Information Competency Tutorials



Information for Instructors/ Faculty

  1. Information Literacy
  2. How faculty can use the CUNY ICT
  3. Tutorial Content- Quick Look
  4. Assignment Resources

Information Literacy

In order to become lifelong learners, CUNY students need to gain information literacy skills. Information literacy is considered a fundamental skill in the revision of CUNY’s general education curriculum. The CUNY ICT is one way to help ensure that your students are on their way to becoming information literate graduates.

An information literate individual is able to:

  • Determine the extent of information needed
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information
  • Access and use information ethically and legally

(Taken from the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. They are summarized at this web site:

How Faculty can use the CUNY ICT

  • Faculty can assign individual tutorials as homework and administer the practice exercises and quizzes during class time
  • Faculty can use specific lessons in class presentations
  • Faculty can create assignments that ask students to demonstrate competency in the skills and concepts covered by the CUNY ICT (see Assignment Resources below for examples)
  • Faculty can collaborate with the information literacy or instruction librarian at their campus to construct assignments that teach the information literacy skills covered in the ICT tutorials. List of these librarians is at:
Tutorial Content- Quick Look
  1. Tutorial 1 – Determine Your Information Need – This tutorial helps students determine which type of resources will help them best complete their research goal. Students are often asked to prepare an annotated bibliography; write a research paper or present an oral presentation. The type of assignment determines what type, how much, and the currency of information needed. Overview of the types of publications available as well as the difference between primary and secondary sources.

  2. Tutorial 2 – Define the Research Topic – This tutorial teaches students how to locate keywords and how to search using various strategies. What is the question; what point are they trying to bring across; are they trying to inform, persuade or convince the reader? Students must formulate a research question and then search using keywords. Search results can be too many or too few.

  3. Tutorial 3 – Locate and Retrieve Relevant Information – This tutorial identifies the various types of reference sources along with their attributes and how to locate them using the library catalog. It also identifies the relevance and uses of indexes and abstracts. In this tutorial students learn to ascertain which source(s) best meet(s) their needs and how to find that source using the library catalog.

  4. Tutorial 4 – Use of Technological Tools for Accessing Information – This tutorial introduces students to electronic resources, specifically library subscription databases and the World Wide Web (www). Information is available in a variety of formats. Search strategies previously introduced in Tutorial 1 are expanded upon for electronic resources. There is also a section on how to evaluate Internet resources.

  5. Tutorial 5 – Evaluating Information – This tutorial teaches students the basics of evaluating information they have found. Not all information is of the same quality and this tutorial concentrates on looking at information students have found, and helping them evaluate whether or not it is of good quality and usable.

  6. Tutorial 6 – Communicate Information – This tutorial (marked as tutorial 7 due to technical problems) guides students in the presentation of the good quality information they have located. Three different methods of presentation are covered: E-mail, PowerPoint, and Web pages. It also teaches students some of the design considerations they should be taking into account when they create web pages; such as alignment, proximity, repetition, contrast, orientation, etc.

  7. Tutorial 7 – Ethical Issues – This tutorial (marked as tutorial 8 due to technical problems) looks at the ethical issues that twenty-first century academic information use confronts. These include copyright and plagiarism, privacy and security, and both censorship and freedom of speech. These are presented from an American point of view so some of them, especially censorship and freedom of speech, may be unfamiliar in their use to foreign students.

  8. Tutorial 8 – Media Literacy – This tutorial (which is marked as tutorial 9, due to irresolvable technical problems) looks at the popular media, as a separate source of information from the Internet and helps students to use it and to analyze it better.

Assignment Resources

Spanish translation of the CUNY Information Competency Tutorials was made possible by a grant from the CUNY Office of Compliance and Diversity, Diversity Projects Development Fund. Prof. José Diaz, Hostos Community College and Prof. George Thorsen, Queensborough Community College translated these modules into Spanish.  The Hostos Community College Instructional Technology support center staff migrated all of the IL Competency modules into a new, more attractive format as part of a Perkins Grant to provide 24/6 online tutorial resources to students. A special thanks goes to Hostos Community College and George Rosa, Elkin Urrea, and Carlos Victoria for their work on the migration and design.