Information Literacy for Business Students: Request for Ideas & Input

Dear Tame the Web community,

As an information literacy librarian at a southern university, I have been charged with developing and teaching a one credit undergraduate information literacy course for business students. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not so much. The problem is that I don’t want it to be just another information literacy course (no offense to information literacy courses). I want to take it out of the classroom, into the real world, out of the library databases and into free, quality information they will have to use once they get outside of college and into their jobs. And of course I want to inspire them to be curious about the world, information, the connectedness of it all and how it affects their lives.

The challenges are plentiful. One being that the course is only one credit. That means that I have about 6 weeks to help business students learn the concept of information literacy, the concept of research, how to use keywords, Internet searching, database searching in several rather unintuitive business databases, privacy, plagiarism, citing, evaluating information and seemingly everything else under the information literacy/metaliteracy umbrella.

In order to break this all down, here are things I feel I have to do to stay within the pre-determined course objectives and course description.

Things I have to do:

  • Teach business databases to ensure success in college research

  • Articulate the meaning of and need for information literacy skills

  • Keep the work for the course under 3-6 hours per week

  • Create both a face-to-face and online course

  • Use Moodle as a CMS

Things I want to do:

  • Incorporate social media/online communities (related to research) into the course

  • Use a scaffolded, creative, interesting course project that includes a final project with my current leading idea being to incorporate the job search and research necessary (company, industry, financial health and consumer/investor) to write a cover letter and prep for an interview

  • Develop students learning objectives that reflect metaliteracy principles

  • Create a vibrant online space where students feel connected, engaged and challenged

Basically, I want to make the course cool, practical and useful. I want the students to learn important concepts that will follow them their entire life and have a good experience doing it. Am I worried too much about the students liking the course? Maybe. Do I have a high standard because I have been in some pretty exceptional online learning spaces and want to replicate? Definitely yes.

But how do you do an online community that is exciting and challenging (but not too challenging) in an undergraduate environment in 6 weeks? How do you do that with students who may only be in the class because they are in desperate need of one extra credit to stay a full-time student?

So many questions and so little answers – at least so far. At this point, you may be wondering why this post is on Tame the Web. Michael has been kind enough to allow me to use his blog as a forum for my thoughts, fears, pressures, questions and ideas and because I am developing this course as an independent study course with Michael as my last class in a Post-Master’s Degree Certificate Program at SJSU SLIS.

So, I am reaching out and open to suggestions, ideas, examples, thoughts, hope and communication from my professional community. If you would like to get in touch, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at terri.artemchik@gmail.com. I am so looking forward to your thoughts on my slightly idealistic and currently messy potential information literacy course for business students.

 Terri Artemchik is an Information Literacy Librarian at Coastal Carolina University’s Kimbel Library. She has an MLIS from Dominican University and is finishing up a Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Digital Services & Emerging Technologies from San Jose State University’s School of Library & Information Science. 

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3 thoughts on “Information Literacy for Business Students: Request for Ideas & Input”

  1. i had an interesting conversation along these lines with a dear friend of mine who just graduated from the MBA program of one of the top B-schools in the nation. When I asked her what the expectation was that students would use peer-reviewed research literature in their studies, I was not particularly surprised that here response was: none at all. Students would use websites, EDGAR, wikipedia- whatever had the data they were looking for. The only non-negotiable “library” resource was HBR case studies (which are arguably not really a library resource at all) which aren’t going to fly in a single-credit class such as the one you are planning. Reading HBR, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek etc. are worthwhile lifelong learning behaviors to encourage- HBR actually has a particularly good podcast which summarizes and discusses new issues. But it’s hard to see where classic research journals fit in to the curriculum as it’s practiced: lower tier MBA programs seem to be semi-structured forums for borderline-successful former executives to hold forth on their war stories- higher tier MBA have better war stories with more successful presenters.

  2. Thanks so much for the input, Richard! Teaching certain information literacy skills/concepts seems impractical for business students based on the sources they will end up using in the real world. I have noticed (after seeing quite a few business assignments) that faculty are not requiring peer-reviewed sources at all. As long as they are using the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, HBR, etc., that is enough. It’s nice to have some reassurance!

  3. A very interesting project, Terri, good luck! I think a one-credit course on business info lit would be particularly challenging, given the many types of research that make up “business research”. Actually, peer-reviewed content is rather unimportant imo compared to data, like industry data or consumer market data, and there is a lot that can be done with data literacy. Mary Scanlon at Wake Forest University is teaching a one-credit class on business research and has put much thought into its student learning outcomes. You could also compare my ENT 530 class, http://uncg.libguides.com/ent530, although that one is 3-credits and has a different focus. Looking forward to your follow-up on what your class looks like!

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