Information Literacy Program
The Information Literacy Program is composed of outcomes-based credit-bearing courses, guest lectures, interactive workshops, digital learning objects, embedded teaching, and individual consultations that are mapped to curricular needs and assessed regularly.
Information Literacy has been identified and integrated into the University’s Learning Outcomes of preparing graduates to “apply technical knowledge, information literacy, cultural sensitivity, critical thinking skills, and problem solving strategies necessary in professional settings to provide comprehensive services to patients, clients, and others.”
Information Literacy Definition
“Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” (ACRL Framework for Information Literacy, 2015).
Supports the University’s Mission and Learning Outcomes
The information literacy program supports the University’s mission to prepare graduates to advance health worldwide. Along with technical knowledge, cultural sensitivity, critical thinking skills, and problem solving strategies, information literacy and lifelong learning are a critical component of providing comprehensive services to patients, clients, and others.
Diverse Community of Learners
The information literacy program recognizes the diverse community of learners at MCPHS, from first year undergraduates to practicing professionals. We design learning opportunities for use in multiple environments that are inclusive of students with a broad range of abilities, educational backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences.
Programmatically Integrated, Scaffolded Instruction
We teach information literacy concepts throughout students’ time at MCPHS, using online and face-to-face methods. Students progress from introductory level outcomes during the first year and into intermediate and advanced information literacy skills and knowledge as they advance through their programs of study.
Students as Critical Evaluators of Information They Consume and Produce
Students will learn to find, use, evaluate and integrate information into their academic work and clinical practice. Through practicing their critical evaluation skills, students will become better informed consumers and producers of information, and are aware of how and when the information and data they intentionally and unintentionally produce can be used.
The Information Literacy Program is active on all three campuses and in our online programs, mapped to curricular needs and assessed regularly. Instructional strategies include outcomes-based credit-bearing courses, guest lectures, interactive workshops, digital learning objects, embedded teaching, and individual consultations. Our program draws from the concepts presented in the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Framework for Information Literacy (2015).
The information literacy program takes a scaffolded approach to instruction. For undergraduate, pre-professional, and transfer students on the Boston campus this begins with the asynchronous online course, INF 110: Introduction to Research Essentials, which is also a required part of ITM 101: Introduction to the Major. During a student’s second or third year, they will be enrolled in the second asynchronous online course, INF 220: Intermediate Research Skills, which builds off of the skills learned during a student’s first year. Finally, students are enrolled in the third and final asynchronous course, INF 330: Advanced Research Skills, just before or concurrent with the appropriate capstone, research methods, or other appropriate course in their major program.
In addition to these required courses, students also receive face-to-face instruction during LIB 111: Expository Writing I, which reinforces several of the concepts from INF 110 through lecture and an in-class activity. Further instruction is delivered through our liaison librarian program and is based on the information needs of each discipline. Structured programs for graduate, online students, and those on our Worcester and Manchester campuses are in development.
The MCPHS Library’s Information Literacy program will:
- Integrate information literacy into the university curricula through scaffolded instruction in all programs, with an eye towards accreditation standards.
- Teach increasingly complex information literacy concepts through our comprehensive instruction program.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of our teaching approaches through regular assessment.
- Develop and enhance resources that support and teach information literacy skills, including online tutorials and guides.
All undergraduate, first professional degree, and transfer students on the Boston campus are automatically enrolled in and must successfully complete three information literacy courses in order to graduate. Students who matriculated prior to 2017 completed INF 101, 102, and 103 as part of Introduction to the Major their first year. All students who matriculated in Fall 2017 and the following years complete the following:
INF 110 – Introduction to Research Essentials
Credit, none; degree requirement
Taken concurrently with ITM 101: Introduction to the Major
Students will explore information literacy through six different frameworks, and in the process learn essential, fundamental skills that will prepare them for basic academic research. The frameworks include information creation as a process, authority in context, the value of information, research as inquiry, searching as strategic exploration, and scholarship as conversation.
INF 220 – Intermediate Research Skills
Credit, none; degree requirement
This course builds upon the information literacy skills and knowledge from INF 110. Topics include a broader look at types of academic sources (qualitative vs. quantitative, original research articles, systematic reviews, interviews, etc.) and an increased emphasis on understanding citations and how to find the sources cited.
INF 330 – Advanced Research Skills
Credit, none; degree requirement
This course covers the use of controlled vocabulary databases such as PubMed, an introduction to citation management software, information about open access publishing, staying current on topics in one's field, an introduction to AMA style citation, and an advanced review of finding the full text of sources based on citation information.