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 strategic objectives and plans;
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:
Develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to find, evaluate, and use information
Increase awareness among administrators, academic staff, and students of the importance of information literacy to academic success
Continually assess the information literacy needs of JCU students
Provide comprehensive information literacy support across the curriculum
Encourage collaboration and partnerships between library and teaching staff to provide appropriate instruction and research activities
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
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)
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 Library Guides that cover all the skills needed to complete common assessment items
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 Library Guides widgets to their LearnJCU subject sites
Encourage teaching staff of core subjects to collaborate on subject-specific Library Guides 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 with JCU examples of IL embedded into subjects/courses
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
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
Publicise the Information Literacy Strategy
Create new IL web pages
Incorporate the Information Literacy Strategy into the Library’s Operational Plan
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
Use Library Guides for classroom and online instruction
Publicise the availability of Library Guides in departmental email distribution lists/blogs/chat
Promote the Library Guides platform for teaching IL skills
Publicise Library Guides & 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 Library Guide content boxes or whole Library Guides from their LearnJCU subject sites
Encourage academics to utilise subject-specific Library Guide to support students with the skills they need to undertake their 1st year assignments, e.g., A Guide for your subject
Encourage academics to include links to individual Library Guide content boxes or whole Library Guides from their LearnJCU subject pages. Instructions for creating these links have been prepared already
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 Library Guides?
3. Continually assess the information literacy needs of JCU students
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
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
Monitor the changing information literacy environment
Librarians attend conferences
Librarians share resources, e.g., handouts, exercises, slide shows
Take advantage of professional development activities offered within JCU and external to the institution
4. Provide comprehensive information literacy support across the curriculum
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
Offer information literacy training & resources specific for disciplines
Tailor generic IL resources to match the skills required for each discipline
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
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
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
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
Undertake an environmental scan to identify best practice
Look for opportunities to collaborate with other institutions
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
Create an assessment plan
Identify possible measures of success
Trial assessment plan with selected student cohorts
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.