Posted by: Emily | November 21, 2008

ACRL vs. local standards

Here’s a quick something that keeps sort of creeping into my brain lately as I self-assess following this first semester at a new school: Why do our information literacy classes seek to align with ACRL information literacy standards rather than with the research standards that exist locally, embedded within our English composition curriculum?

Like most places I bet, the documentation related to our IL classes all links specifically to ACRL standards. But in the class I’m taking in our writing and rhetoric masters program this semester, we’ve been looking closely at the outcomes specific to our stepped English curriculum: English 13 has information literacy requirements (they’re not labeled that, but that’s what they are) that are building blocks for outcomes in English 14, English 16, and so on. I wonder if in focusing on outcomes mandated by ACRL, an organization external to the university and probably invisible to most of our teaching faculty, we’re missing a chance to embed ourselves in the curriculum by tracking IL outcomes more directly to the competency standards that structure our specific academic program. In other words, am I working very hard to navigate a boat on Lake Michigan when all the rest are scaling Mount Ranier? In which case I should probably exchange my paddles for crampons and get climbing?

Does anybody out there link their IL curriculum to local standards in addition to or instead of the ACRL requirements? Why or why not?

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