Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


My synthesis project began as a personal and professional mission to help students decipher their library assignments and learn how to do research in general. In pursuing this goal, I learned a lot about 'information literacy' but I also learned about the reasons being information literate is important to me: it is a gestalt of a critical thinker. I discovered that - beyond becoming adept in the mechanics of information retrieval - what I really wanted for my students are the very things I value and enjoy doing myself: learning about communities of discourse; mulling over and asking questions about existing knowledge; relinquishing preconceived notions about a subject; and discovering new perspectives and interests. In the end, my project turned out to be not so much a search for an information literacy course as it is an exposition of one librarian's open-ended evolution into a critical thinker and reflective practitioner. At the start of my year-long sabbatical leave in the Critical & Creative Thinking Graduate Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, I characterized my quest as an inquiry into the most meaningful way that students could be taught information literacy skills. This synthesis project recounts how I first deepened my interest in the nexus between information literacy, critical thinking, and problem-based learning through an extensive literature review. Following this, the project takes a narrative turn where my experiences in the CCT Program are described and celebrated. I show that my participation in the CCT Program was the catalyst for the changes that began to occur in my thinking about information literacy. As my original quest took on these new dimensions, I also became intellectually engaged in areas outside of information literacy. Several courses I took in the Program elicited strong interests in bioethical issues and in the capacity of citizens to have input into debates around science and technology. Finally, I describe my teaching experiences upon returning to work, in which I came to the eventual recognition that there is no 'silver bullet' information literacy course. Being able to set aside this idea paradoxically opened a new avenue toward achieving my mission as I was invited to form a Learning Community with a geographic information systems (GIS) course. It appears that, from this point forward, I am open and prepared to continue developing as a 'work-in-process'.


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