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Introduction to Information Studies

Welcome to the Palo Alto College course on Information. Palo Alto College, in San Antonio, has added INFORMATION STUDIES (INFO 1371) to its core curriculum because we believe that the addition of this course will increase student success and better prepare students for the study of all disciplines as well as for post-graduation life.

The Information Studies course covers the following major areas:

  • Why study information?
  • Computer and information technology basics
  • Web and network basics
  • Study skills and college success
  • How to find information--sources, formats, methods
    • In a library
    • Online
    • Elsewhere
  • Evaluating information for quality and validity
  • How to record information (notes, MLA, APA)
  • Communicating information (style & technologies)
  • The research process and the research paper
  • Critical thinking, and applications
  • The ethics, law, and theories of information access and use

Information literacy is rapidly becoming a required element of college curricula across the country.

A Major National Movement

Information literacy is becoming accepted across the country--and in many foreign countries--as an essential element of a higher education curriculum. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools now requires that institutions seeking accreditation ". . . describe and document the strategies and activities used to provide an effective program of bibliographic instruction and information literacy." Several other regional accrediting agencies are considering adopting such a requirement.

Information literacy is now defined as one of the "five essential competencies for solid job performance according to the U.S. Department of Labor Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS)" (ALA).

Many universities are now requiring an information literacy course. A growing number of national organizations are pushing to have information studies included in college and university curricula. For more information, see our full documentation at

Unaddressed College & Student Needs

  • 84% of college students don't use the library.

  • Studies show that one source of poor college student motivation is lack of information literacy.

  • The library is a major budget item for colleges and universities, but few students (1.2%) know how to use it. Only 16% use the library in even a poor manner.

  • Studies show that college seniors are no more effective at doing research papers than freshmen.

  • Assigning students to use the library or look for information, without teaching them how, is setting them up for failure (Barnes, 1988; Carlson & Miller, 1984; Gwin, 1978; Lyle, 1963; Morris, 1980).

Administrators Speak

Accrediting Agencies supporting Information Studies:

National Associations recommending Information Studies:

Higher Education Institutions Recommending Information Studies:

Students Speak

(Two samples taken from the records of Richland College, DCCCD where LS102 was taught for 20 years as a 3 hour academic course by Sharlee Jeser-Skaggs and others... for more see full document for more)

"I have learned more from this course than I ever expected or imagined I could. This is the most practical course I have ever taken. This was highly recommended to me by other students and faculty and I see now why. It is an excellent course to prepare anyone that wishes to go on to another college or university... Thank you for opening up a new dimension of knowledge for me that I can use for the rest of my college and professional career."


"I considered myself to be proficient at locating books in the library, but had no idea of the extensive resources available at a college library. This course has given me the skills necessary to utilize these resources effectively and efficiently and will continue to aid me as I continue my college education."

Faculty Speak

"Where do I sign up for this course? I wish I had had something like this before I started my graduate courses at UT Austin. Anyway, it appears that we do not have enough time to teach information literacy in the college level English courses, and we should welcome a course that could complement our instruction--- in any discipline."


"I am 100% in favor of Information Literacy as a core curriculum course taught by the library [faculty]. If you remember Colby Glass and I developed the paired courses in English 1302 and Library Science some years back. It was fabulous... what I learned in his [class] was overwhelming... I would really want the students to have the advantage of this ever evolving information literacy... "

Other names for Information Studies:

- Information Literacy
- Information Competency
- Library & Information Science

This beginning section of the course will deal with the following:

Note --- There will be quizzes following each session !!!

STUDY CLUE: Take plenty of notes in the spaces provided on these sheets. Read and review all notes and passouts immediately after class. This will allow you to correct and add to your notes, and it will greatly increase your retention of the material. Review materials once again just before the next class, and make a note of any questions you have.

Have you read the syllabus yet? Any questions?

The Format of This Course

There will be assignments and readings--and often a quiz--for each week. You will be able to track these requirements with the class SCHEDULE (see the button at the top of every class page).

You will submit assignments, take quizzes, and communicate through the WebCT interface. This interface will allow you to see your current grade average and results of each of your quizzes and assignments shortly after they are submitted.

You can use regular email to communicate with me ( if you wish to speak to me privately. However, in general I prefer that you submit everything to the listserv (the bulletin board - see the UPDATES button at top of page) because both the question and the answer will go to all the students in this course, and many of them may be having the same questions or problems that you are having.

NEXT: Computer Basics

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Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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