Saturday, September 20, 2014

Information Literacy; programme evaluation; faculty expectations; engineering students; statistics

The proceedings of the 2014 IATUL conference, held in June 2014, include an information literacy session. These are full text papers, an interesting set:
Determining Return on Investment: The Importance and Development of Statistics Collection for Information Literacy Training at CPUT by Janine Lockhart and Deborah Becker, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Does IL Education Have an Impact on Undergraduate Engineering Students' Research Skills by Marja Talikka, Harri Eskelinen and Hanna Varri, Lappeenranta University of Technology
Great Expectations: Results from a Faculty Survey of Students' Information Literacy Proficiency by Brian Jackson, Margy MacMillan, and Michelle Sinotte, Mount Royal University
Long Term Evaluation of Information Literacy Programme by Tina Hohmann, Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen
Photo by Sheila Webber: creeper, Oxford, September 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rethinking the Digital Experience in Higher Education

A history professor and a librarian co-author a new article which calls for less concentration on big data solutions, and more attention to creative and open engagement with data. There is a section on the History Harvest project, in which students curate and digitize artifacts for open access.
Thomas, W.G. and Lorang, E. (2014, 15 September) The Other End of the Scale: Rethinking the Digital Experience in Higher Education. EDUCAUSE review online.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bicycle cart you can rent, in the park in Lyon, France, August 2014.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2015 Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) Awards call for nominations

The 2015 Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) is now taking nominations for the LIRT Librarian Recognition Award and the LIRT Innovation in Instruction Award, closing January 15, 2015. Award winners will receive a $1,000 (US) cash award, a plaque, and a $500 travel stipend to be used to attend the American Library Association Annual Conference. As far as I can see you do not have to be North American. For full details go to

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Younger Americans and Public Libraries report

Younger Americans and Public Libraries is a Pew Research Internet Project report that "pulls together several years of research into the role of libraries in the lives of Americans and their communities with a special focus on Millennials". It looks at things like attitudes to, and use of, public libraries and books, use of internet and social media, participation/ consumption of other media and activities (i.e. it does not just look at libraries in isolation). Three age ranges are identified and described: ages 16-17; 18-24; and 25-29. They also note, however, that age is not the only factor e.g. "people who have extensive economic, social, technological, and cultural resources are also more likely to use and value libraries as part of those networks."
Just to pull out one paragraph from the summary "Respondents of all age groups generally agree that the internet makes it much easier to find information today than in the past, and most Americans feel that it’s easy to separate the good information from bad online. However, Americans under age 30 are actually a little more likely than older adults to say that there is a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the internet. They are also somewhat more likely to agree that people without internet access are at a real disadvantage because of all the information they might be missing." Summary and full report at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Vase of wild oregano, July 2014

Techniques for Student Engagement in Library Instruction

There is a priced online workshop running from 6 to 31 October, Techniques for Student Engagement in Library Instruction. The teacher is John Doherty and it costs $175 (US). "In this four-week, online workshop we will examine a variety of student engagement techniques, focusing on Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning, problem solving, and metacognition. Over the course of four weeks we will examine up to 10 of these techniques and how they can be applied in traditional, blended, and online classes. We will especially uncover approaches that will work for one shot library sessions. In groups we will examine one or two student engagement techniques in detail, and explore how these might work in our own contexts. We will also develop a plan for applying a student engagement technique in our own practice." More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Rose, Quad, Regent Park College, September 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Would You Watch It? Creating Effective and Engaging Video Tutorials

On September 18 at 3pm US Eastern time (that's 8pm UK time) the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community has a webcast presentation and discussion with Nichole Martin and Ross Martin, Would You Watch It? Creating Effective and Engaging Video Tutorials. "At Seminole State College of Florida, Nichole and Ross have increased tutorial production to meet the growing demands of distance learning courses. To ensure high quality video production, they studied best practices outlined in library literature, as well as findings from other fields invested in video communication: education, business, journalism, and television production. Through research and personal experience, they discovered methods to create effective and engaging video tutorials that are high-definition, mobile-friendly, and accessible for disabled viewers." More info at
Photo by Sheila Webber: unidentified flower by the Cherwell, Oxford

Friday, September 12, 2014

cfp LOEX breakout sessions #loex2015

There is a call for breakout session proposals for the 43rd Annual LOEX (US Information Literacy) Conference to be held in Denver, Colorado, April 30-May 2, 2015. Deadline for proposals is November 21, 2014.You can propose a presentation or an interactive workshops (both types are 50 minute sessions). Conference themes are:
- Pedagogy: The Art of the Craft
- Assessment: Taste Test to Perfect the Batch
- Collaboration & Outreach: I'll Buy the Next Round
- Learning from Failure: Tweaking the Recipe
- Cultivating Leadership: Lessons from Fellow Crafters
- Innovative Contexts: Brewing a New Batch
More information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: More echinaceas (I think), Lyon, August 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Registration open for Augustana Information Literacy workshop

The 14th annual Augustana Information Literacy workshop takes place om December 4 2014, on the Augustana Campus, University of Alberta, Canada. The workshop presenter/faciltator is Mary MacDonald, and the workshop is entitled Building Capacity for Information Literacy Through Wisdom, Courage, and Humor. As usual there are optional consultations and dinner the day before. Mary MacDonald is professor and Head of Instructional Services at the University Libraries, University of Rhode Island in Kingston. More information is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: cookie at the Augustana workshop where I co-presented, in 2011

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Good MOOC bad MOOC: report 3 #flansoton #futurelearn

At the one-day FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN) meeting in Southampton and this is my 3rd report. In fact this will be quite short, as there was an interesting presentation on “Quantitative analysis of short online course data to understand learner behaviour?” by Neil Morris (Leeds University), but as it was research in progress he asked us not to tweet which I think also means not blogging. The one thing I can't resist blogging is that for the data set (across 4 MOOCs) that he was analysing quantitatively, the people in the age group 56-65 were the group who "did" most things (in terms of clicking on videos, viewing discussions etc.)
The next presentation was also confidential as Russell Beale talked about Futurelearn course analytics, in a presentation coauthored with David Major; so this was aimed at Futurelearn partners. These are the reports that Futurelearn produce for the people running each MOOC. They aim to give transactional, interactional and conversational data which is "actionable".
I should give a link to the Futurelearn website and the Futurelearn blog
I may blog Naomi's presentation (see previous blog post) tomorrow rather than today.
Photo by Sheila Webber: clover, by the Cherwell, September 2014

Good MOOC bad MOOC: report 2 #flansoton #futurelearn

I’m at the one-day FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN) meeting in Southampton and this is my 2nd report. By the way, tweets are at
First up after the coffee break was Naomi Colhoun (Sheffield University) “Learning from Learning Analytics: Can data analysis of a FutureLearn MOOC usefully inform design for learning?”. I have supervised her Masters dissertation on this topic, and therefore know a lot about it so I will do a separate blog post on this!
Rebecca Ferguson (OU) then talked about “Evaluating Educational Impact and Learner Support within OU [Open University] MOOCs”. As an aside, she started by showing an interactive map on MOOC retention that had been created by one of their PhD students. Ferguson identified the range of people and units in the OU who were interested in MOOC evaluation. There were also a variety of reasons why evaluation was needed. It was, for example, for internal and external comparison, to support the journey from informal to formal learning. In terms of "what learning" it included learning about the subject, the online learning tools and about the people. Learning was also undertaken by learners, the course team, the facilitators and the university.
In terms of what is provided by Futurelearn on its MOOC dashboard, there are basic statistics on joiners, leavers, who has posted a comment etc. MOOC providers can also set up surveys in individual MOOCs (e.g. asking learners whether they think they have learnt anything). However, one issue is that end of course surveys are inevitably filled in by course completers, who are the minority. You can also looked at how many people have participated in an activity. The OU (which is entirely a distance learning university) has a standard learning design tool which they also use for MOOCs.
One thing that the speaker picked out as an example was that they found that in a couple of weeks people were completing step three more than steps one and two, but the learner support was in steps one and two. They can now investigate why this is (e.g. do steps one and two have boring names!) The speaker talked about text mining (e.g. for phrases like "I learnt") as evidence of learning. She also talked through an example of a high-frequency word that initially did not seem relevant to the MOOC, but had actually been a focus for community building and learning.
The OU MOOCs have facilitators. Turning to support structure, the speaker identified an explicit support structure, to help with motivating, socialising, information exchange, knowledge construction and learning development. The MOOC team identified potential support structure risks e.g. thinking that the university's learner support is poor. These can be used to evaluate support. Examples of things they looked at were the facilitator introductions, facilitator activity (e.g. posts, word count, likes of their comments); this included whether facilitators were modelling good behaviour (e.g. were they following people, were they liking things and encouraging learners to like things). The evaluating team could search for comments mentioning the facilitators and for the kind of thing that the facilitators were saying. One of the things that emerged was that facilitators needed more training in features specifically of the Futurelearn platform. This also carries a lesson as regards learners: experienced online learners may come with certain expectations of the platform and need educating specifically in Futurelearn's features.
Rebecca Ferguson's blog is at
I should mention that there is a Facebook page for FLAN (where the presentations will be put), but I'm afraid it is a closed group for FLAN members.
Photo by Sheila Webber: mallow by the Cherwell, September 2014

Good MOOC bad MOOC: report 1 #flansoton #futurelearn

I’m at the one-day FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN) meeting in Southampton. The focus of the meeting is evaluating MOOCs (as a reminder, Futurelearn is the UK MOOC consortium and FLAN is its research forum).
Julie Wintrup (Southampton University) talked about two studies funded by the Higher Education Academy (HEA): “A Community of Participants? Experiences of MOOC learners”. The full open-access reports will be released this month by the HEA. (This is a previous report funded by the HEA
The first study is on Engaged learning in MOOCs: a study using the Engagement survey. I know the HEA is interested in the NESSE (USA’s survey for student engagement in higher education) and I think this engagement survey is based on that. There were higher proportions of learners reporting engaging in reflective and integrative forms of learning. Fewer reported in engaging in interactive forms of learning.
The second study is Liberating learning: experiences of MOOCs. 10 learners and 5 academic staff (involved in Souhampton University MOOCs) were interviewed for this study. The speaker started by saying that “belonging” emerges as an important theme in campus-based higher education, and testing out ideas, articulating understanding and being challenged emerge (from the literature) as central to learning. In this group of interviewees (who were all MOOC completers): discussion fora emerged as a key form of interaction; social media etc. was less understood or valued; however some really appreciated Twitter especially if they could interact with the course team; there was anxiety about looking foolish when you posted something; some people just enjoyed looking at others’ posts; some “limited” their posts to give others a chance. One major issue was the unthreaded nature of the comment forum, which was time consuming to go through and made it difficult to engage with in conversation. Despite the latter problem, people did feel part of a learning community, particularly where there was a personalised element, e.g. interaction with educators. In fact interaction with educators was something that people expected, so that was one of the key messages (i.e. don’t let it just run without their input).
The second presentation was from Andy Wright (Birmingham University) “Good MOOC, Bad MOOC: Judgement day”. He came up with retention, research (learning analytics etc. and enhancing teaching materials), reputation, recruitment (to credit-bearing courses) and revenue (e.g. fees for the actual MOOC) as the 5Rs of success. After the first worry about the high drop out rates from MOOCs, the second wave helped people understand that people joined MOOCs for different reasons, and a high drop out rate did not automatically mean failure. However the speaker identified that the longer you could retain students, the more they were likely to be recruited to other courses, they give you more learner data etc. i.e. it contributes to the other 4 Rs.
In terms of research, the speaker talked about (as well as getting data for learning analytics) that you could get enthusiasm/transfer from academics to other online teaching. Reputation included brand awareness, exposure to (good) quality teaching material, students feeling part of the Birmingham community, and also strategic presence in the Futurelearn community. An obvious challenge here is that you could get bad press for your courses too. With Recruitment: at the moment it is difficult to establish whether people were influenced by MOOC participation when they register for a course. Additionally MOOCs may not be pitched at the same audience as normal courses. The speaker raised the opportunity of working with the schools that you were hoping to recruit from. With revenue, as well as certificates he mentioned sales of books.
The speaker also raised the issue of social policy and impact (for example MOOCs on dementia, on inclusion): in this case the MOOC’s success would be the way in which it contributed to policy outcomes. Under the philanthropic banner you could also look at the MOOCs contribution to broadening understanding, tolerance etc. and contributing to charitable work.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Michaelmas daisy, by the Cherwell, September 2014

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

ISIC: the Information Behaviour Conference

ISIC: the Information Behaviour Conference took place in Leeds last week. You should be able to find the tweets at though so far I haven't been able to track down presentations. Information Research should be publishing the proceedings.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Petra, Lady Dinah's cat cafe yesterday

Monday, September 08, 2014

Academic Literacy Research and Practice

An interesting presentation from Sophie Bury and Ron Sheese (York University, Canada) is on Undergraduate Students' Writing, Research and Learning Skills: Academic Literacy Research and Practice at York University It gives some brief details of focus groups at with academics in different faculties at York University undertaken in summer 2012, on academic literacies. It then talks about their response to their findings, in terms of course design and specifically a web resource SPARK (Student Papers and Academic Research Kit). SPARK is at and the presentation is at (there are other talks by the same author in this repository).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Artemis the cat, at Lady Dinah's Cat Cafe today

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Evaluating the learning effectiveness of an online Information Literacy Class

New article: Taiwanese study evaluating information literacy education using Kirkpatrick's framework. Article is in a priced journal.
Chang, N. and Chen, L. (2014) Evaluating the learning effectiveness of an online Information Literacy Class based on the Kirkpatrick framework. Libri, 64 (3),211–223.

"The purpose of this study was to use the Kirkpatrick four-stage framework to evaluate the learning effectiveness of the online general education information literacy materials “Library and Information Utilization,” initiated by the Ministry of Education (MoE) for higher education in Taiwan ... The study population consisted of 206 students at Tatung University and the course evaluation spanned two academic years. ... The study used a mixed-method approach, including a mainly quantitative online questionnaire, followed by ten semi-structured interviews of students ... In general, the results demonstrated that students were more confident in their future study and daily life after learning the online material. Based on the Kirkpatrick model, the results provide favourable evidence for course effectiveness and its value...."
Photo by Sheila Webber: rose, Regent Park College, Oxford, September 2014

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Academic Librarianship 360: Research, Access, and Instruction: October 3

In Buffalo, USA on October 3 2014 there is an event Academic Librarianship 360: Research, Access, and Instruction. Speakers are Vincent Rinaldo (Niagara University)
Mixed Methods Research: Assisting Students in the Purpose and Processes of Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Methods; A. Ben Wagner (University at Buffalo) Open Access: Breaking Out all Over; Cynthia Tysick (University at Buffalo) Library Instruction and Outreach to Alumni: A Wealth of Untapped Opportunities; Kimberly Hoffman (SUNY Geneseo) Library Instruction and K-12 Collaborations: Tapping into Goals for Career & College Readiness.
This is organised by the Western New York/Ontario chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Registration deadline is September 19. For more information go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: Through the hothouse window: Botanic Gardens, Lyon, August 2014

Journal Club in SL today: teens' information practices in digital communities

Join us in the virtual world Second Life for a one-hour discussion of an open-access article. Marshall Dozier (Edinburgh University, Pancha Enzyme in Second Life) leads a discussion on:
Harlan, M.A., Bruce, C.S. & Lupton, M. (2014). Creating and sharing: teens' information practices in digital communities. Information Research, 19(1) paper 611.

When: Thursday 4 September 2014 at 12.30 SL time, that's 8.30pm UK time, see for times elsewhere

Where: Infolit iSchool, in the virtual world Second Life. You need a SL avatar and the Second Life browser installed on your computer. Go to

Everyone is welcome to join the one-hour discussion.

A Sheffield iSchool Centre for Information Literacy Research event.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Digital and Information Literacies and research support

On 28 November 2014 in Cardiff, Wales, Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF) and Great Western 4 libraries are organising an event on Digital and Information Literacies and the researcher. They seek volunteers to participate in the TeachMeet part of the day, willing to give 10 minutes presentations on supporting researchers either face-to-face or online. Topics could include: innovative solutions for remote support; 1-2-1 engagement; using social media; managing research data; supporting open access; supporting researchers for the REF (Research Excellence Framework); making bibliometrics accessible to the uninitiated; diagnostic testing for research students. If you would like to present please contact Lori Havard or Caroline Huxtable
There will be more information at
Photo by Sheila Webber: sedum, Lyon, August 2014