Extending Boundaries: Team Teaching to Embed Information Literacy in a University Module
In today’s knowledge-based economy, the role of universities in preparing students to be information literate and independent thinkers and researchers is crucial. Information literacy (IL) skills enable students to become research-oriented, hold critical approaches to knowledge, be critical thinkers, consider things from different perspectives, develop their own ideas and defend and share these in an ethical manner. University students are often expected to access, process, evaluate and synthesise information from a number of sources in order to complete their assessment tasks. To do this efficiently, they need to possess good IL skills. This article postulates that students’ IL skills can be successfully fostered and enhanced if academics and academic librarians enter into a partnership to collaboratively develop students’ IL skills. The article discusses an intervention at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa that entailed embedding IL skills in an academic literacies (AL) course offered to first-year students in the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences. This intervention involved a partnership between academic librarians and an AL lecturer in adopting a team-teaching approach to collaboratively develop students’ IL skills. Overall, students showed great enthusiasm for the IL sessions, and their responses to the different tasks given to them were positive. The partnership between the team members was found to be successful. Although the researchers concluded that a collaborative partnership between academics and academic librarians was feasible and sustainable, they acknowledged that the available resources within an institution, for example, library computer laboratories, might well impact on the decision to pursue such an initiative.