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Libraries’ Competition Puts Students’ Information Literacy Skills to the Test

June 1, 2018

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, the Drexel Libraries hosted a new information literacy competition in the Dragons’ Learning Den. 

Called “Two Truths and One Lie,” the competition – which was inspired by the well-known icebreaker of the same name – tested students’ information literacy skills in a fun, competitive environment. The event was held in conjunction with the University’s second annual Week of Undergraduate Excellence.

The competition consisted of three rounds, with each round centered on a different theme: Pop Culture & Philadelphia Culture, Health & Medicine, and Engineering & Technology. During each round, the five competing teams received three statements – two truths and one lie.

Students sit at round tables and face a woman standing at the front of the room.
Students listen as the Dean of Libraries explains the rules for Two Truths & One Lie.

Teams had 10 minutes to find evidence to support which statements they believed were true and which one was a lie, and they could use laptops, mobile devices and any other Libraries resources for the competition. A “Liaison Librarian Lifeline” as well as a 5-hint flier were also available to offer tips and guidance for evaluating resources.

A panel of three judges scored each round based on each team’s demonstration of their information literacy skills, with points awarded for correctly identifying the truths and the lie. Additional points were awarded based on the quality of the sources used to support each claim and the amount of evidence provided.

Judges included Paula Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English and Dean of the Pennoni Honors College; John Wiggins, the Libraries’ Director for Services and Quality Improvement; and Jay Bhatt, Liaison Librarian for Engineering. Elise Ferer, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning, served as the Library Liaison Lifeline.

The Libraries developed this competition as a fun way to highlight the importance of information literacy – to recognize truth from “fake news” and to have the skills to locate, evaluate and use information effectively.  

“It’s not enough today to just guess if information you see online, in the news, and elsewhere is true or false. We are all challenged to find and use authoritative evidence and information sources to help us make sense of the world in all aspects of our lives,” said Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean of Libraries. “Part of the Libraries’ mission is to engage Drexel students – with authoritative information, as well as faculty and staff – so they become well-prepared to meet these challenges. This competition both tested those skills and highlighted the importance of being able to identify reputable sources of information beyond coursework.”

Though only one team registered in advance, over a dozen students individually arrived to be ”truth seekers” – a name one of the winning teams gave themselves. Pizza and modest gift cards added to the post-competition networking among players and a few observing fans.  All participants enjoyed the challenge and urged the Libraries to do this again, with expectations for more to come. 

What do you it true or false that “Two University of Pennsylvania graduate students filed for a patent for the barcode in 1949”?