Collaboration between Librarians and Teaching Faculty to Teach Information Literacy at One Ontario University: Experiences and Outcomes

Maureen J. Reed, Don Kinder, Farnum Cecile
2007, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. pp. 29 - 46

Abstract


Purpose: In this study, we sought to describe information literacy success outcomes for students who participated in a university course where university librarians and teaching faculty collaborated in all aspects of the course including; curricular development, assignment development, in-class teaching, office hours for individual student development, and assessment activities. The authors wanted to examine student success in attaining information literacy skills following this one semester course. Further, the authors wanted to determine what difficulties in achieving expected information literacy levels persist even after intensive collaborative instruction.  Finally, the authors wished to describe the challenges of these collaborations.

Methodology: The focus of this study was to determine changes in first-year university students’ information literacy knowledge and skill following a thirteen week university preparation course that was developed through strong collaboration between university librarians and teaching faculty.  Students entering their first semester of university were tested on their information literacy skills without feedback.  They then took part in the required course and were post tested in the last week of the semester.

Findings: Student showed strong increases in information literacy from this collaborative approach.  In addition, teaching faculty and librarians felt positive about the collaborative experience.  However, some students showed misunderstandings about information literacy that requires further research.

Originality and Practical Implications: Our unique contribution here is our description, experiences and detailed outcomes with a collaborative process to teach information literacy. Based on our experiences here, we believe that collaboration will work best if it is planned at a curricular level, if the librarians are truly integrated into the classroom, if the librarians provide input on assignments and help with student feedback, and if targeted information literacy knowledge is tested.   This planning takes time, but the librarians offer unique contributions and insight into issues surrounding information literacy that may not be obvious to faculty instructors.  In our study, we also found that students confuse assignment requirements with general information literacy standards and those teaching information literacy need to be aware of these confusions.  Finally, integration of librarians into college/university courses has benefits in terms of increases in student information literacy and increases in librarian knowledge of faculty expectations.


Keywords


Information Literacy, Librarian/Instructor Collaboration, Higher Education, Students, Academic Libraries, Research

Full Text: PDF