Information and Digital Literacy Explained

The New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) enacted a statewide restructuring of the General Education (GenEd) program in Fall 2019. Five GenEd essential skills came out of this, including Information and Digital Literacy.

One definition of information literacy is

“The set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.” (ACRL)

Just as writing skills are not built in one class, neither are information and digital literacy skills. Information literacy focuses on habits of mind that are built over years.

It’s hard to assess habits and mental processes. In order to make these habits more visible, we explain the Information and Digital Literacy rubric used by UNM for assessment. This essential skill is broken down into four dimensions. We offer concrete ways for instructors to assess these dimensions. Each has a translation/explanation, defined terms (if any), and two example assignments. There is one common assignment that addresses all dimensions and one unique assignment, tailored to one specific dimension. There is also a glossary of terms.

Our approach to explaining this rubric is founded on the Association for College and Research Libraries’ Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, the guiding document that reflects the current understanding of information literacy skills.

This rubric explanation was created by the University Libraries’ Learning Services team in coordination with the UNM Office of Assessment. If you have questions about this rubric, or would like help designing research assignments, please contact them using this form.