Information literacy refers to a set of skills used to find, evaluate, select and use information. An information literate student is familiar with the various kinds of resources, can select appropriate resources when faced with questions, understands how to search those resources effectively, and can document the information that s/he found. Information literate students display competency when it comes to finding and using information, and they have an understanding of the fundamental principles of research.
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) articulated information literacy proficiencies, and the Information Literacy Advisory Group of Oregon (ILAGO) adapted these proficiencies for lower-division academic work. Eight (8) proficiencies [PDF] articulated by ILAGO reflect statewide standards for basic and intermediate levels of information competence.
To prepare students at SOCC, librarians have developed a set of learning outcomes to measure whether students have the skills needed to conduct independent research. The following learning outcomes represent a basic level of competence that students should have upon graduating from SOCC and moving to upper-division coursework. A lower-division information literate student should be able to perform the following:
Faculty are encouraged to incorporate these learning outcomes into their syllabi to ensure that students have information competence. Because research is a key component of academic work, it is appropriate for information literacy assignments to be integral in a wide range of disciplines in the arts and sciences. Students who have met the four learning outcomes articulated above should be prepared for upper-division coursework where they are often called upon to perform independent research.
Because lower-division classes generally do not call for in-depth research and because the 10 week term makes it difficult for students to embark on long projects, faculty and librarians at SOCC have developed ideas for assignments that include information literacy components. Faculty are encouraged to draw upon these ideas, adapt the assignments to fit their courses, and contribute any assignments they feel could further information competence.
In addition, an online guide to creating assignments that stress information and writing competence offers ideas about how to construct an assignment that will call upon students to grapple with information resources, synthesize information, and explain their thinking in papers.