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Information Literacy Program (ILP)

Florida Gulf Coast University Library

Endorsed by the Dean's Council, November 1997 and by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee July 17, 1998; revised January 11, 2008


The mission of the Library's Information Literacy Program (ILP) is to: enable students to identify and locate multiple sources of information using a variety of methods, formats, and research tools; Analyze and evaluate information within general, disciplinary and professional contexts; Develop information literacy competencies that will model success in their academic, personal, professional endeavors as well as life-long learning pursuits.

Program Description

The Information Literacy Program (ILP) offers multiple learning opportunities using a variety of methods designed for each level of educational experience. The ILP employs active learning to involve students in the learning process and facilitate their ability to learn independently. Active learning can take a variety of forms including group work or collaborative learning, hands-on computer training, active learning exercises in class (cooperative learning), group projects, self-paced modules, presentations and writing.

The concepts and general processes of using information and information sources are emphasized, rather than specific tools, technologies, or information systems. In teaching processes rather than tools, it is intended that the skills will be transferable across a variety of information systems and remain effective long after current technology becomes obsolete.  As the ILP develops, a diversity of learning styles can be more fully addressed through increased variety in instructional delivery methods through the strategic use of technology.

Careful, thoughtful inculcation of information skills requires extended time and interaction among students, librarians, and faculty.  Professional librarians act as subject liaisons that collaborate with teaching faculty to integrate information literacy skills across the curriculum.

Critical thinking, applied to information literacy skills, can be defined as the systematic, flexible, self-aware, and self-correcting formulation of search strategies and the careful evaluation of search results.  Students are coached to apply critical thinking skills to library and information technology environment.

Student learning is the centerpiece of the library's assessment efforts. The ILP defines information literacy competencies and will develop benchmarks for varying levels of expertise in the research process. The benchmarks will allow learners to self-assess, and enable the librarians to evaluate and improve the ILP's efficacy. The librarians will work collaboratively with other library and university personnel to develop the appropriate and measurable assessment methods for the program.

The structural underpinnings of the program are intended to foster a general progression in student knowledge and sophistication in seeking, using and evaluating information resources.  The ILP will evolve to meet the changing needs of the FGCU community while maintaining its fundamental precepts of active learning, student-centered approaches, and continuous review and assessment.

The instructional objectives of the ILP are grouped into five ability components which are each designed with two levels, or tiers, of competencies, except for component 5 which applies to all levels. The five ability components are:

Tier 1 of the information literacy competencies within each component corresponds with the University's general education program and targets the freshmen/sophomore level undergraduate student.  It is intended to provide a foundation for more advanced competencies to be developed in the majors or in professional settings. Tier 1 focuses on basic skills and emphasizes the elements of the research process.

Tier 2 of the information literacy competencies focuses on more advanced research techniques and specialized resources unique to the disciplines or professions involved and targets the junior/senior level undergraduate student.  It is intended to familiarize students with the research patterns of specialists in the discipline, the publication cycle, primary/secondary source distinctions unique to that discipline, and refinements in search strategies and tactics. Information literacy at this level emphasizes information in its wider context.  Ideally, this tier will be integrated into those courses required for the major that have a natural need for information seeking and information resources.

Tier 3 of the information literacy competencies focuses on the role of graduate students as potential contributors to scholarly discourse.  Direct contact with experts and researchers, professional organizations and associations, and specialized terminology of the discipline may therefore comprise a portion of the information competencies in this tier. Graduate students will go beyond tier 2 focusing even further on sub-disciplinary literature and resources.

Ability Component 1:  How to determine the nature and extent of information needed.

Objective:  The learner understands how information is defined by experts, and recognizes how that knowledge can help determine the direction of his or her search for specific information.

Tier 1 competencies (freshmen/sophomore level):

Tier 2 competencies (junior/senior level):

Tier 3 competencies (Masters/Doctoral level)

Ability Component 2:  How information sources are structured.

Objective:  The learner understands the importance of the organizational content, bibliographic structure, function, and use of information sources.

Tier 1 competencies (freshmen/sophomore level):

Tier 2 competencies (junior/senior level):

Tier 3 competencies (Masters/Doctoral)

Ability Component 3:  How to access needed information effectively and efficiently.

Objective:  The learner can use information sources or information systems to identify relevant information.

Tier 1 competencies (freshmen/sophomore level):

Tier 2 competencies (junior/senior level):

Tier 3 competencies (Masters/Doctoral level)

Ability Component 4:  How Information sources are organized and accessed through libraries.

Objective:  The learner understands the way collections of information sources are organized and accessed.

Tier 1 competencies (freshmen/sophomore level):

Tier 2 competencies (junior/senior level):

Tier 3 competencies (Masters/Doctoral level)

Ability Component 5:  How to use information ethically and legally.

Objective:  The learner understands many of the ethical, legal, and socio-economic issues surrounding information and information technology.

Competencies (all levels):

For more information, please contact Dr. Linda Colding (239) 590-7604.