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Information Literacy - University Studies Student Learning Outcomes

This guide outlines the common Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for Information Literacy (IL) courses, each aligned with the UNCW Learning Goals and the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

IL SLO 1. Develop questions for research...

Develop questions for research that necessitate information seeking, gathering, and analysis and employ effective and iterative search strategies to address them. 

Relevant Frames: Research as Inquiry, Searching as Strategic Exploration

Relevant UNCW Learning Goals: Information Literacy, Inquiry

By the end of the first year, the student should be able to:
  • Develop research question(s) based on curiosity, information gaps, and/or conflicting information.
  • Construct a foundational knowledgebase while searching on a new or unfamiliar topic.
  • Produce an effective search by identifying key concepts/terms and employing various strategies to broaden/narrow search results (e.g. Boolean operators, search filters). 
An intermediate student should be able to:
  • Effectively apply advanced search skills within disciplinary search tools, including specialized subject headings or facets.
  • Assess information and explore multiple perspectives (including marginalized perspectives) while maintaining an open mind and critical stance.
  • Utilize experts (including librarians) as appropriate to assist with information seeking.
A graduating senior should be able to:
  • Interpret, analyze, and synthesize information in order to form new knowledge.
  • Determine comprehensiveness of results by questioning the limits of search tools or strategies.

IL SLO 2. Critically evaluate and classify sources...

Critically evaluate and classify sources based on the context in which they were produced and disseminated, their place in the relevant scholarly conversation(s), and their indicators of authority. 

Relevant Frames: Authority is Constructed and Contextual, Scholarship as Conversation

Relevant UNCW Learning Goals: Critical Thinking, Information Literacy

By the end of the first year, the student should be able to:
  • Use varied sources to illustrate that scholarship is a conversation in which meaning is created and debated over time, and that scholarship may therefore be represented by multiple perspectives and approaches.
  • Examine and compare information from various sources in order to evaluate its accuracy, authority, currency, and perspective.
  • Recognize a scholarly article, identify its key components, and utilize the article in a way that demonstrates understanding of the role peer-review plays in scholarly research. 
An intermediate student should be able to:
  • Identify the breadth and depth of the scholarly communication around the research questions and critically evaluate sources for inclusion in the research assignment based on their authority (as measured by discipline, profession, and/or community of practice) and role in the scholarly conversation.
  • Engage with information in ways that demonstrate critical thinking, new understanding, and a self-awareness of personal bias and worldview (including how that influences information interpretation).
  • When utilizing sources, represent the context (cultural, physical, or other) within which information is created and how that context impacts interpretation.
A graduating senior should be able to:
  • Investigate differing viewpoints encountered in the literature and determine whether to incorporate or reject these ideas.
  • Identify ways in which the traditional notions of authority within a disciplinary conversation may underrepresent some individuals/groups and actively seek underrepresented voices.
  • Develop own authoritative voice in a particular area and understand the responsibilities this entails, including seeking accuracy and crediting the ideas of others.

IL SLO 3. Synthesize and effectively use information...

Synthesize and effectively use information to create new content (e.g. papers, presentations, data analyses, videos) that addresses the research questions, demonstrates ethical use of information (including the acknowledgment of others' intellectual work), and adheres to any established disciplinary or professional parameters. 

Relevant Frames: Information Creation as a Process, Information Has Value

Relevant UNCW Learning Goals: Information Literacy, Thoughtful Expression

By the end of the first year, the student should be able to:
  • Distinguish among types of sources (e.g. books, journal articles, primary and secondary sources, scholarly and popular sources).
  • Recognize when ideas need to be attributed to others and what is common knowledge.
  • Identify citation elements and document sources accurately while integrating the ideas of others through quoting and paraphrasing. 
An intermediate student should be able to:
  • Identify selves as authors/information creators and articulate the elements copyright from the context of author/information creator.
  • Distinguish among different disciplinary conventions for citation and communication and select appropriate conventions for the field.
  • Recognize issues related to information commodification (e.g. filter bubbles and search result personalization) and articulate the impact those issues have on the search process.
A graduating senior should be able to:
  • Determine preferred level of copyright permissions when publishing/sharing own work.
  • Examine information privilege and how the production and dissemination of information may impact issues of access or lack of access based on economic status, demographic factors, and physical abilities.
  • Identify and discuss issues related to censorship, freedom of speech, and access to information.

Many thanks to Musselman Library at Gettsyburg College for their “Information Literacy Student Learning Goals" project.