information literacy

How to Think Critically About Images

In our media-saturated culture, images are everywhere: billboards on the freeway; posters at the bus stop; paintings on museum walls; photos shared through our friends’ social media accounts. It’s nearly impossible to imagine a day going by without encountering several images.

Given the pace of life today, it’s very easy for many of us to take these images at face value, without pausing to consider the deeper message that the image is intended to communicate. However, it’s important to think critically about images as we encounter them in the world around us, so that we can grasp those meanings and use that information in a wise and appropriate manner.

For this reason, it’s imperative that today’s students learn how to apply their critical thinking skills as they consider the true message conveyed by all sorts of images: advertisements, artistic photographs, infographics, silly memes… and more. If you’re hoping to build students’ skills in this arena, you may want to share some tips that will help them engage in the process with care and skill.

Read More…


Instructors’ Top Strategies for Identifying Plagiarism

When you assign projects, you want to see the evidence that students are thinking carefully, critically, and creatively about the topics related to your courses. However, you also want to ensure that students are, in fact, doing their own work: with academic integrity, and according to the principles and practices of sound research and scholarship. Therefore, the task of checking the originality of students’ work, and identifying plagiarism where it occurs, falls upon you (or your TA’s).

In our Spring 2015 Instructor Engagement Insights survey, we asked instructors: “What steps do you take to identify plagiarism in your students’ work?” What solution was the highest ranked among the 682 who responded to this question?

Read More…


Anti-Plagiarism Instruction in College Courses

Throughout their college careers, students will complete numerous writing and research projects. Not only do such projects engage students in the study of topics related to their course material, they also help students develop their skills as critical thinkers and writers. Academic integrity is a key principle related to students’ skillful completion of these projects. If students engage in scholarly research practices, and if they learn to cite their sources accurately, then they come away from the project with a finished product that represents their academic skills and their own informed thoughts on the topic or issue at hand. However, if they copy others’ work, neglect Read More…


Are College Students Concerned About Plagiarism?

Without a doubt: as an instructor, you’re concerned about plagiarism among your students. It’s an academic offense that could leave a serious mark on their records. Furthermore, when students plagiarize, they’re also taking shortcuts around the the critical thinking and analysis you want your them to engage in.

But to what degree are students themselves concerned about the problems associated with plagiarism? We wanted to better understand students’ attitudes; so, in our Spring 2015 Student Engagement Insights survey, we asked a number of questions surrounding this critical topic.

We heard from nearly three thousand students who all answered the question: “How concerned are your peers about plagiarism?” Will you find their responses surprising, or will they confirm your existing assumptions?

Read More…


College Students’ Research Confidence (and Competence)

How confident are college students in their research skills? And do their instructors perceive their skills in the same manner? In our recent Engagement Insights survey of nearly 3,000 college students, we asked: “How good are your research skills?” Our results indicate that college students are quite confident. When asked, 52% rated their research skills as “Good,” and another 25% stated that their skills are “very good.” Another 22% ranked their skills as “fair.” Only 1% of our surveyed students considered their research skills to be “poor.” However, when instructors were asked about their own confidence in students’ research skills, they told Read More…


Building Information Literacy Skills at the College Library

During college, students have the important task of building their information literacy skills. These skills will enable them to find the information they need to complete their assignments, while also training them to use that information in effective and ethical ways.

However, not only will training in information literacy skills assist students as they complete their papers and research projects, these lessons will hone the critical-thinking skills they’ll need throughout college (and life). As Gwenn Wilson writes in 100% Information Literacy Success, Third Edition, “…finding, evaluating, organizing, and communicating information in a meaningful way to the organization are fundamental components of most jobs, no matter what the job title or position on the organizational chart” (5). Thus, ultimately, if students consistently learn and apply these skills, they’ll develop into competent users and consumers of information.

Teaching students the fundamental information literacy skills they’ll need can be an important part of their education, and your campus library stands ready to play a role in students’ acquisition of these skills. If you’d like to incorporate additional coverage of these skills into your own course, review our three suggested ways that the library can support you in the process.

Read More…


Tips for Students: How to Avoid Plagiarism and Its Consequences

Detecting plagiarism may be an endless battle for instructors, but avoiding it is sometimes easier said than done for students. For many college students, knowing when and how to cite correctly is the biggest challenge. With only so many hours in a semester, writing and citation instructions are not always able to be covered in-class. To give students an idea of where to begin, share these tips with them for easily avoiding plagiarism. Read More…


Evanston Public Library Enhances Patrons’ Experience with Gale’s Vast Online Resources

Lesley Williams is Head of Adult Services at the Evanston Public Library (EPL) in Evanston, Illinois. In the 18 years that she has worked there, the library has continually subscribed to products from Gale. Today, as a primary “go to” resource for the library’s broad range of patrons, the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is instrumental in helping EPL fulfill its mission. That mission is to be the heart of the community, promoting the development of independent, self-confident, and literate citizens by providing open access to cultural, intellectual, technological, and informational resources.
Read More…


Tips for Students: Think Critically About What You Read Online

The majority of today’s students feel quite comfortable using the Internet; to stay informed and entertained, they check their favorite websites and mobile apps frequently. Though it is always important for them to consider the value, relevance, and accuracy of the information they’ve found, it’s especially imperative to do so when they want to incorporate it into their coursework or apply it to the work they’ll complete in their future careers. In order to use this information appropriately, they must think critically about what they’re reading and carefully assess its credibility and relevance. In their book The Purposeful Argument: A Read More…


Finding a Fit for Feedback in a Field of Standards

Guest Contributor: Jason Chu, Turnitin. According to feedback guru Grant Wiggins, feedback “is central to all learning, whether by young students or veteran teachers.” In a session delivered during last year’s Student Success Week virtual conference (10/28-11/1/13) hosted by Turnitin, Wiggins drew attention to the importance of providing quality feedback—as a part of effective instruction–and how best to deliver “true” feedback to students. Last year’s Student Success Week conference was thematically focused on approaches to promoting and providing student feedback that is “feed forward” and formative, rather than “feedback,” which can often times have a post-mortem feel (that Read More…