Diving into Deep Water:

Development of an Information Literacy Rubric for Undergraduate Course Syllabi

Jesus Lau,
Universidad Veracruzana, México. jlau@uv.mx
PIMSA- Catedra Distinguida, CETYS Universidad, jlau@uv.mx

José Luis Bonilla and Alberto Gárate,
CETYS Universidad, México. {joseluis.bonilla, alberto.garate}@cetys.mx
The curricula of an undergraduate can be as deep as the ocean because as well as the water that can easily be seen, there are also the deep currents that actually move the blue ocean masses below. So, if one wants to change the pedagogical focus of the educational ocean there is the need to dip into the profound curricular structure, a concern discussed by Li (2013) at ECIL in 2013 and in the literature, but the focus in this paper is on the actual development of a syllabus rubric for an institution where professors/lecturers seldom practice research. In the case of information literacy (IL) there is the challenge of how effectively impact the key layers of higher education learning beyond the remedial IL programs conducted at libraries, or even the non-credit, and in some cases, credit courses that enable students to gain information skills but do not really achieve an IL impact the pedagogy in the core curricular courses. Library actions do not reach the foundations of the educational process where core undergraduate learning takes place and hence is not successful in transforming university syllabi . An effective strategy to address this is to embed IL into the curriculum by diving into the course syllabi themselves, a major task that seems insurmountable at most universities. However, this challenge has been met by CETYS University, an institution located in Northern Mexico that has information culture as a goal in its strategic plan. This has been translated into the mission of having graduates with solid information competencies. The steps to implement the official IL statements mandate were to carry out a survey whose results were used to define IL strategies (reported in the previous ECIL proceedings), and among the main strategies was the appointment of an inter-campus and inter-college professor committee to identify changes needed in the curricula. After a semester of work, the committee concluded that every course of each curricula needed to implement IL as part of the pedagogical approach, coming up with a scoring rubric to communicate the IL-related content required in course syllabi to achieve IL learning. The rubric had the implicit goal of reaching a university IL standard and the aim of helping academia to self-assess IL in course syllabi. The rubric included ten components related to fostering information search and use in learning activities, non-textbook use, English language literature requirements, request of essays, and research methods and paper style elements, among other elements. The identification of these standards was based on CETYS information culture needs. The implementation will undergo a first introduction in eight new e-learning syllabi, where professors´ feedback will be evaluated. The first trial dive is currently underway, and a later deployment will be an ocean-wide in-depth implementation in the rest of CETYS undergraduate syllabi.


Li Wang (2013). An IL Integration Model and Its Application in Curriculum Integration and Staff Development in Higher Education. In Kurbanoglu, S., et al. Worldwide Communalities in Information Literacy Research and Practice. Germany: Springer.


Information literacy pedagogy, information literacy syllabus rubric, information instructional design, higher education