Friday, June 07, 2013

To measure or not to measure at #colrictt13

I will do a couple of blog posts from the COLRIC (Council for Learning Resources in Colleges) information literacy event in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which focuses on the Further Education sector. Grazyna Kuczera's session was called: To measure or not to measure. She is from Northampton College, which won the 2011 Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for the Effective Integration of Libraries/Learning Resources Centres in Curriculum Delivery (More info about this here She is far left in the poor-quality picture above.

Grazyna stressed that you had to develop impact measures that really told you something about how the students' learning experience has changed. She introduced a picture of a tree, with the library at the base of the trunk, i.e. vital in order to get the tree to grow leaves and fruit. However you had to convince and influence others that students would not flourish in the same way if the library was not there. She mentioned the Huddersfield University project which got meaning out of visitor statistics by correlating them with class of degree. Here is a quick link to the archived version of an article about this:
Homing in on her picture of the tree, she identified some root activities (roots nourishing the tree) e.g. support for A levels or for Higher Education in Further Education, catch up sessions and information for study skills. One tip was to watch for things which were not working and move in to show how the library could make an improvement.

Also Grazyna talked about tracking performance of students who had information and study skills education, not just while they were at the college, but also after they went on to university via direct entry (they found that their students were doing better than the students who had started at the university at level 1). This information was powerful to feed backto the teachers. She talked about some other initiatives where you could get evidence about impact including the "Six book challenge". Evidence included the testimony of students themselves e.g. a student saying "It made me realise I shouldn't use Wikipdia so much."

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