Information literacy is cited as a measure of student success in MTSU’s Building on the Blueprint for Excellence: Academic Master Plan for 2007-2017. According to this plan, information literacy initiatives will “engage students in learning how to acquire, use, evaluate, and disseminate information appropriately” (Goal II, Strategic Direction 4, p. 16).
The Information Literacy FLC will use the Association for College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) newly drafted Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (2014) as a basis for its discussions and work. In this framework, information literacy is redefined as follows:
Information literacy combines a repertoire of abilities, practices, and dispositions focused on expanding one’s own understanding of the information ecosystem, with the proficiencies of finding, using and analyzing information, scholarship, and data to answer questions, develop new ones, and create new knowledge, through ethical participation in communities of learning and scholarship. (“Framework,” p. 4)
This newly expanded definition of information literacy transcends academic disciplines as students must become familiar with the “information ecosystem” in their major or field, and practice critical thinking skills with their academic projects (regardless of the project’s format).
ACRL’s draft Framework (released in two parts) builds upon five new “concept thresholds” (or core understandings) of information literacy:
1) Scholarship is a conversation
2) Research as inquiry
3) Format as process
4) Authority is constructed and contextual
5) Searching is strategic
The Information Literacy FLC members will critically examine each of these five concept thresholds (and challenge any underlying assumptions) through common readings and discussions, and consider their applicability within the FLC members’ academic disciplines. More specifically, FLC participants will discuss how successful students might embody these abilities; consider related learning outcomes and assessments; and identify possible assignments that could be used to incorporate these concept thresholds into existing MTSU classes.
Members of the FLC will identify opportunities to add new information literacy practices into their existing courses and collectively co-author a paper for submission to a SOTL (scholarship of teaching and learning) or information literacy journal. Because the ACRL framework is new, the FLC will have the opportunity to be one of the early published voices on its relevance and applicability in higher education.
The Information Literacy FLC will meet once monthly (excluding December) from September 2014 through April 2015. Each of the meetings will be topical and will focus on one concept threshold from the ACRL Information Literacy Framework. Members will discuss a common reading and critically examine the topic as it applies to students in their discipline and more generally to higher education. Participants will consider and discuss practical applications for MTSU classes and potential SOTL paper topics for each concept threshold. The FLC members might also host a faculty workshop through the LT&ITC during the spring 2015 semester. Any papers or presentations will be finalized by interested FLC participants over the summer.
Professor Jason Vance has been at MTSU for six years as Assistant Professor and Information Literacy Librarian at the James E. Walker Library. He has participated in two Faculty Learning Communities at MTSU: Learning Spaces (2011-2012) and Emerging Technologies (2012-2013). He has presented numerous information literacy-themed faculty workshops for the LT&ITC (a three-part “First Tuesday” series in spring 2009, and one-session workshops in spring 2012 and spring 2013), and regularly speaks at departmental faculty meetings about information literacy. He has published and presented on SOTL topics including librarians’ involvement in online classes, teaching faculty to teach information literacy, library classroom design, and quantitative assessment of student learning. A selection of his publications and presentations can be found here: http://works.bepress.com/jvance/.