In the Words of UMass Lowell Faculty...
From UML Faculty Development Institute
Coping with Information Literacy, 2006
• Faculty believe that students need to have a basic level of understanding and awareness about information, i.e., how it’s organized, including the fact that it is organized in a systematic way as opposed to how it is presented and made available on the web.
• They would like to be sure that students know how to engage in research and understand the research process and not just surf the web looking for information.
• Students should begin to have academic research experience during their first year in college. They should know early in their academic career how to find, evaluate, and summarize information sources.
• Students should know and be able to identify good sources of information – whether its database choices or simply reliable information on the web. This implies they have the ability to evaluate web resources and are able to ask the right questions when they come upon a site. On a practical level this means for example, “Source one says ‘x.’ Source two says ‘y.’ And here are the differences.”
• Students should be able to summarize what they have learned in their own words.
• Many attendees agreed that the University should offer a basic [preliminary] research course for all students (regardless of college or discipline) – perhaps during 2nd semester freshman year.
• Some faculty voiced the concern that students do not understand the nature of academic discourse (or even the role of discourse in society, for that matter) and that it is more than simply finding information and voicing one’s opinion. ["What is an argument and how is one put together?"] Students don’t often understand or aren’t aware that there is often a whole body of literature on a topic that informs one’s opinion.