Instructional support

Our approach

Our approach to information literacy allows us to teach students the "why" instead of only the "how," and it helps them think of themselves as creators and participants in scholarly communications. It also addresses competencies that students need to develop in order to become skillful researchers.

Information literacy focuses on how students find, use, and create information.

The Association of College and Research Libraries developed an information literacy framework for higher education. This framework identifies six interconnected core concepts. Students must develop these in order to become lifelong, critical consumers and creators of information. The framework approaches these skills holistically and is not focused on measuring discrete skills like searching for information.

This approach to information literacy allows us to teach students the "why" instead of only the "how," and it helps them think of themselves as creators and participants in scholarly communications. The framework also addresses competencies that students need to develop in order to become skillful researchers.

So how do universities teach these concepts? For many years, and still popular today, is the idea of the one-shot. A one-shot session consists of a librarian coming to your class once and teaching for an hour or so. Usually that teaching revolves around a particular database … and the librarian spends the time showing students how to use it.

Recent research has shown that one-shot sessions are not effective. Often these sessions are not tied to an assignment or even applicable to what students are currently working on.

They are usually designed exclusively by the library, focused on just finding a few sources, and followed by student assessment. In short, information literacy, with its complex concepts and skills, cannot be taught in just one class session.

Instead, it should be developed throughout a course and a semester. This approach is known as scaffolding. With a scaffolded approach, students build upon their skills all semester long.

This allows students to become inquisitive and critical researchers who will be able to tackle research papers in any class. It also means fewer opportunities for plagiarism since the focus is on the process and not the product. 

A liaison librarian can help you create information literacy assignments for your courses. You and your librarian can work together to plan how you will incorporate activities throughout your course. You can work together to develop assignments where students learn research skills as part of their regular course content.

Not sure who your librarian is? You can find them by visiting the Find Your Librarian page on our website. We look forward to working with you!

How we can help

You can collaborate with the librarian for your college or department to:

  • Develop research assignments, class activities, and learning objects
  • Create assessments for student learning
  • Customize the library tools available from your D2L course site
  • Create course guides to help students understand the research process and complete assignments

Classroom instruction

Our librarians offer in-person (or Zoom) class instruction where students get hands-on, customized instruction. Contact your librarian to discuss this.

Special Collections can host in-person class instruction where interaction with physical primary sources and materials is critical to the course learning objectives.

Request instructional help

Online tutorials

We offer tutorials to help students learn information literacy.

Option 1: Self-study

Students can complete our information literacy tutorials at their own pace.

Option 2: Graded

Ask your students to self-register for library tutorials in D2L. Students who complete the tutorials will automatically receive a certificate they can submit to any course when they earn 80% or higher on the quiz.

We also offer step-by-step tutorials on library databases and search tools.

Classroom assignments

We've created assignments you can use in your classroom to support other course activities, assessments, or tutorials.

You can also contact your librarian to collaborate on the best ways to incorporate assignments into your course.