Team Teaching Toward Information Literacy

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Team Teaching Toward Information Literacy

  • Tom Dow, Writing Guy
  • Troy Swanson, Library Guy
  • Innovations 2002
  • March 19, 2002

Definition #1: Research

  • noun, A painful form of torture utilized by the educational field originating from dead Greek people.
  • verb, A painful action that requires the communication of useless information on useless subjects.

Definition #2: Research Paper

  • noun, A pointless exercise used by teachers in the process of torture known as research (see definition #1). This exercise requires students to gather pointless information and organize this information in writing.

Definition #3: Library

  • 1. noun, Place of dust and cobwebs where good-times go to die.
  • 2. noun, outmoded storage system for pre-Internet forms of information—made obsolete by the Information age.

Definition #4: Information

  • noun, Knowledge handed down from a benevolent and omnipotent higher-power in the universe. This higher-power creates the holy script known as PRINT.

Obstacles to Overcome

  • Bad research experience in past
  • View of research as a purely academic exercise that has no use in the real world
  • View that the Internet has replaced libraries
  • Misconception that all information has the same value and trustworthiness

Our Approach

  • Two talking heads are better than one.
  • Constant room switching keeps students on their toes.
  • Multiple research papers prolong the agony.
  • Calling these essays “source-based” is a way to trick students into writing research papers.

Ok, Ok, Our Real Approach Source-Based Writing Project

  • Objectives 1. Written communication skills 2. Information literacy
  • Actions, Students learn to 1. write clear, well-organized college level prose 2. focus related ideas into a pair of manageable and meaningful theses 3. evaluate their information needs, making appropriate choices to satisfy their needs 4. use a variety of information gathering tools to locate information to support each of the essays 5. support each thesis with well chosen, effectively framed, accurately represented, and properly documented materials from a variety of academic and professional sources

Information Literacy Standards

  • 1. Determine extent of the information needed
  • 2. Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • 3. Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge
  • 4. Use information to accomplish specific purpose
  • 5. Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding information
  • --Information Literacy Standards, Association of College and Research Libraries

Source-Based Writing

  • Essay #3, Duties of chosen job Sources: of two required, one must be either a book or an article from a journal or other periodical; one source may be a reliable web site.
  • Essay #4, Skills to succeed in chosen job Sources: of four required, one must be a book, one must be an article from a journal or other periodical,and no more than one may be a reliable web site. Sources may be re-used from essay #3.

Information Literacy

  • Prepare students for a future as information users
  • Discuss methods of information evaluation
  • Give library a familiar face
  • Cover research tools common to academic libraries
  • Broaden discussion to include research on the Internet

The Research Sessions

  • Thinking About Information – Overview of project. Gives students an introduction to the spectrum of information.
  • Using the Library – Discuss planning research. Review what libraries do and the services they provide.
  • Researching the Internet – Discuss the difference between surfing the Web and researching on the Web


  • Majority of students felt confident that they could successfully repeat the critical elements of the project: write, research, integrate sources into their writing, find books, and find articles
  • Collaborative effort adds continuity to the overall teaching and learning experience for both faculty and students

A Few More Definitions…Why not?

  • Research, verb, Activity that is not as painful as we thought
  • Research Paper, noun, My ideas with sound support…go figure!
  • Library, noun, Useful and usable…again, go figure!
  • Information, noun, Runs the gamut from the Enquirer to the Economistwho knew?!

Thank You

  • Thomas Dow, Assistant Professor of Communications, Moraine Valley Community College (
  • Troy Swanson, Teaching & Learning Librarian, Moraine Valley Community College (
  • The materials included on our CD-ROM are also available at

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