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Engaging the reluctant - Phillips

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Presented at LILAC 2019

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Engaging the reluctant - Phillips

  1. 1. Engaging the reluctant: Barriers and facilitators to student participation in academic library information literacy training Veronica Phillips, Assistant Librarian (Research Support, Teaching and Learning), University of Cambridge Medical Library vmp26@cam.ac.uk | @librarianerrant
  2. 2. Introduction The context
  3. 3. The Medical Library • One of the faculty libraries within Cambridge University Libraries • Open to all University of Cambridge staff and students, as well as NHS staff from within the East of England • I share responsibility for information literacy teaching/training within this library – scheduled group sessions in the library, one-to-one sessions, and invited sessions (as part of induction/training programs in the hospital, at NHS workshops, or timetabled compulsory training for Cambridge medical students) • Attendance at non-compulsory sessions tends to be mainly NHS staff, or University postgraduate students and researchers.
  4. 4. The project • Low attendance numbers of clinical students at non-compulsory information literacy training • Cambridge University Libraries research into student learning experience indicated they felt they lacked confidence in the kinds of content taught in information literacy classes (database searching, reference management software, etc) (Marshall, 2018). Also creation of Information Literacy Framework (focus on undergradutate and taught post graduate students, and equitable provision of support across subjects and faculties) • Data collected through semi-structured interviews with clinical students about their perceptions of library training – deliberately focusing equally on attendees and non-attendees • Findings presented today are preliminary – interviews are still ongoing
  5. 5. The background • Most research on this subject takes the form of case studies of effectiveness of techniques/teaching styles in individual libraries or student cohorts, focusing on experiences of attendees: • Many studies solely measured perceived learning gain of training attendees (Hegarty and Carbery, 2010, Bowles-Terry, 2012, Soules et al., 2013, Shreeve and Chelin, 2014, Paterson and Gamtso, 2017) • Others also included measures such as pre- and post-test scores (Doi, 2016), performance on assignments (Bowles-Terry, 2012, Rae and Hunn, 2015), or perceptions of academic and library staff (Hoffman et al., 2017) • Rare instances compared test scores/perceptions of non-attendees (Atwong and Heichman Taylor, 2008, Swanberg et al., 2015)
  6. 6. The findings
  7. 7. Participants (so far) • 2 Year 4 (first year) students, 5 Year 5 (second year) students, 2 Year 6 (third year) students • 5 attendees of training, 4 non-attendees • Deliberately recruited outside of training spaces (student social spaces, cafeteria) to avoid only interviewing students who had already attended training
  8. 8. The findings: attendance • Busy timetables preventing students from attending: • ‘I think the training that was offered to us was in our R and I [Research and Integration] weeks where we’re, it’s the whole fourth year together and we have lectures all day and I guess the theory behind that is that we’re all together but I think it’s actually one of the less useful times to do it because we’re all together and everyone wants to catch up and hang out and we have lectures from like 9:00 sometimes until 6:00 p.m. so we’re all really busy.’ • ‘And I suppose, as well, they would probably be difficult for me to attend one anyway, just because of how busy my timetable is, finding the time could be quite hard.’ • ‘We’re timetabled pretty much every minute of the day.’
  9. 9. The findings: perceptions • Participants were surprised that the library delivered training on certain subjects: • ‘To me that just means teaching us how to do reflective practice. But I'm not sure in what library context that would be.’ • ‘So, I’m not really sure what, in, like the context of the library what that would be because we reflect, we do a lot of reflecting on your learning and that means they’re reiterated time and time by the Clinical School’ • ‘Okay, so what I understand under that is that in medicine you have to reflect on what you’re doing all the time, constantly reflect and see how you can improve things, how you can do things differently. In terms of a library course, I’m not sure how that, those two define together.’
  10. 10. The findings: barriers • Lack of awareness of courses: • ‘I heard about it [library one-to-one support] through word of mouth and I guess in the email bulletins but I know that not everyone reads them.’ • ‘I think it’s probably just one of those things when you receive so many emails and so many things saying you can do this, you can do this, you just kind of ignore them’
  11. 11. The findings: barriers • Perception that library training is only for students with ‘a research focus’: • ‘I feel like if I’ve maybe been doing a project or something that involved a greater use of like a literature section or something I might have sort of signed up to go to the training […] I’ve done projects but not sort of systematic reviews or anything like that.’ • ‘I think I've just felt like I personally haven't ever needed to. Just the sort of things I've been doing, I haven't needed those skills.’ • ‘I haven't needed to attend them yet, because it hasn't come up during my course, I haven't needed to do research in areas I was unfamiliar with.’ • But in contrast: ‘I'm not really that into research, but I know that it's better to have done some [research skills training] for future job applications and stuff.’
  12. 12. The findings: barriers • Students would be more likely to go if the training was more obviously integrated into their course and assessed work: • ‘Stuff that's important at the start of a project would be good at the start of the year and then stuff like editing and poster presentation and all that stuff would be good at the end of the year. So we got a talk on how to make a poster and stuff like that and that probably wouldn't – wasn't that useful at the start of the year when – I don't know, only like a select few people have anything to present a poster on. I'm sure it's just because of the timetabling difficulty and stuff like that, but sometimes it just felt like something was just chucked in in the introductory week for no real value or relevance to what we were doing at that time. But it would have been useful at another time.’ • ‘So, I do think SSC is definitely the most natural time to have it because that’s when everyone is trying to write a paper.’ • ‘It would be helpful to have them [training sessions] before our blocks that are dedicated to projects and research.’
  13. 13. The findings: weaknesses • Small sample size – only nine interviews so far, and unlikely to be more than twenty due to staff capacity • Convenience sampling – whoever happens to be in student social spaces at certain times
  14. 14. Next steps The project continues
  15. 15. Next steps: data collection • More interviews • Collect further data via secondary literature • Thematically code/map primary and secondary data – what are the common patterns and themes?
  16. 16. Next steps: changes in practice • Changes to advertising of courses to students – more selective and focused on courses that support specific assignments/coursework • Learn from successes – push for more timetabled library information literacy training • More effective advocacy with subject teaching staff/course coordinators – tied to new University of Cambridge Information Literacy Framework • Advocacy/outreach with specific student groups to increase visibility of teaching and awareness of what it entails
  17. 17. Any questions? Veronica Phillips vmp26@cam.ac.uk | @librarianerrant
  18. 18. Reference list • ATWONG, C. T. & HEICHMAN TAYLOR, L. J. 2008. Integrating Information Literacy into Business Education: A Successful Case of Faculty-Librarian Collaboration. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 13, 433-449. • BOWLES-TERRY, M. 2012. Library Instruction and Academic Success: A Mixed-Methods Assessment of a Library Instruction Program. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 7, 82-95. • DOI, C. 2016. Applying the Flipped Classroom Methodology in a First-Year Undergraduate Music Research Methods Course. Music Reference Services Quarterly, 19, 114-135. • HEGARTY, N. & CARBERY, A. 2010. Piloting a dedicated information literacy programme for nursing students at Waterford Institute of Technology libraries. Library Review, 59, 606-614. • HOFFMAN, N., BEATTY, S., FENG, P. & LEE, J. 2017. Teaching research skills through embedded librarianship. Reference Services Review, 45, 211-226. • MARSHALL, D. 2018. Student Learning Journey Project. Cambridge, England: University of Cambridge. • PATERSON, S. F. & GAMTSO, C. W. 2017. Information Literacy Instruction in an English Capstone Course: A Study of Student Confidence, Perception, and Practice. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43, 143-155. • SHREEVE, S. & CHELIN, J. 2014. Value and Impact of Librarians' Interventions on Student Skills Development. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 20, 204-232. • SOULES, A., NIELSEN, S., LEE, H. Y. & AL RIFAE, K. 2013. Embedding information literacy in an MA TESOL program. New Library World, 114, 32-43. • SWANBERG, S. M. M. S. I. A., ENGWALL, K. M. S. L. I. S. A. & MI, M. P. M. A. 2015. Continuing education for medical students: a library model. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 103, 203-207.
  19. 19. Veronica Phillips Assistant Librarian (Research Support, Teaching and Learning) University of Cambridge Medical Library Email: vmp26@cam.ac.uk Telephone: 01223 336750 Twitter: @librarianerrant

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