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Dunne - Dear diary: the value of reflective journals in easing student transition

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Dunne - Dear diary: the value of reflective journals in easing student transition

  1. 1. Dear diary: the value of reflective journals in easing studenttransitionSiobhan Dunne, Dublin City University, siobhan.dunne@dcu.iePlanning an effective information literacy programme for first year undergraduatestudents can be challenging. Our ‘new’ students bring with them all the worries andpressures of modern living; it can be difficult for them to unpack the academic fromthe social. Asking students to maintain a reflective journal in the first semester of firstyear has proven highly effective in helping to ease such transition. It has alsoprovided academic and library staff a context within which to gauge and build upon,existing student information literacy skills.A programme offered by Dublin City University’s Faculty of Humanities and SocialSciences includes a module on Information and Study Skills. Here, emphasis is placedon the development of information literacy and the module provides an opportunityfor both academic and librarian to collaborate on the development of these skills forhigher education and lifelong learning. As part of their assessment for this module,students maintain a reflective journal in which they provide a weekly synopsis of theirgoals, the information resources they have used and the learning activities they haveundertaken. Students have to outline difficulties encountered with research, withparticular emphasis on differences with previous learning.Importantly, students have acknowledged the positive aspect of the journals in helpingthem to organise their time and be productive; many have reported that they see thedifference between their intentions and what they actually accomplish. On reviewingthe twelve weeks of the journal, students see that they have accomplished a great deal,thus providing a positive sense of self in relation to transition to HE. This paper willpinpoint how the reflective journals have both helped students to cope with theirchanging information environment and encouraged faculty staff to collaborate moreclosely with library colleagues on skills development.

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