Sunday, July 25, 2010

Information Literacy: Why? Selling It to Faculty

crepe myrtle, in bloom on campus

I am perplexed. I am a supporter and a believer when it comes to the value of information literacy. But in trying to promote it recently, and integrate it into a classroom assignment, a professor asked me why. Is there money for information literacy? Is there prestige associated with it? Is there a mandate supporting it?

I am very glad this question has emerged so early in my career, because I think the simple answer to all those questions is no. (Although granted, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education does recognize information literacy as a characteristic of excellence in higher education.)

I know that information literacy proponents are highly organized, locally and beyond, and that it is ready for assessment. I know that in the state of New Jersey, information literacy can count toward a Technology credit for transfer from a community college to another institution in the General Education curriculum. And information literacy is getting national attention and support.

However, is there any research I can point to that clearly demonstrates its value? So far I have been unable to find studies showing its benefits. It makes intuitive sense to think that information literacy is good for higher-level teaching and learning, but there are plenty of things that are theoretically good for teaching and learning that don't make it into the classroom.

From where I sit, as a non-faculty instruction librarian, the best I can do is offer my services to support faculty in their teaching. Offering my skills and knowledge in order to collaborate may be the most useful thing I can do, whether or not I make a point of mentioning the phrase information literacy.

No comments:

Post a Comment