and information.