Librarians at Rice and Purdue Universities created novel assignments to teach students important information literacy skills. The assignments required the students to use a third-party web site, PageFlakes and NetVibes, respectively, to create a dynamically updated portal to information they needed for their research and class projects. The use of off-the-shelf web 2.0 technology to enable students to discover the latest information in their subject areas of interest provides an engaging, hands-on environment with immediate feedback on the quality of their searching. The authors provide a basic introduction to the use of the 'portal' web site. Then, the results of using this technique, for graduate students in physics in one case and junior/senior level undergraduates in the other, are analyzed, and recommendations for the integration of this type of assignment in other courses are given.
- information literacy; information portals