Information Competency Gavilan College Fall 2001 Lesson #1
Ideas for Your Class
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Welcome to the wonderful world of information. This entire series of lessons is designed with two objectives in mind:

  • To get you to include a computer component in your classroom, and

  • To get you to include an information component in your classroom.

Both of these are part of the Spring Session 2001 resolutions passed by the California Academic Senate, namely resolution #9.01 S01, Information Competency Graduation Requirement, recommending to the Board of Governors that:

information competency be a locally designated graduation requirement for degree and certificate programs, urge the BOG to provide appropriate resources, support the use of the local curriculum process to determine how best to implement information competency, and to finally develop a best practices paper for the Spring 2002 Session.

Information Competency is defined by the Academic Senate as the ability to:

  • a) recognize the need for information,
  • b) acquire and evaluate information,
  • c) organize and maintain information, and
  • d) interpret and communicate information.

Put into different words, this is the ability to:

  • Find information (which involves the ability to manipulate computers, printers, and electronic databases).
  • Evaluate information (which involves critical thinking in sifting through the volumes of information available today).
  • Organize information (which again involves the ability to manipulate computers and software - word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint, etc.).
  • Communicate information (which involves computer presentation skills, speaking skills, writing skills, etc.)

Obviously, you won't be able to cover all these points in one lesson, but if every class at Gavilan had one or more components, there will be a cumulative effect. By the time a student has gone through 20 courses at Gavilan, she's gotten experience and exposure to information competency skills a minimum of 20 times, and will probably be able to pass an evaluation test covering these skills.

Fortunately, you don't have to create your assignments in a vacuum. There are many, many instructors that have gone before you in creating these online assignments, and wonderful models and ideas that have already been developed, waiting for you to use.

Listed below are some collections of resources.

First there is @One. I should put this name in big blinking letters. They provide enormous amounts of support, free software trials, technical help, training opportunities, and conferences.

MERLOT, the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, is another useful source.

You can search for and use existing modules rather than creating them on your own. Some of the modules have been reviewed by other instructors and by students. There are 13 discipline communities that you can view by clicking on the small black arrow under Discipline Communities.

discipline communities at Merlot
browse subjects Or, you can browse by subject area by clicking on one of the items listed under Browse Materials.
Here's an example of what one math instructor has posted for the world to share: the Three Glass Puzzle, by Alexander Bogomolny. I wasted a lot of time moving these glasses of water around.

The Illinois Online Network is another source of inspiration. They aim to develop pedagogically sound methods of using technology in education, either in the traditional classroom, or in the completely-online format. Their example courses link to a mixture of home-grown and commercial packages.

There are also great examples from the Gavilan faculty. Fran Lozano's Eng 1A class in the fall of 1999 may be a little outdated, but is a great example of how you might develop an assignment.

Other classes listed in the library's Class Websites page include

And here's another idea, possibly for a math or statistics class, and certainly for any kind of research project. Possibly you've seen this before. Is it true? Or is it just another urban legend?

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

There would be:

  • 57 Asians
  • 27 Europeans
  • 14 from the Western hemisphere, both north and south
  • 8 Africans

  • 52 would be female
  • 48 would be male

  • 70 would be non-Christian
  • 30 would be Christian

  • 89 would be heterosexual
  • 11 would be homosexual

  • 6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States

  • 80 would live in substandard housing

  • 70 would be unable to read

  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition

  • 1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth

  • 1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education

  • 1 would own a computer

Students can use different sources of statistics to prove or disprove these figures, such as the World Population Prospects from the United Nations, the CIA World Factbook 2000, UNICEF for illiteracy rates, and the World Health Organization for malnutrition figures.

Actually, the Urban Legends Reference Pages has already come up with one set of figures. You can see how closely your students come to their figures.

If you're looking for ideas for an entire course online, here are some models to check:
CVC Catalog CVC Catalog - click on 'Selected Programs'The big catalog in the sky, also maintained by the California Virtual Campus. This site lists online courses from community colleges, the UC system, and the CSU system.

You can find courses by subject area, or by individual schools.

In the box to the right, list one of the resources you used, and describe any ideas that you might use in an assignment for your own class:


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Last updated on August 27, 2013

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