Knowing the value of information; how can we teach our students to have analytical minds?

Date18 November 2019
Published date18 November 2019
AuthorMarie-Helene Zimmerman Nilsson
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Information in society,Information literacy,Library & information services
Knowing the value of information;
how can we teach our students to
have analytical minds?
In an era of risk, where previous certainties are being questioned, higher education teachers
must further develop skills and capacities to educate students to have analytical minds and
acknowledge the value of information. Academic integrity tends to represent an issue for
faculty and universities (Riemenschneider et al., 2016), with an increasing focus on teaching
ethical approaches to students. The introduction of the internet into peoples everyday life has
profoundly changed the interactions between individuals (Riemenschneider et al., 2016). Hence,
the character of communication and privacy has become different, as phones and computers
make people feel unrestrained by the usual social and ethical standards (Townsley and Parsell
When meeting new students on the rst day of their university education, the question
of information integrity should be addressed, emphasizing their responsibility in
acknowledging the importance of their effective management of information in their personal
and professional digital lives. In terms of studentsfuture employability, applicants for a new
job are often checked by the employer according to their proles on the internet to verify their
digital proles. Being a student today often implies being active in several digital networks.
The extent to which a student exposes personal matters to a wider digital audience varies.
However, one issue the student tends to consider important is relating ones personal digital
role on social media to the student role and the upcoming role as a professional teacher.
Dilemmas occur that often grow as discussion develops. Hence, in engaging with students, it is
clear that the dividing line between the personal and the professional is vague and inarticulate.
When teaching students to have analytical minds, one way of starting the session is by
initiating a student discussion about their own experiences of living digital lives. This tends to
result in interesting and multi-faceted discussions. During such interactions, students have
experienced employed professionals giving critical comments about their colleagues on their
private social media proles. They consider this complicated per se, but even more so they
realize that the colleague could be discredited to a wider private audience. Also, more distant
colleagues within the professional eld could be included, which could have negative
consequences for the criticized persons career. As students tend to argue, they disfavor the
person who posted the information privately, as it shows a lack of judgement in information
integrity. One suggested way of solving the problem is to make sure that no professionally
related persons are invited to your private social media page. However, students tend to ask
themselves, is this really possible to guarantee? From an ethical perspective, they suggest that
a more solid way of solving the problem is to avoid giving digital comments and opinions
about colleagues concerning professional aspects.
Another way of teaching studentsto have analytical minds is by using the Giving Voice
to Values ethics pedagogy.Frequently used rationales by students are provided and the task
is to critically discuss and contest the issues raised (Riemenschneider et al.,2016). This
Knowing the
value of
GlobalKnowledge, Memory and
Vol.69 No. 1/2, 2020
pp. 7-8
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/GKMC-07-2019-0092
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