Information Literacy and Writing Assessment Project:
Tutorial for Developing and Evaluating Assignments

Section 3: Promoting Effective Research and Writing in your Discipline

How to Develop Research/Information Literacy Objectives for your Course

To develop an assignment, the first step is to examine the goals and objectives of your program area majors and minors, which are listed in the Undergraduate Catalog. The goals almost universally include a goal dealing with research or information literacy and goals for effective communication in writing and for sound critical thinking. Once you are familiar with your program area's goals and objectives, you are ready to link those goals to your course goals and objectives. The steps for this task follow:

  1. Review the goals and objectives of your program area.
  2. Identify the research/information literacy, writing, and critical thinking goals and objectives within the larger objectives of your area.
  3. Brainstorm ways to address the goals and objectives of the major or minor.
  4. Identify goals and objectives for individual courses. 
  5. Identify research, writing, and critical thinking objectives within the larger objectives of individual courses.
  6. Brainstorm ways to address and achieve goals and objectives for individual courses. 
  7. Identify opportunities for student research and writing within your course and major or minor. 
  8. Create ILWA assignments to meet the objectives of the individual courses. 
  9. Develop assignment criteria. 
  10. Formulate assignment guidelines. 
  11. Present assignment guidelines effectively.


The Undergraduate School cross-curricular initiatives include information literacy and effective communication in writing for sound critical thinking across the disciplines.

Tool for Analysis: ILWA Syllabus Review Checklist

One way to determine if your syllabus meets the information literacy and writing objectives of your program area is to evaluate them using the ILWA Syllabus Review Checklist.

Course and Section ______________________
Faculty Member_________________________

Standard: The syllabus clearly describes the ILWA project students must complete and how the project is related to the content and objectives of the course. The ILWA project assignment is written out and includes its purpose(s), a sketch of its context and possible audiences, the timing of its various parts or stages, and the assessment criteria by which it will be graded. Students are forewarned about their ethical responsibility; to cite sources responsibly, they are informed of the expectation that their use of source materials reflect their own sound critical judgment.

+/- Comments:

_____ Course Description/Goal(s): States that students will be asked to complete projects involving research and writing in the context of and to the standards of the discipline and the course level.

_____ Objectives: Objectives specify research and writing skills to be developed during the course using task-oriented language.

_____ Schedule Information: Describes steps or stages in the research and writing assignments and states when it (they) are due.

_____ Grading Information: Defines criteria for assessing research skills and writing effectiveness.

_____ Academic Honesty: Accurately reflects the UMUC academic integrity policy.

Number of researched and written assignments?
______1 ______2 _______3 ______4 _______5 ______6 or more