Yesterday afternoon at the Creating Knowledge VI conference Sirje Virkus (Tallinn University) talked about Development Of Information-Related Competencies In European ODL Institutions. This is based on her ongoing research, carried out within open and distance learning universities in Europe. She decided to use the concept of "competencies" since when she started her research it was more familiar than "information literacy". Also she felt that it made it easier to identify blocks of competencies (e.g. to do with presenting and communicating information). Sirje started with a survey in members European Association of Distance Teaching Universities, to which there were 71 respondents. Based on responses, she choose 6 universiies (that seemed to have "good practice") for case studies. These case studies showed that at that point (2003-4) even these institutions were at a beginning stage, in that information literacy was not fully intergrated and people were unsure about the success of what they were doing. Sirje gave examples of the reasons why people felt it hadn't developed. One thing she hadn't asked about directly, but which emerged as important, was the question of leadership - good, positive leadership being needed. Another key issue was librarians' lack of pedagogical skills. There is a freely available article which covers some key points of her research here
After the presentation there was discussion about the extent to which things had changed since the years when the data was collected, which we felt it had, although teh challenges are still familiar.
Photo by Sheila Webber: near where I am staying in Bergen