“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”

Girl with appleI am looking into a few journal articles that I was recommended to read on faculty-library collaboration; a subject that has interested me greatly. I have recently written an article about it (in review process now), and when reading these articles I keep coming up against some of the same questions that these authors have asked: Why, when faculty clearly sees the importance of information skills (some studies shows that up to 97 percent of teachers view information skills as very important), are these skills so poorly integrated?

Some authors suggest that faculty find that students should learn information skills by “osmosis” (McGuiness 2006), something that they acquire naturally while being students, instead of skills that needs to be taught. This thought never even occurred to me before reading about it. Interestingly, as Bury (2011) noted, the percentage of faculty who believe that these skills are developed naturally, drops significantly the closer the faculty are to the students (ex. professors vs lecturers). So – I`ve always thought that the reason why information skills are not integrated into the subject contexts/syllabi/course descriptions is that teacher don`t know enough about it or that  they fail to see that it is something that students struggle with, but maybe it is simply a matter of different opinions on how these skills are acquired? I think I need to let this sink in a little..

To be fair, I am in daily contact with dedicated faculty staff that really want to see their students pick up on this and to help the students understand how to find their way through the academic writing jungle. I can respect that we have different opinions on how to do it – but I would really like to be let in on the discussion more.

As DaCosta (2010) wrote: “As with the previous research it was anticipated that  faculty would show a positive response to whether students should be information literate. It is a bit like global warming and energy efficiency: The majority of people feel that we should all do more to “save the planet” but not so many are willing to give up their cars to do so!” (p. 207).

I certainly hope that faculty is not offended by my little epiphany here, but I just had to write up my thoughts here before it all fades away.

 

Literature

Bury, S. (2011) Faculty attitudes, perceptions and experiences of information literacy: a study across multiple disciplines at York University, Canada. I: Journal of Information Literacy, 5(1), s. 45-64.

DaCosta, J. W. (2010) Is there an information literacy skills gap to be bridged? An examination of faculty perceptions and activities relating to information literacy in the United States and England. I: College & Research Libraries, 71(3), s. 203-222.

McGuinness, C. (2006) What faculty think–exploring the barriers to information literacy development in undergraduate education. I: The journal of academic librarianship, 32(6), s. 573-582.

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