EDUCAUSE 2006 – Information Fluency in the Digital Age

I attended the Gartner session earlier, but it was unremarkable.

For this session, Susan Curzon, Dean, University Library at California State University, Chuck Dziuban, Director, Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness, and Martha Marinara, Director, Information Fluency Quality Enhancement Program at the University of Center Florida presented.

Chuck started by introducing a photo from their web site promoting Information LIteracy, Technology, Critical Thinking mediated by effective communication.

Story number 1.  At the beginning of their initiative, they had trouble getting students to go to their web site.  The student president suggested they advertise in the campus newspaper and in Facebook.  One week later they had 27.000 hits to their web site.

Chuck profiled the generations: Matures, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials.

Matures (prior to 1946)

  • Dedicated to a job they take on
  • Respectful of authority
  • Place duty before pleasure

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

  • Live to wrok
  • Generally optimistic
  • Inflience on poilcy & products

Generation X (1965-1980)

  • Work to live
  • Clear & consistent expectations
  • Value contributing to the whole

Millennials (1981-1994)

  • Live in the moment
  • Expect immediacy of technology
  • Earn money for immediate consumption

Millennials are least satisfied with online learning; they are least able to integrate and are not able to change their approach to learning. 

Millennial learning styles are twitch speed, parallel processing, graphics first, connected, active learning, learn by play, learn by fantasy, technology friendly; Lifestyles are special, sheltered, confident, team oriented, achieving, pressured and conventional.

CHallenges include in learning styles: surface functioning, difficult to teach, research by “surf”, weak critical thinking skills, naive beliefs regarding intellectual property, technology preferences have little institutional context.  Lifestyle is sefl focused, artificial self esteem, anything is possible orientation, cynical, life by lottery and a “yeah right” attitude.

Martha presented next.  Millennials want control over their education.  It should be quick and convenient.  Information LIteracy, Technology Literacy and Critical Thinking are a continuum and communication is a mediating force that transforms all three into Information Fluency.  While UCF has funding ($5 million) and time (5 years), it will take longer to complete the transformation.  Resources from across the campus were included in the effort: Library, Faculty Center, Career Resources, Faculty, etc. were all involved).

They have four pilot projects at present, and larger projects are in discussion now.  They’ve launched a web site to promote Information Fluency.

Susan began by providing an overview of the CSU system.  The libraries launched a program years ago to promote information literacy.  Eventually every campus in the system became involved in the program.

Questions we should all consider:

  1. Is the definition of information literacy known?  People often confuse this with computer literacy.
  2. Why are we engaging with information literacy?  Why is it important?  IL gives students a strategic advantage as workers and citizens.
  3. Have clear goals been developed for the information literacy program?
  4. Is information literacy part of the educational strategy of the University?  It can’t be a focus of the LIbrary alone.  Everyone must contribute to the educational strategy.
  5. Is there a plan for collaboration across the university?
  6. Does one size fit all?
  7. Is there administrative support? 
  8. Is there a collective will for a long-term sustained effort?
  9. Is there a willingness to market the program?
  10. What about an assessment program?  How will we know when are students are information literate? This has been very challenging for CSU.
  11. What else is going on at the University at this time?  Is this the right time for this initiative to be launched?
  12. What about accreditation? 

These questions (along with several I missed) should all be considered in approaching an information literacy program.

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