Evolution of an Information Competency Requirement for Undergraduates

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University at Buffalo undergraduate students are required to complete a non-credit-bearing information competency assessment prior to graduation, preferably within their first year of study. Called the Library Skills Workbook, this assessment has evolved from a short, print-based quiz into a sophisticated, multi-module tutorial and assessment on the Blackboard courseware platform (http://www.blackboard.com). The author presents a case study describing the usefulness of a large-scale, online information competency requirement to meet the developing research needs of undergraduate students. The case presented includes specifics of measured information proficiencies, the benefits and challenges of using Blackboard courseware, student learning outcomes, user and faculty feedback, and the introduction of a new, alternate version of the Workbook that is targeted to engineering students. Practical issues regarding the administration, maintenance, and marketing of the requirement are addressed as well. The author details her efforts and those of university administrators to enforce Workbook completion in students’ initial year of study, as well as ongoing plans to rename the Workbook to better demonstrate the currency and relevance of its measured competencies. Future projects are also discussed, including the author's collaboration with her colleagues to create additional discipline-specific Workbook versions and, where possible, to integrate those directly into undergraduate coursework and curricula.

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Journal of Web Librarianship

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