Thursday, May 16, 2024

Embracing imperfect change in transforming an Information Literacy Program #WILU2024

Photo by Sheila Webber of the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver, May 2024

Secondly from the second day of the WILU conference In Vancouver, Canada: It's complicated: Embracing imperfect change in transforming an Information Literacy Program by Dr. Ben Mitchell, Elizabeth Rennie, Amy McLay Paterson, Stirling Prentice and Stephanie Brown (all at Thompson Rivers University, Canada: all but Rennie were presenting).  They were talking about the English 1100 Library Instruction Pilot (ELIP) project, which all students at the university have to take.
Previously the IL education was through one-shots, of 50-75 minutes: "a drive-by educating experience", which was also patchy because of the different level of interests of the faculty. This was obviously seen by the librarians as being unsatisfactory. During the pandemic they did videos which became more embedded in the courses, but it returned to one shots after lockdown and they want to change that.
Currently they are running more embedded clsses in some ENGL1100 classes. They addressed 3 frames of the ACRL framework: Authority as constructed/contextual; Searching as strategic exploration; Scholarship as conversation (with particular focus on citation, also culturally appropriate standards of academic integrity).
In the autumn semester the classess were outside normal class time and students could get extra credit, in the spring semester it was in normal class time but was also sign-up. The librarians went into classes to sign up students, and the students who signed up did mostly attend. For evaluating the intervention they gave mini assignments in class, they kept learning journals and elicited feedback from faculty.
Overall goals for the project were to cover more ground; to build relationships; to integrate library and English department learning outcomes. There were various success metrics, including fewer acedmic integrity issues, positive student & faculty feedback, more students reaching out to the library, more academic engagement.
Mitchell gave an individual perspective, as he works on a small campus with one English academic, smaller classes, and a larger percentage of high school students. His perspective was that 3 weeks of workshops was better than a one-shot, but it needed a full semester, so he is proposing a one semester literacy module including multimodal literacies.
Observations on how it went included: there were opportunities to adjust timing & activities, to resolve technical issues. An example was an effective search strategies form (turning topic into keywords etc.). This was a legacy form, but they learned from using the form was that students were almost put off by the "perfect" example of a filled in form. Therefore they simplified the form, including incorporating a flow chart and cutting out the boxes for boolean input. The simpler form also made the transition from the teaching part to the activity easier, and students spent less time filling in the form and more on doing the exercise. They aim to improve the form further in a number of ways e.g. by adding a "why was this resource important" box, and thinking how to incorporate Boolean.
Some hurdles for the project include: timing not being perfectly aligned with the rest of the module (e.g. students hadn't got their assignments yet); varied numbers of students attending workshops; finding it difficult to cover all the material; wanting to cover material more detail.
Successes include: realtionship building (getting to know the students); going into more depth; teaching the same thing several times in a week so they learned how it could be improved and could implement that; "opening up more discussions and conversations with students and faculty".
Project evaluation is still underway; in particular they are hoping to get useful insights from looking at student assignments. All 5 faculty involved agreed students benefitted from the project, and all hope that it will continue. However, the librarians are not sure whether this will be sustainable.
Generously, the speakers were willing to share their materials with anyone who would like them (contact Amy McLay Paterson

Photo by Sheila Webber: Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver, May 2024

No comments: