Information Competency Plan
“Information competency is a subset of critical thinking representing an individual’s ability to recognize the need for information and to find, evaluate, incorporate, use, create and communicate data from a variety of sources and in a variety of contexts.”
Over a million students enter California's 106 community colleges each year. Their learning landscape is strikingly different from that experienced by yesterday's undergraduates in yesterday's classrooms. Students must learn how to acquire, manage, and analyze large quantities of information. Information and knowledge is expanding rapidly and the ability to quickly review and use relevant information through the appropriate technologies has become a valued skill.
The problem is most students arrive on campus without information competency skills. They lack information retrieval skills necessary for a successful collegiate or vocational experience, or to support lifelong learning. This problem is exacerbated by the changing nature of work in the 21st century, which will demand highly skilled and well-educated workers who will need to continuously update their skills and knowledge.
During the 1990s, important studies, reports, proclamations and resolutions from various segments of the educational world pointed to the need for information literacy or information competency. The Chancellors’ Offices of CSU and of the CCCs have taken a leading role in addressing the challenges of the Information Age in learning and teaching. Further, the State Academic Senate for the CCCs recommends the fundamentals of information competency be introduced in orientation/learning skills classes and developed in general education transfer courses.
In August 1997, Gavilan College was awarded a Fund for Instructional Improvement grant to review the current and projected roles of information competency instruction within the California community colleges and to develop an Information Competency Draft Plan for system implementation, training and evaluation. A total of 139 participants from 67 California community colleges attended the five workshops held across California in February and March of 1998. They provided feedback and recommendations. Additional consultations took place with educational segment groups at board meetings and related occasions during March through May 1998.
Key issues discussed in the workshops and other meetings have been sorted into five topical areas: A) staff development, B) a collaborative environment, C) knowledge and technology infrastructure support, D) the challenge of developing courses and proposing changes in degree requirements, and E) curricular models. Proposed solutions to issues addressed are listed in this planning document, followed by a timeline for implementation.