University of Vermont students have more access to information now than they have ever had in their lives. Yet rarely do students come to us with a complex understanding of the information they encounter. As teachers, how do we guide our students through a complicated information landscape and help them become better researchers and more informed writers?
Information literacy is more than a discrete set of skills. Students must understand the context in which information resides. A request to find appropriate information on a topic assumes that students will understand why a certain resource may or may not be appropriate for a given audience. A request to find scholarly articles on a topic assumes that a student understands how scholarly articles are produced and contribute to disciplinary conversations. To be effective teachers of information literacy is to explicitly attend to the contextual questions of "how" and "why" that are so often overlooked. Information literacy is an iterative, progressive, and scaffolded set of skills, abilities, and habits of mind.