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FYS-101 Information Literacy Lessons 2023-24

This guide contains the information literacy lessons for the SNHU First Year Seminar FYS-101 course offered on campus for the 2023-24 academic year.

The Information Cycle


Discuss: What is the "Information Cycle?"

After watching the video (above):

  • How would you define the Information Cycle?
  • How is time connected to the type or format of information produced?
  • How do the sources used to create information change over time?

Why learn about The Information Cycle?

  • Understanding the context of when information is created helps us use information appropriately for particular purposes.
    • Example: Tweets created during the moment of an event portray one person's perception of that event. Basing an entire policy for a school on one person's perception might be inappropriate. More information would be needed to include varying perspectives and respond appropriately to that event. That information would likely be created after a period of time so that many perspectives, especially ones with more experience, could be included; experts could be consulted; evidence could be gathered to create a well-reasoned policy.
  • In FYS we are discussing primary and secondary sources and their value. The Information Cycle teaches us about when and how primary and secondary sources are created so we can seek them out to better understand American history and culture.

Information Cycle In-class Activity

Let’s explore the information cycle as it relates to an event from recent history. In August 2017, a man drove his car into a crowd of people who were protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, North Carolina. The car attack killed one person and injured many more. 

Paired Activity

  1. Pair up with another student in class
  2. Take one Information Cycle Chart per pair
  3. Review the five sources about the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally attack below
  4. Put each source on the Info Cycle Chart in the time frame where it belongs and fill in the boxes about each source. (the first one, the photo, is done for you)
  5. Discuss in your pair: Is information created closer to an event more believable than information created later? Less? Same? Why?
  6. Be ready to share your findings with the class

Click on the link for each source below about the Charlottesville, (VA) Unite the Right Rally on August 12, 2017 to enter information in your Information Cycle Chart:

Whole Class Discussion 

Student pairs share where they thought each source belonged in the chart and discuss the following questions:

  • Share your pair's answer to the question: Is information created closer to an event more believable than information created later? Less? Same? Why?
  • Who created each type of information about the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally? (Google them!) Were any of the authors Black?
  • Why might it be important to get sources authored/created by different groups of people involved with your topic at different points in the Information Cycle?
  • Whose voices are missing in these five sources? 

Primary Sources & Never Caught

  • What are examples of primary sources created in the 1700s? Can you provide examples from Never Caught? No tweets or Insta posts in 1796!
  • Who would be creating primary sources in the late 1700s? 
  • How would information be disseminated/shared in that time period? Would everyone have access to information? 

Essential Question

  • How does examining different types of sources from different time periods (the Information Cycle) help a person wanting to research or learn more about a particular topic/event in history and its impact on the present?

Team Meetings

Meet in your Collection team.

  1. Create a Group Shared Folder (in Google) and be sure to share it with your instructor as well.
  2. One person should open a new doc in the Group Folder.
  3. Discuss the following questions as a group about your team's Primary Source Collection and that person should record your team's answers in your doc in your Group Folder. (Primary Source Collections This link opens in a new window are also available by clicking on the Primary Sources tab in the left hand margin of this LibGuide.)
  • When was each primary source in your Collection created?
  • Are you able to guess for whom or for what audience each source was created for? If so, whom?
  • How might the five sources in your Collection be connected to each other?
  • List questions you have about each source in your shared doc.