Learning Outcomes for Information Literacy at Boston University
The Boston University Libraries have long partnered with faculty, academic departments, and other university offices to foster information literacy among BU students. The libraries, in conjunction with the University’s efforts to assess learning outcomes across the curriculum and in co-curricular and extra-curricular programs, have developed a set of five learning outcomes for incorporating information literacy as part of a well-rounded education at BU.
Students understand that scholarly content is produced in many ways, takes many forms, and is found in many places, and that different forms, formats, and sources of content are appropriate for different information needs.
Methods and Tools
Students understand that research is an iterative process that makes use of multiple methods and tools (selected depending on need, purpose, and circumstance) to explore questions leading to new knowledge and new lines of inquiry.
Argumentation and Analysis
Students are able to critically evaluate findings of their research, identifying and making use of appropriate content in the context of a broader scholarly conversation and of their particular areas of inquiry.
Students are able to present and explain the results of their research, through a variety of means and modes, to different audiences including: collaborators on group projects, faculty, fellow students, and others who can benefit from their contributions to the scholarly discourse on a topic.
Students are able to bring together their understanding of information content and context and of research and communication methods and tools to discover new knowledge, develop new ideas, and contribute to the scholarly conversation.
A few notes about these learning outcomes:
- The outcomes follow the five-part structure (Content; Methods and Tools; Argument and Analysis; Communication; Application) outlined in the template for CAS learning outcomes that is found in the General Education Annual Report on Program Student Learning Outcomes Assessment.
- The outcomes are informed and influenced by the new Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries.
- Diversity and interdisciplinarity are underlying themes in all five of the outcomes, highlighting the importance of context in the selection, interpretation, understanding, and use of information in a complex world with many voices, perspectives, and information needs.