One session I enjoyed at the LILAC conference, but have unfortunately lost my notes for, is Sally Patalong’s account of introducing modules as part of Coventry University’s programme of employability-led modules called “Add+Vantage”. Sally led the design and (with subject librarians) delivery of a level two undergraduate module “Information: Fact or Fiction?” and a level 3 module “Information in the workplace”. If I get a copy of the slides from Sally I may add to this post, but she provided very valuable reflection on what had been successful and what had needed revising.
One message is not to believe generalised myths like “students like guest lecturers” as she got poor attendance from students. This chimes in with my own experience, where Masters students generally do appreciate these, but in undergraduate courses the relevance has to be crystal clear to the students. We do have some extremely popular guest lecturers for our undergraduates, but they are guests who are clearly vocational role models and who also discuss the students own work with them in a useful and unpatronising way.
Another point that emerged from Sally’s talk was the problem of being associated with a programme or development that is generally unpopular with students. In this case, there was a lot of positive feedback on the information literacy modules, but they were suffering a bit by being part of a less popular development (having to take employability modules that they didn’t perceive as being “relevant”)
Photo by Sheila Webber: blossom and fountain by Sheffield Town Hall, March 2009