Information-literacy programmes and course curricula:
Information literacy and DIT
All DIT Library centres offer information-skills courses. To date,
however, these have generally been organised in response to specific
requests from lecturing staff, are generic in nature and non-standard
In autumn 2004, DIT library staff will present the information
element of an information and communication studies module in the
newly validated B.Sc. in accounting and finance. This is a core
module carrying 10 ECTS credits. Library and academic staff worked
closely in designing the new module, and clear objectives and related
learning outcomes were identified. The seven SCONUL key information
skills, (see Fig 1) were used as the applicable standard to the
library component. The new course will incorporates three separate
> information technology studies – the hardware and software
used in the organisation of information;
> information studies – the structure of information, how
information is generated, its location, retrieval, evaluation and
exploitation; ethical dimensions in the use of information;
> communication studies – the ability to communicate the
information retrieved in a variety of formats, including writing
skills, presentation skills etc.
This is a first for DIT library and, quite possibly, the first
time a full information-literacy module has been introduced into
an academic programme at an Irish third-level institution. It is
hoped that this programme could act as an instructional pilot across
the DIT campus.
More recently, in autumn 2002, a pilot information literacy course
was presented by staff at Aungier Street library for students on
the MA in interactive media programme. Again clear objectives and
related learning outcomes were identified and the SCONUL set of
key skills provided the foundation. Taken in six one-hour sessions,
the course covered the following:
> organisation of information;
> recognising the need to use information;
> characteristics of information resources;
> defining a search strategy; locating and accessing information;
> evaluating, organising and applying information;
> copyright, plagiarism, currency and reflection.
Student response was enthusiastic, except for the timing of 9.30a.m.
on Monday mornings! All the evaluation sheets, without exception,
included some variation on the comment ‘I did not know how
much information was available’.
Looking to the future – issues for third-level
institutions to consider
Institutions should recognise the importance of information-literacy
as a key component of academic success, containing a necessary set
of transferable skills for life-long learning in the information
age. To this end, the concept of the information literate-graduate
should be formally integrated into teaching and learning development
strategy. Academic libraries should carry out the necessary research
to evaluate the resourcing and implementation of information-literacy
programmes across undergraduate and post-graduate courses. From
this research should emerge a clearly defined implementation plan.
Costs should be evaluated and the necessary funding identified.
Information literacy courses should be an integral part of all new
course design. Librarians should be included in course boards and
course-design teams. Skills mapping techniques should be used to
identify the level of student competencies in information literacy
skills as a basis for course design. In the short term, faculties
should recognise the need to allocate curriculum time to library
programmes. Academic and library staff should collaborate to ensure
that the programmes on offer are course-related and relevant to
immediate student need.