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Faculty LibGuide: Creating Assignments With Information Literacy

This guide is to show what library resources and services are available to faculty.

Some Suggested Library/Information Literacy Assignments

Here are some suggestions for library &/or information-related assignments. They can be modified to suit the needs of a particular course or discipline.

  • Create a web site as a resource for the course. Included on the site might be discussion groups, blogs, RSS feeds, e-journals, meta-sites, and organizations.
  • Compare the results of searching the same precise topic on one or more Internet search engines and a library database(s).
  • Research a controversial topic using a variety of sources. Discuss how the different types of sources (e.g. newspapers, web sites, news magazines, academic journals, academic discussion lists) treat the topic.
  • Compare how two different disciplines discuss the same topic by finding articles from the journal literature of each discipline.
  • Compare popular and scholarly articles on the same topic in terms of content, bias, style, audience.
  • Compare two journal articles that discuss the same topic from different points of view.
  • Read an editorial and find facts to support or contradict.
  • Research a particular company, organization, research lab, etc. as preparation for a (hypothetical) interview.
  • Evaluate a relevant web site based on specific criteria, including accuracy, comprehensiveness, authority, bias, ease of use, visual style. Students may be asked to compare a number of web sites representing government, personal, commercial, and scholarly sites.

Some Questions to ask about ANY information.

Currency: How recent is the information, and when was it last updated?

Accuracy: How reliable is the information. Are the facts accurate?

Organization: Is it easy to find the information you need?

Bibliography: Can you cite the work in a bibliography or works cited? Does it give you the author, title, publisher, and date?

Usefulness: How useful is it when you don’t know where to start?

Tips for Creating Effective Library/Information Literacy Assignments

  • Give clear directions

Help students understand what you mean when you give them directions about what steps to take or what sources to consult in doing research. For example, simply saying “no Internet resources”makes students wonder whether library databases accessed over the Internet are also forbidden. Similarly, students often believe they cannot use encyclopedias when a subject encyclopedia may be a very useful and appropriate resource (e.g. Encyclopedia of Management). Giving library-related assignments in writing will help reduce confusion.

  • Consider providing the library with a copy of the assignment

Knowing what students are working on and what resources they are expected to use will help the library provide better service.

  • Give students enough time to complete the assignment successfully
  • Remind students that even under the best circumstances, research takes time.
  • Keep assignments current

Information sources are constantly changing. New sources appear and methods of accessing information are evolving. Please check with the library to ensure that students are being directed to the most current sources and to ensure that the library holds or provides access to the needed information. It is also important for students to be aware that information about current topics may be limited to newspaper sources, as journal articles and books take time to appear.

  • Consider the Web & More

For most assignments students should neither be directed to find their information exclusively on the web nor be told to avoid the web. There is a lot of credible information on the free web (e.g., from government and educational non-profit agencies). But the library also subscribes to many high-quality and expensive electronic sources that are accessed via the web and are very different from free web resources (e.g., google).

Will C. Miller Memorial Library | Southwest Texas Junior College | 2401 Garner Field Road | Uvalde, TX 78801 | 830-591-7367 | swtjc.libguides.com/home