From Baby Steps to Giant Leaps: Developing and Presenting an Information Literacy Course at the University of the Free State

By:
Lianda Coetzer
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As our society moves progressively into the information age, the need for information grows exponentially. Technologies for storing, organising and accessing information are developing and changing rapidly. To succeed in today’s aggressively competitive corporate world, people need to be fully computer and information literate. An information-competent person can be described as someone who has the skill to: Recognise the need for accurate and relevant information and formulate appropriate questions based on that need; Identify potential sources of information and know how to use them; Use a variety of electronic and print tools to access needed information; Evaluate and use information effectively. During 2000, the University of the Free State Library and Information Services developed an accredited Information Literacy course. It was presented to 187 students who enrolled for the course. The aim of the course was to enable students to become self-directed, lifelong learners who would be able to know when they needed information, and who would be able to locate, evaluate and use the required information. Since 2000 the University has experienced a tremendous explosion of student enrolments. WebCt was acquired as student management system in order to handle the large number of students who enrolled for the course. By 2002 the course evolved into a complete mixed-mode course. After seven years the initial number of students has increased to an estimated 3 000 for 2007. This paper discusses the evolving of the course from a paper-based, face-tot-face course into a fully fledged mixed-mode course. Lessons learnt will be shared as well as views for future enhancement.


Keywords: Information Literacy
Stream: Literacy
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Lianda Coetzer

Training Librarian, Library and Information Science, University of the Free State
Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

I started working at Bloemfontein Public Library (South Africa), Children’s Department, in 1989. My status as library assistant was supplemented by my studies, with which I was involved at that time. After my graduation in 1991, I was promoted to Assistant Librarian in the Public Library Reference Departement. I was promoted to Branch Librarian of the Fichardtpark Branch Library, Bloemfontein, after this building was completed, in 1992. This was a very exciting time. As Branch Librarian, I worked with all posible facets of being a librarian, from arranging holiday programs , visiting old age homes, and presenting a puppet shows, to the more serious duties of managing the library and staff. After 10 years of service in the Public Library, I decided to take a break in 1999. Not long after this, I applied for a Training Librarian post at the University of the Free State. In 2003 I was appointed as Training Librarian, in which capacity I am responsible for lecturing on the ILK course (Information Literacy Course) As this course was only in its inception stage at the time, it was very challenging designing the material to become a fully mixed-mode course, and convincing the departments to enroll their students. I am also responsible for database training to all the post-graduate students. Specifically, my duties entail teaching these students how to access the different databases and use electronic books and journals.

Ref: B07P0084