Saturday, March 29, 2008

Report from the LILAC conference: 4

On 27 March 2008 on Infolit iSchool, in the virtual world, Second Life, Vicki Cormie (Ishbel Hartmann in Second Life) and I (Sheila Yoshikawa in Second Life) led a discussion presenting some of our highlights from the 2008 LILAC conference. Some of the discussion participants had also attended the RL conference. The chatlog (transcript) of the session is at and the photo is of the session. The discussion touched on some important issues (subjects of future discussion!)

Vicki Cormie had prepared interesting notes on three sessions that she wanted to highlight, and I reproduce them here, below, with Vicki's permission.

1. The library? Why would I go there? Library use by undergraduate students in China, India and Greece. Speaker; Anja Timm
(Diversity and Social Justice Theme)

This address focused on the information literacy needs of students on taught postgraduate programmes in the UK. The aims of the project were:
"* to inject timely and topical research results into the debate about the way international students are recruited, prepared and taught and how plagiarism can be deterred
"* to develop resources that will be of use to various groups within the the higher education sector and support its engagement with the issues of student diversity and academic writing, e.g. teaching staff, senior managers, educational developers, etc."

The project went out to look at libraries and the ways students used them in China, India and Greece. It was found that there were huge differences in the ways students used libraries for many different factors. In India, students at some of the less affluent universities had libraries that did not meet their needs in any respect, being full of out of date materials and being run by people (rarely librarians) who saw themselves as custodians of the material, and therefore there to protect it from use by the students. The relationship with academic tutors in these colleges, was also found to be strikingly different from the experiences of students in other countries with their tutor being very much as a friend; someone the student could socialise with and be their key contact and problem solver of all issues that the student might come across. Academic tutors are usually not involved with research and tend to teach with fixed texts for the course.

(Sheila adds: a comment from my own experience. A small study by one of my students indicated that at undergraduate level international students might be *more* likely to have experienced good school libraries, perhaps as it is the better off students who have money to go abroad.)

2. Podcasts: IL delivery on demand. Speaker: Rebecca Mogg (Net generation theme)

This short presentation looked at using Podcasts for IL delivery at Cardiff University.
One of the things that I really like about LILAC is the good balance of the academic papers and the practical sessions, and this session was an excellent example of the latter. It was short and to the point and came up with many good suggestions and of practical ideas of how academic liaison can be taught through the use of podcasting.

Cardiff University employed a former student who had worked with student radio to produce a series of short radio programmes which were released on a weekly basis under the title “The Essay Survival Guide”. The programmes were created around a very loose script of questions created by library staff and then answered by using soundbites from students, academics and library staff. The result was a professional and engaging series of programmes that never sounded boring.

3. Role delineation in an iterative, cognitive skills based model of Information Literacy. Speakers: Judith Keene and John Colvin (Practical approaches to information literacy).

This session was a good mix of theory and practice based on several years worth of research done on creating a model of information literacy with mathematics students at the University of Worcester. One of the most interesting things that came out of it, and certainly one of the things that caused the most discussion at the end, was at the different roles of lecturers and librarians in the different stages of the model and whether it was always appropriate for information skills to be taught only by librarians, especially in the sciences.

1 comment:

Tom Kaun said...

I thought the podcasts from the University of Cardiff were kind of cool. I posted a link to them and to this blog on my own "Continuing Education!" blog ( which is an outgrowth of the School Library Learning 2.0 project in California. I also posted a reference to the LILAC Conference on the IASL Blog (