Knox College's Old Main #

Offices & Services > Academic Affairs > Faculty Handbook > Guidelines Relating to the Curriculum

E. Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology Background and Guidelines

Apply to Knox Now
The Court House Tower.

Guidelines Relating to the Curriculum

I. Introduction

The Faculty Regulation which places this educational goal within our graduation requirements states:

Information literacy and informed use of technology are acquired in a variety of ways that may include workshops, participation in special programs, requirements of particular courses, or courses required of each major. Each Knox student must demonstrate information literacy and develop an informed understanding of the use of technology in a manner determined by their major program and approved by the Curriculum Committee [Faculty Regulations B.4.2.e]

Many desired information literacy skills are shared among different majors (e.g., the ability to use web-based sources for research). Technology skills vary. In a survey taken several years ago, many departments described the technologies central to the education of their majors. While some are shared (e.g., the use of a computer for word processing), some disciplines have specialized instruments and technologies (e.g., a scanning electron microscope) that have become a core part of their majors? disciplinary proficiency.

At the request of the Curriculum Committee, the Instructional Support Committee developed a set of guidelines and considerations for both general and disciplinary-specific information literacy and technology competencies. The Curriculum Committee has taken the good work of this committee and incorporated it into the following pages.

As a faculty, we voted to embed the information literacy and technology skills largely within our majors. The Curriculum Committee will continue to discuss mechanisms through which general and entry-level skills can be acquired.

II. Information Literacy

Information literacy is the ability to locate, evaluate, and apply the content of print, non-print, and digital resources both to academic study and to professional, public, and personal life. Information literacy skills, knowledge, and attitudes are learned and applied throughout students? undergraduate careers at Knox College. Likewise, the ability to appraise and to apply existing information technologies in a manner conversant with broad academic standards and specific disciplinary and community practices is essential both to routine and extraordinary undergraduate work and to post-graduate professional careers and personal accomplishment.

Many students enter the College with established skills in information technology and the use of computers. Entry-level competencies combine each student?s previous experience and education with new skills and knowledge applicable to higher education in general and to Knox College in particular. They not only enable students to complete assignments involving the use of fundamental research tools and methods but also acquaint them with ethical standards and practices related to academic writing and shared resources. These competencies should be acquired as soon as possible after enrolling at Knox, and not later than the end of the first term.

This knowledge and these skills prepare students for both general and disciplinary work by enabling them to develop and pursue a research project involving the identification and analysis of appropriate primary and secondary resources.

Departmental/Program Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of each major program to ensure that its majors can identify, evaluate and apply sources of information acceptable to their discipline.
Disciplinary information literacy should be developed and applied within the academic department or program supporting a student?s major. Majors should acquaint students with advanced research tools and methods to retrieve, assess, and use information within their academic disciplines.

Courses or other methods proposed by a department to provide appropriate information literacy to its majors may address the following goals:

  • Identify and restate the main ideas and concepts of a text, data set, or other creative work and to cite them properly, as well as to identify, quote and properly cite appropriate verbatim material.
  • Evaluate the authority, accuracy, and timeliness of web sites, as well as their relevance to a project or assignment.
  • Identify a research topic and to develop the topic into a viable thesis statement or research question.
  • Identify Knox subscription databases suitable in scope, content and organization to their research needs.
  • Efficiently assess the quantity, quality and relevance of results retrieved from a database search, and to apply effective strategies to revise and repeat the search.
  • Recognize knowledge and information new to them and to compare and integrate it with prior knowledge and information.
  • Choose a communication format for their projects that best supports the purpose of the project and to incorporate good design principles in the communication of that project.
  • Understand the need to seek out informed opinions through a variety of methods and are willing and able to participate appropriately in online and classroom discussions.
  • Understand that texts are potentially biased, manipulative, or deceptive; different points of view should be actively and deliberately collected and evaluated.
  • Acknowledge issues related to intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material and seek and apply information about them.

III. Informed Use of Technology

Informed use of technology is not only requisite for information literacy but for the specialized methodologies and inquiry in various disciplines. While the use of the computer is a skill basic to most fields of study, specialized instruments, peripheral devices, software, and presentation instruments have increasingly entered the skill set of our disciplines.

Departmental/Program Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of each major program to ensure that its majors understand the technology acceptable to their disciplines.
Disciplinary technology should be developed and applied within the academic department or program supporting a student?s major. Majors should acquaint students with advanced technology used to retrieve, assess, and publish research within their academic disciplines.

Courses or other methods proposed by a department to provide appropriate information literacy to its majors may address the following goals:

  • Operate a personal computer system with related peripheral devices to successfully use a variety of software packages, in particular word processing software;
  • Use electronic mail and web browser applications for communications and information retrieval;
  • Use productivity tools for word processing, spreadsheet applications, and basic visual presentations;
  • Use computer software to analyze, organize, and display numeric data graphically;
  • Use features of applications that integrate word processing, database, spreadsheet, communication, and other tools;
  • Use other specialized technology associated with their disciplines for data collection, analysis, and presentation of results.

IV. General Guidelines

  1. Instructional strategies and/or courses (individual courses, groups or sequences of courses) may be used by departments to address disciplinary information literacy and technology skills. In order to identify these competencies within each major program:
    • Each department should identify and periodically review current and emerging information technology and literacy competencies required for successful research and scholarly communication in their discipline.
    • Instruction in these competencies should be initiated in at least one course required of all majors.
    • Upper-division courses featuring instruction in technology and information literacy skills should emphasize the coordination of these competencies with other course elements, e.g., the definition and completion of assignments (especially those involving writing and oral presentation skills), course web pages, the preparation and presentation of course readings and content via new learning technologies, etc.
  2. If a department chooses to designate a specific course (such as a research methods course or research seminar) as the primary means through which disciplinary information literacy and technology skills are developed, then:
    • a minimum of two coordinated assignments developing new and clearly articulated skills should constitute a substantial part of the course.
    • The quality of information literacy and technology skills should clearly contribute to the final grade for the course.
    • Normally, enrollment in such a course will not exceed 20.
  3. Instructors are encouraged to integrate their own knowledge and experience of research and publication patterns and practices in their disciplines into information technology and information literacy instruction. They are also asked to consider collaboration with academic support staff in planning and presenting information literacy instruction. Participation is expected in faculty development activities that will enhance familiarity with current pedagogical practices in the instruction of information technology and information literacy skills. Such activities could include: workshops offered through the Knox Faculty Development Program and/or the Center for Teaching and Learning, workshops off campus, and extended reading of literature in the field.

Request Information

Knox College

Printed on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Back to