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Teaching Information Literacy: Information Creation

A guide to assist instructors in incorporating information literacy concepts and assignments into their teaching

Information Creation as a Process

"Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences." (From: ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education)

(Image from: https://pixabay.com/en/writer-machine-to-write-1421099/)

Learner Goals

  • are inclined to seek out characteristics of information products that indicate the underlying creation process;
  • value the process of matching an information need with an appropriate product;
  • accept that the creation of information may begin initially through communicating in a range of formats or modes;
  • accept the ambiguity surrounding the potential value of information creation expressed in emerging formats or modes;
  • resist the tendency to equate format with the underlying creation process;
  • understand that different methods of information dissemination with different purposes are available for their use.

(From: ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education)

Learner Practices

  • articulate the capabilities and constraints of information developed through various creation processes;
  • assess the fit between an information product’s creation process and a particular information need;
  • articulate the traditional and emerging processes of information creation and dissemination in a particular discipline;
  • recognize that information may be perceived differently based on the format in which it is packaged;
  • recognize the implications of information formats that contain static or dynamic information;
  • monitor the value that is placed upon different types of information products in varying contexts;
  • transfer knowledge of capabilities and constraints to new types of information products;
  • develop, in their own creation processes, an understanding that their choices impact the purposes for which the information product will be used and the message it conveys.

(From: ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education)

Example Lessons, Assignments, and Activities

This lesson plan from Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts, edited by Patricia Bravender, Hazel McClure, and Gayle Schaub and contributed by Toni M. Carter and Todd Aldridge, engages students with content in a way that compels them to consider the format of information each time they consider using it in their work.

Joelle Pitts lesson is mapped to the Information Creation as a Process Frame and introduces various types of information in relation to typical research questions. Characteristics of information are discussed including what criteria can be used to identify popular, professional, and scholarly materials. 

This assignment, developed by Jennifer Masunaga, is meant to illustrate the differences between scholarly and popular information sources by presenting students with information on the topic of "fracking" from four different resources: a scholarly article, a magazine, a newspaper and a website. It introduces the idea that information can be presented in different formats depending on the context and information need.

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