Foundational Information Literacy for Freshman

For my Information Literacy and Instruction class I created the following set of two-minute videos and related assessments. My idea was to make these available and required early on in the semester for the students in the freshman classes I am assigned to do one shot instruction for this next Fall. I plan to go through all of their answers to the assessments to understand what topics I should focus on in that class session. I wanted to create a baseline to get everyone up to so that we could have as effective of a learning experience as possible. Often times we focus in so much on particular skills that we miss the chance to expose students to the overarching concept behind research. You will also notice that I tried to work in some of the new ACRL Threshold concepts that I have previously discussed here and here. So please comment below and let me know any suggestions you have for edits to the videos, assessments, and/or other topics I should add to the baseline videos. Has anyone else ever tried a similar set of introductory videos before, particularly for freshman? Have you done pre-assessments to help you plan your information literacy instruction before? If so did you find the information helpful?

Scholarship as a Conversation: Pre-Questions

Scholarship as a Conversation: Post Video Reflection

Plagiarism: Post Video Assessment

Beginning Your Search: Pre-Questions

Beginning Your Search: Post Video Reflection


Filed under Instructional Design, Relational Information Literacy, Thoughts from Library School

14 responses to “Foundational Information Literacy for Freshman

  1. These are fabulous. I’m going to use them! I really like that they are so short. They’re perfect.


  2. Congrats! I, too will use them, AND I’ll give credit where credit is due, Daniel!


  3. We can use them freely? They say exactly what needs to be said very succinctly but powerfully. Thanks!


  4. Of course. Please use them however they might be helpful. So glad you find them useful!


  5. Sherry Tinerella

    These articulate points that we as librarians may have taken for granted but really need to be conveyed to our students. I want to use them!! Kudos


  6. Beth Mandrell

    Great videos! Nice and short but to the point!


  7. Thanks for these vids! These are great! I wonder if there was any way I could adapt the 3rd one (at 0.26) to show resources I actually have and recommend at my library.


    • I’m happy for you to adapt in however may be useful to you. It does not look like I can share the PowToon file with you. (I just spent some time looking through their instruction manual). However if you created the section you wanted to add it would be rather easy to screen cast record the parts of mine you want, and edit in your additional information. If you have access to Camtasia software it is fantastically user friendly.


  8. Polly McCord, Graduate Research Librarian, University of the Incarnate Word

    I love the length, images, and most of the content. However, I have to say that unless you are telling the student that Wikipedia is in no way a reliable source, I don’t think you should suggest students browse it. Let’s remember it’s a wiki and anyone can contribute anything without attribution or accuracy. Even as a starting place, for a research paper, it’s not a good resource.


    • I think there is an interesting trade off with Wikipedia. I personally love to point students there as a launching pad. I have read articles that indicate the error rate within Wikipedia actually tends to be lower in many cases than Encyclopedia Britannica because of its constantly updating nature. While I make sure students understand it is never an authoritative source, it offers them a very approachable place to gain a topical framework and follow the citations to other sources. I think this ends up being much more effective than trying to throw students into databases when they don’t know enough on the topic yet to analyze that level of information. Also since they will go to Wikipedia regardless of what I say, I might as well try and help them use it effectively.


      • Elizabeth

        I’m with you, Daniel. I try to talk to my students more about appropriate sources – and now these new ACRL Threshold Concepts may be even more helpful with that discussion. We talk about Wikipedia and what it is… and I always try to point them to an alternative such as Credo Reference. We talk about why they like Wikipedia – it is easy to access, has brief information, gives them a general idea – and then I lower the boom by telling them that having this kind of reference information was not the brain child of Wikipedia… we’ve had encyclopedias for quite some time! Then we talk about the format of Wikipedia, why we are hesitant about the information, and how it could be used as a starting point for research. I think a lot of times students use Wikipedia because they recognize the need for information (yay! – students recognizing a gap in their own knowledge), but then they don’t know where to go UNLESS they go to Wikipedia. By talking to them about Credo and other reference sources I hope to help them 1 – understand that their need for this kind of information isn’t a new problem and sort of validate the reasons they would use Wikipedia and 2 – help them find other reference sources that they would have missed otherwise.

        And, here’s something I’ve been thinking more and more about. Our students have access to CREDO while they are here and that’s great. But what happens when they leave here? Their need for concise, established information is not suddenly going to vaporize upon receiving a diploma. Like it or not, Wikipedia does fill an information access void that exists outside of our universities. I feel like the more I can talk to them about the threshold concepts and not just do database demos (because I do love me some databases), the more I’m actually teaching them about information in a way that will help them be better information stewards in the future.

        And…. thus concludes my soap box moment of the day!


  9. Elizabeth

    Hi Daniel! Searched my ACL email today to find your link again to these videos. Can’t get them off of my mind when thinking about IL threshold concepts. I’d like to use your plagiarism video with 70 ETBU football players in August when I have 20 minutes to talk about Academic Integrity. Of course, I don’t intend to plagiarize your video :). Actually, this way I can talk about how my new ACL friend Daniel created these great videos and if I used them without giving him credit for his creativity and hard work that would be plagiarism!


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