Monday, April 06, 2009

LILAC report: Research informed teaching

I was one of the judges for the CILASS “best Inquiry Based Learning” paper at the LILAC (information literacy) conference last week (photo taken as everyone was leaving...) The highly commended paper was Research informed teaching, information literacy and the inquiry-based learning nexus, from Geoff Walton and Alison Pope at Staffordshire University. It made the connection between information literacy and inquiry based learning clear, and we also liked the way that it addressed the strategic issues as well as giving examples from practice.
The presenters cited both Healey’s matrix of the research-teaching nexus and the one developed by my colleagues in CILASS, Phil Levy and Bob Petrulis (CILASS, 2008, link below). These highlight the different roles and approaches that a student may have, from being more passive recipients of research content in their subject, to being active researchers and thus discovering new areas of the knowledge base for themselves.
At Staffordshire they had managed to hook information literacy learning outcomes into a major learning outcome that had been identified university-wide, namely “enquiry”. The presenters noted that getting information literacy explicitly mentioned was less contentious than they thought it might be. It was obviously useful having information literacy identified at this top level, since Departments have to identify that they are addressing these top level learning outcomes.
They gave several examples of work with information literacy in specific courses: Sport and Exercise; Art and Design; Law and Sociology and Psychology. Different approaches emerged in different courses, from integrated exercises and use of discussion boards, to use of assessments which explicitly address ability to use library resources effectively. Another notable thing was the value of having library staff seconded as teaching fellows. As well as freeing up time to develop initiatives, it also signalled that library staff are educators too.

Centre for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences. (2008) Inquiry-based Learning: a conceptual framework. Sheffield: CILASS.
Walton, G. et al (2007) “Using online collaborative learning to enhance information literacy delivery in a Level 1 module: an evaluation.” Journal of information literacy, 1 (1), 13-30.

No comments: