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ENG 112-Info Lit

Page history last edited by msellar@marymountpv.edu 9 years, 1 month ago

 

Information Literacy in ENG112


Information Literacy - What is it?

  

 Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information.”  Information literacy is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources.  Due to the escalating complexity of the environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices – in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives – that pose significant challenges for society.  The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.  Information literacy also forms the basis of lifelong learning.  It is common to all disciplines, learning environments and levels of education.  (ACRL Information Competency Standards for Higher Education)

 

Information Literacy in ENG112

  

Google has been the primary tool that most students have used for research, and by and large it has worked “well” for them in their research endeavors. From their perspective, why should they change habits that have worked for them? We try to motivate this change in behavior by appealing to their (hopeful) desire to become better, smarter researchers through a more sophisticated understanding of the information landscape.

 

In ENG112, the basic goal of Workshop 1 is to help students to begin to think more critically about Google as a search tool, including understanding how and why Google selects and presents information. After discussing how Google works and learning about top-level domains, we then introduce some advanced searching using more sophisticated search strings in the basic search box but even more importantly through the Advanced Search screen.

 

The first workshop focused on dissecting Google and then introducing more advanced Google searching. Workshop 2 builds on the first by introducing alternative search tools - library subscription search engines - and discussing different types of publications that can be found within them. We also reinforce basic questions to ask of information sources. There has typically been an in-class activity where students compare two different types of sources with different levels of authority, review, and validity.

 

 IL Learning Outcomes for ENG112?

 

  • Understands how Google presents search results and recognizes limitations of it
  • Employs advanced search techniques as a means to mitigate those limitations
  • Recognizes existence of and difference between free and paid search engines
  • Locates and selects relevant paid search engines (i.e. databases) for research needs
  • Describes ways in which scholarly sources differ from popular sources
  • Evaluates information found in order to assess it for reliability and relevance
  • Articulates some criteria that can be used to evaluate sources

 

Workshop Materials (updated in Summer 2011):

 

Powerpoint- Workshop 1

 

Powerpoint - Workshop 2

 

TED Video: Beware the Filter Bubble (Workshop 1) 

 "As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy."

 

 

ARE ENG112 Students Learning?

 

That's the question we asked this past summer. The AA Program Review provided a good opportunity for IL and English colleagues to stand back and evaluate student performance on the culminating research paper that is characteristic of ENG112.

 

We looked for evidence in students’ reflective papers  that their approach to research shows development or sophistication beyond what we know to be generally true of freshmen’s incoming information literacy skills and behaviors, and that their approach shows learning (integration and application) of our information literacy learning outcomes for ID117-ENG112.

 

In particular, we looked at:  (1) how they GATHER information, and (2) how they EVALUATE information.

 

What Did We Find?

 

The data showed that Marymount freshmen and sophomores in ENG112-114 have introductory to low-developing information literacy skills. They continue to operate predominantly within a high-school research paradigm, and show little absorption, integration, and application of IL skills in the construction of their research papers. Our students treat sources as cosmetic add-ons to arguments, rather than integral to the process. They perceive sources to be all of the same authority and validity, and show no selectivity in what they choose to consult and use.

 

 

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