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Integrating Information Literacy Into Your Courses

Why Information Literacy?

According to the SUNY Gen Ed Framework (effective Fall 2023), all SUNY graduates should meet the following information literacy learning outcomes:

Students will

  • locate information effectively using tools appropriate to their need and discipline;
  • evaluate information with an awareness of authority, validity, and bias; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of the ethical dimensions of information use, creation, and dissemination.

In addition, many subject disciplines have their own information literacy standards. Despite differences in language used to describe information literacy, there is clear consensus that this is a crucial skill set that students need to learn and practice. (Search for older terms like "information management" or "digital literacy" or related terms like "critical literacy" if you don't find anything in your subject area for "information literacy.")

SUNY Oswego has decided to infuse information literacy (formerly known in the SUNY Gen Ed Requirements as "information management") throughout the curriculum (SUNY Oswego General Education page). This means that it's the responsibility of every instructor and faculty member to make sure that students are mastering these skills. And the library wants to help you do it!

What IS Information Literacy?

Beyond the learning outcomes defined by SUNY, what even is information literacy?  According to the Association of College and Research Libraries' Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education,

Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.

Or, if you prefer a definition that uses plainer language, in their Information Literacy VALUE Rubric, the American Association of Colleges and Universities defines information literacy as

The ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the problem at hand.

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