Inspiring collaboration: creative methods of co-teaching and embedding information skills within the curriculum


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Northern Collaboration Conference 2016
Parallel session 17: Zoe Johnson, University of Huddersfield

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  • This project started off with my thinking about curiosity. How information literacy require a curious mind. I was curious about how others perceived information literacy, and in particular, how academics approached the concept. Later, I would come to realise that students lacked curiosity – sometimes due to fear, sometimes due to habit...but I wanted to find out how to rekindle that curiosity that is supposedly inherent in humans from birth...but life, adulthood and education can prevent us from nurturing.
  • Students as partners – HEA
  • Feedback - at student panels, via university surveys, in conversation with other teaching staff
  • L0036591 Credit: Wellcome Library, London A selection of glass eyes from an opticians glass eye case. Possibly made by E. Muller of Liverpool.
    Photograph c. 1900 Collection: Wellcome Images Library reference no.: Museum No A660037
  • Asked for first three words that came into their heads when I said READING
  • There is less reading in the practical modules. Need to make connections between practice and theory.
  • Department keen for students to see themselves as researchers. Induction week they are set a task which includes them coming into the Library to find material on a topic and present it back to the group.
  • Reassurance was needed to encourage them to both share and be creative. Research is hard – research is messy and convoluted and time-consuming. Feedback included – more instructions please! So we discussed the differences between devising and scripted – there reactions to both and how learning IS scary. Brought in anecdotal evidence...and inspiring quotes (I’ve collected since I was a teenager!)
  • Feedback afterwards was positive – post class and following weeks – re-reading, sharing reading, TALKING about reading
  • The “orgasm” – inspired by poem writing Groppel-Wegener, A. (2015). Writing essays by pictures. [Stoke-on-Trent]: Author published.
  • Deb analogy (forest) – have first years got the vocabulary?
  • Feedback from academics involved – module leader and recent graduate
  • Inspiring collaboration: creative methods of co-teaching and embedding information skills within the curriculum

    1. 1. Inspiring collaboration: Zoë Johnson Subject Librarian @zedej creative methods of co-teaching and embedding information skills within the curriculum all images
    2. 2. Engraving 1709 Isaac Fuller & Pierce Tempest
    3. 3. Student Academic Librarian Literature Conversation Research Collaboration
    4. 4. 1st collaboration - academics • Subject focus • Dip toe into research • Strong relationships = willing collaborators • Interviews with drama academics on their approach to information literacy - resulting in • paper at HEA conference • chapter in open access book
    5. 5. 2nd collaboration - students • Observations • Anecdotes • Themes running through one-to-ones • Feedback • Focus group with 3rd years (2016) which fed into • 1st year workshops
    6. 6. 3rd collaboration - literature • Just completed PG certificate in Higher Education (June 2016) • Engaged with education theory and re-engaged with information literacy theory • Read before and after practical session
    7. 7. Action research approach planning actingobserving reflecting (McNiff, 2013, p.57)
    8. 8. Brookfield’s critical lenses • critically reflect on the sessions through the eyes of • students • colleagues • the academic literature • my own autobiography as a drama student and information literacy teacher
    9. 9. Case study • 1st year workshop • Creative Devising module (workshop led) • Module leader wanted “students as researchers” • Theory to feed into log book and practical work • 2 groups of 15 for 2 hours • Aim – to inspire reading through peer learning
    10. 10. Staff • it's about widening knowledge and trying to get them to surprise me with something that they've uncovered • I’m always observing and just taking little bits on board. And it all becomes the information that feeds into everything I do. My students ask me, “How do you know so much?” Well - because I pay attention. I’m curious. Student • I read the ones it says you have to read because […] if you don’t read them you have no idea what’s going on… • you need to know this by next week, then I’ll read it, cos I don’t want to look like an idiot. • When it comes to practical, I read what I’m told to read.
    11. 11. Theories • Practice as research (Nelson, 2013; Kleiman, 2015) links to experiential learning (Kolb, 1984; Brookfield & Preskill, 1999) • Social constructivism (Vygotsky in Daniels, 2016) links to ensemble (Britton, 2013) or community of practice (Wenger, 1998; the University drama department!) • Information literacy encompasses embedding within subject and encouraging reflection (Secker & Coonan, 2011; Brookfield, 2015; Bruce, Edwards & Lupton, 2006; Schön, 1991)
    12. 12. Experiment • Selected reading before session • one autobiographical / one biographical • Put in groups of 2-4 to • discuss their reading • present back to the group • Present and feedback • Ask questions of each other
    13. 13. Comfort zones Staff • In initial stages of creativity it’s really good to be out of your comfort zone or to be in unfamiliar circumstances and surroundings because that‘s where new connections start to happen Student • when I’ve read all the readings and I’ve done all the think, but I get there and I’m like, I absolutely have no clue, like it’s just words, honestly help. “By seeking and blundering we learn.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    14. 14. Peer learning Student • I think the reason other courses struggle with sharing is because our course, practically we do it, and then we take stuff, like working as a team, we all know each other and stuff, we’ll take that into the essay/ theory side and we’ll help each other Professional • Discussion is a key element in collaborative learning, allowing students to become cocreators of knowledge and to reflect on their assumptions (Brookfield & Preskill, 1999, p.17).
    15. 15. Making connections • Chicken egg • In class • After class © Design Council and the University of Brighton Design Archives via
    16. 16. Challenges • Fear of collaboration • Direction (guide on the side versus facilitator) • Evidence • Logbooks • Student feedback after the session • Feeding into further study
    17. 17. Continuing to inspire and collaborate • Other subject areas? • Applied Sciences – reading groups popular • Discussion / reflection with students & staff • More research • Reading for writing • Closer working with academic skills and academics
    18. 18. If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting. David Bowie
    19. 19. Selected bibliography Britton, J. (2013). Encountering ensemble. London: Bloomsbury. Brookfield, S. (2015). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Brookfield, S., & Preskill, S. (1999). Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and techniques for university teachers. Buckingham: Open University Press. Bruce, C., Edwards, S., & Lupton, M. J. (2006). Six frames for information literacy education: A conceptual framework for interpreting the relationships between theory and practice. Italics, 5(1), 1-18. Retrieved from Daniels, H. (2016). Vygotsky and pedagogy (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315617602 Gröppel-Wegener, A. (2016). Writing essays by pictures. Huddersfield: Innovative Libraries. Johnson, Z., & Walsh, A. (2013). Journeying without a map leads to…adventures or accidents? A study of drama academics’ approaches to discovering information. In A. Walsh, & E. Coonan (Eds.), Only connect … discovery pathways, library explorations, and the information adventure (pp. 71-86). Huddersfield: Innovative Libraries. Kleiman, P. (2015). Teaching and learning in the disciplines: Dance, drama and music. In H. Fry, S. Ketteridge & S. Marshall (Eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice (pp. 261-277). London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315763088 Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development Prentice-Hall. McNiff, J. (2013). Action research: Principles and practice (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203112755 Nelson, R. (2013). Practice as research in the arts: Principles, protocols, pedagogies, resistances. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Schön, D. A. (1991). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing. Secker, J., & Coonan, E. (2011). A new curriculum for information literacy: Curriculum and supporting documents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Library. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    20. 20. Questions… …for you: • With whom do you collaborate? • how do you inspire curiosity? • If students struggle to read, should we be adapting how we teach in HE? …for me?