Neighborhood dinner begins Oaks’ Information Literacy Week

Faculty, staff and students gathered for a meal and conversation about how to find and evaluate credible information.

The Oaks Neighborhood kicked off its Information Literacy Week series of events with a neighborhood dinner Nov. 6. The week also includes a talk by media literacy expert Julie Smith Nov. 7 and a Fake News Game Show Nov. 8.

The Oaks’ events are occurring during the more narrowly defined Media Literacy week, which runs nationally from Nov. 4-10.

“Our schedule of events is well-timed to match up with what’s happening across the country,” said Colin Donohue, director of student media, instructor of Communications and faculty director of the Oaks. “We think it’s important to continue to stress how we access, evaluate and share information. The discussion touches on social media, critical thinking, and the how and why of research.”

At the dinner, students, faculty and staff discussed issues related to news sources, campus resources to help students sift through information, how to assess the strength and veracity of academic and news sources, and the distinction between digital literacy and information literacy.

The faculty and staff in attendance were Brooke Barnett (associate provost for academic and inclusive excellence and professor of Communications), Dan Burns (assistant professor of English), Titch Madzima (assistant professor of Exercise Science), Teresa LePors (coordinator of library research and scholarly services and assistant librarian) and Shannon Tenant (coordinator of library collections and associate librarian).

Combined with active citizenship and thriving, information literacy is a subtheme of the Oaks Neighborhood’s larger focus on Emerging Adulthood.

I hope students walked away from the dinner with a clearer understanding of why evaluating sources of information is vital to their research and their communication,” Donohue said. “It’s easy to retweet or share without reading. It’s easy to rely on the first piece of research one encounters. It’s easy to skim headlines but never read full stories. We have to realize, though, that being responsible information consumers does require some time and patience.”