Monday, April 30, 2018

Information Literacy at the CILIP conference

The CILIP Conference takes place in Brighton, UK, July 4-5 2018. Information is at and it includes a session on Learning and Information Literacy. My department, the Information School, University of Sheffield, is sponsoring careers workshops. There is a bursary from the CILIP Information Literacy Group (for an ILG member, closing date 3 May 2018). More information on that at
Photo by C Webber: Rainbow over Brighton Pier, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Teachmeet in Bristol

There will be a teachmeet at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, on 11 June 2018, organised by ARLG South West. "This Teachmeet is aimed at librarians working within academic and research libraries primarily but if you have something to share or something to learn about teaching, this is the opportunity to boost your creativity as you're thinking ahead to the new year." There are spaces for presenters and delegates. More information and (free) registration at
Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry blossom, April 2018

Recordings: 23 Framework things

There is the recording for the 23 Framework Things: The Humanities Librarian’s Guide to the ACRL Framework webinar that took place earlier in the month at (though I know that people with Apple devices may have problems with Adobe Connect recordings) and the slides are at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Beech leaves appearing by Firth Court, April 2018

Friday, April 27, 2018

Webcast: #CriticalThinking About Sources: Lessons and Activities for First-Year Students

There is a one-hour priced webcast on 2 May 2018 at 1pm US Central time, which is 7pm UK time: Critical Thinking About Sources: Lessons and Activities for First-Year Students, run by ACRL. "Transitioning from high school to college can be challenging for students and for the educators and librarians who support those students. ... In this webcast, learn strategies, techniques, and ideas for ways to help students develop their critical thinking skills, with a particular focus on helping students deal with different types of sources. Ensuring that students can not only identify different types of sources, from scholarly works to opinion pieces to sponsored content, but can also delve more deeply into how and why different types of sources are produced can be a way to empower students with the skills they need to find and use information for a variety of purposes. Unpack some of the concepts, competencies, and ideas surrounding critical thinking skills more broadly and thinking critically about sources more specifically. Leave with concrete strategies, materials, and talking points that you can use in your teaching and outreach efforts." The presenter is Sarah Morris (Learning and Assessment Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin). The costs are: ACRL member: $50; ALA member: $75; Nonmember: $90; Student: $40. Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: pink cherry blossom, April 2018

@Philbradley on Fake News

Information expert Phil Bradley will be the keynote speaker at the CILIP London AGM on 9 May 2018 6pm, on Fake news, the true story. It is free for CILIP members. Information and registration at

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Teachmeet: Information literacy and academic study skills; crossover and collaboration

At Aston University, Birmingham, UK, on 6 June 2018 1-4pm there is a teachmeet: Information literacy and academic study skills; an informal discussion of the crossover and benefits of collaboration. "Teaching is increasingly a part of an academic librarian's role and the crossover between information literacy and academic study skills can become blurred. The way in which this is organised in institutions differs greatly and one of the aims of this teachmeet is to explore the options and what works best." They seek presenters to give 15 minute talks (just a couple of spots remaining at time of posting) and participative audience members. There is more information and registration at
Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry trees in Weston Park, April 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Call for chapters: Social Media for Communication and Instruction in Academic Libraries

Jennifer Joe and Elisabeth Knight are editing a forthcoming book to be published by IGI: Social Media for Communication and Instruction in Academic Libraries. Proposals for chapters should be submitted by 30 April 2018. "This publication seeks to be an up-to-date, “post-truth” look at the importance of social media in all facets of library marketing and instruction at the academic (post-secondary) level." Suggested topics include: Social Media as an Information Literacy Tool; Social Media as an Information Literacy Topic; Social Media Assessment for Library Instruction. More information and submission guidelines at:
Photo by Sheila Webber: cheery blossom in the park, April 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

New articles: Fake news; Stress; government sources; theatre students; theses; interdisciplinary infolit

The latest issue of priced publication Reference Services Review is Volume 46 Issue 1. Articles include:
- Seeing through the network: A focus on interdisciplinary student research and information discovery: Dany Savard (pp. 4 - 15)
- Thesis consultation: a review: Karlene Patricia Robinson, Karlene Saundria Nelson, Jessica Claire Lewis (pp. 16 - 28)
- Tapping government sources for course assignments: Eleonora Dubicki, Susan Bucks (pp. 29 - 41)
- Performance review: online research guides for theater students: Julia Furay (pp. 91 - 109)
- A rubric and methodology for benchmarking referral goals: David Ward, JoAnn Jacoby (pp. 110 - 127)
- Stress among reference library staff in academic and public libraries: Marija Petek (pp. 128 - 145)
- Fake news judgement: The case of undergraduate students at Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon: Maroun El Rayess, Charla Chebl, Joseph Mhanna, Re-Mi Hage (pp. 146 - 149)
Table of contents and abstracts at
Photo by Sheila Webber: cherry blossom in my garden, April 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018

Teachmeet 6 June

Middlesex University, London, UK are running a late afternoon (16.00-18.30) free teachmeet on 6 June 2018. "We need people to share things. What we want from you is short (5 mins max) presentations and or activities to inspire and enthuse colleagues. We can do 10 of these in the time we have. The room we have allows us a maximum audience of 50 people. Tea and coffee will be provided. The Quad café will be open for you to buy sandwiches on the day. At the end of the event, a tour of the Sheppard Library will be available. Email Adam Edwards A.Edwards@MDX.AC.UK with contact details and a short summary of what you'd like to present. Booking for all participants is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Art at St Pancras station: Tracey Emin's neon sign in the background and one of these silhouttes in the foreground.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Webinar recordings: Developing an Instruction Community of Practice; Gendered Labour

Two recordings of recent webinars. Firstly, Collective Learning: Developing an Instruction Community of Practice, devlivered on April 11 2018, organised by the ACRL Instruction Section’s Management and Leadership Committee and with presentations from Amanda Peters and Doreen Bradley (University of Michigan) and Marybeth McCartin (New York University) and Nicole Brown (UC Berkeley). The links to the recording and slides are at
Secondly, also on April 11 2018, ACRL Instruction Section’s Teaching Methods Committee ran a webinar Gendered Labor and Library Instruction Coordination, with the contributors being Veronica Arellano Douglas and Joanna Gadsby. They "examined the structures and expectations inherent in the role of instruction coordinators through a critical feminist lens" and a discussion followed. The links are at
Photo by Sheila webber: daffodils, Sheffield, April 2018

Featured librarian: Becky Canovan

The latest librarian to be interviewed and featured by the ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee is Becky Canovan (University of Dubuque, Assistant Director of Public Services). She describes the instruction programme at her university and gives advice on teaching infolit. Find the interview at

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Call for chapters: The Critical Thinking About Sources Cookbook

There is a call for proposed chapters for a forthcoming ACRL publication: The Critical Thinking About Sources Cookbook. 600-800 word proposals are due by July 16 2018. Go to for full information about proposed sections etc. (you have to say which section your contribution would be suitable for) "We’re looking for lesson plans or projects that support early college students in developing their critical thinking skills, with a particular focus on critical thinking about sources. We are seeking informative and approachable plans that librarians can implement to support undergraduate students in developing vital critical thinking skills that can help them succeed in college and beyond. Ensuring that students can not only identify different types of sources, but can also delve more deeply into how and why different types of sources are produced, can be a way to empower students with the skills they need to find, evaluate, and use information for a variety of purposes, in college and beyond." This is part of a "cookbook" series e.g. the Library Instruction Cookbook
Photo by Sheila Webber: daffodils, April 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Webinar: Engaging Students Through Images: Visual Literacy as Active Learning in Library Instruction @raypun101

There is a free one-hour webinar on 2 May 2018 at 11am US pacific time (which is, e.g., 7pm UK time) Engaging Students Through Images: Visual Literacy as Active Learning in Library Instruction. "In this webinar, the presenter will share ways to integrate images to enhance student engagement and learning. From using politically charged images to fake images, these active learning techniques can engage with students and support their critical thinking skills and research processes through visual literacy. The presenter will also describe how to gamify library instruction through the act of drawing and concept-mapping. Attendees will learn how to include such activities to expand their students’ user experiences and learning, and will be inspired to apply these techniques into their next library workshop in all subject matters, particularly for one-shot library research instruction." The presenter is Raymond Pun, first year student success librarian at Fresno State "where he coordinates and organizes the first year information literacy program and student engagement programs on campus". The photo shows a picture I took of him presenting at the IFLA conference last year, where he gave a couple of interesting talks (see e.g. here, scroll down to see my blog about his talk). To register for the webinar, go to

Supporting learners who study at a distance

Just a few tickets remaining for the free teachmeet at Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, on 24 May 2018: Supporting learners who study at a distance. Full details and tickets at

Friday, April 13, 2018

Advancing Information Literacy in Higher Education: four questions for debate - and your input! #lilac18

I was part of a panel session organised by Professor Sheila Corrall (University of Pittsburgh, USA) at the LILAC conference that took place last week. These are the slides: the other panellists were Ethan Pullman, Charlie Inskip & Alexis Macklin.
We also wanted others' views so there is a survey posing the same four questions that we addressed on the panel: please give us your perspective! The survey is at

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Presentations from #lilac18

With amazing efficiency the LILAC team have put most of the presentations and posters from last week's LILAC (UK information literacy conference) online. You also have recordings of the 3 keynotes (Barbara Band: The Elephant in the Room – why are information literacy skills not an essential part of the curriculum?; Ola Pilerot: Putting theory to work in practice: unpacking information literacy with a conceptual toolbox from library and information science and David White: Posthuman literacies: reframing relationships between information, technology and identity) They can all be found at
You can find all the posts on this blog about LILAC by using

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Recent articles: tutorials; Health Information Literacy; Blackboard; Student priorities

The latest issue of The Journal of Academic Librarianship (volume 44 issue 2) (priced publication) includes:

- Organization of Materials and Accessing the Library in Blackboard: A Learner-centered Usability Study: Michelle J. Gibeault
- Using Practitioner-engaged Evidence Synthesis to Teach Research and Information Literacy Skills: A Model and Case Study: Sarah Young, Mary Maley
- The Role of Affect in the Information Seeking of Productive Scholars: Sarah Rose Fitzgerald
- Information Literacy in Practice: Content and Delivery of Library Instruction Tutorials: Laura Saunders
- International Trends in Designing Electronic Health Information Literacy for Health Sciences Students: A Systematic Review of the Literature: Hussein Haruna, Xiao Hu
- How Well Do We Know Our Students? A Comparison of Students' Priorities for Services and Librarians' Perceptions of Those Priorities: Brian W. Young, Savannah L. Kelly
Go to
Photo by Sheila Webber: blossom, April 2018

Monday, April 09, 2018

Teaching the next generation of IL educators: reflection for learning #lilac18

Last week at the LILAC (UK information literacy) conference in Liverpool, UK, my colleague Pamela McKinney gave a presentation we had co-authored, focusing particularly on reflective activities that we have designed into the compulsory Information Literacy modules taken by students on our on-campus and distance learning Masters courses (MA Librarianship and MA Library and Information Services Management). In both modules the two strands are information literacy, and teaching information literacy. Below are the slides.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Official launch of the new Information Literacy definition #ILdefinition #lilac18

Debbi Boden-Angell (Founder of the Information Literacy Group), Jane Secker (current ILG chair) and Jo Cornish (CILIP) launched the CILIP Information Literacy Group's new definition of Information Literacy. Debbi recalled the development of the Group, and the way the conference, the website, the discussion list, the group itself and now the definition has gone from strength to strength. The first definition was produced by a group, including me, in 2005. Jane Secker introduced the new definition, talking about how the aim was to make it more ambitious and better reflecting the role of information literacy in society. They put together a cross-sectoral group and have produced a high level statement (below) and a longer explanation, and they have also produced a booklet highlighting the role of IL in different spheres of life and the value of information professionals.
Jo Cornish, representing the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, emphasised that IL was central to CILIP's vision of the future, and it would be part of their central campaigning work.
The new definition is "Information Literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage fully with society".
The brochure can be downloaded here:

A NOOC in a MOOC World: on course for your Masters #lilac18

The final talk I'm blogging is Elizabeth Newell (University of Nottingham, UK) A NOOC in a MOOC World: on course for your Masters. She started by saying that the university library had been restructured and following on from that, they reviewed the information literacy programme, with the aim of standardising, and focusing on transition (particularly school to uni and undergrad to postgrad). The longer journey of undergraduate students gave a number of opportunities for intervention, but in the UK Masters programmes are mostly just 12 months. The University of Nottingham was also planning to expand its distance learning for Masters students as a general policy.
Therefore they opted for an online approach, and decided to use the Nottingham Open Online Course (NOOC) platform to develop a course for Masters students. Newell worked with other professionals e.g. senior academic lead for teaching enhancement and a learning technologist. Academics on a steering group were initially concerned about the online learning mode, e.g. that some international students would not have the digital competencies, and this feedback helped in designing the course. The NOOC is self paced and open through teh year so students can return to it. Both on-campus and distance learning students, and students from many disciplines, use the NOOC.use of information
Most of the content focuses on students' use of information in academic studies. It starts with a module "stepping up a level" which aims to help in their transition. Later modules include elements such as searching and referencing. Some examples were given e.g. the "Stepping up" section includes short videos of academics in different disciplines saying what they thought transition to postgraduate work meant (e.g. saying that students are expected to be more critical, be more self-directed).
There is a welcome and introductions forum, in which students are encouraged to post and respond. Newell gave other examples of peer to peer learning and sharing in discussion fora. She noted there was more sharing in the postgraduate NOOC than on the undergraduate one. They have facilitators who will intervene and comment in the discussion fora, and there is training for that role.
Looking at number of participants, there have been about 1400 a year in the first 3 years, mostly from the university's UK campus (which is where most taught postgraduates are). Interestingly, the distance learning students are under represented. Some academics have started designing specific parts of the NOOC into student learning.In the future, assessments on a common compulsory module will require students to draw on learning from the NOOC. They are developing strategies to get students from the non-UK campuses to engage more actively e.g. asking for videos and support from Chinese colleagues.

#lilac18 play as transformative information literacy education

Andrew Walsh @playbrarian from university of Huddersfield began his session with a mass audience move and bubble blowing, which was very much needed stimulation at this time in the afternoon! We  played a “pass the parcel” game that got us all talking to each other. Then Andrew spoke about the nature of IL as being socially constructed, and is highly contextual, so to be Information literate in one situation is very different from what information literacy looks like in another situation. Students have to develop an idea of IL in new situations of study. Play is one social constructivist pedagogy that can be used in IL teaching. Play can be scary for grown ups, and public play is a political act. We need signals and permission to play, and many HE environments are not conducive to play, e.g. lecture theatres. It’s important to give out signals at the start of the session that it’s ok to play when taking this approach in your teaching. One big benefit of play is that we enter a different place called the “magic circle” where different rules apply and ideas can be played with in a different way, to encourage different points of view. Play is really adaptable, so even if you are playing formal games, the rules can be changed. This flexibility allows learners to adapt sessions to what they most need to know. Play is inherently social, it fosters interaction, people gravitate towards games. For example referencing can be taught as a card game, where groups make references and then decide what the rules are, and also get to define their own referencing rules.

#lilac18 The didactic Diamond: an Information Literacy model to explain ththe academic process in Higher Education.

Tim Zijlstra (@infoschoolsheff alumni) now based at university of Derby, spoke about student skills development sessions at the university. There are only around 800 students based at the campus in Chesterfield doing a variety of nursing and health courses. Many of the students are atypical, often mature and from backgrounds where they are the first person in their family to go to university. Because students have come through access courses, and find academic writing quite challenging, mostly because their IL is poor. It is important for students to read academic work, in order to become better writers themselves. Tim’s view that academic writing is to be as clear as possible helps students who take a “thesaurus” approach to complexity in langauage and produce incomprehensible work. Student make critical descions in their daily lives, but struggle to apply these critical skills to academic writing is problematic. The didactic diamond is used to provide a narrative explanation of the student journey to achieve success in written coursework. The SCONUL seven pillars model of IL provides a theoretical base for the didactic diamond model. It’s important for students to gain a broad knowledge of their topic and record notes on material they find that is NOT relevant to their work, as well as those sources that are relevant as greater understanding of a broader topic really helps present a balanced view. They use a reflective assignment to help students answer the question they have been set. When presenting to students they focus on 3 key elemants 1.preparation, 2. Research, which includes learning how to use the catalogue, reference management, and critical thinking. Stage 3. Writing, which involves going back to initial notes, taking notes on each source, developing an outline, and how to structure writing.

More than a LibGuide: taking social justice into the library classroom #lilac18

The next talk I'm blogging from LILAC was Elizabeth Brookbank (Western Oregon University, USA) More than a LibGuide: taking social justice into the library classroom. She reported on creating a LibGuide as a sort of response to her feelings about the bad things coming up in the USA news. She noted that there were concerns that creating Libguides about social justice issues could be seen as a superficial response (there was dicussion about this on Twitter e.g. "Keep Calm and create a LibGuide"). Therefore Brookbank reflected on critical library pedagogy and thought about how she could engage with these issues more deeply with students.
She identified a class on Communication and Social Change where the academic teaching it was interested in taking a new approach.
Brookbank and the academic co-taught, firstly introducing the idea of being critical about information and technology. They showed the students a video of Safiya Noble talking about social influences on technology, and discussed issues from that. They used the US example of NFL and "take a knee" protests, showing how different search strategies brought up different kinds of results. They also critiqued the traditional library databases, looking at whose voices were included or not included. So searching tactics included trying to find less mainstream publications or authors, not just how to find the "best" material in the traditional definition. They also discussed with the students about the good and less good things about the media that may give more of the non-mainstream perspective.
As an assignment, they had to find different types of material, that gave different perspectives, for a Black Lives Matter library display. This material was drawn on by the library for the display (including some student summaries of sources). There was a second assignment getting students to identify material to do with immigrant rights, relevant to a university website.
The speaker said that she had used some of this in other classes, and it has influenced her responses on the reference desk, using different strategies and examples.

International students #lilac18

The next presentation I will blog from LILAC is Towards a systematic approach to international students by Per Eriksson and Peter Ingelstrom from from Linkoping University, Sweden (a research university with a strong science and engineering focus). They have a new library and that has led them to rethink aspects of what they do as librarians. 31% of new students are international, the majority from other European countries, particularly France, Germany and Spain. The presenters gave an outline for their project: starting with taking the university’s course on learning and teaching (for staff) and focusing on international students as a project, then they used the data from the project in the academic writing course they took. As a side effect they were invited to the orientation programme for international students, so they could introduce students to the library.
The presenters held seminars with other library staff and presented findings from their study to teh library director’s council, and then an invitation to draw up a policy or guidelines for international students. They presented some comments from international students, illustrating the diversity of past experience, and the students perception of the library systems as complex. There were also comments about the different approach to learning (more constructivist) in the Swedish university.
The presenters are keen to make this durable, and not just a one off project. They decided to dive into the literature, but it mostly generated new questions. Firstly: what is an “international” student? For example, are some more “international” than other. What if a student has non-Swedish heritage but is counted as a “home” student. This can lead to the question: is it even relevant to categorise this as a group. Secondly: What does internationalisation mean to libraries? This is something discussed in my university, for example is it actually integrated into the whole curriculum. Is it it just to do institutional initiatives?
Thirdly: How can you develop from a single project to a systematic approach, integrated into the library service/system? They looked at the various activities targeted to international students (I think, those the library does and those done elsewhere in the institution). The presenters drew the conclusion that how you see the group will define where effort is put. Thus if the international student is framed as a “problem” you look at “fixing” the students. However, if you see international students as a permanent and significant group, then this could lead to seeing the library as the “problem”, with more internationalisation needed.
Thus they have created a model, underpinned by university strategies and policies (see poor photograph above). There are then the organisational conditions, such as resources, coordination, partnership, leadership commitment. Above this are competencies (language and cross-cultural communication training) and finally at the top user education, outreach, online guides and bilingual information. This top part is what tends to be discussed in the library literature, but it seems evident that it needs to be underpinned by all the other elements.
They finished with presenting a 3 level action plan: at level 1 tours, guides etc; Level 2 included more initiatives such as including in UX projects, reviewing library signs; Level 3 formulating a library internationalisation policy and measurable goals, developing staff language and cultural skills and employing international students as ambassadors.

#lilac18 becoming a digital citizen:designing a massive open online course

Susan Halfpenny and Stephanie Jesper from University of York spoke about the development of a digital citizenship MOOC on the Futurelearn platform supporting the digital strategy at the university.  They saw it as an opportunity to move beyond “just” skills teaching and engage with a topic of social interest. It was also an opportunity to engage with members of academic staff who research in this area from a range of disciplines, and to reach a wide and diverse audience. They covered “digital access” “digital identity and security” and “digital participation and ethics” across the 3 week MOOC. The dev lopment of the MOOC enabled them to talk to academic staff in a different way than they would do normally as a librarian, and invited academics to contribute videos on their areas of expertise.  It was great opportunity to engage with the learners on the MOOC, with quizzes and discussion boards, although the discussions progressed really well on their own. The MOOC for the first time ran in January 2017, and had nearly 6000 registrations. Of those 923 engaged actively and  644 completed the MOOC. There was a broad spread of learner ages, and 30% of them were based in the UK, and th other 70% were based from all around the world. Generally feedback was very positive, and the course ran again in July 2017, although with fewer learners. Content had to be updated as in the meantime Trump has been elected and a lot of the material had to be updated. This is the challenge with running a course that included content that was so current. They are going to run a new MOOC on digital wellbeing.

#lilac18 a framework for research as praxis

Kyle Feenstra from University of Manitoba in Canada led a discussion based session. He is a liaison librarian who works with the faculty of education. The discussion stemmed from interest in critical literacy, and the role of the librarian as an educator in the knowledge creation process of the student. Kyle draws on the ideas of Patti Lather who wrote about “research as praxis”. And the writings of Paolo Freire, Joe Kincheloe and Nick Couldry. Pedagogy is about making space for learning, which is conceived as a critical, interpretive, dialogic response to the world. Freire said that what makes us human is our ability to reflect and act upon the world in order to transform it. Dialogue is what makes  learning authentic, and literacy is reading both the world and the word, because how we understand what we read is dependent on how we understand the world around us. Kyle then moved on to discuss constructivism as an educational theory. Joe Kincheloe writes about constructivism, who sees the role of the teacher to introduce students to a world, and help them build their epistemological infrastructure to understand that world. Reciprocity in information literacy teaching would involve not positioning the teacher as expert, but instead seeing the learning as a mutual exploration, where students are invited to critique the teacher’s worldview. Kyle asked the question “how can the library make space for the voice of the learner, ensuring g that it is visible and validated as a meaningful expression alongside the privileged voices of academics and dominant university discourses?” We had an interesting discussion about how to empower students to take greater ownership of their own learning, when the dominant educational experience is teacher centred, positivist and transmissive.

David White @daveowhite keynote #lilac18

My first liveblog (this is Sheila blogging) from the LILAC Information Literacy conference in Liverpool, and today’s keynote was from David White, University of Arts, London. His talk was entitled Posthuman literacies: reframing relationships between information, technology and identity. He started by saying that at his university “we like uncertainty” as it consisted of “20,000 students where there is no correct answer”. Thus he had a position of thinking that uncertainty was a good thing, not something to be avoided. He mentioned the *technoself*, caring for the digital tools we use to interact, since he felt that the relationship with technology was important for information literacy. For example, people didn’t want to be parted from their phone because it was part of their being. Therefore for those who identified with technology, when you tried to change their behaviour with tech, you were asking them to change something about themselves.
The next keyword White flashed on the screen was *dataself* and he played what he felt was the “most disturbing advert on TV” (which is the Experian advert). It signalled that large companies think it is ok to mention the “hidden” data self created by our online transactions etc., that you need to make friends with it. This phenomenon should be part of infolit education. He proposed the Dave White ignorance cycle (see above) in that the uncritical reception of tailored “truth” might lead to your data self being even more likely to attract more posts etc. with the same tailored perspective.
White referred to Rand Organisation’s proposed drivers of “truth decay” e.g. cognitive biases, political and social polarization. However, he also troubled the way in which it assumed that there were “facts” that could always be distinguished from “opinions”. He also mentioned dinah boyd’s concern that if media literacy is saying that its goal is to help people find “the truth” it can reinforce the idea that there is a right/wrong approach. A fact checking drive can just polarise people more, and also – there are many areas of life where things are not a matter of right and wrong. White emphasised the importance of contextualising the information literate person, or the infolit model or definition.
He summed up his perspective on this as “Questioning why you agree with something is more valuable than bolstering your views on what you disagree with”. This could counter “truthiness” (Stephen Colbert) where truth is about what YOU think and feel. At this point he played a true/false/it depends game with the audience (including “it is a truth universally acknowledged....”).
White moved on to talk about the almost creepy amount of data that education is now mining from its students (giving the example of his young son being asked to give a fingerprint to get school dinner quickly and quoting the poem The data have landed by Michael Rosen). Is was up to all of us to be careful in this area, and it was a tricky balanace to strike. White gave the example of assessment at the University of Arts, and displayed its attribute framework. He and his colleagues have also added a digital layer to the framework, and they also highlight that technology is not neutral, but has a social and political context.
He felt it was important to make sure your were assessing learning and not person/ality (which is a danger of setting out graduate attributes). This meant trying to avoid the “entrepreneurship of the self” with students too quick to frame themselves as a product to market.
Returning to the “Dave White Ignorance Cycle”, White felt it was important for information literacy education to encourage that critical engagement with information and with why/how we had acquired that information. He put up 3 exhortations: engender optimistic criticality; raise consciousness; increase agency. This included critically framing “the person at the centre”. A further exhortation was “don’t fear complexity” (I liked this as I was just positioning IL as a complex concept, in the previous session, though obviously I also engaged critically with things I agreed with, given the nature of the talk ;-)
Questions addressed issues of the digital as a civic space, in which you had to take responsibility; the issue of how you developed this awareness etc. in environments (e.g. schools) where mobile devices had been banned; the question of "facts".

Thursday, April 05, 2018

#lilac18 Your research should serve to improve the condition of people’s lives

Alison Hicks, Betsaida Reyes and Bronwen Maxson presented about some research they did into unrecognised strategies students use to make sense of academic research. Particularly they were interested in students who were working in a second language. The US has huge numbers of international students, and the literature continues to view international students as a homogenous group, when  in fact they are very diverse. They took a constructivist approach to focus on international student activities, without comparing them to home students. They took a sociocultural perspective of IL as a “way of knowing” following the work of Annemare Lloyd.

In the research the team ran 3 focus groups with Spanish speaking graduate students studying a variety of disciplines. Students spoke in a mixture of English and Spanish, which helped capture some of the variety of experiences. Data was coded for activities, using gerunds to code the data. Students wee asked about their successful research strategies, what good researchers looked like and how they felt about doing research in a graduate school.

From the analysis came the theme of “grasping at straws” trying anything in order to stay afloat. They had previously been successful students, but found it much harder to engage with graduate study. For example being asked to search for theory, which was found to be rally challenging. They would go to google, beacause they felt they could get something, and also they wouldn’t be judged for a lack of knowledge. It provided a starting point for their research. The information environment at their university was much more complex, and at a much larger scale than then universities that they had been to previously, although the problem wasn’t the databases, more the physical library environment that was more stressful. A second them was “mastering the canon” attempting to determine the key scholarly ideas in their fields, and what were the core texts. They tried to take shortcuts in order to do this e.g. by finding a thesis and use that as a starting point - it was a “safe” resource because it had already been mediated by the staff in that university. They would choose sources based on frequency of citations, as a way to identify core thinkers. Because they were used to small libraries, they would trust that everything was suitable or relevant but the much larger collections at the US library were more difficult to engage with. They wanted to engage in very niche scholarly communities, and take on different perspectives other than the white western perspective.

The information needs emerged from a complex range of influences on research topics, with often tutors heavily influencing the topic based on their perception of what is “trendy” or likely to result in employment. They had a sense of responsibility, and wanted to improve people’s lives through their research. Students were using information to mediate their transition from students to academic, and transition from a Spanish speaker to an English speaker. The practical implications of this research are that student orientation sessions have been redesigned to be more of a conversation, and draw out students prior experiences. Also more experienced graduate students will com and talk through some of the issues they faced. Session will focus much more on the physical resources. They have also developed a series of workshops e.g. mapping key researchers in a field, making your mark as a researcher. Spaces for graduate students in the library have been re-thought to provide a more collaborative environment. It’s important to do more research into everyday IL of international students.

#lilac18 A rose by any other name would smell as sweet: integrating learning development with information literacy

Emma Thompson from University of Liverpool and Casey Beaumont from Liverpool John Moores university presented about the tension around who teaches referencing to students, with both librarians and study skills tutors wanting to “own” referencing. Emma reflects on the value of undertaking a PG Certificate in learning and teaching as a librarian, and how it was valuable to do the course with academic members of staff. Casey had come from an academic background, and worked as a learning developer and they both ended up working collaboratively, based in a library. Emma reflected on the overlap between learning development and Librarianship in terms of learning support in higher education. She looked at th extent to which academic writing is represanted in models of information literacy. It is important to start with the student, not the profession, and places services in the Library, as that is where students are working in a positive environment. Studn dont see the boundaries that professionals do, so it’s best to embrace the fuzzy boundaries to ensure less confusion for students, reduces duplication of provision and improve the process of embedding development in the curriculum. Collaboration is fun, and helps promote multidisciplinary communities of practice, and helps with future-proofing the library.

#lilac18 workshop: Developing Your Teaching Philosophy

Sheila Corral from university of Pittsburgh and Amanda Folk from Ohio State University library led a workshop on how to develop a teaching philosophy which aims to capture and communicate your beliefs about teaching and learning, how learning occurs and how a teacher can facilitate learning, your assumptions about the value and purpose of education, your relationships with students, and how you interact with your learners, and the methods of assessments you use.  These philosophies of teaching are often requested in the US by librarian job advertisements and promotion cases. they are often developed through individual reflectiion or in discussions with peers, and can be used to develop a teaching philosophy for a whole library. Usually they are 1-2 pages long, around 1000 words and should explain the context of your work and personal examples of how the philosophy has been applied.

We started by trying to articulate the people or sources that had influenced our teaching, and how this has affected the style of teaching we use. Sheila mentioned CILASS, my previous department, as one of the influences on her teaching. We discussed our beliefs about teaching and learning, and the goals and objectives we would have for our learners. We moved on to articulating our styles of teaching or facilitating , and how we like to interact with our students. Finally we articulated our practices to support and assess learning.

#lilac18 what shapes how academic librarians think about their instruction, and why does it matter?

Eveline Houtman from Toronto spoke about research she has conducted into how librarians at her institution think about their teaching.  The ACRL had produced standards for proficiencies for instruction librarians, but this has now been replaced, the point being that how we think and discuss teaching changes over time. Various theories of teaching and learning feed into how we conceive our teaching practice, and librarians have different conceptions of the place of teaching in their roles (see Emily Wheeler’s research for more on this!) some librarians still don’t see that they have a teaching role, or find that their institution doesn’t value their teaching. The substantial education literature covers “teacher beliefs” or assumptions, conceptions, attitudes, perspectives, theories of practice and practical knowledge.

In her research Eveline recruited academic teacher librarians from North America who identified that they used a reflective approach to their teaching, and enjoyed talking about their own teaching.  12 librarians agreed to participate from a range of locations and types of institution. She conducted 2 interviews with each librarian, the first focused on experiences and contexts, and the second on their teaching on a specific class. She has produced an ecological model of teaching librarians, including the broader social context, professional context, higher education context, and immediate context and the self. For example the professional context includes IL models and standards. The immediate context includes factors such as students, colleagues, institutional culture and space. The broader social context includes the information environment, e.g.fake news. The self includes personal identity, teacher identity, prior teaching experience and the self as a student.

Then some participants were shown mapped against the model, and their particular characteristics were discussed. There were sone very interesting differences between librarians and their perceptions of themselves and their teaching. Thanks @evelineLH for a fascinating presentation!

#lilac18 emotional intelligence and information literacy: how cognitive bias interferes with motivation and skills development

Alexis Smith Macklin, Dean of Purdue university library spoke about why she is in favour of the ACRL framework, because it leads to educational reform. Knowledge practices and dispositions are both covered in the framework, and both of these are important for student learning. The role that emotion plays in information processing has been a research area since the 1970s, but hasn’t been a research area for information literacy. We know that past experiences, personal beliefs and motivation all affect information literacy learning. Fake news has been around for along time, but it has suddenly become prominent, and triggers an emotional response in students, and can be used to encourage students to engage with information literacy. Students at Purdue come from conservative Christian families, that require financial aid, they often work full time while studying, and are slightly older than traditional students. Alexis paid her students to participate in the study, and to learn on her IL course, so that she could get valuable feedback on the course.

Cognitive bias affects how students evaluate and use information. These include poor memory, (limited) availability of information, the anchoring effect of previous experiences, and belief bias. These affect evaluation of fake news, but also affects how students evaluate scholarly material. Alexis encourages her students to engage with their biases. She then discussed the differences between constructivist, behaviourist and cognitive teaching, and expressed the view that much IL teaching is not truly constructivist, even if we would like it to be. It’s ok to focus on skills, and build towards developing understanding.

Alexis gave students controversial images and asked students to rate their emotional response to them. Then gave them lots of information sources related to the issue raised in the image, presenting a variety of opinions. She tested her students’ information literacy using the SAILS test, and found that most had low skills levels.  She also asked students to take an emotional intelligence test. She asked students to keep a research diary, and record their emotional response to the debate, and how their opinion had changed over time. Students made quite superficial evaluations, particularly if the source aligned with their previously held beliefs, and struggled to cope with ambiguous information.

Emotional intelligence helps us look at students’ thought processes, and material that provokes an emotional response can be useful to help address cognitive bias.

#lilac18 keynote: Ola Pilerot

Welcome to day 2 of the LILAC conference where I’ll be live-blogging presentations and workshops. Expecting another packed and stimulating day! First session today is a keynote from Ola Pilerot entitled “Putting theory to work in practice: unpacking information literacy with a conceptual toolbox  from library and information science”.  Ola took a reflective perspective on his career as a librarian in  both public and academic libraries to frame the connection between research and practice, and the potential of research to impact on practice. Ola conducted a small bibliometric study into connections between research and practice, and reflected on the development of IL as presented in the 10th anniversary edition of the Journal of Information Literacy. There are different ways of using the concept of IL: as a label for a field of research and practice, a political construct to emphasise its importance to society, as an empirical concept that can be observed in people’s activities and behaviour, and with an analytical/theoretical lens. It is dangerous to work with pre-defined notions of information literacy, it is important to examine what is actually happening, and look closely at what people do in different situations.

When we go out in the world with our notions of IL we bring a westernised view of information use. We want to be involved in the “information literacy movement”, as a goal for educational activities, a goal for politics and a study object. It is a little dangerous to go out with a normative view of IL which says what is right and what is wrong.

Ola talked about how he doesn’t “teach” information literacy, he teaches about things people do with information. It is really positive for librarians to engage in action research, and research their own teaching practice. It is also necessary to engage with the LIS literature, which is something Ola had learnt when doing his masters study, to engage in a structured way with literature. Ola presented a range of models of information behaviour and information literacy from the literature including Tom Wilson’s nested model of IL and IB. Kuhlthau’s model of the information search process, Foster’s nonlinear model of information seeking behaviour, and Bate’s information seeking modes. It is useful to talk about models with students, and also to think about information searching from different perspectives. Sundin looked at the way that IL is taught using online tutorials and developed a model of approaches to teaching IL. Interestingly this model also features in the presentation I will be giving later today (jointly developed with Sheila!) as one of the ways we encourage students to become critically reflective  IL educators.

Ola then presented a summary of his most recent research into the IL of students from nursing and from product engineering design. Both groups of students had similar activities and goals, and had taken part in a credit bearing IL module. Ola looked at the references in the students’ theses, and found that nursing students used far more, and more varied sources than the engineering students. He used sociocultural perspectives to view the two groups of students as communities of practice, with different epistemological assumptions of information use in their discipline. The data indicates that IL is different for these two settings, rather than that IL is “lacking” in the engineering students. Learning objects that are too general may hinder certain groups of students to develop IL, and IL teachers need to be aware of this when designing teaching.  We need to be careful to not have a normative view of IL, to understand that IL is different in different situations.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

#lilac18 Process drawing: a tool to promote reflective practice in information literacy

Leah Emery, Suzie Kitchin, and Helen Lawrence from University of Sunderland led a workshop on the process drawing technique to support IL reflective practice. Process drawing is a playful arts and craft activity where participants model or map for researchers how they accomplish a task, or experience a space, or move through time and space. It has been used to understand ‘how’ and ‘why’ people behave in the way they do, and can be used in a very wide variety of contexts. The technique is enhanced by encouraging participants to include their emotional response to the situation being mapped. Then we had a chance to have a go at mapping the process we would undertake when designing a new teaching session for a new group of students. Then we discussed our process drawings with a partner, and had a plenary discussion about our experiences of engaging in the task and how we could use it in our own teaching. This was a really enjoyable workshop, and it’s definitely something I would like to experiment with.

Bridging the gap: should we reach out to schools to prepare ‘research ready’ students? #lilac18

Carolyn Benny and Pauline Smith from Liverpool John Moores University spoke about their activities to support students in transitioning to university from school through reaching out to local schools.  School teachers have identified that students undertaking the Extended Project Qualification in sixth form need support in developing their IL. Carolyn and Pauline ran an initial session for a school teacher in 2013, and then developed a tailored session to support the EPQ students in subsequent years. It covered finding good quality information, and referencing information. One session took place in school, and one at the university, and was delivered collaboratively with the teacher. Both sessions were hands on, and involved lots of activities. Students liked the independent and active tasks, and feedback from teachers has also been very positive as students have been much more able to find information. Students have also been able to transfer their capabilities to other subjects, and were more confident to learn independently. This activity has supported the university civic engagement strategy, and the project has been shared at the LJMU teaching and learning conference. Academics were very positive about the project, and could see the benefit in providing support to students before they come to university. They have also worked with the Outreach team to offer additional support to local schools.

First keynote: Barbara Band #lilac18

The title of Barbara’s presentation was “The elephant in the room - why are Information skills not an essential part of the curriculum”. Barbara spoke about the need to reclaim the labels “library” and “librarian” to counter the deprofessionalisation of our activities. Information literacy is an essential capability, but the teaching profession hasn’t adopted IL as a core aspect of learning. Similar,y there is only lip service paid to library provision by the Education department. Librarians are not perceived to have to same status as other professionals working in schools. If local councils can “get away” with closing libraries, using volunteers, and sacking professional librarians, then schools are likely to follow suit.

Barbara spoke about the range of IL models and standards that exist, and the similarities between them. And asked what is the value in using one model to consistently talk about IL?  The diversity of terminology is problematic, particularly for students moving from school to university, and the different way that employers talk about the skills they want. It can be difficult to measure the impact of IL, or of the library, but we know that IL is important for safety, career development, and participation in the information society. Teachers in schools do develop IL but it tends to be ad hoc and linked to particular pieces of work, there is no holistic development of IL. However,  librarians often lack the status to effectively lead and deliver an IL strategy.  Studies have shown that IL teaching delivered collaboratively by librarians and teachers is very effective, but this doesn’t happen often enough.

New university students are convinced of their own IL capabilities, but librarians are equally convinced that these are lacking. We need to promote the value and benefit of these skills, as younger people are more likely to trust information they find online. The HPQ project offered in secondary schools in the UK is an ideal place to teach IL, as students have to learn independently and undertake research. If IL was recognised as a subject in its own right it would be a step-change in teaching and support of IL.

#lilac18 Reviewing the role of teaching librarians in supporting students’ digital capabilities

This session is delivered by Manfred Gschwandtner who was a student on the MA library and information services management programme at the Information School, presenting his dissertation study, for which I was the supervisor. Manfred works at Canterbury Christ Church University, and became interested in teaching digital literacy following a change in his role description. He investigated how the faculty as a whole supported digital literacy, but this presentation focuses on the role of librarians. Manfred introduced the idea of academic librarians as part of the digital literacy teaching institutional  framework, and wanted to reflect on his own role in this. He used the JISC 6 elements of digital literacy capabilities framework as the framework for his research, which covers a broad range of capabilities, not just IT skills, that are necessary for the information society, including participating and collaborating online and digital wellbeing. So how can the librarian participate in this, and support this framework? Manfred interviewed a range of stakeholders from different roles (e.g. academics, learning developers, students) across one faculty in his institution in his research, in a qualitative case study approach. The data showed that most stakeholders saw the role of librarians to be restricted to “information literacy” and did not include broader roles around the teaching of digital literacy. The librarians activity is restricted to the data, information and media literacy aspect of the JISC model, which could be seen to be enough, but actually is there something more that librarians could do? This depends a little in the confidence and expertise of the librarian, and is an aspect of professional development that could be addressed.

Most graduate attributes include digital literacy, so it’s important for librarians to be involved in this conversation and to be seen as integral to digital literacy support. It is a great way to open up discussions with faculty around collaborative teaching. Many stakeholders are involved in digital literacy as a key aspect of employability, and helps position the librarian as part of a multi-professional team.

There is a role for librarians to expand their teaching to support more aspects of the digital capabilities framework.

#lilac18 Using Lego to teach referencing with Michelle Bond

I’m Pam McKinney, a colleague of Sheila’s from the University of Sheffield Information School, and I’m at the Lilac conference in Liverpool this week. I’ll be live blogging the sessions I go to.

Michelle introduced some theory about using Lego in teaching, there is a long history of Lego use across a number of levels and subjects. Lego ‘serious play’ was introduced as a way to make referencing more exciting, and Michelle drew on experiences of Emily wheeler @heliotropia at Leeds. Michelle shares an office with the disruptive media learning lab who are experts in Lego serious play who helped her develop a referencing workshop using Lego. We had a chance to model referencing using a set of Lego, and delegates had a range of ideas to present back to the group. Often, when this activity is done with students, it reveals that students do have a good understanding of the role and function of referencing. They also really enjoy this part of the session, and get excited about the activity. Developing their own conception of referencing is an important step, and they get the opportunity to learn from their peers if they work in a group. Feedback from students has been really positive, although there is no evidence about whether it actually improves referencing! It can be challenging sometimes for the tutor to relate back some students Lego models to referencing in the group feedback, and it takes some time to set up the activity. Some students really struggle to see the relevance of the Lego activity, and the excitement wanes as the students move from Lego to the more traditional aspects of the workshop. It can be good for the tutor to create their own model and present this to the class if students are reluctant to speak.

We then discussed how we could use Lego in our own teaching, and my group talked about how the Lego building activity could be used in almost any context to facilitate discussion and to bring out conceptions of a phenomenon. 

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Working Group on the Digital Single Market: and #Disinformation #fakenews

The European Parliament's Working Group on the Digital Single Market, at its meeting on 19 March 2018, had 3 presentations on the subject of misinformation:
- Societal costs of fake news in the Digital Single Market: Dr Divina Frau-Meigs, Professor of Media Sociology, University Sorbonne Nouvelle. She identifies disinformation 1.0 and 2.0 and lists a typology of disinformation as: Clickbait; Satire or parody, reposted at face value; Erroneous information; Rumours (unfounded); Plot theories; Manipulated information; data (out of original context). It is a content-full presentation, which, as you might expect, discusses regulatory issues and possible solutions. In passing, Frau-Meigs highlights the value of Media and Information Literacy.
- Technology used on online platforms as an enabler of fake news and effective tools: to protect consumers and citizens: Dr Žiga Turk, University of Ljubljana,
- Legal framework to address fake news - possible reforms at the EU level: Dr Andrea Renda, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Regulatory Policy, Centre of European Policy Studies, College of Europe.
The powerpoint presentations can be downloaded (click on the plus sign next to 19 March) at
Photo by Sheila Webber: two coffee-related freebies (Facet Publishing grounf coffee and ILG mug)

In France: debate on #fakenews to La commission de la culture du Sénat

On 21 March 2018 there was a debate on fake news (considering the balance between free speech and preserving the integrity of democratic debate), hosted by La commission de la culture & la commission des lois du Sénat, following on from an announcement earlier this year that there would be a parliamentary enquiry and action concerning fake news. The participants were: Catherine Morin-Desailly; Philippe Bas; Divina Frau-Meigs; Bernard Benhamou; Samuel Laurent; Christophe Bigot; Hervé Brusini; Benoît Tabaka. I learnt about this from a press release and haven't been yet able to find a report on it.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Teens, media and collaborative cultures: exploiting teens' transmedia skills in the classroom

An open access book has been published out of the Transmedia literacy project. It is available in English and Spanish. It is: Scolari, C. (ed.) (2018). Teens, media and collaborative cultures: exploiting teens' transmedia skills in the classroom.
Photo by Sheila Webber: young nettles