Creating effective and engaging information literacy programmes for the dental curriculum


Pauline J. Ford School of Dentistry
The University of Queensland
200 Turbot Street Brisbane
Qld 4000
Tel: +61 7 3365 8085
Fax: +61 7 3365 8199


In this time of rapid expansion of the scientific knowledge base, subject matter runs the risk of becoming outdated within a relatively short time. Instead of adding more content to already crowded curricula, the focus should be on equipping students to adapt to their changing world. The ability to access, evaluate and apply new knowledge for the benefit of patients has been acknowledged as an important goal for dental education. Information literacy is key to achieving this. A template for an Information Literacy programme for undergraduate students is described. This was embedded within a compulsory course for each of the first and second years of the Bachelor of Oral Health programme and consisted of a hands-on workshop (attendance voluntary), information literacy quiz, self-evaluation and a summative assessment task, with the second year of the programme building upon the learning of the previous year. Effectiveness was measured in terms of demonstration of information literacy skills and confidence in using these skills. Integration of this programme within the learning activities and assessment of first- and second-year courses resulted in enhanced information literacy skills and confidence. Self-perceived high skill levels may be a potential barrier to student engagement with information literacy programmes.