Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Reflecting on Diverse Teaching Methodologies for an Information Literacy Programme #ecil2015

Theo Bothma presented Reflecting on Diverse Teaching Methodologies for an Information Literacy Programme for Large Groups (coauthored with Ann-Louise de Boer) at the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 in Tallinn.
He explained that they had been delivering an information literacy module at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) for some time. They were redesigning the module, and they used the The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) as part of this process. Analysing the textbook they'd been using, they identified whetre it was lacking in terms of the HBDI, and used that in designing the new online version of the texbook. For example they added simulation exercises. This module is taken by 9000 students over 3 campuses, there are 175 sessions a week in 16 dedicated teaching labs, with 35 students per session (so it's a very big initiative!)
He said that IL was presented as being valuable for life, not just study. The IL aspect is based on the big 6, and there is also a computer literacy component. There is a lot of emphasis on searching, as well as ethical use, evaluating and presenting the information. Computer skills training is I think integrated, in that they learn by using applications such as Word and reference managers as part of the tasks and assignments.
They have evaluated the module over the years, currently this is done via questionnaires and focus groups. Before starting the module students tend to be negative (why are we doing this) but survey shows that at the end a big majority agree that IL is important, is important to studies etc. In terms of print/online preferences, 25% said they only use the paper workbook, whilst 11% use only the e-textbook. The rest use both, with varying preferences. Most students liked use of multimedia and would have liked more, although some felt they hadn't the time to watch extra videos. They were more divided in opinion about whether there should be more exercises.
They want to introduce more subject-specific exercises and assessments; want to do more advocacy (to make academics aware of whathe students do in the class: at the moment there isn't development of IL to build on this initial education); to improve the e-book with more interactivity; to review pedagogic approach in light of the HBDI model; to get the publishers of the e-book to get it to work properly on a mobile device.
I think I have blogged about this initiative before. Also there are publications e.g.
De Boer et al. (2011) Enhancing Information Literacy through the Application of Whole Brain Strategies. Libri, 61, 67-75. http://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/17889

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