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Ask a Librarian
University of Vermont students have more access to information now than they have ever had in their lives. Yet rarely do students come to us with a complex understanding of the information they encounter. As teachers, how do we guide our students through a complicated information landscape and help them become better researchers and more informed writers?
Information literacy is more than a discrete set of skills. Students must understand the context in which information resides. A request to find appropriate information on a topic assumes that students will understand why a certain resource may or may not be appropriate for a given audience. A request to find scholarly articles on a topic assumes that a student understands how scholarly articles are produced and contribute to disciplinary conversations. To be effective teachers of information literacy is to explicitly attend to the contextual questions of “how” and “why” that are so often overlooked. Information literacy is an iterative, progressive, and scaffolded set of skills, abilities, and habits of mind.
Expectations for understanding information literacy, conducting research, and writing are different in all disciplines. As learners and practitioners, our understanding of information literacy is constantly developing.
Students learn about information literacy most effectively when it is integrated throughout the curriculum. UVM’s Writing and Information Literacy General Education outcome helps address the teaching and learning of information literacy, and writing through the collaboration of librarians and faculty.
Continuum of Librarian Support for Information Literacy
At UVM two initiatives are in place to structure this progression by combining the interrealted practices of writing and information literacy:
As students move past college they will continue to engage with the concepts of information literacy and use the skills that they have developed at UVM. In many professions, information literacy manifests itself through the use of evidence-based practices that help inform decisions and actions.
As citizens in a complex global society, UVM graduates will face demands to critically engage with information, generate knowledge, and solve problems in a variety of personal, professional, and civic contexts. UNESCO’s Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning describes information literacy as a basic human right in a digital world that promotes social inclusion. In this larger context, information literacy can be transformative and provides a means for understanding the economic, political, and social forces that impact people’s ability to access information in order to educate themselves and facilitate change.Librarians can work with you to:
We invite you to work with your subject librarian to integrate and sequence information literacy into your classes and across the curriculum. Contact your librarian to start the conversation.
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