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    Braving the New Waters of Information Fluency

    A poster session presented at the ACRL 13th National Conference
    in Baltimore, Maryland on March 30, 2007, 10:00am


    Elizabeth Killingsworth, Interim Chair, Information Literacy & Outreach department,
    Jason Martin, Instructional Initiatives Librarian,
    Renee Montgomery, Outreach Librarian,
    Rachel Viggiano, Distance Learning Librarian,



    One of the most daunting challenges in librarianship today is placing the library in a central position in a large university. One of the largest Universities in the country, the University of Central Florida (UCF) accomplished this feat through a campus wide Information Fluency initiative. With a constituency of over 46,000 students, including a growing population of online and distant students, UCF’s librarians are hoisting the sails and charting new waters with an ambitious plan to integrate information fluency across the curriculum at multiple levels.

    As part of the reaccreditation process, the university was required to implement a 5 year Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to increase an aspect of student learning. Proposals were solicited from across the University, and the UCF librarians wrote a white paper entitled “Integrating Information Fluency across the Curriculum.” After reviewing the seven final white paper proposals, the President chose Information Fluency as the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

    While information literacy is at the forefront of the academic library mission, information fluency is not as common. Information fluency is the nexus of information literacy, technology literacy, and critical thinking. The information fluent graduate is armed with the skills needed to succeed in the real world.

    The implementation plan has multiple components that involve librarians, including the creation of a new Information Literacy and Outreach department to oversee the Libraries’ involvement in the campus-wide project. Other components include four pilot or flagship programs to spearhead the integration of information fluency into the curriculum, several “flower grants” to seed the university with smaller information fluency projects, and the creation of online information literacy modules to be utilized within lower-division as well as upper-division courses.

    This poster session will demonstrate the implementation process so far at the University of Central Florida as well as future plans to integrate information fluency across the campus. It will highlight the work of the new Information Literacy and Outreach Department within the library. The role of the pilot programs in this process will be explained, as well as the library’s work with the “flower grants.” This session will detail the plans for the creation of an online information literacy module by the UCF Libraries and Course Development and Web Services, and provide a live demonstration of one component of this module.

    Attendees of this poster session will know possible steps needed to implement a campus wide information fluency program at their university. They will learn how to collaborate with other departments, especially university administration, to make this type of undertaking possible. They will also learn the complex task of mapping ACRL Information Literacy Standards to a multi-component online module.

    University of Central Florida

    A large metropolitan research university, with online and regional populations.

    • Fall 2006 Student headcount: 46,719
    • Regional campus headcount: 4551 (9.7%)
    • Number of students taking at least one web course=9432 (20.2%)
    • Number of students taking ONLY web courses=2139 (4.6%)

    UCF Libraries

    • 1.6 million volumes
    • 46 librarians
    • Library Instruction
      • 442 sessions in 2006
      • Reached 11016 students
      • (23.6% of student body)

    SACS Reaccreditation

    Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges (regional accrediting body), requires a Quality Enhancement Plan be implemented.

    Quality Enhancement Plan

    “The QEP describes a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined topic or issue(s) related to enhancing student learning.” --SACS Commission on Colleges

    Campus-wide QEP Planning Team

    • Solicited QEP topics for review
    • Eight topics were chosen from this pool to be developed further
    • A team of UCF Librarians submitted Information Fluency as a topic, and wrote a white paper

    Other submitted QEP Topics

    • Information Fluency
    • Communication Fluency
    • Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Innovation
    • Expanding Life Skills Development
    • Increasing Engagement to Foster Optimal Learning
    • Increasing the Academic Challenge at UCF
    • Leadership and Integrity in the Global Community
    • Research-Centered Learning

    Information Fluency

    Defined as the nexus of information literacy, computer literacy, and critical thinking.

    Rettig, James, and Susan K. Hagen. 2003. Stakeholders and Strategies in Information Fluency. Transformations: Liberal Arts in the Digital Age 1(1) [cited August 10, 2006]. Available from

    In short, Information Fluency is the ability to GATHER, EVALUATE, and USE information.

    Implementing the QEP

    • Campus-wide leaders chosen  (NOT from Libraries)
    • Detailed Task Plan developed
    • Staff hired in critical areas
      • Support staff for QEP office
      • Librarian
      • Instructional Design Specialist

    Information Literacy & Outreach

    • New department created in Library
    • New Information Literacy Librarian hired to work closely with new Instructional Design Specialist on Info Lit Modules


    Our Goal

    To place the library in a central position in a large university

    Four Pilot Project Chosen

    • Philosophy
    • Nursing
    • Strategies for Success (SLS1501)
    • Honors College

    Two more pilot projects will be chosen in each of the next two years

    25 Enhancement Grants Awarded

    • “flower grants” or planning grants
    • $1000 each
    • Examples:
      • Ethical use of information
      • Social bookmarking
      • History methods course
      • Distance courses
      • Critical thinking
      • Primary Resources
      • Engagement
      • Classroom response systems
      • Academic success

    Ten more enhancement grants will be awarded in each of the next two years


    Creating Online Information Literacy Modules

    We divided all ACRL Standards into three categories:

    • Foundational: the basic level of information literacy knowledge
    • Literate: upper-division information literacy knowledge
    • Fluent/Master: graduate students and faculty level IL knowledge



    Starting with the Foundational Set, we grouped the standards into learning objects with ONE learning objective.

    The Information Literacy Librarian works in collaboration with the Instructional Design Specialist to create the learning objects



    Information Literacy Modules developed from ACRL Standards

    • Module 1: Defining Your Topic
      • Learning Objective 1: You will develop a thesis statement
      • Learning Objective 2: You will explore general info sources
      • Learning Objective 3: You will define or modify a given information need to achieve a manageable focus
      • Learning Objective 4: You will identify key concepts and terms
    • Module 2: Determining Your Information Need
      • Learning Objective 1: You will describe how information is formally and informally produce
      • Learning Objective 2: You will identify the values and differences of potential resources
      • Learning Objective 3: You will differentiate between primary and secondary sources

    The Master Plan

    All learning objects will have content, practice, and assessment!


    July 2004 - QEP Planning Begins

    December 2004 - Library submits white paper on Information Fluency

    March 2005 - Information Fluency selected as QEP topic

    July 2005 - Selection of Honors, Nursing, Philosophy, and Strategies for Success as QEP Pilot Projects

    March 2006 - QEP Detailed Task Plan submitted to SACS

    April 2006 - ETS ICT Test administered to gather baseline data  

    May 2006 - 26 $1000 "Flower Grants" were awarded

    June 2006 - UCF Libraries creates Information Literacy & Outreach department

    June 2006 - Curriculum draft for the online Information Literacy Modules begins

    August 2006 - College of Nursing makes the ETS ICT test mandatory for all incoming students

    December 2006 - New Information Literacy Librarian hired

    January 2007 - New Instructional Design Specialist hired

    February 2007 - Honors College begins Information Fluency training for its students

    May 2007 - More $1000 "Flower Grants" will be awarded

    July 2007 - Selection of more pilot programs

    June 2008 - First set of Information Literacy Modules ready for debut

    After June 2008 - Advanced modules debut as completed


    19 Jul 2010