Demonstrate the ability to recognize the need for information to accomplish a specific purpose in a particular context as well as to be able to find, evaluate, use, and properly cite that information
Developing information literacy skills is an important part of the course but not in the sense that we want students to write traditional research papers. We mostly don’t want them to write traditional research papers in TWP. Instead, we want them to engage in designing and developing projects that have an impact on the wicked problem. Writing a research paper might be one step in the process of working on a project or it might not. But all students will need to work on their information literacy skills.
Students will need to use information literacy skills to find information about their wicked problem, about what other people are doing about their wicked problem, and about how to implement their proposed projects.
Note that the information literacy sections of the OER go beyond using the library. Although those skills are important (and, therefore, included in the OER), we also want students to understand how to effectively use the tools that they already use everyday–social media platforms, Google and other search engines, and other sources of information on the Internet.
Because we want students to be able to identify sources of valid information in their every day lives, we use the SIFT framework proposed by Mike Caulfield and explained in the OER. The main point of this framework is help students develop the habit of not immediately sharing information that they encounter on the Internet. Instead, we want them to take a breath and do a little bit of investigation about the information before they use it or share it. This kind of information literacy is valuable in addition to (not instead of) traditional research skills that we have typically taught our students.
Because we want students to engage with the information they encounter every day, it’s important to allow them to use this kind of information as they are developing their ideas about the wicked problem and what they might do to impact the world in their projects. In other words, it’s not really appropriate to say things like “Don’t use Wikipedia.” Instead, we want to engage students in conversations about the strengths and weaknesses of such tools and sources of information.
We also want to focus on why we do the things we do related to information literacy. For example, why do we need to cite our sources as we develop our work? How is citing sources for an academic paper different from/similar to citing sources for a blog post or for an infographic?