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Integrating information literacy as a habit of learning - assessing the impact of a golden thread of IL in the curriculum. Bent & Stockdale

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Integrating information literacy as a habit of learning - assessing the impact of a golden thread of IL in the curriculum. Bent & Stockdale

  1. 1. Newcastle University Integrating information literacy as a habit of learning Assessing the impact of a golden thread of IL in the curriculum Moira Bent and Elizabeth Stockdale Faculty Liaison Librarian/National Teaching Fellow Lecturer – Environmental Science
  2. 2. Newcastle University Information Literacy – yet another definition  Information literacy can be thought of as individuals building an awareness of how they “use, manage, synthesise and create information, in a wise and ethical manner, to the benefit of society”, as part of their learning life. Information literacy is central to learning and essentially involves changing learning attitudes and habits so that people understand how information fits into their learning”.
  3. 3. Newcastle University Information Literacy at Newcastle  Patchy approach  Information Skills or Information Literacy?  Individual champions  CASAP course  Module Outline Forms  IL Project  IL Toolkit http://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/staff/infolit/toolkit/
  4. 4. Newcastle University Pockets of good practice  Postgraduate programmes in all Faculties  Chemistry  Masters programme  Computing Science  First year curriculum  Medical School  Environmental Science  And more….
  5. 5. Newcastle University Integrated or stand-alone approach Stand alone advantages  Easier for library staff to offer discrete workshops  Online IL packages mean students can learn at their own pace  Academic staff can pass responsibility ( and contact time) to library staff  Library staff can develop programmes independently of academic staff  Library profile – can be seen to be contributing
  6. 6. Newcastle University Integrated or stand-alone approach Stand alone disadvantages  Often concentrate on specific skills, rather than broader IL issues  Students don’t perceive the session to be essential/ relevant  Students may not carry knowledge across to other areas of learning  Academic staff are less aware of content
  7. 7. Newcastle University Integrated or stand-alone approach Integrated approach advantages  Immediately relevant for students  Learned as part of subject content (thinking about intertwining threads)  Possible to address more abstract IL issues  Academic staff ownership of IL content  Easy to plan development/ incremental learning
  8. 8. Newcastle University Integrated or stand-alone approach Integrated approach disadvantages  Library staff lose control of IL  Talking ourselves out of a job?  Will the academic staff do it right?  It can be difficult to work with someone else in this way  Library staff need to know more about pedagogy  It can be time consuming to develop  Convincing academic/library staff it’s worth it
  9. 9. Newcastle University Environmental Science The programme context - 2004  Even in Stage 2 assignments you still mostly find websites quoted as references  I think that we have probably failed to encourage the students to find and make sense of scientific rather than popular literature  I do think that most are woefully trained in dealing with writing reports and undertaking original work … The students are not given time to learn really useful skills for the outside world (like thinking, for one).
  10. 10. Newcastle University  Students tend to search in unsophisticated ways, often not really understanding what to look for, nor how to go about a search (Peters et al 2003).  In most subjects students are expect to become independent learners and critical thinkers, but the way this is to be achieved is expressed only in very general terms  Most academics “assume that students are somehow, albeit haphazardly developing information skills” (McGuiness, 2003)  Osmosis – not fostered, supported encouraged
  11. 11. Newcastle University Environmental Science Programme specification  Cognitive skills (C3) – critically appraise data, information and viewpoints and produce a reasoned argument  Key skills (D1, D2) – summarise and communicate in writing and orally in a manner appropriate to the target audience ; use information sources effectively  Library workshops develop information searching skills
  12. 12. Newcastle University The golden thread  Environmental Science Issues (Stage 1, study skills in context)  Environmental Practice (Stage 2, what do environmental professional do?)  Environmental Science Project (Stage 3, all our own work)  IL is developed in collaboration with library staff.  Golden thread gives the opportunity to practice IL skills in a range of contexts
  13. 13. Newcastle University Introduced, practiced, assessed  Learning logs and search strategies submitted as part of credit bearing assessments provided relevant information on both the use of the skills introduced and students’ perceptions of the processes.  Additional questions were included in end of Module questionnaires.  Informal review of the approaches was also made through conversations with staff and students.
  14. 14. Newcastle University Does it work?  Difficult to wean off a “Google habit”.  If it’s not electronic, it doesn’t exist  One size doesn’t fit all. Highly individual and situated practice
  15. 15. Newcastle University Learning log - end of Stage 1 “I felt that I have achieved quite a lot. I actively used journals in my research for the first time in a project, and indeed used a range of journals. I also reduced my dependence on books quite a lot. Many of the statistics in the presentation were taken from websites – government departments and agencies. The use of these websites means that my information and figures were reliable and more current. I also used portals and gateways on the Internet following the library exercise and a very good book on sources of information in environmental science in the library reference section”.
  16. 16. Newcastle University Learning log – mid Stage 2 “There is a large amount of information available on this subject, but a lot of it is very subjective to the views of the campaign groups and not all is based on actual fact. For example the facts I found on the Environment Agency’s website were quite different to the information that I found on the website for the local campaign groups. … Although there is a lot of information available on the negative impacts of incinerators I have tried not to get carried away with them because they are very subjective. I started by looking on the internet but found that the vast amount of information was too much to look through, so I started using books and journals for relevant information. I also feel better about using them as they are more reliable.”
  17. 17. Newcastle University Reflecting on the whole thing - Stage 3 “It was good having the sessions integrated into Modules throughout the year, we paid much more attention and they seemed much more relevant. The sessions this year really set us on the right track. After them we were better equipped to search for the most appropriate journals, to identify other sources of information and to reference the range of sources of material we have found. Without those sessions I would have really struggled with my research project.”
  18. 18. Newcastle University For study – not for life?  “I think everyone’s initial approach is Google, but there are obviously other places to find information (chuckle) for like essays and stuff”  “It depends if you want academic information or just general information like about how much it would cost to buy something”
  19. 19. Newcastle University What have I learned as a lectuuer?  Direct and credit-bearing assessment  Contextualisation and practice  Show they are valued  Students need encouragement to reflect on skills development  Continual loop of learning, reflection for those who lead  Let other module leaders know so they can challenge/ develop
  20. 20. Newcastle University What have I learned as a librarian?  Students benefit from reflecting about their information literacy abilities  IL should be an integral part of all subject teaching  IL isn’t just for librarians  Students ask me different kinds of questions  It’s very satisfying when it works  It’s easier to do the second time around
  21. 21. Newcastle University Collecting more evidence of impact  Current research to assess impact  Information Literacy criteria  Mirrored assessments  Seminar discussions  Reflective learning logs
  22. 22. Newcastle University Contacts  moira.bent@ncl.ac.uk  e.a.stockdale@ncl.ac.uk  Pre refereed copy of paper at: http://eprints.ncl.ac.uk/deposit_details.php? deposit_id=6164  More info at : http://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/moira.bent

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