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Pathways: Information Literacy Integration into the Hunter College Common Core

Course Integrated Library Instruction

Library faculty collaborate with classroom faculty throughout Hunter College to provide library instruction that is integrated with undergraduate and graduate course curricula. Through course-integrated information literacy instruction, students learn information literacy skills and knowledge directly related to learning outcomes of a specific course. 

Course-integrated instruction is offered through a variety of venues:  visiting lectures, classes in the specially equipped library labs, integration of information research content into BlackBoard courseware sites, workshops and individual consultations

Information Literacy Commons

The Information Literacy Commons is a collection of Digital Learning Objects (DLO) built by academic librarians for the teaching and assessment of information literacy standards set by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). It is also intended to be an interactive learning community designed to promote collaborative resource sharing, teaching and assessment across the curriculum with an emphasis on “best practices” and effective uses of educational media.

The "Commons" is set up in modules (or categories), each with an information literacy standard defined, associated competencies, learning outcomes and sets of tutorials and educational media. These open source DLOs include: videos, podcasts, interactive online exercises and quizzes.

Teaching faculty can pick the modules they think match the information literacy objectives of the course and place them into Blackboard or other online course site. For example, if students need help evaluating web resources, this tutorial could be assigned: Credible Sources Count. Faculty can feel free to take any resource from the ILC or work with subject librarians to choose the most appropriate modules.

Development of Research Guides

Faculty are welcome to work with any one of the Libraries' subject specialists to create and develop research guides for their students. These are web-based, course specific guides to research, collections and services: they tap into Hunter College Libraries' resources (databases, catalogs, reference and journal collections); they can also be built collaboratively to include all kinds of educationally relevant, credible and engaging digital and media Websites; they are modular and can be placed on course Bb sites; they provide students immediate access to the Libraries' services (interlibrary loan; bibliographic management tools, Ask-a-Librarian) as well as direct contact information to the library faculty who created the guide.

Building Good Research Assignments

Effective research assignments lead to an improved understanding of a subject and the information-seeking process. Ineffective assignments are those that are vague, unconnected to course content, or otherwise do not develop transferrable research skills.  

An Effective Research Assignment Should:

  • Teach students to find, analyze, and interpret scholarly sources of information.
  • Clearly identify assignment goals and learning outcomes.
  • Students should recognize the connection between course content and library assignments.
  • Instead of “work for work’s sake,” research assignments should improve seeking and evaluation skills that will enable students to find and use sources appropriate for their topic and the discipline.
  • Define terminology (such as “abstract,” “database,” or “annotated bibliography”) which may be unfamiliar.
  • Clearly explain expectations, including:

o   Number and types of sources to be used. Recommended: minimum with no set maximum. If articles are required, will you accept newspaper and magazine articles or only peer-reviewed sources? Will you allow a certain number of government documents or carefully-evaluated web pages? You could also consider requiring a variety of formats (Example: At least ten sources, minimum of six peer-reviewed journal articles, and at least two books or book chapters).

o   The importance of ethical scholarship and proper citation.

Subject librarians can help faculty develop effective research assignments and assist with providing the resources students need for being successful in their research.