Information literacy can be thought of as individuals building an awareness of how they “ use, manage, synthesise and create information, in a wise and ethical manner, to the benefit of society”, as part of their learning life. Information literacy is central to learning and essentially involves changing learning attitudes, habits and behaviours so that people understand how information fits into their learning”.
Learning involves the constant search for meaning by the acquisition of information, reflection, engagement and active application in multiple contexts (Learning Reconsidered)
Information literacy can be thought of as individuals building an awareness of how they “use, manage, synthesise and create information, in a wise and ethical manner, to the benefit of society”, as part of their learning life. Information literacy is central to learning and essentially involves changing learning attitudes and habits so that people understand how information fits into their learning”.
A summary of an environmental issue that is of relevance in your local area considering the viewpoints of local, national and global stakeholders.
This summary should be between 500 and 1000 words, excluding the full references, and clearly structured to present the range of viewpoints clearly. It will be necessary to summarise and compare information from a range of sources. You can include tables or diagrams.
Your analysis should contain:
A brief outline of the local context of the issue;
Identification of the full range of stakeholders and their likely viewpoints;
Consideration of the issues relating to the strength and validity of the viewpoints; and
“ I felt that I have achieved quite a lot. I actively used journals in my research for the first time in a project, and indeed used a range of journals. I also reduced my dependence on books quite a lot. Many of the statistics in the presentation were taken from websites – government departments and agencies. The use of these websites means that my information and figures were reliable and more current. I also used portals and gateways on the Internet following the library exercise and a very good book on sources of information in environmental science in the library reference section”.
“ There is a large amount of information available on this subject, but a lot of it is very subjective to the views of the campaign groups and not all is based on actual fact. For example the facts I found on the Environment Agency’s website were quite different to the information that I found on the website for the local campaign groups. … Although there is a lot of information available on the negative impacts of incinerators I have tried not to get carried away with them because they are very subjective. I started by looking on the internet but found that the vast amount of information was too much to look through, so I started using books and journals for relevant information. I also feel better about using them as they are more reliable.”
“ It was good having the sessions integrated into Modules throughout the year, we paid much more attention and they seemed much more relevant. The sessions this year really set us on the right track. After them we were better equipped to search for the most appropriate journals, to identify other sources of information and to reference the range of sources of material we have found. Without those sessions I would have really struggled with my research project.”
“ Critical thinking is a capacity to work with complex ideas whereby a person can make effective provision of evidence to justify a reasonable judgement. The evidence, and therefore the judgement, will pay appropriate attention to context.”
The hardship was not understanding. When they give you an assignment and say it was on this handout. But my difficulty is not understanding what to do at first… I think that there’s a lack of my reading ability, which I can’t blame anyone for. I can only blame myself because I don’t like reading. And if you don’t read, you’re not going to learn certain things. So I suppose that’s to do with me…..it’s reading as well as putting what you read into your essay. You can read it and understand it. I can read and understand it, but then you have to incorporate it into your own words. But in the words they want you to say it in, not just: She said this, and this is the way it should be. The words, the proper language. (Bowl 2003 p90).
Can we help students think about reading critically?
If 25% of your marks is from reading, you’ve got to try and show that, even if you haven’t read. I’m not going to sit there and read a chapter, and I’m certainly not going to read a book. But I’ll read little paragraphs that I think are relevant to what I’m writing, and it’s got me through, and my marks have been fine. But I can’t read. If I read too much, it goes over my head. If I’m writing something, I know what I want to say and I need something to back me up… then I will find something in a book that goes with that. I’m not going to try to take in the whole book just for one little bit. I have my book next to me and then I can pick out the bits. (Jenny, full-time community and youth work student). (Bowl 2003 p89).
And help them understand different kinds of critical reading?
Help them also to understand that there are different kinds of approaches needed for reading depending on whether they are reading for pleasure, for information, for understanding or reading around a topic;
Help them to become active readers with a pen and Post-its in hand, rather than passive readers, fitting the task in alongside television and other noisy distractions;
Give them clear guidance in the early stages about how much they need to read and what kinds of materials they need to focus on.
Assessment methods and requirements probably have a greater influence on how and what students learn than any other single factor. This influence may well be of greater importance than the impact of teaching materials” (Boud 1988)
How can we integrate assessment with learning?
It needs to be built-in rather than bolt-on;
Assignments need to be authentic, that is, assessing learning that is identified in the learning outcomes;
Learning outcomes need to be designed to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-constrained (SMART)
The assessment strategy should make sure that assignments are fit-for-purpose.
(Sally Brown, Newcastle, 2007)
How does information literacy relate to assessment?
What do you think?
Should information literacy be assessed within a subject context or mainstreamed as a topic in it’s own right?
Integrated or stand alone?
How do we know if we actually make a difference with information literacy ?
How can we demonstrate this difference to students, academic staff and our line managers?