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For Faculty: Improving Student Research Skills and Building Information Competence

What is Information Competence? (also referred to as information literacy)

Information competence is the ability to find, evaluate, use, and communicate information in all of its various formats. It represents the integration of library literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, ethics, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Why Information Competence?

Students are not born with good information/research skills. Like anything else, the information skills needed to conduct university-level assignments need to be learned. Information competence is not just technology/computer skills and not simply thinking. True information competence involves both thinking and doing and is more than just learning to use the library.

SF State and CSU Policy

Here are the SF State and CSU system-wide policies regarding Information Competence:

To review background information on CSU efforts, check the following:

How can the Library help?

The J. Paul Leonard Library Instructional Services programs can assist faculty in teaching these skills and in incorporating them into the curriculum. We offer programs such as:

Basic Information Competence Requirement

The Basic Information Competence Requirement (BICR) is a graduation requirement for all SF State undergraduates. Most SF State students complete the OASIS tutorial in order to fulfill the BICR. First-time freshmen are expected to complete the BICR by the end of their SECOND semester and transfer students by the end of their FIRST semester.

Instructors can check whether students in their courses have fulfilled the BICR by accessing the Class Roster list on the web and selecting the "Include JEPET/ELM/EPT/Library scores" option.
class roster showing BICR completion

For more information, please see these Frequently Asked Questions pages:

Sample statements for faculty syllabi:

Here are sample statements that may be cut and pasted into class syllabi to help students understand the importance of the Basic Information Competence Requirement and completing the OASIS tutorial.

(if required) "Learning to use information effectively is an important part of this class. SF State requires all undergraduate students to complete their Basic Information Competence Requirement (usually fulfilled by completing the OASIS tutorial at http://oasis.sfsu.edu) by the end of their first year. However, for this class you will need to complete the requirement by the ________ week of classes."
 
(if recommended) "Learning to use information effectively is an important part of this class. SF State requires all undergraduate students to complete their Basic Information Competence Requirement (usually fulfilled by completing the OASIS tutorial at http://oasis.sfsu.edu) by the end of their first year. However, for this class I am recommending that you complete the requirement by the ________ week of classes."
 
(for graduate students) "Learning to use information effectively is an important part of this class. SF State requires most undergraduate students to complete the OASIS tutorial (http://oasis.sfsu.edu) by the end of their first year. Even though this is a graduate level class, I would like you to work through the OASIS chapters as a requirement for this class."

Note: Normally graduate students may not take the quizzes that follow the OASIS chapters. If you would like your students to be able to take the quizzes, please contact us at infocomp@sfsu.edu and we can arrange for your students to take the OASIS quizzes.

Guidelines for Assignments that Build Information Competence

Suggestions and guidelines for creating effective library assignments that build information competence are available.

Integration of Learning Outcomes by Discipline and Educational Level

Suggestions and specific examples of assignments that promote information competence within many disciplines are available.

Readings about Information Competency

These articles discuss ways of integrating information competence into specific subject disciplines is available.

Ask Us a Question

Feel free to contact a librarian for more information, for suggestions about integrating information competence into assignments, or to set up an instructional session for your class in the library's computer classroom.

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