What is Information Competency?

Certification of Subject Courses

West Valley College Information Competency Timeline Selected Highlights [PDF]

Task Force Members

Are you looking for information on the course Library 04 - Information Competency?
If so, go to our Library Credit Courses section.

What is Information Competency?

At the heart of Information Competency is the desire to empower our students with the skills to confidently approach assignments and to successfully navigate through the entire research process. Students who understand the cumulative steps involved in research will be better prepared for the rigors of academic life and can apply those skills to everyday situations as well.

Information Competency at West Valley is defined as the ability to recognize the need for information, and to find, evaluate, use and communicate information in all its formats. It combines aspects of library literacy, research methods and technological literacy. It considers the ethical and legal implications of information use and requires the application of both critical thinking and communication skills.

Certification of Subject Courses

Starting in Fall of 2007, students entering West Valley are required to take one subject course infused with elements of information competency in order to graduate. Many courses, by their nature, already have components of information competency built into their assignments which are transparent to the student. Whether you teach Psychology, Theatre, Computer Science, History or Child Development, you probably touch upon many of the learning objectives set forth by the West Valley Information Competency Standards. Take a look at the following list. Do you require any of these outcomes within your assignment?

  • The development of a toic and/or a thesis statement

  • The use of scholarly articles and/or primary sources

  • The use of appropriate investigative methods which may not be available using library resources such as laboratory experiments, fieldwork, simulation, performances, interview and/or surveys

  • The use of books, journal articles and the Web for research

  • The ability to organize information using a system such as an outline, database or other management tool

  • The critical evaluation of resources for relevance, timelines, bias, validity and accuracy

  • The restating of concepts in the student's own words

  • The demonstration of how to quote and paraphrase

  • The inclusion of a bibliography or works cited list

If some of these outcomes look familiar, your course is well on its way to being certified for information competency.

Contact Maryanne Mills at (408) 741-4661, the Information Competency Librarian, as she can act as a facilitator and guide you through the process of certifying your course. The goal is to make IC a natural enhancement to student learning through one or more class assignments. Ideally, IC will be transparent to the students as they utilize a myriad of resources -- including those outside traditional library walls such as lab work, surveys and interviews. Once the paperwork (Certification Form and sample assignment) is complete, approval by the Curriculum Committee is the last step. An average of forty minutes of instructor time is devoted to getting a course certified.

Information Competency at West Valley Timeline

West Valley College Information Competency Timeline Selected Highlights [PDF]

Task Force Members

Judy Colson - Counseling

Pat Fenton - Business

Celine Pinet - Administrator

Patricia Louderback - Physical Education

Julie Maia (co- chair) - Language Arts

LeAnn McGinley Assessment Coordinator

Maryanne Mills (co-chair) - Information Competency Librarian, Curriculum Committee

Katherine Moore-Wines - Applied Arts & Sciences

Susan Schulter - English Department

Patti Yukawa - Counseling

last published: 3/21/18