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A whole university blended approach to developing academic and information literacies for researchers. Geraghty & O'Sullivan

Presented at LILAC 2010

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A whole university blended approach to developing academic and information literacies for researchers. Geraghty & O'Sullivan

  1. 1. A whole University blended approach to developing academic and information literacies for researchers Aoife Geraghty, Library Íde O’Sullivan, Writing Centre University of Limerick
  2. 2. The first step • Blended approaches to developing academic and information literacies: initial collaboration. Glucksman Library UL The Writing Centre at UL
  3. 3. Creating Links …
  4. 4. Creating Links continued
  5. 5. Defining the literacies Academic Literacy “This domain is broadly defined as encompassing knowledge, concepts and skills that address study effectiveness and scholastic achievement. Specifically, the focus falls on writing, notetaking, concept mapping, time management, synthesis and critical thinking” (Peacock 2008). “… academic literacy is a learning process that focuses on language as the key building block of knowledge, and writing as a key way of learning, expressing and thinking (Vygotsky 1962)” (Peacock 2008).
  6. 6. Defining the literacies Academic Literacy continued “…literacy is seen as a social practice rather than a set of cognitive skills to be learnt and assimilated. This approach takes account of the cultural and contextual components of writing and research practices” (Lea and Street 1996:2).
  7. 7. Defining the Literacies Information Literacy "To be information literate an individual must recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the information needed. " (American Library Association, 1989)
  8. 8. Developing Literacies - Why? Developing researchers, scholars, lifelong learners “The new graduate must not only have specialist knowledge in their field, but also have a range of generic competencies required to participate in a workplace subject to constant change, the skills to continue learning throughout a professional life time and sufficient breadth of knowledge and understanding to reach to entirely new challenges and to place their work in a broader social and cultural context.” (Irish Universities Association 2005)
  9. 9. Two separate discourses with common goals • Academic and Information Literacy – two separate discourses with common goals? • Despite sharing similar goals, librarians and writing instructors work separately in the achievement of these same goals (Birmingham et al. 2008:7). • Encourage an integrated approach to the research and writing process. • How has information literacy been integrated into the academic literacies classroom?
  10. 10. Two separate discourses with common goals continued • Academics often look towards the Library, the Writing Centre, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and other resources for reasons to explain what they regard to be students’ insufficiencies in research and writing (Birmingham et al. 2008:7). • How can these units work together to respond to these “accusations”?
  11. 11. Pre-degree First year Undergraduate Faculty (Supporting Student Writing) Faculty (Professional Development) Postgraduate Early Researcher Scholar • Library • Writing Centre • Centre for Teaching & Learning • Graduate School • Student Affairs • Access Office • Mature Student Office • Counselling services • The four faculties • Information Technology Division • Careers Office Working together at the University of Limerick
  12. 12. Collaboration: Academic Literacies 1 & 2 • Students are introduced to the academic literacies necessary for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences disciplines. – Autonomous learning – Critical thinking – Study skills (Centre for Teaching and Learning) – Information literacy (Library) – Writing skills (Writing Centre) – Oral communication skills (Writing Centre) • Library resources used throughout the programme – I-Skills (Cranfield) – Research Skills Online (Epigeum) • Centre for Teaching and Learning, Learning Styles Questionnaire:
  13. 13. Collaboration: Academic Literacies 1 & 2 continued • Embedding the literacies in the learning process. • The research process is integrated into the writing process, and these components are taught together. The information literacy is taught in the context of an authentic enquiry. • Authentic research and writing tasks/projects: the development of IL and writing skills in an integrated manner. • A process approach to the development of academic literacies and information literacy.
  14. 14. Collaboration Online The Library and the Writing Centre are working together as the UL development partners with other UK and Irish universities in developing the Epigeum Study Skills Online modules (to be launched AY 2010/2011) Modules include: – Knowing yourself as a learner – Information literacy – Reading skills – Academic writing - Argument based essays – Academic writing - Projects and Lab reports – Academic writing - Reflective writing – Good Academic Practice (incl. plagiarism)
  15. 15. Collaboration in the Disciplines Examples The Art and Science of Nursing Writing Centre: Writing a Literature Critique Library: Information Skills Professional and Personal Skills for Engineers Writing Centre: Report Writing Library: Information Literacy for Engineers
  16. 16. Collaboration with the Graduate School Workshops, seminars and customised online modules, incl Research Skills Online ( • Literature Review • Writing Long Documents • Bibliographic Management Software • Publishing Strategies - Maximising your Impact • Presentation Skills Online • Writing for publication / Thesis writing
  17. 17. Moving towards more meaningful collaboration • Moving a student along the dimension from novice to the point of being a scholar in a discipline – 1st year orientation – Information, Reading, Writing & Learning Support – Structured PhD programmes (Graduate Research Education Programmes) • Integrating IL and AL together in the disciplines • Institutional change – Moving beyond academic champions to influencing University policy and strategy (McGuinness 2007) • Shared spaces, physical and online – e.g. Queensland University of Technology’s Blended Help Desk Service Model
  18. 18. Our Mission To reconnect writing with what has been written “The stakes are too high not to welcome each other as genuine and natural intellectual partners in a common rhetorical enterprise.” (Norgaard 2004)