Information Skills Program

The Information Skills Program offered by the JCU Library is developed and implemented by Library staff in collaboration with academic and academic support staff.

The Skills Program is a sustainable model of information literacy that:

  • Recognizes the importance of information literacy to support JCU’s Statement of Strategic Intent and the University Plan;

  • Supports the attainment of JCU’s Graduate Attributes;

  • Provides academic staff with the tools to embed information learning and literacy skills and concepts into their courses;

  • Equips JCU students and staff with the information skills and attitudes required for learning, teaching and research

  • Contributes to our students’ academic success, employability, and lifelong learning goals;

  • Contributes to our students’ overall satisfaction

  • Is subject to ongoing assessment and continuous evaluation.

Objectives of the Information Skills Program

The objectives of the information skills program are to:

  1. Develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to find, evaluate, and use information

  2. Increase awareness among administrators, academic staff, and students of the importance of information literacy to academic success

  3. Continually assess the information literacy needs of JCU students

  4. Provide comprehensive information literacy support across the curriculum

  5. Encourage collaboration and partnerships between library and teaching staff to provide appropriate instruction and research activities

  6. Continuously improve the Information Skills Program through ongoing assessment and refinement

1. Develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to find, evaluate, and use information

Objectives

Strategies

1.1

Employ a graduated or tiered approach to teaching IL

Aim for a coordinated approach with IL embedded explicitly in core subjects & integrated vertically through the curricula

Offer discipline specific & generic classroom IL modules at various levels (integrated/inter-curricula)

1.2

Foster a supportive learning environment by creating teaching assignments, supporting materials, and learning activities

Proactively collaborate with academic staff to identify opportunities for IL education

Create classroom & online tutorials for on and off-campus students

Provide InfoHelp Desk support – in person, email; phone; chat

Collaborate with TLD to create LibGuides that cover all the skills needed to complete common assessment items

1.3

Be strategic about IL training & target core subjects for embedding IL at the program or course level. This approach would have a far greater chance of sequentially building students’ skills.

Identify core subjects in each degree program & ask teaching staff to add LibGuides widgets to their LearnJCU subject sites

Encourage teaching staff of core subjects to collaborate on subject-specific LibGuides to get 1st year students off to a good start with academic literacy and learning skills

Target academic staff who are interested in collaborating on IL projects

Supplement the discipline specific examples from other institutions (Embedding research skills) with JCU examples of IL embedded into subjects/courses

1.4

Review IL training for each discipline to ensure that we are preparing students for the specific assessment items & skills they are required to develop

Discuss the learning outcomes & the type of assessment items that are set for each course with teaching staff:

What skills do they expect their students to have?

Where do students struggle?

What training would be of most benefit?

What skills are specific to the discipline?

Are there assessment rubrics should know about?

Continue to refine the way information literacy is taught & promote the idea of developing guides for specific subjects in a discipline

Show teaching staff examples of subject-specific guides & explain how this scaffolded support will help students develop the skills they need to complete their course, effectively presenting information literacy in the context of the discipline

1.5

Evaluate students’ progress & solicit feedback from students regarding their IL experiences

Create tutorial quizzes & self-assessment opportunities

Consider standardised IL testing

Survey students about their attitudes & confidence levels with IL skills

Examine evidence from assessment items

Consider E-portfolios for some disciplines

2. Increase awareness among administrators, academic staff, and students of information literacy to academic success

Objectives

Strategies

2.1

Publicise the Information Literacy Strategy

Create new IL web pages

Incorporate the Information Literacy Strategy into the Library’s Operational Plan

2.2

Communicate the Information Skills Program across the JCU campuses

Communicate the value of embedding information literacy at every opportunity to individual academic & academic support staff

Promote IL at Faculty & School meetings to raise awareness about the forms of assistance that can be provided by the Library

Librarians attending Teaching and Learning Committee meetings

Help academic staff feel confident with their own skills by providing opportunities through School seminars & lunchtime drop-in sessions for staff to update their skills

Create promotional materials, e.g., LibGuides widgets

Use LibGuides for classroom and online instruction

Publicise the availability of LibGuides in departmental email distribution lists/blogs/chat

2.3

Promote the LibGuides platform for teaching IL skills

Publicise LibGuides & demonstrate how they can be used to scaffold IL training & how widgets can be used to direct students to discipline, subject or assignment specific guides

Encourage academics to include links to LibGuide content boxes or whole LibGuides from their LearnJCU subject sites

Encourage academics to utilise subject-specific LibGuides to support students with the skills they need to undertake their 1st year assignments, e.g., A LibGuide for your subject

Encourage academics to include links to individual LibGuide content boxes or whole LibGuides from their LearnJCU subject pages. Instructions for creating these links have been prepared already

2.4

Market the IL training & resources

Review how IL training is marketed to students & staff

Maximise librarians’ time spent preparing for & conducting training by increasing the minimum group sizes

Review the titles of IL training to make them more appealing to students

Seek advice on marketing our courses from JCU Marketing staff.

Conduct focus group discussions with students to find out:

What would appeal to them?

What would capture their attention?

What skills they think they need?

What format they prefer?

What training titles appeal to them?

How they like LibGuides?

3. Continually assess the information literacy needs of JCU students

Objectives

Strategies

3.1

Determine the baseline state of information literacy for incoming undergraduate students

Consider standardised IL tests for incoming students

Informal survey of students

Review feedback from librarians, academics, academic support staff & TLD

Discuss the special needs of some student cohorts, e.g., International Student Centre & Indigenous Australian Studies students

3.2

Determine academic staff IL expectations of students

Librarians review course syllabi & become familiar with the type of assessment items in each course

Discuss expected skills for core 1st year subjects and with teaching staff & 1st year coordinators and work out the best ways to develop those skills with the available resources (online, face-to-face, generic, discipline-specific etc)

Examine skills that need to be learned & plan the best way to support students’ development of those skills in each discipline

Librarians collaborate with TLD about common problems experienced by students

3.3

Monitor the changing information literacy environment

Librarians attend conferences

Librarians share resources, e.g., handouts, exercises, ppts

Take advantage of professional development activities offered within JCU and external to the institution

4. Provide comprehensive information literacy support across the curriculum

Objectives

Strategies

4.1

Provide self-directed learning opportunities at the point of need (supplemental/extra-curricular)

Offer a combination of lectures, hands-on & online tutorials that support specific learning outcomes or assessment items

Ensure there is a “safety net” of online resources for off-campus students or students who are not able to attend on-campus training

4.2

Offer information literacy training & resources specific for disciplines

Tailor generic IL resources to match the skills required for each discipline

4.3

Provide resources for building skills incrementally from novice to advanced for each discipline

Target core subjects in each program in order to provide the necessary skills in year 1, 2, 3 and beyond

4.4

Offer academic staff training for incorporating information literacy into courses/curriculum

Librarians collaborating with academic staff to add widgets to LearnJCU subjects

Create packages of customisable IL rich activities for embedding into curricula

Analyse assessment tasks required of students in their first semester & highlight the generic skills being called upon to complete those tasks

5. Encourage collaboration and partnerships between library and teaching staff to provide appropriate instruction and research activities

Objectives

Strategies

4.1

Librarians collaborating with academic staff, Associate Deans, T&L & academic support staff on curriculum design & special projects

Librarians attending faculty & school meetings

Librarians participating in campus & departmental committees

Librarians meeting with academic staff one-on-one to promote the idea of embedding IL into core subjects

Librarians participating in departmental email distribution lists

Librarians obtain copies of course assignments & match IL training to expected skills & assessment items

Ensure that the information skills taught are specific to the discipline

Librarians attending Teaching & Learning events

4.2

Collaborating with other librarians & library staff

Sharing best practice amongst InfoHelp staff

Sharing IL assignments & feedback

Consider peer-review of IL training

Engage in reflective practice of IL activities

Participate in targeted professional development activities & conferences

6. Continuously improve the Information Skills Program through ongoing assessment and refinement

Objectives

Strategies

6.1.

Set benchmarks

Undertake an environmental scan to identify best practice

Look for opportunities to collaborate with other institutions

6.2

Review pedagogy

Design resources to support diverse learning styles

Incorporate appropriate technologies

Include active & collaborative activities in training

Encourage critical thinking & reflection

Build on students’ existing knowledge & link to real-life experiences

6.3

Create an assessment plan

Identify possible measures of success

Trial assessment plan with selected student cohorts

6.4

Modify Information Skills Program based on analysis

Encourage students to complete evaluation forms & continuously review the feedback received

Consider self-reflection & peer-review of IL training

Evaluate the number of direct & indirect references to information literacy in subject &/or course outlines

Some of the objectives and strategies above have been adapted with permission from Indiana University – Purdue University Library.