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Information literacy for life not just for Christmas. Pope


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Presented at LILAC 2009

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Information literacy for life not just for Christmas. Pope

  1. 1. Welcome Introduction Author name Information Services Information literacy for life-not just for Christmas! Or even the Autumn term Alison Pope, Information Services, 31 March 2009
  2. 2. What we used to do • Skills were taught as part of 30 credit module “English Legal System and Study Skills” (ELS3) • Timetabling constraints meant that skills were handled after Christmas: not ideal • Module feedback showed that students felt this was not helpful
  3. 3. Using the student feedback • Worked with module leader to analyse student feedback on ELS3 module • Practical focus needed: move to workshops only • The “Morecambe/Previn” problem: we were doing all the right things just not necessarily in the right order! • Consequence was that students disengaged and thought the material we covered was disposable • Failure to apply skills learnt to the modules and, indeed, to employability and life
  4. 4. Opportunity to change • University-wide emphasis on embracing the UK Government’s Skills agenda: 2007/8 appointment of new member of University Executive who has this as her focus. • Law School wishes to align itself with this new initiative. • Undergraduate award up for review and re-validation 2008/9. • Decision taken to split ELS3 into 2 smaller modules • This means there is now the need to use SU’s new revised learning outcome “enquiry” • Opportunity to create totally workshop driven module
  5. 5. What we did • Division of the module in to 2 x 15 credit modules means that Skills element can now be handled before Christmas. • Listed topics to cover- not just information literacy- and tried to put these topics into an order that meant students received workshops at times meaningful to them. • Huge task: need to cover specific skills at times in the undergraduate course when these skills can be embedded in the context of the other modules; contract, criminal law, constitutional and administrative law.
  6. 6. Skills groupings • Divided the skills into three types – Learning – Personal enhancement and employability – Lawyering
  7. 7. Finding a place for information literacy Information literacy nestles within “learning” element and is represented by the topics • Understanding primary sources • Evaluating secondary sources • Academic writing • Referencing and plagiarism
  8. 8. Other elements of the course • Academic writing • Problem solving • Interviewing • Presentation skills • Professional writing • Group work • Leadership • Employability
  9. 9. Students as strategic learners Timetabling topics for points in the course when other modules would be handling these issues • Students cover understanding cases and statutes right at the beginning. [Workshop in late September]. • Students cover evaluating secondary sources when they are beginning to read around topics for tutorials. [Workshop in early October]. • Academic writing covered when students need to begin work on a 2000 word written assessment. [Workshop in early November]. • Referencing and plagiarism covered just before hand-in date. [Workshop in late November].
  10. 10. Students as strategic learners • Choice of topics around which skills workshops focus is important • Try to echo what is going on in the other first year modules so that students see the inter-relationship of skills to study • For example, professional writing workshop looks at a topic which is being studied at the same time in contract law ,exclusion clauses
  11. 11. Students as strategic learners This idea of doing skills based work at the right time and on the right topic is borne out by research • Hot topics and reflective learning (Bordinaro and Richardson (2004)) • “Just-in-time” research on the importance of timeliness (Walker and Engel (2003))
  12. 12. Timing is crucial • Students will engage more with a topic which is timely • Students will remember and re-apply more of topic which has been studied in an integrated way
  13. 13. The strategic framework for this • Re-design of the module is in line with the University’s IL Statement of Good Practice (January 2007) • Re-design is also in line with the University’s revised learning outcome “enquiry” (September 2007).
  14. 14. Staffordshire’s learning outcomes • Knowledge and Understanding • Learning • Enquiry • Analysis • Problem Solving • Communication • Application • Reflection
  15. 15. Enquiry learning outcome Outcome Certificate Intermediate Honours Enquiry Present, evaluate, and interpret qualitative and quantitative data Demonstrate knowledge of the main methods of enquiry in (the field of study) Deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry and initiate and carry out projects within (the field of study)
  16. 16. Revised learning outcome (undergraduate level) Honours Deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry and initiate and carry out projects within (the field of study). Evaluate use of Information Literacy, including the ethical use of information in (the field of study).
  17. 17. Linking to a learning outcome • This means that skills must be assessed. • Specifically, information literacy work must be assessed. • One of the new Skills Module learning outcomes says, “To identify, retrieve and evaluate legal material for a given purpose and to use such material appropriately.” • Webber and Johnston (2006) say that IL should be regarded as a graduate attribute and assessed by credit bearing work.
  18. 18. Linking to assessment Skills assessment involves 4 tasks • Preparing a Powerpoint presentation on a recent legal development • Producing an annotated bibliography of sources looking at the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This must be evaluative and include both web-based and paper-based resources. • Preparing a CV • Creating a handout explaining the role of the judge in the criminal court to a defendant.
  19. 19. Will it work? • Students are certainly seeing that the skills we are highlighting are important. • Module evaluation not done yet but attendance is good and not falling. • Anecdotally, research done for written work is better. • May have succeeded in getting learners to see that skills and even information literacy isn’t just for Christmas….or even just the Autumn Term
  20. 20. How to persuade students IL is for life? Contextual – IL taught when other lifelong skills are being learnt, e.g. client interviewing, leadership skills – IL is an equal part of the assessment – IL therefore perceived as being as important as these other professional “lawyering” skills
  21. 21. How to persuade students IL is for life? • Whole Skills module set in the context of the UK Government’s Skills agenda. • HE response to the Leitch Review (2006) which is discussed Pope and Walton (2009) • This module will help you get and keep a job.
  22. 22. References • Bordinaro, K & Richardson, G. (2004) Scaffolding and reflection in course integrated library instruction Journal of Academic Librarianship Vol.30 (5) p.391-401 • HM Treasury (2006). Leitch Review. Available at: • Pope, A. and Walton, G. Information and media literacies: sharpening our vision in the twenty first century, chapter accepted for publication in an, as yet, untitled book to be published by Informing Science Press early 2009 • Walker, H.M. & Engel, K.R. (2003) Research exercise: a sequenced approach to just-in-time information literacy instruction Research Strategies Vol 19 p.135-147 • Webber, S. & Johnston, B. (2006) Working towards the Information Literate University In Walton, G. and Pope, A. Information literacy: recognising the need Oxford Chandos.
  23. 23. Welcome Introduction Author name Information Services Information literacy for life-not just for Christmas! Or even the Autumn term Alison Pope, Information Services, 31 March 2009