Preliminary Results: Information, Quantitative, and Visual Literacies?

Students will demonstrate information, quantitative, and visual literacies in a variety of contexts.

Question 1.  What demonstrable qualities of this outcome should a SEU graduate possess?


  • Thoughtfully separate the “wheat from the chaff”
  • Informed consumers of information to distinguish science and pseudo-science
  • Discover, assess, and discriminate “big data” information
  • Evaluate credibility of research source
  • Interpret and translate quantitative data to functional and attractive visual designs
  • Understand complex messages in visual design
  • Articulate views with appropriate references, clarity, and confidence

Question 2. Please provide your views on how this outcome can best be achieved in general education and co-curricular programming.


  • Embedding opportunities in critical visual and information analysis across courses
  • Within Capstone
  • Research projects across the curriculum
  • Visual Art classes
  • Numerical and Information Literacy within Math and Science courses
  • Portfolio
  • Combination of off-campus resources, on-campus professors and student research

Resources on quantitative and information literacy

The University Essential Learning Outcome for this week is: “Students will demonstrate information, quantitative, and visual literacies in a variety of contexts.”  In Spring 2014, the Center for Teaching Excellence focused on 21st Century Literacies for its Books and Coffee Series.  Check out the list here

UELO Discussion Summary: Information, quantitative, and visual literacies

UELO: Students will demonstrate information, quantitative, and visual literacies in a variety of contexts.


Discussion focused on the necessity of integrating these literacies across the curriculum and vertically throughout the curriculum.  One course is not enough for a student to develop literacy.  Instructors should consider these as threshold concepts rather than skills to be ticked off.

Skills and literacies need context to make them meaningful.

Transfer is important: students need to be able to transfer literacies developed in one course to another course where they can continue development.

Interdisciplinary, project-based learning was suggested as an avenue.  This is also a good mission fit: preparing students to be problem solvers and change the world.  This kind of interdisciplinary work is a St. Edward’s tradition.

Visual literacy is a 21st century skill.  Students work more naturally in images than we did.

We are beyond a text only world.  We need to take their natural skill and make it conscious.

We need to develop multiliteracies.  See this article: New London Group. “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures.” Harvard Educational Review 66, no. 1 (1996): 60–92.

The idea isn’t that every class hits every outcome; it should arise naturally.

Concerns and Needs

Students seem to have forgotten literacies learned earlier in the curriculum.  We need a common vocabulary.  We need campus wide dialogue to work on identifying threshold concepts to equate those terms from different disciplines.  For transfer, too often we place the onus on the student; we need to put the onus on us to make sure we know what is going on in other courses so we know to reinforce it.

Instructors need models for how to do this, practices that can be useful across disciplines, and the research behind them.  Faculty don’t feel confident in all of this.  Will this require huge retraining of the faculty?  One participant suggested, we can test all the faculty to know what level of this skill you should be teaching.

These literacies need to be integrated so they come naturally.  They can’t be compartmentalized.  Students need to see them as an essential learning outcome, rather than a hoop they have to jump through, and then they are done.

Currently, there is a perception that nobody cares about visual literacy. You can’t just check it off for CULF 1319.

Vigor in visual literacy is a challenge because faculty teaching now come from a text-based background.  There is no AAC&U rubric for visual literacy; this is a gap we could fill.

It is scary to think that you would need to do all of this one course.

Best Practices

  • The development of information literacy requires intense, long-term collaboration with the library rather than one library information session.
  • Project-Based Learning: It was suggested that undergraduate research could play a role in achieving these outcomes.  Project-based work helps put skills into practice so they are retained.
  • Reflection and metacognition plays a huge role in making sure these concepts show up in multiple courses.
  • Independent practice:Learners being more inquiry driven on their own, and what do I do when I hit the wall, facilitates research skills, and how do you get what you need, which in turn creates agency.
  • Collaborating between faculty to put together courses that pay attention to transfer of literacies.
  • Curriculum Mapping: SEU has done curriculum mapping of essential learning outcomes in the general education curriculum. Now, we need to now do it in the majors.
  • A multimodal project might tie all of these literacies together.
  • Upper level courses team-teaching.
  • By senior year massive wicked problem projects.

How Should Students Learn Information, Quantitative, and Visual Literacies?

literacies word cloudOur next question of the week survey addresses the outcome, “Students will demonstrate information, quantitative, and visual literacies in a variety of contexts.” Share your input on our brief survey here,, and/or join us for a live discussion on Friday, October 24, 2-3:30 pm in TH 104.

Please note that you can take this survey and all others at any point during Fall 2014, by visiting the Surveys and Events page of this website: