Monday, April 18, 2011

LILAC report: Effective approaches to thinking like a researcher #lilac11

This is my second report from the LILAC (Information Literacy) conference 18-20 April 2011 in London, UK. I attended Effective approaches to thinking like a researcher a session from Emma Finney & Deborah Harrop (Sheffield Hallam University). Their goals were aiming to identify challenges faced by learners, apply approaches we could drop into our own sessions and evaluate links between assessment and impact measurement. They are aiming to gather in and publish the input from the groups, so I will add a link when that happens. We were broken into groups of about 4 and work through activity sheets. These are activity sheets based on ones which the presenters had used with bioscience students.
Exercises included (for example) devising criteria for judging the suitability of an article for inclusion in an online journal, and reading an article, then summarising the what/how/why of the article. In each case we were asked to reflect the extent to which this exercise could be used to demonstrate the impact of information literacy.
There was then a discussion about assessment and the extent to which they feel driven to use summative assessment. One comment from someone in a Further Education was that there was a need, but they were not paid to be teachers (I got the impression that for some this was an attitude issue, for others it was an administrative issue about roles in the institution - you are not allowed to say you are a teacher even if you are teaching). A majority saw teaching as a role, but a number felt that they were not neccessarily paid enough to carry out this role! There was a question about the extent to which teaching was covered in library & information courses: I said that this was coming into courses more now e.g. at Sheffield University in a core module and also in various options (e.g. educational informatics). One key question that was raised was: how best can we collaborate lecturers and librarians to maximise reach to the student. Another key point was - work closely on research tasks and agree what you are looking for in summative assessment (lecturer/librarian). Someone mentioned pre and post testing - though the presenters said that pre/post tests didn't neccessarily indicate long terms learning (e.g. retaining 1st year knowledege in 2nd year).
I will also add that I had the embarrassing experience of being asked a direct question when I was blogging and hadn't been listening properly to what was being said.

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