Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Appraising IL programmes

I’ll continue blog the session that I chaired this morning at the i3 conference. Hesham Azmi talked about Critical appraisal of information literacy programs: an evidence based approach to assess an Information and Research Skills course in Qatar University. QU is the largest, and only state supported, university in Qatar. They have 9000 students, mostly undergraduate. They have done well in getting information literacy into the core curriculum and identified in the core learning outcomes for students. There is information about this in another Italics article, namely
Azmi, H. (2006) “Teaching Information Literacy Skills: A case study of the QUcore program in Qatar University” Italics, 15 (4).

Hesham has used the ACRL Characteristics of programs of information literacy that illustrate best practices guidelines to evaluate the programme (these can be found at As he discovered, there is surprisingly little in the literature reporting on use of the guidelines (or indeed any whole-programme evaluation). He gave a glimpse of how their programme measured up – I think he said that they matched over 50 of the 80+ criteria. To investigate their programme they examined relevant documents, and are gathering data via questionnaire and interview. They are just analysing things now, and he intended to put a ppt with even more results on the conference webpage. I think this will be very interesting. One criticism I have of the ACRL guidelines themselves is that they don’t include anything about the teachers of IL keeping up with the field of IL or being expert in IL, which I think is a bit strange, as I don’t think it can be assumed that this will be the case (in particular, the issue of keeping up with latest developments that should be informing and enriching the curriculum)

Before describing this, Hesham had set this project in the context of Evidence Based Practice and Evidence Based Librarianship. That led to an interesting discussion and in this post on the i3 blog I say some more about this, and about other research-related issues identified at the end of the session I chaired
Photo by Sheila Webber: Poster session at i3.

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