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Information Literacy


What Should Education Majors Know?

The Education Department advocates a more systematic process for providing students with knowledge necessary to negotiate the information resources available at Smith and on-line; to provide education majors with the skills to undertake research, to incorporate life long learning into their experience and to maintain the research skills they will need as teachers themselves.

Writing Intensive Classes

Students who have taken writing intensive classes should already have learned the following skills:

  • to define and articulate the need for information and identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information beyond the web search engine
    [AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to identify and locate the two most appropriate types of information needed to complete their assignment.]
  • to articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources
    [AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to distinguish between popular and scholarly materials in a variety of formats such as books, periodical literature, and websites.]
  • to acknowledge and cite the sources used in conducting research for an assignment using an acceptable style guide
    [AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to locate the appropriate style guide and emergency online help.]

These skills may be regarded by all students as a base for further study. Help is available through the Neilson Library Reference Department's Ask a Librarian options.

Beginning Education majors

  • Education students will be introduced to scholarly resources in education and be able to define the difference between scholarly and popular;
  • Beginning students undertaking research on historical and contemporary topics in education must learn the appropriate use of basic scholarly reference sources, such as the following:
    Source Call Number in Neilson
    Encyclopedia of Education ref LB 15 .E47 2003
    Encyclopedia of American Education ref LB 17 .U54 2001
    Encyclopedia of Special Education ref LB 4007 .E53 2000
    Students will be familiar with topical and subject based scholarly encyclopedias in education.
  • To locate scholarly education sources students need to become skilled users of standard databases such as (but not limited to) the following:
    Resources SCL Website Locations
    Five College Library Catalog

    and the WorldCat database
    1. Quick Search on the libraries' homepage
    2. Education subject page: Education / Books & Media
    3. Smith College Libraries Research (links to library catalog)
    4. Research / Find Books & Media page
    Education Abstracts

    1. Education subject page: Education / Articles
    2. A-Z list: Research / Databases by Title

In Which Classes Should Students Learn These Skills?

The Education Department proposes to incorpoate information literacy into five courses:

  • EDC 232 The American Middle School and High School
  • EDC 235 Child and Adolescent Growth and Development
  • EDC 238 Educational Psychology
  • EDC 340 Historical and Philosophical Perspectives and the Educative Process
  • EDC 552 Perspectives on American Education

Information literacy skills in 100-200 courses include understanding the differences betweem Internet resources and Smith Libraries' resources, research strategies, and proper citing and documentation of sources. In addition, EDC 340 is a writing intensive course in which undergraduates undertake a major research project.

EDC 552 addresses the information literacy needs of graduate education students undertaking a thesis project.

In What Ways Will Student Skills be Assessed?

Students completing work on a paper at the 100-200 level may submit a bibliography in which primary and secondary sources listed reflect the use of the online catalog, at least some scholarly journals through the use of ERIC, and approprate and relevant sources on the Internet.

Students in all courses should be able to identify scholarly journal articles as well as to understand the difference between ERIC journals and ERIC documents. Emphasis is also placed on the interdisciplinary nature of education and on resources in additional subject disciplines, such as philosophy, government, psychology, and sociology.

Students who will become teachers need to be able to access and evaluate resources on the Internet,such as syllabi, lesson plans and curricular guides, from authoritative sites.

The information literacy program in education seeks to ensure that new teachers will be knowledgeable and skilled in understanding information literacy comptencies and integrating information literacy into their own instruction.

Ethical Issues

An 'ethical use of information' means to make a clear distinction between received knowledge and the production of new knowledge. The incorporation of the work of others into his or her own must comply with such distinction. Therefore, every written and/or oral work in the discipline must clearly state its sources, if it has any.

March 28 , 2006