Researching information literacy: from theory to practice


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Lecture given at the Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University on 25th November 2013 to the postgraduate students.

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  • Write all the technologies that people mention onto the board – add any missing:
    Lecture Capture
    Discussion forums
    Audio feedback
    Social networking
    Web 2.0 tools – blogs, twitter, etc.
    Online assessment
    Video conferencing / Wimba classroom
  • Explain acronym!
    20 Arcadia Fellows in 3 years
    Many from outside Cambridge, not all librarians
  • The 2011 Demos report argues that helping young people navigate hugely variable Internet sources should be achieved not by tighter controls but by ensuring they can make informed judgements (4).
    The move towards independent learning is again key not just to our practices but in our thinking – we should think less about the internet causing harm (passive learning model) and instead focus on what young people bring to the technologies – helping them equip and empower themselves with an understanding of how to apply critical judgement.
    The Guardian’s high-provile digital literacy campaign for radical change to how ICT is taught and thought about in schools, JISC’s portfolio of projects around the digital library, data management, digital repositories, and Vitae’s events for the ‘Digital Researcher’ – all show that this concept of digital literacy or fluency is becoming of national importance (at last!).
    In this environment we have a chance to rehabilitate IL.
  • Emma
    The strands reflect the areas identified by our expert panelists and that arose in our own discussions and research. These are the themes that we believe constitute information literacy in its proper sense, as the foundation of lifelong learning as well as the ability to discern and evaluate in specific contexts such as academic scholarship.
  • Emma
  • Follow up work at Cambridge after I finished – to explore how you could implement ANCIL
    Katy looked at using it as a tool to ‘audit’ provision across an institution – choose YSJ and University of Worcester
    You need to identify the important players before you audit
    Allow time – 3 weeks in a 10 week project is not enough – but make sure you maintain the impetus
    Find the right format and right reward reward to encourage participation - coffee
  • Reviewing the portfolio of support for undergraduates to help us provide better support
    By exploring how joined up Library / CLT provision is with other support departments
    To explore how embedded IL is in academic programmes
    To encourage a collaborative approach to student support
  • Maria
    Much provision informal, standalone, not assessed - Services often not coordinated
    ◦Belief that IL is important, needs to be embedded and student learning should be scaffolded focus on online information: find, evaluate and manage skills 
    •Highlights examples of good practice and suggested skills embedded at some level - inconsistent 
    •Time a factor in UG curriculum
    •Assumptions that students ‘should’ have IL skills when they arrive are problematic
    •Belief that embedding is difficult by librarians 
    •Information use by students is largely driven by reading lists and resources in Moodle
    Students dependent on lecturers for direction
    •More likely to seek support from Careers, IT Training, TLC rather than Library and only at point of need.
  • Maria
    Where next – we have this map – shows overlaps and areas of expertise. But also areas where people are doing less.
    Also support services and departments not always working together and support services not joining up.
    Remedial view of skills support persists amongst some academics – sink or swim
    What do you we do next though?
  • Jane
    Following our findings being endorsed at the Teaching, Learning and Assessment committee we spent some time devising an appropriate IL framework
    Purpose to inform academics of info & digital literacy skills with examples
    Enable mapping of existing provision
    Tool can be used by teaching librarians and learning technologists when planning
    Informed by work of other institutions 
    8 competencies
  • Jane
  • Jane - just show the slide (no time to talk to it)
  • Digital literacy classes run by CLT and Library: open to staff and PhD students
    Optional programme running each term
    Cover using new technologies to support teaching and research
    social media (social networking, social bookmarking, Twitter, blogging), advanced internet searching, keeping up to date, developing your web presence
    Taught by CLT and Library staff
    Further information on CLT website
  • Week 1: Starting a literature search
    Week 2: Going beyond Google
    Week 3: Managing information: Endnote, Zotero, Mendeley
    Week 4: Locating research publications
    Week 5: Specialist materials: primary sources
    Week 6: Publication, ethical issues and keeping up to date
  • Saves re-inventing the wheel
    Saves time and money
    Shares good practice
    Benefits librarians across the sectors and around the world
    Part of the ‘open education’ movement
  • Mention LILAC conference student sponsored place -
    Also mention the Library Camp and TeachMeets as great ways of networking and meeting people - also very cheap.
  • Researching information literacy: from theory to practice

    1. 1. Researching information literacy: from theory to practice Dr Jane Secker LSE Centre for Learning Technology Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University 25th November 2013
    2. 2. Overview • • • • • • Introduction and my background Definitions of information and digital literacy and useful models Researching information literacy: developing a new curriculum (ANCIL) Information & digital literacy in practice Researching information literacy: open educational resources Tips for success as a research practitioner
    3. 3. The practitioners perspective  Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor at LSE  Primarily supporting staff in their use of technologies for teaching  Also teach on PG Cert (HE teaching qualification + research skills for PhD students)  How can librarians and other academic support staff best help students, research students, academic staff and other staff in higher education?  Why research in information literacy is important
    4. 4. More about me      My background: librarian and e-learning specialist, PhD in information science / history Publications and web presence Find me on LinkedIn, twitter, keen blogger Editor: Journal of Information Literacy Module tutor in DIS
    5. 5. Definitions of information literacy …Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner. CILIP (2004) Information literacy definition  Information literacy empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion in all nations. UNESCO (2005) Alexandria Proclamation
    6. 6. "the ‘savvyness’ that allows young people to participate meaningfully and safely as digital technology becomes ever more pervasive in society." FutureLab 2010 Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum
    7. 7. What are the issues?  Jones et al (2010) highlights the generational debate ‘ Google generation’  If you were born after 1982 = Generation Y  In pairs - reflect on:  What is digital and information literacy to you?  How did you become information literate as a students in school and in university?  What skills do you need to succeed in higher education?
    8. 8. What is the role for librarians in teaching in higher education?
    9. 9. The ‘Literacies’ Landscape Digital fluency
    10. 10. Information literacy is a continuum of skills, behaviours, approaches and values that is so deeply entwined with the uses of information as to be a fundamental element of learning, scholarship and research. It is the defining characteristic of the discerning scholar, the informed and judicious citizen, and the autonomous learner. ANCIL definition of information literacy (2011) Coonan and Secker (2011)
    11. 11. A New Curriculum for Information Literacy (ANCIL)  Research based approach  Arcadia Fellowship with Emma Coonan at Cambridge from May to July 2011  Academic advisor: Prof. John Naughton  Research remit: Develop a new, revolutionary curriculum for information literacy in a digital age  Understand the needs of undergraduates entering higher education over the coming 5 years  Map the current landscape of information literacy  Develop a practical curriculum and supporting resources
    12. 12. The expert consultation  Consulted librarians, researchers, educators, trainee teachers, school librarians  How you teach at least as important as what you teach  Must be embedded into the academic curriculum and disciplines will vary  Must be based on real needs: students are not homogeneous  Must be opportunities for reflection
    13. 13. Curriculum strands 1. Transition from school to higher education 2. Becoming an independent learner 3. Developing academic literacies 4. Mapping and evaluating the information landscape 5. Resource discovery in your discipline 6. Managing information 7. Ethical dimension of information 8. Presenting and communicating knowledge 9. Synthesising information and creating new knowledge 10. Social dimension of information literacy
    14. 14. Implementing ANCIL – Webster & Wrathall’s work Lessons Learnt
    15. 15. ANCIL at LSE  Reviewed current practice at LSE  To inform Library / CLT teaching provision  To highlight good practice and any gaps in provision  Put information literacy on the agenda at LSE  Produced a report presented at the February 2013 Teaching, Learning and Assessment Committee
    16. 16. Results of the audit  IL not embedded  Belief that IL is important: find, evaluate and manage  Some good practice but inconsistent  Time main barrier  Students ‘should’ have IL skills  Information use largely driven by reading lists and resources in Moodle Photo by starmanseries licensed under Creative Commons
    17. 17. Careers Language Centre Teaching & Learning Centre Language Centre LSE100 Departments Library Teaching & Learning Centre Departments Language Centre Library Departments LSE100 Language Centre Teaching & Learning Centre Careers Departments LSE100 Teaching & Learning Centre Departments Language Centre Library Centre for Learning Technology Library Library Library
    18. 18. Developing an LSE Framework  Covers digital and information literacy  Based on ANCIL and other frameworks  Purpose to inform academics and provide examples  Enable mapping of existing provision  Tool can be used by teaching librarians and learning technologists Image cc from /
    19. 19. Embedding Digital and information literacy  Running pilots with two academic departments to embed in UG courses  Working in partnership with academic staff and academic support colleagues  Scheduling additional face to face sessions  Embedding support in the virtual learning environment
    20. 20. Student ambassadors for digital literacy  Used in several JISC Digital Literacy projects  Will be piloting this as part of 1 year SADL project  Recruiting 20 undergraduates from Statistics and Social Policy  Planning workshops, reflection, peer support and more… Photo by Flickingerbrad licensed under Creative Commons
    21. 21. Further reading and resources LSE Digital and Information Literacy Framework (2013) Available at: Bell, Maria and Moon, Darren and Secker, Jane (2012) Undergraduate support at LSE: the ANCIL report. The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. Available at: Secker, Jane and Coonan, Emma. (2012) Rethinking Information Literacy: a practical framework for support learning. Facet Publishing: London Wrathall, Katy (2012) Strategies for Implementing ANCIL in Non-Cambridge HEIs
    22. 22. Digital Literacy in practice at LSE  Digital literacy classes  Run each term  Cover using new technologies to support teaching and research  social media (social networking, social bookmarking, Twitter, blogging), advanced internet searching, keeping up to date, developing your web presence  Further information on CLT website
    23. 23. Supporting PhD Students: The MY592 programme  Information and digital literacy course comprising of six 2 hour workshops  Aimed primarily at new PhD students  Builds up skills over programme  Specialist advice and support from academic support librarians  Taught by CLT / Library staff  Supported online in Moodle  Overview on LSE Library website
    24. 24. IL research: the benefits of sharing teaching materials  In 2010/11 managed a 12 month JISC / HEA project in open educational resources programme  DELILA: Developing Educator Learning and Information Literacies for Accreditation  Converted LSE and Birmingham’s IL resources into Open Educational Resources (OERs) to share  Made the resources available in Jorum: UK teaching and learning respository  Several follow up projects since DELILA in this field to encourage librarians to share resources
    25. 25. From DELILA to CoPILOT  Following DELILA undertook a survey about OERs and information literacy launched at LILAC 2012  Additional funding obtained in October 2012 to explore benefits of sharing resources internationally  Created a UK ‘Community of Practice’ to share teaching materials as OERs  Also created an international platform for sharing teaching materials  Ongoing work with UNESCO and IFLA Information Literacy section
    26. 26. Benefits of sharing?  As someone who might have to teach information literacy for the first time, do you create materials from scratch or find existing resources?  Would you re-use materials from a colleague at your institution?  Would you re-use materials from a colleague elsewhere?  Would you know where to find materials?
    27. 27. Why share IL materials? Image licensed under Creative commons from:
    28. 28. Useful starting places  Information Literacy website:  Jorum Information Literacy collection:  Cardiff University IL resource bank:  UNESCO Worldwide Information Literacy resources:  JISCmail lists - LIS-Infoliteracy and IL-OERS
    29. 29. Challenges of being a researcher / practitioner  Finding time - the day job gets in the way of research and writing!  Credibility as a researcher  Confidence - but practice makes perfect!  Where to publish - the librarian’s echo chamber
    30. 30. Tips for success  Apply for external or internal project funds to facilitate research  Can give you time and project staff  Build reflection and feedback into your regular processes - e.g. annual surveys  Get published - even if just internally  Network, network, network conferences are great for this!  Find a like-minded colleague!
    31. 31. Contact details  Email  Twitter @jsecker  Personal Blog Secker, J. and Coonan, E. (2012) Rethinking information literacy: a practical framework for teaching. Facet Publishing: London
    32. 32. Useful references        Jones, C, Ramanau, R, Cross, S and Healing, G (2010) ‘Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university?’, Computers & Education, 54, (3), 722-732. Margaryan, A and Littlejohn, A. (2009). Are digital natives a myth or reality? Students use of technologies for learning. Available at: y-MargaryanAndLittlejohn-draft-111208.pdf (Accessed 2nd June 2010) Rowlands, I. et al ‘The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future’, Aslib Proceedings New Information Perspectives, 60, (4) 290-310. SADL Project website (2013) SCONUL (2011) The SCONUL 7 Pillars Core model. Available at: Secker, Jane and Macrae-Gibson, Rowena. (2011) Evaluating MI512: an information literacy course for PhD students. Library Review, 60 (2). pp. 96-107. ISSN 0024-2535. Available at: Secker, Jane and Coonan, Emma (2011). A New Curriculum for Information Literacy. Available at: