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Reflecting on Students as Partners

StudentsSeveral conferences I’ve attended in the last few weeks have had the theme of students as partners and as the SADL (Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy) project ends it’s first year I think it’s timely to reflect on what we’ve learnt, what worked and what we could do differently.

First what worked?
Recruitment went well and our project managed to grab the interest of students and in many cases keep them interested for the year. However we do really need to understand why a few students didn’t engage with us and why they just attended one or two sessions. Did it not meet their expectations? Were they too busy? Was it not relevant? Our end of project survey has some useful data here. Last week at our first NetworkEDGE seminar, Stephen Downes urged us to not just talk to the successful students but those who drop out.


Six Conferences in a month: a new record!

I think this might be a new record even for me. I’m only in work for part of July, but I have clocked up 6 conferences presentations in a month. I’ve got just one left, which will be next week at the Library Instruction West Conference in Portland, Oregon. However, so far in the past month I have presented at:

  • CILIP ARLG conference at the end of  June (I did two presentations on one day, on the SADL project and on the RIDLS Information Literacy evaluation criteria)
  • The Higher Education Academy Conference at Aston University (I did a talk about the SADL project, with my colleague Arun, and a workshop with Vivien Sieber on sharing information and digital literacy resources as OERs)
  • The Academic Practices and Technology Conference in Greenwich (where Arun and I spoke about SADL once again)
  • The Publishers Licensing Society annual meeting at the Royal Society of Chemistry where I spoke about the needs of higher education and the role of collective licensing.
  • The Business Librarians Association conference where I gave a keynote about ANCIL. I’ve just made my slides available from this talk and really enjoyed the short time I was there. Not being a Business Librarians I hadn’t actually been to the conference before and they seemed to be having a lot of fun (and working very hard of course).

I was wondering why I felt a little tired, and hadn’t had much time to blog. So now I know! I am looking forward to a hard earned break for a few weeks, with just one conference presentation to ensure I don’t forget ALL about work!



LILAC 2014: reflections and thoughts

LILAC Conference

LILAC Conference Buzz

It’s been several weeks since the LILAC Conference and I’ve got several pages of notes but yet to write a blog post. It’s been a busy time and I ended up with a nasty cold for several weeks after the conference, but it’s still no excuse. I’ve written a short post about the IL Award I received on the night of the conference dinner, but I must share some thoughts from the actual conference.

Highlights for me were definitely the keynotes (I unfortunately missed the third one) but both Alison Head from Project Information Literacy and Bill Thompson from the BBC were fantastic. Project Information Literacy has collected so much fascinating data on students across the United States and I was intrigued to hear that Harvard students were MORE likely to use Wikipedia that other students. The issues that students struggle with are so familiar though from whatever university they are studying. Alison is a really engaging speaker and I look forward to hearing her again later this year at the Library Instruction of the West Conference. Bill Thompson meanwhile urged us all to develop a better understanding of how technology works. If you don’t understand how the App Store works and what’s behind it you are dis-empowered. However, scare mongering won’t work either and he is not the first person to recommend I read danah boyd’s ‘It’s Complicated’ He feels we need an understanding of technology to be in popular culture, in soaps etc and while we don’t all need to be a programmer, we need to understand how code shapes our world.

Sheffield was also a really fabulous location for the conference with the venue, hotel and evening events all really close by and all impressive. So well done to Sheffield Hallam staff and to the LILAC Committee – I know how hard they work! It was also great to celebrate 10 years of LILAC and if you haven’t seen the 10 year anniversary video I urge you to check it out on You Tube. I’m also hoping that the video from Paul Zurkowski, who coined the phrase ‘information literacy’ 40 years ago will shortly go on the LILAC website too.


Breakthrough in copyright law reform confirmed

Guest blog by Naomi Korn, Chair of the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance and Benjamin White, Head of Intellectual Property at the British Library

20 years of hard work by our sector has resulted, at last, in the recognition that copyright laws are out of kilter with the digital age and many of the activities taking place across our libraries, archives, museums and educational establishments, need to be supported by fit for purpose exceptions which create legal certainty and achieve a better balance between creators rights and user needs. By doing this they therefore make copyright itself stronger.

Westminster approval (more…)

Information Literacy Award: thanks

Last week I attended the LILAC Conference and it was a special year, as they were celebrating 10 years of LILAC, plus I had been nominated for the Information Literacy Award. I knew the Committee were planning a celebration on the first night and I had (rashly?) shared my photo archive with them for a presentation that Nigel Morgan was preparing. So the first night I approached with some trepidation, wondering which embarrassing photos might feature. I think I got off lightly and I was proud to be named as a co-founder of the conference with Debbi Boden-Angell. I also found the tour of LILAC history that Nigel took us through really fantastic and the videos he’s collected from previous delegates are worth seeing again – I hope they go on the website soon!


Learning development and information literacy: two sides of the same coin

I don’t feel I am saying anything particularly revolutionary or profound, but it is striking after spending 2 days in Huddersfield at the Association of Learning Developers in Higher Education (ALDinHE) before Easter and then 3 days in Sheffield at LILAC, that two communities are deeply entwined and don’t speak to each other enough sometimes. Interestingly ALDinHE celebrated it’s 11th conference this year, while LILAC had a 10th birthday party last Wednesday evening. Other parallels are both professions sought to redefine themselves a decade or so ago, study skills became learning development around the time that user education or information skills became information literacy. It seems that some institutions are recognising the overlaps and bringing these two professions together in an attempt to provide more joined up support for students, but it’s not happening everywhere by any stretch of the imagination. I’m going to focus on the ALDinHE conference in this post and write up LILAC separately as there was much food for thought at both.


CILIP’s Copyright Briefing was no April Fool

Cats and booksOn April Fool’s Day, over 190 information professionals gathered in London for the CILIP Copyright Executive briefing but as our chair, Naomi Korn (and Chair of LACA – the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance) , told us at the outset this was no April Fool. After almost 10 years in the making, this June the government is set to amend copyright law in the UK, largely for the better of the education and cultural and heritage sectors. The new Statutory Instruments were published last Friday by the Intellectual Property Office and rather than go through line by line what they mean (Ben White, the British Library’s Head of IP has done an excellent job of this already on the CILIP website) I thought I’d share some key highlights of the day for me. However the new amendments and guidance is also available from the IPO. It’s going to be important for me to digest these and convey it to staff at LSE over the coming months.

We were welcomed to the event by CILIP’s CEO, Annie Mauger, but our first speaker (headline act?) was Viscount Younger of Leckie, the Under Secretary of State for Intellectual Property at Business, Innovation and Skills, and someone I had the pleasure of meeting late last year, to discuss the proposed amendments to the law. (more…)

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