Introduction to Info Skills


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A presentation by Cathy Walsh and Ella Mitchell, University of East London. Conducted at a DELILA (Developing Educators Learning and Information Literacies for Accreditation) dissemination event hosted by the Centre for Distance Education on 26 July 2011.

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  • Ella 5 minsWhy we needed it:-We wanted an organised resource that was easy to navigate. The resources that we already had were good, but quite difficult to find….. -A lot of our librarians work with first years; but you can see the glazed look in their eye…. We felt that information literacy needs to be targeted to when the students need it and also we wanted something to act as a refresher for -students, especially the ones with memories like a gold fish.-We wanted a resource that would be useful to students who have different learning styles…. We recognise that our students are not always able to attend the campus on a regular basis. -We wanted an online resource that matched the 24/7 services that we offer as a service. So that students can dip in and out when they need it. Also we recognise that students require help….. when they need it and this might be outside of our office hours. We were keen to give the individual choice on when and how to use the resource for independent learning-We did not want a resource that was too dictatorial: We know that some of our students are what is affectionately known as: “strategic learners”. We didn’t want a tutorial approach, something that compelled the student to finish…..-The key driver for this project was to develop an information skills support resource set firmly within the student perspective of studying in Higher Education. This meant moving away from the traditional ‘how to use the library’ approach towards embedding information skills within the context of academic achievement and integrity, not only defining the key areas and concepts but also conveying their importance – the ‘why’ of learning them – for individualsWe know that students sometimes respond better to their fellow students. We wanted a resource that had a mix of advice from students, lecturers and librarians. The student voice was an important part of our resource. We wanted it to appeal to students and to enhance their learning experience through hearing about other students experiences and voice. -We wanted a professional looking resource to accompany our face to face and also aid our sessions. Teaching information literacy…..…. Can be a little dry. We wanted a resource that was interactive and snazzy. With multimedia… but we also wanted to sneak content in there.
  • Ella 5 minsLots of information in our VLE: However constrained by the structure of the VLE and also the fact that it is a password protected facility. Not too sure but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests students do not really spend any great time in the VLE…. They are usually very course focused in their use of the VLE. - All librarians tend to suffer from information hoarding! -there is a lot of useful information on the library webpages-Hidden information… -Navigation not intuitive -A lot of repeated information-not always easy to know you need it, let alone find it.
  • Erica 5 mins: What we liked that other people had. What have you got?All these online resources for info lit are open, readily discoverable through Google or the institutions Library web pages. Staffordshire ASKEspecially liked the focus on the assignment context. Breaks process down linearly to support planning. Mainly text as web pages to guide on each step.Cardiff ILRBRepository of mainly bite-sized resources for download and use in teaching (egppts, VLE). Quizzes, graphics, animations, tutorials.Leeds Skills@LibraryDetailed library of self-contained resources for students organised in sections for different types of student. Activities and tutorials. Can also be accessed by Delicious bookmarking tool, resources are tagged by topics or by keywords.OU SafariSkills in Accessing, Reviewing and Finding Information. Linear narrative, detailed, text-based pages with some activities. Good intro for those not studied at all before.Q. Do you have online resources at your institution? Share a few examples.
  • This is how our final resource looks. Will now explain in brief the design and development process we used.
  • Erica 10 mins:Run through the key stages of the development process very quickly.Getting funding – from Academic Practice and Student ExperienceSetting up project team - Team of 5 (Associate director, 2x Subject Librarians, e-learning designer, project manager (learning technologist) Consultations – sessions with students and Subject Librarian teamHigh level design – linkContent map – linkPrototype – created a very small rough working site, showing hownavigation would work and links to a few pages and key resourcesDetailed design – using feedback from prototype evaluationContent collection from SMEs – Subject Librarians asked to complete pro-formas with text, key points, links, example resources etc for each section. Variety of approaches, some gave almost finished content, others outline of areas to cover but was all vital part of the process.Intensive development (web design – video production – guides – demonstrations – quizzes - writing pages) – all these activities proceeding concurrently with regular communication between all partiesUploading content – able to do this ourselves as the web design company gave us the ‘empty’ site with the CMS tool to populate itSummative evaluations – Mainly Library staff, unable to get students or academics due to timing but ideally would have got their feedback at this point prior to final version alsoFinal version and launch – incorporating changes from evaluation, added Creative Commons licenseMarketing – range of actions and material, ongoingNext step - Evaluation follow-up planned Sem A with wider group of academics and students, esp the Level 1 target groupThe really key things in the process that underpinned success were:CollaborationThe collaborative nature of the whole project –different skills on the team very important , Library staff acting as SMEs for information skills and the library tools and student needs, e-learning staff for design/development of the resource and project managing the process, some crossover as well.Involving the wider Library team (and some other UEL professionals eg head of academic integrity, student liaison officer) to provide the raw content, appear in the videos and create some of the resources was as important for buy-in as it was for the actual content. Iterative process – continual review and evaluationLooking back it’s never as tidy or step-by-step as this, often several things going on at once and continual review and discussion within the team leading to many iterations of everything – the structure, the graphic design, individual resources and pages. Good communication and project management with regular meetings and reviews allow it to be a flexible process but kept on track within an overall milestone timeline.
  • This is the design we used to meet the needs outlined at the startDedicated learning resource – Separating the information on the Library website from the support and guidance to make everything easier to find and easier for staff to direct students to. Library website being redesigned as a resultOpen – easiest access 24/7, no issue with login, passwords etc, especially important for distance/part-time learners, opens up to pre-entry groups, good for reputation if high quality, works on mobile devices (except demonstrations on Apple mobile) Creative commons licence good for education community – we also repurposed some of other people’s content (quizzes)Clear structure,Transparent navigation – To make everything easy to find at a high level, and flexible enough to suit different learner situations. Easy to go to specific guidance eg as a refresher or a ‘dip-in’ for the strategic learners – while also making sense as a whole for more in-depth independent study – providing overviews and introductions to all topics that can be followed in linear sequences. Bite-size – text-lite, granular resources – again for quick, easy access to specific guidance or ‘just-in-time’ support, also students frequently say they prefer less text and we wanted to avoid lengthy tutorials we felt most students wouldn’t use. Discrete resources also useful as support for teaching sessions and 1:1s eg download a guide as a handout, use a video to prompt discussion, set a quiz as pre- or post-learning.Variety of types of resources,Content can be used in different ways – To allow for different learner preferences and different kinds of support – eg videos particularly good for motivation and engagement, how-to guides for reference, demos when need to see how to use a specific tool, quizzes to check what you know and don’t know. Can use as a whole with the page text introducing key concepts backed up with resources or go straight to the resource that learner judges they need most at that particular moment.Assignment context – the ‘why’ not just the ‘what’ – keep it focussed on what matters most to students – their marks and final results, did this through the narrative of the text and videos and a photo slideshow on the home pageStudent videos – peer advice and experience as powerful as the ‘expert’ voice, makes it more relevant and more real to our students. Their voices also cover diverse situations eg international students, learners from non-traditional entry routesProfessional web design – students expect high quality web content now as they are used to it in everyday life, attractive design more likely to encourage students to use it, (and others). Working with a professional company also led to functionality we didn’t know we could have – eg a CMS updating tool allowing anyone to edit and update content freely without any web skills
  • This is the final content map showing the page structure and all the resources on the site. Was refined as we went along.8 versions! Can easily be updated if you add to the site.
  • 15 mins:What do you think?Optional questionnaire?
  • Both 10 mins: This is what people have said. We’d like your feedback too.Prompt questions for discussion if needed:What do you think of it overall?How does it compare to your resources?Plus pointsMinus pointsAnything missing?Any improvementsHow might you use it?How far do you think it might meet the needs of students in transition from FE?
  • We have had a soft launch of the project already in Sem B 2011. But are ramping up for a full launch in Sept..If funding becomes available then we would very much like to look into designing more compatible quizzes with mobile devices.The site has been signed off and we now have access to the site and CMS. It is not designed to be a static site. We are thinking about ways to enhance and develop the site in future. We are interested in developing more content for the site. We are very interested to hear from students and users of the site about what they like/don’t like about the site. We are looking to conduct further evaluation and ways to encourage feedback on the site.Already the site is attracting a lot of interest in the university and there is a project group working to develop a similar tool with a wider academic skills remit in line with the new skills curriculum that is being developed in the university.
  • Introduction to Info Skills

    1. 1. Info skills @ UELCathy WalshElla Mitchell26th July 2011
    2. 2. At UEL• „Get that Job‟ tool• Open access• Professional looking• Highly accessible for students• Established brand
    3. 3. Why we needed a new resource• What we had was good but difficult to find• We wanted a refresher for students• A resource to suit different learning needs of our students and students that are not always on campus• Available 24/7 to match many of our services and to meet students‟ expectations• A resource that was not too dictatorial: to suit our „strategic learners‟
    4. 4. Why this approach?• Focus on level one learners due to cost and time restrictions• Information skills and academic integrity the priority• Making information skills relevant to the student / assignment-focussed• Students sometimes respond better to their fellow students• Professional-looking resource
    5. 5. Creative commons• This is an Open Access Educational Resource.• Open Educational Resources tend be more geared towards reusable objects….• Videos on Youtube: can link to, embed etc.• PDFs downloadable• It is openly available on the internet.
    6. 6. Other benefits?• Open access enables collaborative partners and pre entry students to use the resource• Contributes to the transition to UK HE for international students as well as home students• Preparation for the expectations of HE learning• Addressing the expectations „gap‟ for academic staff
    7. 7. What we had already• UEL Library webpages• Information on the VLE• A lot of great information….. gently hidden!• Not a very clear layout• Site reliant on having had some guidance in how to use it
    8. 8. What we liked out there• Staffordshire Assignment Survival Kit• Cardiff Information Literacy Resource Bank• Leeds Skills@Library• OU Safari There are many other examples of good practice in this area.
    9. 9. What we produced
    10. 10. How we did it• Getting funding• Setting up project team• Consultations• High level design• Content map• Prototype• Detailed design• Content collection from SMEs• Intensive development – web design – video production – guides – demonstrations – quizzes - writing pages• Uploading content• Summative evaluations• Final version and launch• Copyright• Marketing
    11. 11. Feedback• We are always happy to hear your feedback about the site:• Would you use it? How? Who with?• How might your students use it?
    12. 12. What do you think?• “Found Info skills very useful – great idea to put it all together” D. Patel UEL student• “I have had another look at your Info skills pages and they are very impressive” K. Virdee, Academic Liaison Librarian• “p.s. I only discovered the eBook thanks to the InfoSkills website - very useful!” An e-mail from a student support officer, at one of our collaborative partnership institutions.• „UEL‟s new information literacy site looks good. Does what it says on the tin.‟ Tweet• Library staff have already started using the site and there has been some good feedback from students in information skills sessions.• Web statistics since 1st March: – 1800 visits (550 returning) – Average 4.5 page views in 3.5 minutes – Referencing and Video Library are top entry points after Home Page
    13. 13. Looking to the future:• Planned launch for Semester A 2011/12• Looking into the use of the site on mobile devices e.g. the quizzes are not compatible with Iphones• Develop more multimedia content• Conduct further evaluation• Expand the resource into wider academic skills
    14. 14. Info skills @ UELThank you!