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Information Literacy Instruction Program: Frequently Asked Questions

What is information literacy?

Information literacy is the ability to recognize an information need and then to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information from a variety of sources to satisfy the need. The acquisition of information literacy skills contributes to an individual's development as a critical thinker, problem-solver, and independent learner.

How is information literacy instruction different than a general library orientation?

A general library orientation is one aspect of information literacy instruction. General tours of the library address the most basic needs of doing research at the College of DuPage Library. Information literacy instruction can go beyond teaching the "finding skills" and include content that would address issues of evaluation and application into your course. Consult with your library liaison about he/she can do this in your discipline area.

What can I ask my librarian to do?

Besides designing custom library instruction sessions to introduce library collections, services, and research tools, librarians can help in other ways. We will gladly create research guides tailored to your class, help you create research-based assignments, and suggest materials for your reading lists. We build on your course content and can work with you to best meet the needs of your students.

My students tell me that they have already attended a library session. Why should I schedule one for my class?

One advantage of scheduling a session is that your students' skills are assessed in the context of your class. Additionally, in the information world, resources and techniques change often; therefore, repeat attendance gives students another opportunity to learn and practice them.

Can't I assume my students learned how to do research and use a library in high school?

No. The College's student demographics tell us that our students come with differing educational backgrounds. Those students who do have basic skills need to be exposed to college-level resources and advanced research techniques. Additionally, techniques and resources change rapidly. What they learned a year or two ago may now be outdated.

Where are the instruction sessions held?

Instruction can take place in the Library in one of the Library's computer or traditional classrooms. In addition, arrangements can be made to come to your classroom.

What if my class meets at night or on the weekend? Can I still request a library instruction session?

Sure! Consult with your library liaison about arranging this.

I have no time for a session this semester. What else can I do to ensure my students will be prepared to do their research?

  • Contact your librarian for handouts or other materials that you could distribute in class.
  • Arrange with your librarian to set up appointments with your students for individualized assistance.
  • Tell them about the Reference Desk in the Library and the friendly, helpful librarians who are there to teach them the needed skills on a one-on-one basis.
  • Refer your students to our "Ask A Librarian" e-mail reference service.
  • Stay current with the Library's resources. Many times the type of information you are requiring can be found online or in a variety of sources. These changes affect how students will search and cite the information. Consider making an appointment with your librarian for a brief update and demonstration.

Do I need to attend the session?

Yes, as you would any other class session. Since we build upon the content of your class, we need you to be available to answer specific questions about the assignment and to contribute your experiences with researching in your discipline. Your presence also gives you the opportunity to hear about new developments at the C.O.D. Library and validates the importance of taking time to know how to use the library and do research.

How much time should I allow for an instruction session?

Most of our sessions are 50-80 minutes long. However, consult with your library liaison about the time required to meet the needs of your assignment.

What if I want my students to come back to the library to do more research? Where can we meet?

Most faculties prefer to convene in a classroom. The library has six classrooms available for classes. These classrooms can be reserved no more than three (3) days in advance of the desired date. Consult with your library liaison about availability.

I teach online - how can I help my students?

  • Your librarian can create subject-specific research guides for your students that list book suggestions, databases, web sites and search techniques.
  • Consult with your library liaison about developing an assignment that would assess the needed skills required to do research in your class.
  • Schedule a synchronous online research workshops for your students - ask your librarian how to make this happen!
  • Provide Blackboard discussion board access to your liaison librarian.
  • Your students can also submit questions to our online reference service, Ask A Librarian, which provides access to email, chat reference, phone service, and the opportunity to make a face-to-face or virtual appointment with a librarian.

How can I assess my student's information literacy skills?

COD graduates are expected to be able to explain the need for information; locate information effectively and efficiently; evaluate information and its sources critically; and use information effectively, ethically, and legally to accomplish a specific purpose. We recommend collaborating with a librarian to design effective learning and assessment that meets the needs of your curriculum.

I usually assign a research paper, but I'm interested in trying some other type of assignment. Do you have any suggestions?

Yes! There are so many ways to assess students' abilities to find and critically use information. Consult our list of ideas for research assignments.

I already give my students a research assignment. What else can I do to infuse information literacy knowledge and skills in my content?

Fabulous! A good way to start is to become familiar with the student learning outcomes established by the C.O.D. Librarians. Take a look at these and determine if the activities and assignments you use are incorporating these skill sets. We also welcome conversations about metacognition and how students move along a learning continuum from novice toward expertise in understanding information use.

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  • Last Updated: Nov 15, 2023 6:28 PM
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