European Conference on Information Literacy, held in Dubrovnik, Shirlene Neerputh talked on Graduate preparedness: the role of an information literacy model in transforming the curricula at the Durban University of Technology. She started by talking about the "new realities" in higher education e.g. changes in teaching approaches, the increased emphasis on lifelong learning and independent learning, and "the role of the library in enhancing teaching, learning and research in higher education in a knowledge society".
Looking at Durban University of Technology's vision and mission, it raised issues such as - how do educate for citizenship. The library's vision includes a focus on supporting independent student learners.
To promote lifelong learning the library aims to enrich the curriculum with information literacy learning and assessment. After working within other subjects, they are also now looking at a e-learning information literacy modules specifically taking a blended and independent learning approach. They have identified 6 themes to "cascade the entire undergraduate programme from first to final year". A student on a 3 year programme has to take 3 modules, and a student on a 4 year course, 4 modules. Modules have to be chosen from outside the home faculty, to help develop and stretch the students.
Firstly there is a General Education module, aiming to develop critical and humanistic skills and attitudes (e.g. to understand and appreciate diversity), and this is compulsory. The focus is very much on self-awareness and developing into a reflective student. Information Literacy is part of this module as a core competency. The concept of life journeys is a key way of developing student learning, and this theme is linked to physical journey in the landscape. The speaker talked about the problem of how you assess critical thinking. She identified questions that you would be asking e.g. is the student critical and self-aware when considering his/her life journey.
This sounds a very interesting programme and I hope to find out more about it.
Photo by Sheila Webber: sparkling sea with Lokrum island, October 2014