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Information Literacy Program at Western Oregon University

WOU Information Literacy Program Plan 

Overview

In creating the following proposed plan for information literacy instruction at WOU, the instruction librarians had in mind two overarching goals: 

1) to meet our agreed upon information literacy learning objectives, which include teaching WOU students:

  • discovery and critical evaluation of information,
  • responsible creation and use of information, enduring research skills, and
  • responsible sharing of information in a variety of formats.

2) to reach as many students as possible as efficiently as possible with fewer librarian hours (i.e. curtailing the program, as directed by the WOU administration’s Article 15 plan).

This plan details shifting away from our previous approach which was driven by instruction requests/librarian outreach, and moving to a targeted approach designed to create a scaffolded two-tier information literacy instruction model.

The following sections describe the plan in more detail:

  • Program Description-- Describes this new approach to information literacy instruction, including an explanation of the two-tier model, alternative options for providing information literacy instruction with a reduction in workload, and means of implementing the new program. 
     
  • Staffing -- Details a new staffing approach in which the instruction librarians facilitate the designing, planning, and teaching of information literacy while the subject librarians move to a consultant role.  
     
  • Assessment  -- Outlines the assessment plans for the new information literacy program.   


Program Description  


Two-Tier Structure
The new information literacy program will shift away from our current approach, which is driven by instruction requests and librarian outreach with the goal of teaching as many classes as possible. Instead, we will move to a targeted approach designed to create a scaffolded two-tier information literacy instruction model. 

The first tier will target lower-level research-based courses (First Year Seminars) and provide foundational information literacy knowledge. The second tier will target upper-level research methods courses and provide advanced, discipline-specific information literacy knowledge. 

Courses that are identified as falling within the two tiers will have priority for in-person instruction (with options for asynchronous instruction, if preferred), while courses that are outside of the tiers will get information literacy support through alternative asynchronous instruction options. 

In our stakeholder survey of the teaching faculty, we asked them to identify the primary courses where information literacy takes place: lower level, upper level, and any additional courses in their programs. Using this data, along with the data for which classes librarians have historically taught information literacy sessions we determined this two-tier approach is the best option to: 
1) create an intentional, targeted information literacy program that avoids duplication of instruction;  2) maintain quality instruction in key areas of the curriculum while both curtailing the program and setting a manageable workload for librarians; and 3) provide opportunities for continued support with less intensive information literacy interventions in courses outside of the tiers. 

We intend to remain in close communication with departments and programs, having ongoing conversations with teaching faculty to continue to identify and refine the most appropriate courses to prioritize for information literacy instruction within this two-tier system. 

 
First Tier Structure: 
First Year Seminars 
One of the four foundational skills that faculty are asked to address when proposing a First Year Seminar is information literacy (specifically: find, evaluate, and use credible information). These courses are the only place in the WOU curriculum where information literacy is embedded in this way. They are also the only courses that nearly all students are required to take. FYS courses also include a signature assignment that requires information literacy skills. 

Taking all this together, the FYS courses present a prime opportunity to incorporate the basic, first-tier level information literacy instruction with the highest impact among undergraduate students. Our goal is to have information literacy instruction in 75%-100% of the FYS courses. 

 

Second Tier Structure: Research Methods / Upper Division Priority Classes
Upper-division research methods classes will make up the second tier of the two-tier structure. The instruction for these classes will continue, necessarily, to be highly customized to the subject, course, and assignment. These courses will also be prioritized for in-person instruction (with asynchronous options available on request). 
 

Core research methods courses were identified using both the data from our faculty survey and the data from historical library instruction sessions. These include both courses that have “research methods” in the title and classes that departments identified as the courses that serve as research methods for their program. 

Graduate Students 
Graduate programs often have students who did not attend WOU and who may have been out of college for several years. Depending on the nature of the program (traditional/hybrid/online), we will offer in-person or asynchronous instruction at the research methods graduate level course or as a research workshop for new cohorts beginning to work on their theses.  

Alternative Instruction for Non-Tier Classes
While the FYS courses and research methods classes will be prioritized for in-class instruction, we anticipate we will still get instruction requests for other classes. As requests for other courses come in, we plan to support them with course-appropriate alternative methods. 

Asynchronous Instruction 
In an effort to curtail information literacy instruction and create a manageable workload, the instruction librarians will look for areas to consolidate and eliminate duplicate information literacy sessions that can be replaced with asynchronous instruction. This will include courses taught by multiple faculty with common assignments  and specific skill areas that don’t vary by assignment. These asynchronous instructional materials will be created using an array of options (e.g. video, interactive presentation, guided handout, research guide) and will be developed in collaboration with the teaching faculty. 

Information Literacy Lab 
For teaching faculty who would like to schedule a library session but teach a course that falls outside of our priority first and second tier lists, we may offer an information literacy lab session during the course's normal class period. These sessions will function as a lab with an instruction librarian on hand to answer student questions as they arise. The goal is to provide a space during the students’ class time to get research help with their assignments, while necessitating minimal to no added preparation for the instruction librarian.   

Faculty Consultations 
We will also offer one-on-one information literacy consultant-type meetings with teaching faculty to provide ideas for how to integrate information literacy into their class and assignments. We wouldn’t conduct any direct instruction for the class in these cases. 

Academic Innovation Collaboration 
There are at least two key areas where the information literacy program can initially collaborate and interact with Academic Innovation. The first is course management system (CMS) integration. The second is to work with Academic Innovation to offer workshops to faculty about incorporating information literacy instruction into courses.


Scheduling Form 
Under this new model, all information literacy instruction requests will go through a standard instruction request form. The form will serve the following purposes:

  • Create a centralized place for requests that will give instruction librarians a holistic view of the instruction program. 
  • Allow instruction librarians more flexibility in staffing and scheduling to meet the information literacy need of the class. 
  • Set expectations for teaching faculty, including the lead time for making a request (in-person and asynchronous), timing of the instruction as related to point-of-need for the assignment, tying information literacy instruction to specific course goals and assignments, and attending in-person instruction with students. 
  • Provide an easy link to which non-instruction librarians can refer requests for instruction.

Staffing  

The new program will utilize the expertise and pedagogical praxis of the instruction librarians to facilitate all course-related information literacy instruction, while also utilizing the subject expertise of the non-instruction librarians as consultants. 

In this approach, instruction librarians will work with the non-instruction librarian liaisons to make use of their subject expertise when needed. For example, creating asynchronous instructional content together about an advanced/complicated database. These consultations would be done well in advance of the instruction session (possible thanks to the scheduling form), so that whatever instruction-related work is needed from the liaison librarian could more easily fit into their workload and schedule.
  

Assessment 


In creating a manageable assessment practice, it is important to distinguish between the things that can be measured and the things worth measuring. We want to make sure our assessments are based on what we really need to know in order to make meaningful and actionable change. Our assessment goals are to determine what we are doing, why we are doing it, what students are learning, and what needs to be changed to better meet the program’s goals. 
In assessing the new information literacy program, we will focus on three key areas:

  • The implementation and impact of the new information literacy program on the library, librarians, and other teaching faculty.
  • The impact on student success and outcomes related to the WOU strategic plan.
  • The data and statistics needed for outside reports such as ACRL and IPEDs.

The assessment program itself will be adjusted each year in an ongoing evaluative process.

                    WOU Information Literacy Program Plan        WOU Information Literacy Program Plan (Original plan, created in 2021)