A History of Lehigh's Information Literacy Initiative

It is essential to the success of any information literacy initiative that faculty and other campus constituencies collaborate to plan and implement an Information Literacy Program. It is also evident that there should be a convergence between the goals of information literacy and those of several other programs on the Lehigh campus.  In particular we anticipate that the Faculty Development program, the First Year Student program, the Graduate Student Orientation program as well as the developing Writing Across the Curriculum Center are important partners as we institute an Information Literacy plan. With this in mind the following steps have been or will be taken to educate and engage the University community in this discussion with a view to achieve the goal of information literate Lehigh graduates. The result of this effort will be an instructional program integrated into the curriculum across the University.

Librarians write a web-based survey of faculty; the LTS Survey on Student Learning and the Role of the Library. 158 faculty responded to questions about how they require the use books and journals in course assignments, their concerns about the use of the open web, their opinion on the state of academic integrity and plagiarism problems on campus, etc. (December, 2002)

Librarians from LTS reviewed the ACRL and Middle States Information Literacy Standards and practices and attended the Spring 2003 Association of College and Research Libraries Conference sessions on this topic.

LTS librarians met with Johns Hopkins University librarians to discuss their experience with Middle States evaluation of the Hopkins information literacy program at ACRL--Charlotte, NC. (April, 2003)

LTS Information Literacy committee was established. (Spring 2003)

LTS librarians met with librarians from West Chester University to discuss information literacy approaches. (May 2003)

LTS librarians met with Dean Carl Moses to discuss the project. (August 2003)

LTS librarians met with Bruce Taggart, Vice Provost of LTS to focus project. (September 2003)

LTS librarians developed a draft Information Literacy Initiative Statement and list of competencies. (September 2003)

Bruce Taggart, Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services convened a meeting of faculty and staff inviting their involvement. Invited guests included Professors Charles Lyman (Materials Science), Andy Walker (Educational Technology), Dina Wills (Faculty Development) and Jack Lule (Journalism).  Also attending were staff from the First Year Student Program: Lori Bolden and Kathy Hutnick.  Michael Yellin, the graduate student representative to the Library Users Committee and a teaching assistant in the English Department, also participated. (October 2003)

LTS librarians and instructional technology consultant attended LVAIC program on Information Literacy Across the Curriculum. (October 2003)

Evaluate assessment instruments available nationally, e.g. Project Sails from ARL/Kent State. (Fall 2003)

Article in LTS Connections, "Info Literacy Curriculum Initiative Begins." (February, 2004)

Continued promotion and discussion of Information Literacy initiative at LTS meetings with faculty, e.g.: Library Materials Committee. (ongoing)

Presentation of topic at TLTR meeting on 3/25/04: The Google Generation – Student Research in the Internet Age.

Continued discussions with faculty, academic departments and Dean’s offices.

Developed a “Research Skills” assessment for incoming first year students to determine the areas of strength and weakness in their information literacy knowledge. (Spring 2004)

Using the Banner survey function delivered through the Lehigh Portal first year student page, the team conducted a thirty-question Research Skills assessment of all incoming first year students in June 2004.  Over 500 students completed the assessment.

Results of the assessment were analyzed and used to inform the direction for tutorials and training programs. A summary of the assessment results was written and will be posted on the Lehigh Information Literacy Website.

A website entitled "Navigating Information@Lehigh" was designed by ILWG member Jennifer Heise and went live in February 2005. The site contains several web-based research skills tutorials for students created by ILWG members. Of special note are the plagiarism tutorials written by Megan A. Norcia, Ph.D., Lehigh's 2004-05 CLIR Fellow. The site also contains detailed information about the Lehigh Information Literacy Initiative.

Engaged involvement of the LTS Instructional Technology Team. (Spring 2004)

Roseann Bowerman, Kathe Morrow and Jean Johnson presented a poster session at the biennial ACRL conference in Minneapolis, titled "Login and Love it: Library Involvement in Lehigh's Portal," which, in part, showed the use of the campus portal, including MyLibrary, to promote information literacy.  (April 2005)

The working group revised the Research Skills Assessment for '05 incoming first year students by deleting some questions, consolidating some and adding questions to balance the competencies being assessed.   Using the Banner survey feature, the Assessment now includes images as part of the items.  (Spring 2005)

Roseann Bowerman and Jean Johnson attended the ACRL-DVC meeting on Information Literacy (Grantville, PA) where Stanley Wilder, a librarian dean at University of Rochester, spoke about the “Case against Information Literacy: An Academic Library Perspective" and where the new ETS ICT was discussed.  Also discussed was the James Madison University "normed" information literacy assessment. (May 2005)

Using the Campus Portal First Year Student Checklist, the revised Research Skills Assessment was given to all incoming first year students.  Over 800 students completed the assessment; that means that almost 70% of the class participated. (June 2005)

Jean Johnson presented "Laying the Groundwork for Student Research in the Age of Google," a report on our Research Skills Assessment, at Cybertools, an annual LVAIC conference, at DeSales University.  (August 2005).

Bruce Taggart gave $50 Bookstore gift certificates to 10 randomly picked '05 assessment participants. (August 2005)

Roseann Bowerman, Kathe Morrow and Jean Johnson were the three panelists at the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference College & Research Division session, "Laying the Groundwork for Student Research in the Age of Google" in Hershey, PA. (September 2005)

Jean Johnson added Navigating Information Literacy@Lehigh tutorials to the MyLibrary database as resource type "Library Links" for each tutorial; MyLibrary selectors may add to default views.

Judd Hark and Jean Johnson met with Steve Devlin, Lehigh's vice president for institutional research, for advice on using the data from two years of the assessment to "norm" the assessment.

Judd Hark revised the "Navigating Information@Lehigh" web site to reflect changes in our committee with the summer 2005 departures of Megan Norcia, Ph.D., Council of Library and Information Resources Post-Doctoral Fellow, and Jenne Heise, Help Desk Librarian.

Librarians from the Library & Technology Services Team for the College of Arts and Sciences taught classes covering the research skill areas shown to be in need of improvement. Team members Roseann Bowerman, Kathe Morrow, and Brian Simboli have provided the research skills instruction for Choices and Decisions classes using a unique 50 minute presentation based on the results of the Research Skills Assessment of the incoming classes in '04 and '05.  Utilizing “audience response system” technology, the interactive quiz focuses in on those areas of greatest need as shown in the assessment results.  Students immediately see how well they do on the quiz with followup instruction to reinforce the skill being taught.  The assessment showed that these students are uncertain about interpreting citations, formulating searches, differentiating between primary and secondary sources and when to cite to avoid plagiarism.  In addition, an introduction to finding library resources at Lehigh, choosing and using databases, using Lehigh Links (SFX) to access full-text articles and using ILLiad (the enhanced interlibrary loan service) are also covered during the class.  Acting on the results of the Research Skills Assessment is a key part of our information literacy initiative.  The work group believes that such an evidence-based approach makes sense both from a pedagogical and campus engagement point of view.  The Choices and Decisions course is ideal for research skills development.  The A&S Team librarians hope to reach as many of the first year A&S students as possible, either in the Choices and Decisions or Freshman Seminar classes.  (Fall 2005)

The working group, with the assistance of Rutgers School of Library and Communication Studies intern, Natalie Balaziuk, revised the Research Skills Assessment for '06 incoming first year students by deleting questions and revising questions to balance the competencies being assessed and to modify the items based on their difficulty as shown in strong and weak assessment results. (Fall 2005)

Judd Hark continued statistical work on factor analysis of the 2004 and 2005 data years so that the assessment can be normed. (Fall 2005)

Work begins integrating information literacy and upper level undergraduate curricula. (Spring, 2006)

Kathe Morrow and Brian Simboli present "Point and Click: Using TurningPoint Audience Response System in a First Year Student Information Literacy Tutorial," a report on using an audience response system for in-class information literacy learning and assessment at the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association. (May 18, 2006)