Skip to Main Content

Digital Information Literacy Toolkit

This guide is for faculty seeking to add Digital Information Literacy Teaching and Learning to their courses.


Regardless of whether a course is validating for the Digital Information Literacy Special Emphasis, there are ways to enrich almost any course so that students (and instructors) are aware of the digital angle to the subject and its presentation.

Most of us hope that courses at UND awaken students' curiosity, inspire them to continue to engage with the subject after the course is over, and communicate the great things they've learned--inside and outside the classroom--to their fellow students, families, and everyone else they encounter.

This whole process, in this day and age, involves digital information.  What we can do in the classroom, as instructors and librarians, is help students be aware of their digital information environment, how this world that seems so ordinary and second nature (or first nature?) has hidden contours, pitfalls, and opportunities for satisfying their own curiosity and kindling it in others.

Core Concepts

  • People are consumers of information.  How is information created?  What's the best way to find it?  How do you tell what's good or bad for your needs?
  • People are creators of information.  How do people communicate information--as scholars, citizens, commenters?  What are the effective rhetorical tools for communicating digitally?
  • Digital and analog are different.  What effect does the medium have on the message?  And not just between digital and analog, but between different "channels" within those, like comparing blogs and videos.
  • Students leave the classroom.  Students were consumers and producers of digital content long before they came to college and will be so long after they graduate.  What tools and techniques can we introduce while they're here so they can be effective, ethical, and enriched digital citizens?

Special Emphasis Grid


Course design is informed by the following Information Literacy concepts: 1) Authority is Constructed and Contextual; 2) Information Creation as a Process; 3) Information Has Value; 4) Research as Inquiry; 5) Scholarship as Conversation; and
6) Searching as Strategic Exploration.

Digital Citizens need foundational skills that prepare us to work with and evaluate new technologies – like artificial intelligence – and be ready for future technologies. Course develops transferrable and applied skills necessary for the current and emerging workforce: the course teaches specialized tools and practices for finding, evaluating, and using digital information effectively, efficiently, safely, thoughtfully, and ethically.

Strengthening student agency, the course involves students in actual practice with rhetorical thinking through opportunities to access, communicate, create, and distribute information.

Course provides opportunities for metacognition: opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning.

Developing a digital citizen who is aware of the ways society and culture interact with technology, the course teaches critical thinking skills and interpretive strategies across modalities, helping students critically evaluate information, its contexts and availability.

Productively engaging with digital information is an explicit and primary component of the course: The Digital Information Literacy material must comprise at least 1/3 of the course’s focus and graded assignments.

Must meet Information Literacy Learning Goal.

Must not carry any other Special Emphasis designation nor may it be a Capstone Course

Essential Studies website link

Possible Assignments

Many "traditional" projects can have a greater digital information literacy flavor without too much surgery.  The following are some examples that may be appropriate:

A group PowerPoint presentation could become a YouTube video.  This moves the audience from the classroom to the outside world, and helps students understand the process of creating the content they consume every day.  There are tools on campus, including in the Library, to help students create high-quality videos, but even just creating a script, choosing footage to use, working through how to decide what to include and what to exclude, can be highly instructive.

Understanding how the medium affects the message can be approached by taking a reading summary or annotated bibliography and using it as a chance to let students discover how an article, video, Wikipedia page, AI prompt, etc are different and how they may be appropriate--or not--for different purposes.  This kind of comparative digital source paper helps students understand why, say, a peer reviewed article has a crucial place in the academic conversation but may not be vital for background reading.

Understanding that students aren't students forever, and won't have access to everything the Library and UIT have to offer can awaken an instructor to a lot of possibilities.  What tools--like Zotero, or simple video creation, or just responsible commenting--can be used after graduation?  How can they be integrated into assignments so students learn how to use them responsibly and effectively?  In major-sequence courses, think about what resources students will use once they're "in industry," and emphasize this is something they can expect to use after graduation.

Visit the Instructional Resources Page for more.