Developing concepts of Information Literacy


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This poster by Sheila Webber was presented at the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK.
"This poster presents ways in which the author aims to develop learners’ concepts of what information literacy means to them, in a core Masters class (“Information Resources and Information Literacy”) taken by 90 students in 2010-11 (60% of whom were international students).

One intervention makes use both of a Virtual Learning Environment, WebCT, and face to face discussion. The author sets up WebCT discussion threads for 10 conceptions of information literacy discovered through phenomenographic research (Webber et al., 2005). Students select the conception that best matches their own, and post comments on why they chose it. The most “popular” conception, in both years the exercise has run, has been IL as critical thinking and autonomous learning. The “results” are discussed with the class, in terms of implications for organisational and library development of these conceptions.

The second intervention consists of a seminar and a poster display. Students are divided into small groups and set the task of producing posters that show “What information literacy means to my future career”. The career aspirations of this class are varied (from management and Government posts in China, to library posts in the UK) and the posters are similarly varied in approach and style. This culminates in an hour long exhibition attended by students and staff, which also includes a display of database reference guides produced by students in a further exercise, and selections from their online discussion posts. This provokes discussion around the nature of information literacy and its relationship to employability. The poster outlines key facts about the class, illustrates the aims and steps in the interventions, and include photos of some of the students’ work.


Webber, S. Boon, S. and Johnston, B. (2005) “A comparison of UK academics’ conceptions of information literacy in two disciplines: English and Marketing.” Library and Information Research, 30 (93), 4-15."

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Developing concepts of Information Literacy

  1. 1. Developing concepts of information literacy Sheila Webber Sheffield University Information School Inf6350: Information resources and Inf6350: Intervention 1 Aims for this exercise: “ Develop your knowledge of research into IL information literacy (IL) Conceptions of IL “Identify your own views/experience of IL “Improve your ability to use MOLE (WebCT)” By the end of the module students will: Basis: conceptions of IL derived from Week 1 Each phenomenographic research (Webber • understand key aspects of information literacy and information conception et al, 2005) behaviour including: the nature of information needs, information posted to a seeking strategies, and the complexities entailed in satisfying “Read through the article, in discussion information needs; particular the description of each thread on Category of IL conception” • be able to demonstrate and evaluate their information literacy, for MOLE example expertise in accessing, using, comparing and evaluating “Choose a conception that you feel is information resources such as Web of Science, the Internet and nearest to how you view “This viewpoint is DIALOG. Top IL concepts: information literacy” near to mine. I think Assessment: an individual annotated bibliography, a literature Solving real-world problems; Emphasised there is no “right, answer” being thinker and review and a reflective report on the student’s Information Literacy only the right answer for you” questioner helps us to Becoming confident, understand autonomous learners and Find the “thread” for your category Core module: Semester 1 Week 2-3 information better critical thinkers on MOLE and make a posting to also its helpful for our show your choice• In 2009/10 83 students; in 2010/11 92 students personal 63 responses• Mainly taking MSc Information Management (majority) or development” (75%) MA Librarianship programmes Class reflection on their choice: Do Week 4• 2010/11: total of 12 countries, inc. 34 from UK & 30 from China “Helping users understand the broader information educators & library/information context – not just task professionals need to do anything Post-it differently help people develop this form Tools & modes used in examples focussed – also personal and professional needs and of information literacy? Post-it contribution to society” If had not yet chosen a conception: “What will you chose and why?” “Why do you find it difficult to chose?” exercises Assessment Increasing insight into IL for both Relevant to “7 Pillars of Information Literacy” Presentation Discussion students and educators assignment: evidence of IL perspective MOLE Reference Lecture Webber, S. Boon, S. and Johnston, B. (2005) “A comparison of UK academics conceptions of information literacy in two Reading Virtual Learning Environment disciplines: English and Marketing.” Library and Information Research, 30 (93), 4-15. Inf6350: Intervention 2: IL in my future career Aims: Week 6: Week 7: Presentation •“To develop your understanding of Information Literacy Preparation 1 hour exhibition with all students + staff & librarians •“To identify the aspects of Information Literacy relevant to your future careers Career focus varied e.g. academic or public library, IT Output consultant, Government work •“You will create depictions, in words and graphics, of the way in which In 2010/11 asked visitors to vote for their favourite poster information literacy will be relevant to your career. You will work in small groups to produce these depictions on flip chart paper. In week 7 you will Exhibit from 2010/11 in make these into a poster display that people outside this class may view.” Second Life, ongoing Poster: Affra Al Shamsi, Stephen Burton, Jiexiong Cai Visitors’/students’ 2009/10 2010/11 favourite poster IL for accountants: Chengtao Qiu, Qiu Sun, Ning ZhuPoster: Chandrani Maitra, Dan Guo, Philip Greaves, Weilong Guo, You Lu, Li Xiang Poster: Adrian Lewis and Shujie Wang Increasing insight into IL for both With thanks and acknowledgements to Nigel Ford students and educators & the Inf6350 classes 2009/10 and 2010/11 © Sheila Webber / The University of Sheffield, Information School: the iSchool; April 2011. The international information literacy logo: