Creating Effective Information Literacy Assignments
A well designed resource-based assignment can develop students’ research and information skills, critical thinking abilities, and subject knowledge. Liaison librarians are available to collaborate with faculty to design assignments that promote information literacy and subject learning at the same time.
A well constructed information literacy assignment has the following elements:
- Learning Objectives
State specific information literacy skills that the students are expected to learn. Optimally, an assignment will have at least one objective for each of the five Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. For example:
ACRL StandardLearning Objectives
1 Determine the nature/extent of information needed. a. Find background informaton in general reference sources
b. Identify scholarly vs. popular resources
2 Access information effectively and efficiently
a. identify keywords, synonyms, and related terms.
b. Construct and implement a search strategy
c. Record all pertinent citation information
3 Critically evaluate information and its sources
a. Evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias for information and its sources
b. Select information that provides evidence for the topic
c. Investigate differing viewpoints in the literature.
4 Use information effectively to accomplish a purpose.
a. Articulate knowledge and skills from prior experiences to plan and create a product.
b. Integrate new and prior information
c. Communicate clearly to fulfill the purpose fo the assignments.
5 Access and use information ethically.
a. Understand what constitutes plagiarism.
b. Use appropriate documentation style.
- An Information Product
The assignment provides students with an opportunity to find, evaluate, and use information while learning course content. The product could be a paper, a speech, or some other product. Find ideas in Term Paper Alternatives: Ideas for Resource-Based Assignments
- Supporting Materials/Instruction
Instruction on how to find and evalutate the needed information helps students complete the assignment successfully and learn important skills. Liaison librarians will develop online class guides and offer library instruction to support your assignment.
See: Subject guides, Learning Objects, Class Guides: See example.
Evaluation criteria for the information literacy learning objectives are clear, in writing, and distributed with the assignment. Several rubrics are available that can be adapted to fit an assignment:
- AAC&U Information Literacy VALUE Rubric
- Rubric for Article Critique Reports
- Book Review Rubric
- Rubric for Effective Resource-Based Assignments
- Rubric for Literature Review
- Information Literacy Rubric
- Rubric for Term Paper or Literature Review
- Research Paper Feedback Form
- Rubric: Selection, Citation, and Use of Sources
- Writing Feedback Form
- Requiring students to use print sources only. Ninety percent of our journals are online. Many high quality reference books and government documents are online.
- Making an assignment for which the library has no resources.
- Making an assignment that frustrates students. Information literacy assignments should be a positive learning experience for students.
Be sure to:
- Test out the assignment before use.
- Ask your liaison librarian to recommend the best databases and reference sources for students to use.
- Encourage students to ask librarians for help.
See information literacy assignments developed by JMU faculty:
- JMU Information Literacy Assignment Checklist
- Developing Research and Communication Skills: Guidelines for Information Literacy in the Curriculum (Middle States Commission on Higher Education)
- Characteristics of Effective Resource-Based Assignments
- Reading a Research Article
- Preparing Abstracts and Annotations
- Writing Learning Objectives
For more information about the information literacy program, contact: