Gephardt News

Faculty and Librarians Bring Information Literacy to the Classroom

In the current social and political climate, the need for information literacy is increasingly evident as we have seen misinformation campaigns about COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, among other issues.  

A second cohort of the Information Literacy Learning Community (ILLC) took place virtually this summer from August 31 to September 3 with five faculty and librarian pairs gearing up for the fall 2020 semester. ILLC is a joint collaboration planned and facilitated by Cassie Power from the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, Amanda Albert from Arts & Sciences, and Kris Helbling and Melissa Vetter from the University Libraries.

Five courses being taught this fall have intentionally built in information literacy skill development as an essential component of student learning. To accomplish this, faculty and librarian teams worked together to develop information literacy learning outcomes, assignments, instruction materials, and learning assessments. During the semester, the librarians will be embedded in the courses, to co-teach with the faculty member, all with the goal of supporting students to better learn how to discern, engage with, and contribute to information online, whether in the form of an Instagram post or an academic journal article.

Fall participants include:

Democracy and Inequality in an Age of Globalization (Political Science, Arts & Sciences):

  • Instructor: Guillermo Rosas
  • Librarian: Dorris Scott

Critical and Researched Writing (University College):

  • Instructor: Matthew DeVoll
  • Librarian: Kristine Helbling

Writing I: Writing Identity (College Writing, Arts & Sciences):

  • Instructor: Tarrell R. Campbell
  • Librarian: Karen Olson

History of World Cinema (Film and Media Studies, Arts & Sciences):

  • Instructor: Diane Lewis
  • Librarian: Andy Ulrich

Architectural History (Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts):

  • Instructor: Shantel Blakely
  • Librarian: Jenny Akins

After participating in this learning community, all five faculty members wrote about ways they explicitly plan to integrate information literacy into their courses, as well as increase their collaboration with librarians.  As one faculty member wrote, “Information literacy is integral to the course in two ways: as a frame of reference to help students develop skills, and as a way to understand how the skills are directly applicable to their everyday lives.  As all courses are about “information” on some level, information literacy has always existed within the course, but foregrounding it and teaching it with intentionality through assignments, lectures and discussions hopefully will help students grasp the concept and draw on it in this course, other classes, and everyday life.” One librarian commented that, “Having the IILC…is causing me to think of the larger social and political implications of information literacy beyond just evaluating a resource and it’s applicability to a scholarly argument.”

Due to the tremendous number of faculty applicants for this year’s cohort, we are excited to be offering an additional learning community this fall to prepare five more faculty and librarian pairs for their spring courses.

Spring participants will include:

Fake News: Propaganda, Power, and Pandemics (American Culture Studies, Arts & Sciences):

  • Dave Walsh, Lecturer
  • Librarian: Michael Shaeffer

Political Psychology (Political Science, Arts & Sciences):

  • Instructor: Taylor Carlson
  • Librarian: Cheryl Holland

Developmental Psychology (Psychology, Arts & Sciences):

  • Instructor: Shaina Rowell
  • Librarian: Melissa Vetter

Women and Social Movements (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Prison Education Project and Arts & Sciences):

  • Instructor: Trevor Sangrey
  • Librarian: AJ Robinson

Semiotics Studio: Designing Signs and Symbols (Art, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts)

  • Instructor: Aggie Toppins
  • Librarian: Jenny Akins

This initiative is generously supported by the Leslie Scallet Lieberman and Maury Lieberman Information Literacy Education Fund, the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, and University Libraries.

Article by Dr. Cassie Power