To ensure Information & Research Literacies (I&RL) are effectively embedded into courses and subjects:
Learning activities and assessments can be used to develop your students’ Information & Research Literacy skills. Activities and assessments that have information literacy embedded typically include the following characteristics:
Acceptable and unacceptable sources.
Be specific here, tell students what kind of sources they are expected to use, and help them make distinctions where ambiguities occur. For example, students need to recognise the difference between general and scholarly information, whether found freely via Google, in open access journals, or through CSU subscription journal databases.
Grade the research, not just the paper.
Make clear to students that you will pay close attention to the sources that they choose, and that their grade for the assessment will depend partly on the quality of their reference list. Discourage the indiscriminate use of the web resources, and encourage the use of peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles. Assign tutorials to help your students through the process.
Encourage critical independent thought.
Use learning activities to encourage students to step outside their course materials to locate and identify resources to share with other students on the topic being taught. Assessments that emphasise comparing, contrasting, and evaluating ideas are more likely to spur independent thought in students than assessments that emphasise processes such as comprehension and knowledge.
Break longer assignments into steps.
For research papers or presentations, set scaffolded tasks that help students develop their question, the outline of the work and evaluate the information they will use in an annotated bibliography. This helps students by giving feedback on their topic selection and preliminary research, and gives the instructor a chance to assist those students who may be struggling.
Adapted from St John’s University. (2009). Characteristics of effective information literacy assignments. Retrieved from https://www.stjohns.edu/characteristics-effective-information-literacy-assignments