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08.08.2012 in Current News Bookmark and Share

Collaboration helps students develop information literacy skills

“Generation Y” has been dubbed the most tech-savvy generation on record, but despite being submersed in Internet and web-based culture from an early age, researchers from the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) project suggest that many GenY students have yet to develop adequate information literacy skills. York University Libraries (YUL) is collaborating with faculty members to integrate more Information Literacy (IL) programming into course curriculums.

YUL’s Information Literacy program focuses on assisting students in cultivating the finding, retrieving, and analysis skillsets. Partnering with faculty members, YUL offers three IL instruction approaches to assist students with critical research processes. They offer Supplemental Drop-In Workshops that students can enrol in, Integrated Course Instruction that is delivered within the context of a specific course, and Embedded Instruction in which librarians and faculty members collaborate to develop specific assignments and learning tools to support a course curriculum.

Richard Leblanc (left), a professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, found that his students were challenged by filtering search results and narrowing down pertinent research information when writing their Masters of Law and Masters of Financial Accountability research papers.

In 2011, Leblanc collaborated with business librarian Sophie Bury and law librarian Yemisi Dina to integrate IL tutorials and laboratory sessions into three of his courses. “I wanted to foster a collaborative approach to information literacy by developing IL sessions with YUL’s librarians because I realized their specialized and interdisciplinary knowledge would be of great benefit to my students,” Leblanc explains. “Sophie, Yemisi and I worked together to hone in on information literacy teachings that specifically related to my students and their research papers. We developed sessions that informed students on such topics as: proper searches and citation methods of business and professional databases; academic integrity practices; and case law and legislation.”

After his students participated in the IL sessions Leblanc noticed their papers were far better researched and prepared. “One of the best outcomes of the IL sessions was that the students felt comfortable engaging in the research process because they knew whom to turn to for consult and advice.”

Each year York librarians collaborate with faculty members and students, developing course-specific library research sessions for an average of 700 classes and assisting approximately 25,000 students.

“YUL’s Information Literacy program has grown dramatically since its inception,” says University Librarian Cynthia Archer, “and I believe that’s because faculty members have recognized that students need to develop this skillset in order to be successful in their research – both in the context of the university environment and once they enter the workforce.”

For more information about YUL’s Information Literacy programming or how to integrate research related skills into curriculum please contact your designated subject librarian.

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