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Information literacy through inquiry. McKinney


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Presented at LILAC 2008

Published in: Education
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Information literacy through inquiry. McKinney

  1. 1. Information Literacy and Inquiry-based learning Pamela McKinney Learning Development and Research Associate (Information Literacy) at CILASS
  2. 2. Learning outcomes • An increased understanding of the links between Inquiry-based Learning and Information Literacy • An opportunity to experience inquiry-based learning first hand. • An understanding the practical approaches taken at CILASS to develop IL through IBL and the generation of ideas for using IBL to develop IL that could be applied to their own practice. • Ideas for developing intra-institutional partnerships to support IL development through the practice adopted at the University of Sheffield
  3. 3. Session Overview • Setting the scene: educational development with CILASS • Group inquiry task to design inquiry-based learning for information literacy based on CILASS cases • Group feedback and discussion • What actually happened: how the CILASS project developed
  4. 4. • Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences, a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning • 5 year programme, impacting on 10,000 students • £4.85M funding in total from HEFCE • Includes £2.35M capital funding • Focusing on inquiry-based learning • Core community: Faculties of Arts, Social Sciences, Law • Development, innovation and research • CILASS hub located in the Information Commons plus ‘satellite’ in Bartolome House What is CILASS?
  5. 5. • CILASS funds curriculum development projects in all Departments and Schools in the faculties of Arts, Social Science and Law • CILASS funds Individual or small group projects proposed by staff from across the University • CILASS aims to have a strategic impact on Learning and Teaching • CILASS invites projects to respond to our core themes of collaboration, networked learning and (of course) information literacy What does CILASS do?
  6. 6. What does CILASS do? Provides flexible technology rich space for learning and teaching
  7. 7. What is Inquiry-based Learning?• The core of inquiry is the QUESTION • Inquiry is a process of discovery, with as its point of departure a scenario/question/problem established by the tutor/student • IBL is a pedagogy based on student-led exploration, investigation, research
  8. 8. What is Inquiry-based learning? • IBL can involve case scenarios • IBL can involve experiential learning such as fieldwork • IBL can involve small and large investigations • IBL can involve Individual and collaborative projects
  9. 9. Inquiry and Information literacy • Information literacy skills equip students with the means to conduct independent inquiry and puts them on the path to lifelong learning • The development of strong information literacy capabilities is fundamental to the success of IBL • Information access and processing skills such as those involved in using electronic resources to search for information are a pre-requisite for students undertaking an IBL curriculum. • CILASS is particularly interested in building ‘higher order’ IL capabilities in critical thinking, evaluation, synthesis, communication and knowledge-creation through inquiry
  10. 10. Learning Development and Research Associate – what is that? • A varied role encompassing educational development, research, liaison, workshop facilitation and evaluation • A special focus on information literacy • Work with academics to develop their ideas for their Inquiry-based curriculum development projects • Develop strategies for building IL skills within the context of their IBL project
  11. 11. The Task • YOU are Learning Development and Research Associate working at CILASS • The department has approached you to help them deal with the scenario as given • For your scenario respond to the question: “How can these students build their IL skills through inquiry?”
  12. 12. CILASS support • Technology rich learning spaces • Funding available to pay academics for their time • Funding available to pay students for their time and input
  13. 13. Support from the Library Can the Library support the project with online information skills tutorials? Can academic liaison librarians be involved? How can you make the best use of Library buildings and learning spaces? How can you make the best use of electronic library resources?
  14. 14. Other support in the University • How can you make use of the Virtual Learning Environment? • How can you draw upon media and AV expertise in the University? • How can you draw upon existing knowledge of the student population?
  15. 15. Scenario 1 This department wants to radically change the induction programme, in order to provide a more student-friendly approach which supports the transition to University. This is, in part, based on feedback from previous students, which identified the traditional Intro Week Library Tour and other similar lecture-type activities as ‘boring and soon forgotten’. The aim is therefore to replace these with an inquiry-based collaborative activity, encouraging new students to explore the resources in the department and University and gain initial knowledge of the information resources available. Ideally, the new plan should enable the students to ‘hit the ground running’ when modules begin, through other activities, led by student mentors.
  16. 16. CILASS solution: Student mentors in Human Communication Sciences • Student mentors recruited from Levels 2 &3 to develop and plan the programme, using IBL approach • New students assigned to small groups on Day 1 of Intro Week, to explore a video stimulus and produce a poster about ‘How we can explain this situation’ • Student mentors supported small group activities and acted as guides to resources etc. • Librarians and academic staff on ‘stand-by’ at specified times, for consultation as required • Poster session, during buffet lunch on Day 5 of Intro week. Academics, CILASS & Library Staff attended.
  17. 17. Scenario 2 This department is concerned about poor student perception of library resources when academics consider the library well stocked for student needs due to strong partnership working with Librarians. Students lack skills to look beyond the reading list, often choosing inappropriate resources while missing out on the large number of online resources in full text bibliographic databases. The department is keen to embed information literacy development in the curriculum to complement existing IL sessions delivered by the Liaison Librarian and sees the weekly seminar programme as the ideal place for IL development through inquiry. Some 150 students participate in seminars in groups of 20 run by a mixture or PG tutors and academics so coordination of these different people is a particular
  18. 18. CILASS Solution: Information literacy through the curriculum • Key core modules identified at L1 and L2 and particular points in the semester targeted for IL development • Engagement from all seminar tutors secured • Small collaborative inquiry-based tasks designed responding to skills development across the ‘seven pillars’ of IL • Library worked with the department to devise new online tutorials in the relevant databases • Example task: “Evaluating secondary materials” students analyse critical writing about a familiar text and consider how the critics’ opinion is evidenced in the text • Students engage face-to-face and through discussion boards on the VLE and receive feedback from seminar tutors