About NLA

The New Literacies Alliance (NLA) is a dynamic consortial curricular project led by librarians from K-State, The University of Kansas Medical Center, and several other institutions. Our hope is to collaborate with other institutions to create a common curriculum based on characteristics of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy (and related) standards.

The NLA was formed to address the need for students to become critical creators and consumers of information in a variety of formats and contexts. The name New Literacies Alliance (NLA) was chosen because there are multiple literacies (e.g. language, information, visual, data) and the coexistence of literacies in print and technology necessitates new ways of teaching and learning. As the project matures, we plan to create tutorials that address many of these literacies. 

The lessons can be used as a leveling platform for library and research instruction; students who already understand the concepts can quiz out of the lessons, other students will learn the concepts through the lessons. Knowing that students understand basic core concepts will permit librarians and instructors to delve into more advanced critical thinking or discipline-specific research with students.  

We developed the lessons in an online learning platform that allows students to master skills at their own pace. The platform (SoftChalk) records students’ scores, which can be shared with course instructors, lab instructors, and other faculty or instructors mentoring students' research and creative activities.


The initial lessons cover rudimentary concepts of information literacy

  • Ask the Right Questions - How to determine the scope of an investigation by creating proper research questions

  • Types of Information - Different types of information are used for different purposes; how to choose the right type

  • Search Strategies - How to create and modify efficient search strategies

  • Question Authority - How authority is constructed and contextual and how the authority you seek changes based on the purpose of your research

  • Value of Information - How to identify the characteristics of information which contribute to its value

  • Scholarly Conversations - Learn five strategies for following a research conversation

  • Access Matters - Information access barriers and their consequences

  • Citations - Why citations are a foundation of scholarly communication and the basic components of a citation

  • Evidence-Based Practice - How to match levels of research evidence to clinical questions

Additional lessons are in production; we anticipate releasing new lessons twice a year. Upcoming lessons include Fake News and How to Read a Research Article.

Why use the lessons?

Instructor benefits

  • Instructors can determine the information literacy level of each student; the lessons will operate as leveling platform, ensuring that all students in a class have the same basic level of information literacy.

  • The instructor can collaborate with librarians to create student learning opportunities specifically for their course/lab/creative activity.

  • By assigning the tutorials as homework, class time can be freed up to focus on teaching discipline specific research skills.

  • The instructor can assign lessons at any point in the semester to most closely align with projects and assignments.

Student benefits

  • Students will develop a basic level of information literacy that will aid in completing common assignments such as finding and evaluating resources for papers, speeches, and other scholarly and creative activities.

  • Students can work through the lessons at their own pace; they each take the typical student between 8 and 15 minutes to complete.

  • Students will have more opportunities to learn more discipline-specific research skills.

  • Students can complete the lessons on their own, without being assigned by an instructor/advisor/mentor.

How to use them

The tutorials can be embedded into K-State Online Canvas which allows for tracking to complement classroom instruction. Please contact Joelle Pitts jopitts@ksu.edu or the librarian you typically work with for instruction sessions.

When to use them

The tutorials can be used where they fit best with course or lab work, but should be paired with an assignment or research/creative project for best results.

If you would like to work with NLA to create additional literacy lessons please contact Joelle Pitts or Sara K. Kearns.

If you would like to work with a librarian to create instructional experiences for your class/lab/studio, please use our Instruction Menu.