Liberal arts institutions enhance writing and critical thinking skills through effective research and access to credible information. This presentation focuses on an initiative to include information and digital technologies and resources in a mandatory first year writing course syllabus, to prepare the students early for the rigors and integrity of academic writing, and effectively develop their research abilities. In addition, faculty and librarian collaboration would broaden the scope of instruction and make significant contributions towards the awareness and applications of both information and digital literacies.
Knowledge acquisition, skill building and research are integral parts of academe, and for liberal arts institutions, this is even more critical because information, which is now very easy to access digitally, also has the potential to be misleading if it is from a questionable source. Therefore our students need to know not only how to acquire information to meet the expectations of different writing assignments, but also how to ethically incorporate the knowledge in their essays or presentations. For first year students, these demands can be very daunting especially when they realize that writing across the curriculum is a core component of all courses at the American University of Nigeria. Instructors do not always have advanced information and digital literacy skills to guide their students through accessing credible data or professional resources, and therefore collaboration with library personnel effectively bridges this gap to serve students better. Through our presentation, we hope to discuss our initiative to integrate information and digital literacies into course content - specifically the mandatory Freshman Composition course at American University of Nigeria – to enhance the learning experiences of students, emphasize the role of library personnel and reinforce the need for such interdisciplinary partnerships at educational institutions. Openness in this presentation refers to mutually beneficial peer-developed content and partnerships.