While Lauer and Yodanis (2008) point out that the weblog has many applications, such as a journal or other means or personal use, they state that it can be used as a tool for students to collaborate with each other and share their learning, in addition to a tool for research where students can record their notes, thoughts, and links to more source material. Furthermore, the authors suggest that a weblog is a tool that students can use to passively become information literate, a tool that should not be forced upon them. Zabel (2004) would agree, as she suggests the passive nature of research is something that students must undertake for themselves (para. 4). Thus, Namwar and Rastgoo (2008) synthesize the concepts of scholarship and practice through the suggestion of this innovative, technological tool. Students can use weblogs as a means of interpreting the scholarship that they are asked to evaluate, as well a method through which to practice the practical application of their information literacy skills.
Thus, Namwar and Rastgoo's (2008) innovative research regarding weblogs suggest one way in which the practical application of information literacy can be expressed. Students' ability to demonstrate the practical application of information literacy through weblogs or another means is a necessary component of higher education as it trains students to be more deliberate, thoughtful, contemplative members of society. While one goal of education is certainly to prepare students for a future occupation, another is to train them to make deliberate, informed choices for their families and society, such as their voting practices.
Finally, institutions of higher education most often have a stated goal of training students to become leaders. Leadership theory has gained great respect in the business, academic, and philanthropic realms recently. Higher education attempts to train students in leadership so that they might be willing to create the necessary changes in politics, society, business, academia, and other fields that constantly required as research, technology, and time push cultures forward. Leaders are those who can master the practice of putting information literacy skills to practical use. Just as Lauer and Yodanis (2008) suggest that students who lack one type of information literacy -- global literacy -- will not be able to make decisions that are as informed and practical as others who do have this competence, the Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (1989) argues that "all people should have the right to information that can enhance their lives" (para. 2). Furthermore the committee goes on to argue that "how our country deals with the realities of the Information Age will have an enormous impact on our democratic way of life..." (para. 3). Thus, these statements imply that information literacy is a required characteristic of leadership. As democracy can only function in the clear presence of leadership, and information literacy is a necessary requirement of the democratic decisions of society, information literacy is an important and essential component of leadership. Thus, leadership is an essential part of higher education, which can only be attained through information literacy.
In conclusion, the world of higher education asks students not only to learn the skills that will place them in a career, but also the ability to learn critical thinking skills. These skills will allow them to become deliberate, thinking members of society, making sound and reasoned decisions regarding their personal, professional, academic, and social lives. Scholarship, practice, and leadership are three primary components of higher education, and information literacy is a major component of each, suggesting that it is the most essential component of higher education, the component that will allow students to emerge from their higher education experience with tools to navigate any problem presented to them.
Keller, John. (2008, February 8). What is Information Literacy? Retrieved February 11, 2009, from the National Forum on Information Literacy. Web Site: http://www.infolit.org/
Lauer, S.R. And Yodanis, C.L. (2004). The International Social Survey Programme
ISSP): A Tool for Teaching With an International Perspective. Teaching Sociology, 32, 304-313.
Namwar, Y. And Rastgoo, a. (2008). Weblog as a Learning Tool in Higher Education.
Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 9(3), 176-185.
Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. (1989, January 10). Final Report from the Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, outlining the importance of information literacy and recommendations…