Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Edgeless University

(Apologies for the focus on Higher Education, I'm afraid I do have a bias in that direction) A paper was launched about a week ago by the authors & by the UK Minister for Higher Education and Intellectual Property and a representative of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (thus signalling that Government may pay attention to it). Demos is a UK consultancy/ think tank.
Bradwell, P (2009) The edgeless university why higher education must embrace technology. London: Demos. http://www.demos.co.uk/files/Edgeless_University_-_web.pdf?1245715615
They interviewed a smallish sample of opinion-holders connected with higher education and form it into a fairly anecdotal narrative, with a series of recommendations at the end.
Their starting point is: "The forces now confronting higher education have been called ‘a perfect storm’. They are serious challenges. Universities must offer more varied provision to a growing number of students in an era when they can no longer depend on ever- increasing allocation of funds. These are challenges to institutions set up to cater for a different age. The challenge is to find ways to make available resources match society’s unchanged aspirations for education. In Britain this challenge is twofold: maintaining a continued international reputation for excellence in teaching, research and innovation; and continued progress to eradicate inequality of access."
The recommendations are: "Government policy must help higher education institutions develop new ways of offering education seekers affiliation and accreditation." "Institutions need strong leadership from advocates of technology within the institutions" (i.e. greater roles of CIOs); "What students want: Universities are already paying more attention to what students want. They should connect this with how they develop their technology policy."; "Use open technology"; "Greater recognition of teaching"; "Promote easy to use best practice guides."; Engage with the geeks"; "Promote shared resources and open course material"; "Curatorship" (serious attention to curating digital assets).
What one might recognise as information literacy (evaluating & using information) does get mentioned as something that students lack, at one point, but I would say that the report is not strong on identifying how the edgeless universities enable potential students to develop information and digital literacy skills to engage with them. I could critique this report ... but I don't think I have the time at the moment ;-)

Photo by Sheila Webber: Calliandra (powder puff) tree, Thessaloniki, Greece, June 2009

ACRL Instruction Section events

If you can go to these you probably know about them already, but .... The ACRL Instruction Section is hosting the following events at the American Library Association Annual Conference 10-13 July in Chicago USA
Instruction Section Soiree: 10 July 5:30-7 pm
IS Member Welcome and Orientation 11 July 9.30-10:30 am Saturday
Current Topics Discussion Group I: Teacher Proficiencies: Applying Proficiency Standards for Instruction Librarians in Your Library. 3:30-5:00 pm 11 July
Current Topics Discussion Group II: Using Discovery-Based Learning to Engage Students with Information Literacy: 10:30 am -12:00 pm 12 July
IS Conference Program 2009: Illuminating New Instruction Research: Applying Research to Practice. 3:30-5:30 pm 12 July (I blogged this already, there is now more information if you follow the links)
Full info at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/

Photo by Sheila Webber: Thessaloniki, Greece, June 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice has published another issue (volume 4, no. 2, 2009). This issue features "school libraries and their connection to evidence based practice." The articles are:
Weaving Evidence, Reflection, and Action into the Fabric of School Librarianship (Carol A. Gordon, Ross J. Todd); Creation of a Research Community in a K-12 School System Using Action Research and Evidence Based Practice (Susan D. Ballard, Gail March, Jean K. Sand); School Library Media Specialist Collaboration with Special Education Personnel in Support of Student Learning (Lesley S. J. Farmer); An Emerging Theory for Evidence Based Information Literacy Instruction in School Libraries, Part 1: Building a Foundation (Carol A. Gordon); School Librarianship and Evidence Based Practice: Progress, Perspectives, and Challenges (Ross J. Todd); Librarian-Teacher Partnerships for Inquiry Learning: Measures of Effectiveness for a Practice-Based Model of Professional Development (Joyce Yukawa, Violet H. Harada ). There are also evidence summaries.

The editorial also cites: Todd, R. (2008) "The Evidence-Based Manifesto." School Library Journal, 54 (4), 38-43.

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice is at http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP

Photo by Sheila Webber: Thessaloniki, Greece, June 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Information Literacy in Second Life

On 19th June 2009 (last Friday) I gave a presentation/ demonstration Information Literacy in Second Life, together with Vicki Cormie and Denny Colledge. I uploaded it to slideshare and have embedded it below: the first part was put together by me and the second by Denny. This is the description I put onto Slideshare "This was presented at the 2009 CoFHE (Colleges of Further and Higher Education group of CILIP) conference, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, 19 June 2009. Additional notes have been added for this version. The presenters were: Sheila Webber (Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield); Vicki Cormie (Senior Academic Liaison Librarian at St Andrews University); Denny Colledge (Information Skills Librarian at Edinburgh University). The first part of the presentation briefly introduces SL and its use in education and for collaboration, then provides a few thoughts about supporting information literacy, finally indicating some tools and models for IL in SL. The second part of the presentation provides a snapshot of activity on the Edinburgh University SL campus and Denny Colledge's involvement. The actual presentation had a lot of demonstration of SL!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

i3 reports: Twitter and facebook

I may not get my final set of blog postings about the i3 conference up til later today or tomorrow, as I am dashing off after the parallel session I'm in at the moment. Therefore I will alert you to some other impressions of the conference (though for some of them you may need to have signed up for the application). Firstly, Kornelia Sliwinska has been posting many photos to Facebook http://www.facebook.com/photo_search.php?oid=43169634350&view=all. There was some tweeting using the hashtah #i3 https://twitter.com/#search?q=%23i3
Actually I'm not able to find any more through quick searches .... interesting lack of bloggers. I'm pretty sure that Christine Irving will be blogging something here http://caledonianblogs.net/information-literacy/

Photo by Sheila Webber: Pigeon not twittering, Glasgow, June 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

i3 reports: Information literacies beyond rhetoric

At the i3 conference that is taking place at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, Louise Limberg is today's keynote speaker. Her title was Information literacies beyond rhetoric: developing research and practice at the intersection between information seeking seeking and learning. Louise is Professor at the University of Boras, and co-director (with Roger Säljö) of the Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society.
Her central theme seemed to me to be contrasting two perspectives on information literacy: a political/professionalised one, and that which is based on theory and research. She then talked about some examples from her own research group. Apologies for this rather long post, but I thought she presented an interesting perspective.
At the start of her talk, Professor Limberg identified shifts in control and authority e.g. from professional expertise to empowered uses, from control of information to control of information behaviour, from physical space to virtual space. She went on to probe the two underlying concepts of literacy (which has been associated with reading, writing & arithmetic, connected with texts) and information (which was seen in the 90s as a thing, as a process and as knowledge, taking Michael Buckland's analysis). However the 21st century UNESCO definition of literacy is broader (see http://www.unesco.org/en/literacy), being defined in terms of capability for citizens' empowerment and development.
Professor Limberg identified stakeholders in information literacy as being: librarians, the library and information research community, education communities, and political actors/ agents. The political types tend to focus on other types of literacy, such as digital and media literacy. She noted the breadth of the Alexandria Proclamation on Information Literacy and compared this with the narrower and more traditional concept of information literacy identified in the UNESCO publication which proposes indicators for information literacy. She compared also a (Limberg and Folkesson) definition which emphasises the context-specific and varying experience of information literacy. She added socio-cultural perpectives from Sundin "IL is learning (appropriating) to communicate within a specific acitivity in order to be able to act in those practices that constitute the activity" and quoted AnneMaree Lloyd.
So, to summarise she compared the rhetorical view of IL (that IL is transferable, generic, measurable, cognitive, individual and normative (i.e. that you can say IL practices are right or wrong) and the view that emerges from research (IL as situated, varying according to situation and context, social and embedded in different practices and relative (i.e. there isn't a definite right/wrong for all situations).
Thus (she went on to argue) there are diverging interests: a professional, political and embracing view of information literacy (from the rhetorical and - I would say - more traditional library perspective) versus a critical, questioning and distanced view of information literacy. Obviously there is also common ground: e.g. that IL is an "interesting and possibly important concept", that related to learning, new media, LIS activities, librarians' expertise.
I found the above a useful summary which highlights the tensions you sometimes get in discussions about information literacy: with disagreement about what is important for this important subject.Professor Limberg went to talk further about her own perspective and that of her research community: they see information seeking IS) and learning as closely intertwined. She sees 5 relationships between the two things (learning and IS):
1. Information seeking for learning purposes
2. Learning information seeking
3. Teaching information seeking
4. Learning from information
5. Development of information technologies
She sees information literacy as a "hub" for making connections between information seeking and learning.
She finished by giving some examples of research projects. I must confess that at ths point I was getting a bit distracted, thinking about my own talk which was in the next session, so these are particularly brief notes. She stressed the sociocultural perspective they took to research, in the tradition of Vygotsky: this manifests as a focus on investigation of collective activities and tools & activities within communities. A couple of references related to this research are given below. I noted down that she emphasised the need to recognise that there are critical choices or assumptions in the ways systems are used, as well as in selecting of manipulating of data "recognising critical competencies that may emerge in the interaction between user and system" She briefly mentioned a current project EXpertise, Authority and Control on the InterneT (EXACT): A study of the formation of source credibility in Web 2.0 environments for learning, looking at what preconceptions and experiences teachers and schoolchildren have when approaching wikipedia and blogs. Librarian and teachers are viewed as authorities. Wikipedia is used as a background; books tend to be seen as more reliable than wikipedia. Louise felt it was not good to have these blanket views about media, as it did not encourage critical thinking. She saw this area of credibility and authority as an increasingly impotrtant part of practice."Physical and intellectual tools mediate world views and shape information and learning activities."
Sundin, O., Limberg, L. & Lundh, A. (2008). Constructing librarians' information literacy expertise in the domain of nursing. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 40(1), 21-30.
Sundin, O. (2008). Negotiations on information seeking expertise: a study of web-based tutorials for information literacy. Journal of Documentation, 64(1), 24-44.

Photos by Sheila Webber: Display of winners of a design-a-mousemat competition and view of Department building as the mist rolls in... june 2009, Aberdeen

i3 reports: identifying email types

Another report from the i3 conference that is taking place at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. The second paper in the first session today was from Malcolm Clark, who reported on a part of his research, which is examining people's use of email. In particular he was looking at email structure and layout, looking for clues as to what features and forms in the emails were being used to make decisions about what to do with email. This is useful for studying how people filter and identify emails. I can imagine people producing emails can also earn from this (including spammers... but also library and information people: getting better attention for your emails)
He used the term genre to describe something which has a recognisable purpose (in terms of topics, arguments etc.) and form (which you can tell from readily observable features, such as language, communication medium or structural features).
He used eyetracking equipment to follow where eyes moved and how they behaved in reaction to what was on the screen. There were 24 participants. There were various kinds of email e.g. call for papers, library notice, information on a seminar, spam. Each item was presented 4 times, structured in different ways, including ones in which the structure was kept but the email text was replaced with XXs or 9s, one with the content and no structure, and one with all the structure & content removed. People were asked to identify what kind of email it was. He looked at various items such as genres correctly identified, amount of time spent on each. In terms of recognising what type of email itwas:
87% of the ones in their original form were correctly categorised, 77% of those with the original format by the content converted to X and 9s. If the structure (e.. coumns, paragraph sacing) was taken away, 68% of messages were recognised. 27% still recognised the type of email when it had no structure andwas all Xs and 9s - apparently certain types of email were recognised because they normally had lots of numbers (replaced by 9s). People skimmed the shape of the text: different areas were focused on depending on the structure. With emails with no structure there was a lot of scanning behaviour. Some useful features were identified for types of email: e.g. Calls for papers: dates, centred blocks, titles
Cinema listsings: blocks and numerical content
Library: people went straight to details of a book at the end of desciptive passage (perhaps flags up that if you currently circulate listings with abstracts, it may be that people don't want the abstracts!)
Spam - looking for keywords, address, emboldened text
One of the interesting methodological questions was whether you could use a constructivist concept like "genre" with a quantitative approach (observation in the lab).
Photo by Sheila Webber: Reception last night, with alumni of RGU, to celebrate 40 years of the Department

i3 reports: discussion fora use in teaching

Another report from the i3 conference that is taking place at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. The first paper in the first session today (or rather, the session I was at) was presented by James Herring on behalf of Lisa Soon, Maryam Sarrafzadeh and Kirsty Williamson on Reusing knowledge in online forums. For many years they have been using discussion forums at Charles Sturt University (Australia) to encourage students to discuss and to enable interaction with the tutors. However this potentially useful (for learners and tutors) . The authors undertook a focus group with subject coordinators from different disciplines. They found that academics were reusing discussion posts from their own classes in previous years, and sometimes from other classes. They were using them to identify problems & questions students had in previous years (to anticipate and improve), see issues raised by previous module coordinators and pull out good student recommendations for readings. Thus the posting were evidently useful, but this material is not used effectively between classes or over time: e.g. it is not searchable. This has led to discussions about making better use of this resource, and of sharing knowledge more generally.
Photo by Sheila Webber: people at the Grampian Information event yesterday.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

i3 reports: emergent themes

This is another report from the i3 conference taking place in Aberdeen, Scotland at Robert Gordon University (the atrium is pictured here). I am just in a session in which chairs of previous sessions are drawing out some cross cutting themes. Dorothy Williams (the conference chair) was taking lots of notes, and if these get published they will be a fuller record than mine! So here are the themes.
Interdisciplinarity: this had emerged, for example, in terms of using methods, discoveries from other disciplines. One person talked about how she had worked with a group of people from different disciplines and the slow, but ultimately fruitful, process of getting to know each other and engage with the different conceptions, terminologies etc. There are different perspectives on this: people from different disciplines working together e.g. on a project, bringing their different perspectives, or people who have "grown up" multi- (or trans-)disciplinar, who may also be valuable in making connections between disciplines. I would observe that information science may have an advantage in being a social science.
Importance of context: need to understand the context in which information is used: personal, organisational and cultural contexts. This seems a bit of a no-brainer to me, as I feel it has got to the point where the importance of context, both in terms of information behaviour and in terms of pedagogy, has got to be acknowledged. However (when I said this) the point may be (essentially) "so what?": what can you learn and apply? (linking theory and practice - without falling into the trap of generalising into a meaningless rule or recipe).
Role of medical librarians, in being both involved in developing information services that are guided by the clinicians view of medicine, and having a role in supporting patients who need a different perspective on information (e.g. thinking of the needs of people who are receiving palliative care and who don't just want to look back at the causes of and prognosis for their illness). This can bring in a political as awell as an ethical dimension.
Serendipity: I was talking to Abigail McBirnie about this at the break, as she had presented a paper about her study of serendipity. I am very interested in information encountering, so we were talking about the differences between the two things. I found this article by her: McBirnie, A. (2008) "Seeking serendipity: the paradox of control." Aslib proceedings, 60 (6), 600-618.
Teachers' perceptions of information literacy: I already blogged about this, so won't say much more. James Herring (who was introducing this theme) had also given a paper this morning about the issue of transfer of learning, attitudes etc. This led to a discussion about engaging teachers in understanding information literacy: including teachers investigating it for themselves, IL coming into teacher education.
Information behaviours of information providers: how they operate with information, how they add value, and whether they understand the impact of what they do?

i3 reports: David Snowden

Still at the i3 conference in Aberdeen, I am listening to a keynote from David Snowden entitled Complexity, coherence, constraint cognition and context. He's intending to put the slides up as a podcast here. His theme is "Naturalising sense-making" (making sense of the world so we can act in it). He positioned himself as nearer Dervin's interpretation of sense-making than Weick's. He challenges "hard" systems thinking, which is interested in relationships rather than rigid categorisation. Thus for him a system is "any network that has coherence" which "may be fuzzy, it may or may or may not have a purpose". An agent "is anything whch acts within the system" (may be a person, an idea etc.) Thus he identifies 3 types of system: ordered (agents constrained); chaotic (agents all over the place); complex (interaction between the system and the agents).
I'll put in here, that in terms of, for example, planning for collaboration to education for information literacy, I would say that sometimes people talk about universities as if they were ordered (which is true only up to a point - but not necessarily in terms of nitty gritty curriculum development), or chaotic (with academics as erractic, but possible of being pinned down through individual study), but rather they should be treated as (at the curriculum development level) complex. At least, in some ways it may be most productive to treat the situation as complex, since then you would be looking at the whole situation, the "agents" and their academic context, and you would be thinking it as a situation that needs ongoing management and attention.
At the moment Snowden is talking about setting "flexible negotiable boundaries" in complex systems. You then set "attractors" (e.g. a video or game in terms of his actual example, a childen's party: in the curriculum this might be a particular educational or research activity perhaps), monitor and try different "attractors" and try and manage the system more organically. However he is also emphasising the need for constraints in systems, so his ideal system seems to be a "semi constrained" one.
Snowden has moved on to talk about the Cynefin framework (he's also referred to an article in the Harvard Business Review, the title of which is a "Leader's framework for decision making" (published November 2007). I don't want to jot down everything Snowden is saying, so I will skip over some of the next points (since I haven't processed them properly myself yet), but he has moved on now to the issue of distributed cognition (i.e. getting decision making from a wide number of people rather than centralised - this also implies distribution of other things such as raw information). He distinguishing this from just taking the pulse of "the crowd" (I think), looking rather to an informed or expert crowd. He has moved on to talk about the issue of only perceiving the patterns and data that you expect or are familiar: this can prevent us seeing new and unexpected things.
He has given a sort of slogan "Live with the way humans are" (rather than trying to force them into systems). Although there is certainly an educational element in information literacy (to go back to my own reflections), I think that that is a good way to start the approach - both in terms of identifying effective information literacy strategies that suit people's different information behaviours (so, information browsers as well as seekers) and in planning a pedagogically effective approach. He is also arguing against focus on "best practice" because you learn from your own mistakes, and also best practice in one context today, may not be best practice somewhere else tomorrow (or even today). I agree with that too.

He's finishing by talking about projects he's working on where people are enabled to tell their own stories, and doing their own tagging etc. of their stories and images. You may find relevant links at his website at http://www.cognitive-edge.com/index.php

Photos by Sheila Webber: view from plane to Athens, June 2009 & Hellingly woods, May 2009

i3 report: schools 2

Continuing reports from the i3 conference that is taking place at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland: here are some notes from the second of the two studies concerning schools in Finland (from a session I attended yesterday).
Eoro Sormunsen (University of Tempere, Finland) presented a paper that he had co-authored with Heidi Hongisto, Students' requests for help and the teacher's strategies of support in a secondary school class working ona research assignment. This arose as a teacher was taking an inquiry approach to her teaching and wanted help in evaluating the impact of her approach. They adopted the research questions:
- firstly how do the students work on this, their first research paper,
- secondly, what kinds of problem do the students ask for help with (especially information seeking questions),
- thirdly, what strategies does the teacher use to support, or react to, problems that the students exerience,
- finally, what challenges are there for embedding information literacy within teaching.
The focus was a course on cultural geography, with 17 students aged 14 years. The teacher's learning goals for this project were to learn about the subject, to learn about planning, scheduling and carrying out work, seeking and using information, and using the computer for learning. The students were in fact researching a theme, rather than solving a problem scenario. It was an individual piece of work, although the students had sessions in class where they were working on the problem and had the chance to support each other.
There was an observation of weekly sessions, questionnaires (at different stages of the project) and interviews (one with the teacher and with a couple of students) and also reports (reflective and quantitative) of the coursework itself. In the end the researchers relied particularly on the observational data. For example they recorded problems that students had asked about (e.g. "Is this image good enough [for my coursework]") and any support offered by the teacher or peers (e.g. "Maybe you should look for another").
The researchers identified problem types which they clustered into problem categories, which were:
- information seeking and use (most frequent at 33% of the problems: roughly 40% of these were about searching; 40% on use (how to apply information); 20% on assessment of sources);
- the work process;
- the end product (the coursework);
- the subject itself;
- technical problems.
In terms of support strategies, they grouped 16 types of support into four categories:
- expert suppport (e.g. being directive about the correct solution; 39% of the total);
- ideas and encouragement (38% of the total support strategies, mostly not from peers);
- collaboration (e.g. person sitting next to you helping);
- controlling support (mostly teacher keeping students in the work process, checking that learners know what is required).
Collaborative strategies were used most in questions about the subject and technical projects. Expert was used least in technical problems.
(My observations) There are obvious uses into looking more closely, like this, at the kinds of problem that learners are asking about: you could use it to plan more effective support, and also use the "support strategy" analysis to reflect on whether you need to encourage peer collaboration more, whether you are giving too much (or too little) direction, whether the briefing for an assignment is unclear etc. This research also demonstrates that learners need support not just in searching but also in using information.
Photo by Sheila Webber: rose outside my hotel (and escaping bee), Aberdeen, June 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

i3 report: school libraries studies

I am at the i3 conference that is taking place at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, for the next few days. This conference focuses on information literacy and information behaviour. Today included a parallel session with two studies concerning schools in Finland: I will blog them in 2 entries.
Eeva Kurttila-Matero talked about Teachers' conceptions of teaching and learning in teh context of a school library project. A follow up study in the City of Oulu, Finland.
She started by explaining that there is no obligation to provide school librraies in Finland. However the Finnish National Board of Education stipulated in 2004 that students should have the means of supporting their independent study. Her project is a follow up to one which aimed to develop a model and learning environment that supported independent study.
Eeva's study (which finishes in 2011) aims to increase understanding of teachers' conceptions of teaching and learning during a school library project. This project was to develop a school library in each school in the project (11 schools). The researcher was part of the small team that visited the schools to encourage the conversation to take place regularly, about the curriculum (in particular incorporating information skills) and how to meet the project goals. The teachers at the schools also visited each other to talk about the project. The schools did not have librarians on their staff.
Eeva's project investigates whether the school teachers' conceptions of teaching change, and in particular whether conceptions related to the pedagogical role of the school library change. She has used activity theory, and phenomenography.
What is most notable so far is that collaboration between teachers within and between schools has became more regular. There is more conversation about the curriculum and more exploitation of each other's expertise, including expertise in information seeking. There are examples of quotations from the teachers and the head teachers which show that their idea of the role of the school library is changing too: she quoted a remark on change from the perception of the school library project from being "a library furniture project" to a" pedagogically established way of working".
Photo by Sheila Webber: Laptop work in the cafe, Thessaloniki, Greece, June 2009 (last week)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Centre for Evidence Based Medicine

There is useful material on the website of Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, based in Oxford , UK. "Our broad aim is to develop, teach and promote evidence-based health care and provide support and resources to doctors and health care professionals to help maintain the highest standards of medicine." The site includes "Tools for each step of the EBM process" with guidance about forming good questions, carrying out systematic searches, applying evidence and carrying out research http://www.cebm.net/index.aspx?o=1023
Photo by Sheila Webber: In the woods, Hellingly, May 2009


The Oklahoma ACRL subgroup, the Community of Oklahoma Instruction Librarians (COIL), will be having an "unCOILed" workshop (with an unconference like approach) on July 17 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA. More information at http://okacrl.okstate.edu/
to register online. For more information about COIL, go to http://okacrl.okstate.edu/coil/

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Theere was an interesting dicussion on the lis-infoliteracy list a week or so ago, about the metaphors that people used for information literacy. The discussion was started by Mark Hepworth, who had put a picture visualising a kayaking metaphor on his blog http://markhepworthsblog.blogspot.com/ He is interested in hearing about more metaphors and he has copied the posts at http://markhepworthsblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/metaphors-people-use-to-teach.html and his orinal post is here.Photo by Sheila Webber: Oak leaf, Hellingly, May 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Recent articles

JAL is a priced publication: these are selected items from the Jan and March issues (I didn't think any items in the May issue were so directly relevant to IL)

- Asunka, S. et al (2009) "Understanding Academic Information Seeking Habits through Analysis of Web Server Log Files: The Case of the Teachers College Library Website." Journal of academic librarianship, 35 (1), 33-45

- Chen, H. and Williams, J. (2009) "Use of multi-modal media and tools in an online information literacy course: College students' attitudes and perceptions."
Journal of academic librarianship, 35 (1) 14-24
- MacMillan, M. (2009) "Watching Learning Happen: Results of a Longitudinal Study of Journalism Students." Journal of academic librarianship, 35 (2), 132-142.
- Somoza-Fernández, M. and Abadal, E. (2009)"Analysis of web-based tutorials created by academic libraries." Journal of academic librarianship, 35 (2), 126-131

Photo by Sheila Webber: The secret path, May 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Information Literacy: developing examples around Swine Flu

One of my current projects is developing a 3D model of information literacy that uses examples of questions and problems to do with swine flu (H1N1) to prompt discussion and develop information literacy, in the virtual world Second Life.
I originally created the basic 3D circular SCONUL 7 Pillars build for a "Bird Flu" scenario (with examples related to "should we panic about bird flu?" including student-created material)
The aim of the build is to provide objects/environments that can be used to stimulate thinking and problem solving, and develop information literacy e.g. what learners need to think about relevant to each of the 7 Pillars of Information Literacy. The aim is not to create a set of links to information about swine flu (H1N1), by the way.
There is material there already, and when there is a bit more I will make it easy for people to get a copy of the whole thing free, which they can then customise and use in their own bit of SL (Infolit iSchool is also open to all, so people can use it there). I suppose this makes it a "learning object". Ideally people will share ideas/experience of how they use it, and there will be periodic meetings about the build.
I have now created a couple of pages on the Infolit iSchool wiki, which are a focus for information and ideas. NB you should be able to add your own suggestions and comments to these pages. [Added later: but this doesn't seem to be working! If you want to comment - you can do it here, or emailme to request access, or you can do that on the page on the wiki]http://infolitischool.pbworks.com/Information+Literacy+builds+-+Swine+flu
If you have a SL avatar, the best way of learning about the build is to visit it in Second Life at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infolit%20iSchool/169/189/21/
Also, on 4th June 2009 there was session in which people discussed ways in which the build could be developed. The transcript for the session is here: http://sleeds.org/chatlog/?c=417
The original (2D diagram and text) SCONUL model was created by SCONUL (http://www.sconul.ac.uk/ )

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Illuminating New Instruction Research: Applying Research to Practice

The US Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Instruction Section has a session planned for the American Library Association conference in Chicago, USA, on July 12 2009. It is called Illuminating New Instruction Research: Applying Research to Practice "Panelists Randy Burke Hensley (Newman Library, Baruch College, City University of New York), Heidi Julien (The University of Alberta), and Michelle Morton (Cañada Community College Library) will conduct a live, semi-improvisational workshop that actively applies recent research findings to the development and improvement of instructional design and practice. The audience will witness the panel thinking aloud, brainstorming, and debating their way through this process. ... You will depart with models for working your own way through research findings in order to pragmatically improve your instructional practice."
For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/mlxvh7
Photo by Sheila Webber: Wild rose, Hellingly, May 2009

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning reports

There are some on the website of the the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (as you might gather, from the "K12" to mean "school", this was originally a North American organisation). One series (4 papers so far, from 2008) is Promising Practices in Online Learning, which "explores some of the approaches being taken by practitioners and policymakers in response to key issues in online learning." They are not exactly indepth, but, for example, Blending Learning: The Convergence of Online and Face-to-Face Education has a brief introduction to what blended learning means and then has several short accounts of what specific North American schools are doing.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Froth of cow parsley, Hellingly, May 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

21st Century Skills Incentive Fund Act

On the NAMLE site I blogged earlier I saw that there is a campaign to support a bill introduced in the US Senate by Jay Rockefeller to provide "matching federal funds to states offering students curriculum options that integrate key 21st-century skills – including information literacy and media literacy. The bill is currently under consideration by the Senate Finance Committee. The 21st Century Skills Incentive Fund Act (S.1029), which is co-sponsored by Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and John Kerry (D-MA), suggests several areas where states could expand their curricula to encompass 21st-century skills, such as global awareness; financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy; civic literacy; and health and wellness awareness." "If passed, the bill would appropriate $100 million a year for the U.S. Department of Education to pass on to states that have developed a comprehensive plan for implementing a statewide 21st-century skills initiative and are able to supply matching funds for their initiative" The news story is here: http://namle.net/news-blogs/flash and the information on the bill itself is here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1029/show
Photo by Sheila Webber: May 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flattening the Classroom: Building Collaborative Learning Environments

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2009 Online Fall [autumn] Focus Session takes place online on September 23-24 2009 and the theme is Flattening the Classroom: Building Collaborative Learning Environments. It sounds an interesting theme and approach. Presentations take place real-time using Adobe Connect. "The schedule will include a series of general sessions, project parlors, and discussion breaks designed to help participants connect more deeply with the content and one another." "Inside the virtual space, participants can submit questions and communicate with colleagues using the chat feature. Live polls, interactive whiteboards, and breakout rooms will offer attendees a chance to communicate with one another and participate in active knowledge building." People are encouraged to register in teams. You have to register and will be invited into a Ning group.
It doesn't say you HAVE to be in the USA to attend (though perhaps that is assumed): at any rate I realised I couldn't register since they say you will need a "toll free telephone" for the discussions (unlikely between the UK and the US, although Skype is actually pretty cheap).

Photo by Sheila Webber: Cottage, Hailsham, May 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Information Literacy and IT Fluency

There is a podcast, and article with an extract of the text, on the subject of Information Literacy and IT Fluency in higher education, in Educause review (vol 44 no 3, May/June 2009).
Sandy Schaeffer, Michael Fry, Barbara Draude, and Gail Matthews-DeNatale (who are mostly from the IT side in universities, plus one of them is a professor) are the members of the round table. The table of contents for the issue (it is free) is at http://www.educause.edu/
and the pdf of this article at http://www.educause.edu/ir/
There is a link to the podcast from the web version of the article.
One quote from Schaeffer: "There have been discussions about, "Will the faculty member be relevant as we move into the future?" ... I think the faculty member is more important than ever before, to help guide the student through that process of making sense out of all this. I've had a complete flip of that mindset. We could just turn students loose and say: "There's this vast world of information. Sally forth and become knowledgeable." We all laugh at that. The issue is not, of course, that we have a shortage of information. The shortage is in how to make sense of the information in a way that's meaningful at a level congruent with higher education."
Photo by Sheila Webber: Nettle, Hellingly, May 2009

E-journals: their use, value and impact

A free Research Information Network event on 1 July 2009 at the Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK, looking at the findings of the 'E-journals: their use, value and impact' report: http://www.rin.ac.uk/ejournals-event The report itself is at http://www.rin.ac.uk/use-ejournals "Based on an analysis of log files from journal websites and data from libraries in ten universities and research institutions, our report starts to build a clear picture of how e-journals are shaping the information landscape"

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Michigan Information Literacy Initiative

Michigan Information Literacy Initiative is next week, June 19 2009 in Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA. There are sessions on teacher/librarian collaboration, Information Literacy Assessment and the First-year Experience, & Promoting Information Literacy. http://www.mla.lib.mi.us/node/999
Photo by Sheila Webber: Blackheath, May 2009

National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) conference

The 2009 NAMLE conference is on August 1-4 2009 in Detroit, USA. The theme is Bridging Literacies . . . Critical Connections in a Digital World. There are keynotes, workshops, screenings and discussions. The new Journal of Media Literacy Education will be launched. More info at http://www.namle.net/

Monday, June 08, 2009

Endowed Chair in Information Literacy

Congratulations to Dr Sharon Weiner (pictured), Dean of library services at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, who has been appointed by Purdue University to the first endowed chair in information literacy. The W. Wayne Booker Endowed Chair in Information Literacy was created with a $2.5 million gift from Booker, a 1956 Purdue graduate in economics. The press release at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/
says that "'She will conduct research and launch additional initiatives to increase students' ability to collect and collate information', said James L. Mullins, Purdue Libraries dean. 'She will work with Purdue Libraries faculty and faculty throughout the university to educate students in information assessment.'"
I emailed Sharon and asked her to resond to a question for this blog: "Do you think it is important to have international discussion and collaboration about information literacy?"
She replied swiftly "I think that international discussion and collaboration about information literacy are imperative! As we share different perspectives, learn from each other, and collaborate on information literacy activities globally, our experiences are richer and better-informed. The inclusion of diverse perspectives can deepen our understanding and further the advancement of our knowledge about information literacy."

Saturday, June 06, 2009

IL assessment instruments

The ili-l discussion list threw up a link to a site that was prepared for the 2008 Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education Annual Conference in Las Vegas by Penny Beile. It describes some "information literacy or IL-related assessment instruments", namely:
Internet and Computing Core Certification - IC3 (Certiport)
Information Literacy Test - ILT (James Madison University)
International Computer Drivers Licence - ICDL (Australian Computer Society)
iSkills (US Educational Testing Service)
Beile Test of Information Literacy for Education - B-TILED (University of Central Florida)
Information Literacy Initiative (Canada)
Cited References Rubric (University of Central Florida)
Literature Review Rubric (University of Central Florida)
Information Literacy Exercises Assessment Rubric (New Jersey City University)
Portfolio Assessment: Information Literacy Rubric (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
Go to http://ilassessments.pbworks.com/ The links to the paper itself and to the sites for the instruments are on the right of the page.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Bee on an arctic poppy, Sheffield, May 2009

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Digital literacy in California

Thanks to Linda Goff again, who sent me several news items. Last week, California Governor Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order, supporting an ICT Literacy policy framework. It notes that "ICT Digital Literacy skills are vital to California's ability to compete successfully in a global information and knowledge economy". It is very much focused on computer use and connection to the internet, but there may be scope for pushing an information literacy agenda. http://gov.ca.gov/executive-order/12393
Photo by Sheila Webber: Roses, Hailsham, May 2009.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

IL month campaign

There is a campaign on in the USA to get October 15 - November 15 declared National Information Literacy Month . Perhaps something that should be copied elsewhere? Coincindentally, we we decided yesterday that we were going to have our Sheffield University Information Literacy week in the final week of that month, which will be a nice tie-up if the Campaign is successful. There is more information on the National Forum on Information Literacy website: http://www.infolit.org/news/campaign.html
Photo by Sheila Webber: Ferns in the evening breeze, Hellingly, May 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Library Instruction for Diverse Populations

The USA's Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)Instruction Section (IS) Instruction for Diverse Populations (IDP) Committee has announced the new versions of their Multilingual Glossary and Library Instruction for Diverse Populations Bibliography. The Glossary has "85 commonly used library terms" in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French and Spanish. The Bibliography mostly lists articles, with full abstracts/annotations. There is a focus on groups of particular interest to the USA (e.g. African American) but also some sections of more international interest (e.g. students with disabilities). The IDP website is at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/

Photo by Sheila Webber: Arrangement in Radford vase, May 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

New-ish book

This was just mentioned by the author (who is Senior Reference Librarian, Princeton University Library) on the ili-l discussion list:
George, M. (2008) The Elements of Library Research: What Every Student Needs to Know. Princeton University Press. ISBN13: 978-0-691-13857
There is a description, the first chapter free ("Introduction to Research as Inquiry ") and opportunity to purchase online at http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8711.html (£10.95 in Europe, which is refreshingly cheaper than a lot of the books I list here!)

Photo by Sheila Webber: Woodland, Hellingly, May 2009