Author Archives: chuxley

Information Literacy Initiative: Designing new student learning competencies

We’ve spent the better part of the last three years revamping our information literacy program.  It was partly motivated by the change to the ACRL Framework but also by our own awareness that the current methods we were using to teach and assess infolit needed a little bit of refreshing.

We are challenged by many of the same issues other community colleges are.  We don’t have any credit bearing courses and any attempt to add any have never been successful.  As a result, we rely on the one-shot or if we’re lucky and the faculty member sees the benefit, the two-shot.

To get the initiative in motion, my collegues suggested we start meeting on a weekly basis to brainstorm ideas and ultimately, get a handle on this new Framework thing. Although we all agreed that the current ACRL Standards needed a serious overhaul, we weren’t exactly sure how the new Framework was going to make any of that better.

The other matter at hand was coming up with some kind of coordinated plan.  We had several pie-in-the-sky kind of conversations.  If we were in charge of the campus what would our information literacy program look like?  There were a lot of different ideas we wanted to try and most of them fit in to four broad categories that have become our strategic priorities:

Although Assessment is the third on the list, it was clear that it needed to be the first priority we worked on.  Our campus was already moving more towards the idea of focusing assessment on local standards so we decided to come up with our own for information literacy.  This was new territory for us since we always relied on the ACRL standards in the past. This is when we finally figured out how the Framework could work for us.

Although we went through several different drafts, we finalized a version last spring, just in time for our end of the year assessment. We decided to create a broad set of student learning competencies first which fell neatly into five different categories: Access, Inquiry, Search, Evaluation and Attribution.

Then, within each catagory we created specific student learning outcomes.


Our idea, or our hope, was that this format would actually allow some flexibility for faculty who could either utilize the student learning outcomes we had develop, or create a set of their own discipline specific outcomes within each category.  This was our solution to the “How do we integrate information literacy into the curriculum?” problem.

I did a brief presentation on this for ACRL last spring which you can view below.  I don’t start until fifteen minutes in but I highly recommend you watch the whole showcase.  There were some super spectacular ideas shared by the other presenters.

Using Padlet in a One-Shot Instruction

I’ve recently started using Padlet in my one-shots as a way for students to collaboratively brainstorm keyword combinations.  Since all the students have their own desktop or laptop to work from, they can all contribute to the Padlet and see what everyone else is adding at the same time.  I like using it as a tool.  The students are often a little apprehensive at first but once they double click on the Padlet and see how easy it is to add a note the activity continues to go quite well.

I’ve used a white board for this activity in the past but it was often hard to get students to speak-up with any suggestions.  I imagine this is a common issue in one-shots.  Students may be comfortable contributing to discussion in their own classroom, but once there in the library with me they’re in a new place with a new face for an instructor.  It can be hard to break through that first time meeting awkwardness.  I normally wouldn’t get more than one or two students to raise their hand and suggest something.  The Padlet seems to alleviate that somewhat. Those students who are anxious about speaking in front of everyone can add a note to Padlet anonymously.  As a result, I would get far more keyword suggestions than I would when using the whiteboard.