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Some of you may know I am a module tutor for distance learners at Aberystwyth University and so the needs of distance learners are something I consider to be very important. Aberystwyth have been running distance learning librarianship courses for over 25 years and I was thrilled to join colleagues from the Department of Information Studies last summer at their celebratory dinner. Technology is something Aberystwyth have used since the late 1990s as a way of supporting distance learners and I was involved in the pilot project to introduce computer conferencing using the FirstClass system. Providing students with a way of communicating with their tutors and with each other was considered really important to counteract the isolation that distance learners often feel.
Technology has changed a lot since the late 1990s so if you are interested in the needs of distance learners, then we have a seminar next Wednesday at LSE that may be of interest. Lindsay Jordan from the University of the Arts London will be presenting a NetworkED seminar on this topic. Find out more on the NetworkED website. If you wish to attend and are not a member of LSE staff (or a student) then drop me a line and I can book you a place. Also don’t forget as ever, we will be live streaming this event so you can watch from the event page next Wednesday at 3pm GMT. No plug ins or registration is required to watch the live stream.
I’ve had a busy week returning from a lovely holiday in the Caribbean at the weekend, spending Monday trying to catch up with email and then heading to Paris to UNESCO on Tuesday and Wednesday for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) + 10 review event. its called +10 as it is ten years since the first of these meetings was convened.
I was invited with Nancy Graham to take part in a workshop to help UNESCO refine their media and information literacy competencies and today the group were hoping to work on indicators for media and and information literacy. These are hugely important as they will be a way of teachers judging their own (and others) competence in this field. And also be a way of measuring impact. They also underpin the Media and information Literacy curriculum that UNESCO produced a year and a half ago.
It is interesting to reflect on how I came to be sat at UNESCO working with a group of international experts in both media and information literacy. I have Woody Horton to thank in many ways who contacted me shortly after I finished my Arcadia fellowship and invited me to join the international mailing list. I posted a short item to the list (I think in response to a query) about the DELILA project which had just finished and adapted a range of digital and information literacy resources as OERs. After posting this message I received an email from Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg at UNESCO who immediately pointed out that both IL and OERs were key interests at UNESCO. Getting to know Irmgarda has been so rewarding and I’m really pleased that she is a keynote at this year’s LILAC conference.
Woody Horton is another great contact and he is also the author of a recent UNESCO publication that both Nancy and I contributed to, and it is a global resource for information literacy in over 40 languages. We helped to compile the English language section and have agreed to help keep it up to date. I was really excited to return to UNESCO this week but also to work on information literacy. I use their definition of IL regularly in talks that I give and feel honoured to be invited back to Paris.
Last Friday, Emma and I trekked to York St John University, one of my favourite places not least because some good friends happen to work there! I’m also a big fan of the wonderful historic city centre and some of the lovely shops!
We were invited to present at a CILIP Academic and Research Libraries group event organised by the Yorkshire and Humberside branch entitled Librarians as Researchers. Emma has posted a summary of our talk on thew New Curriculum blog entitled And now for something different. Our presentation is on Slideshare. It was actually a lot of fun putting together a talk about how to do research as part of your day job. We made it interactive and I hope people found it inspiring and useful. Doing research as part of your day job is hard work, but I think it is also so rewarding and keeps things interesting. I hope our eight tips are useful for other wannabe researchers. And not that Emma and I want to stop talking about ANCIL, because we don’t but it’s equally important to talk about how and why you do something, not just what you found out! However, speaking about findings, the key recommendations from my ANCIL report at LSE are now on our ANCIL at LSE website and I hope our report will be in LSE Research Online by the end of the week.
Today I attended the UK Council for Graduate Education workshop: the Digital future of HEIs at the Studio in Manchester. I didn’t make the first opening session but was able to attend two other sessions in addition to my own. I have included my full notes here.
Simon Kerridge, University of Kent
Simon from the University of Kent and ARMA (Association of Research Managers and Administrators), the professional body for heads of research divisions. ARMA have a professional framework of skills for those supporting research. Simon spoke about some of the work research managers do, such as auditing across the institution and making statutory returns, e.g. for the REF. He also talked about open access and the Finch report. From 1st April universities will get block grants from HEFCE to support making outputs available open access. Up to them to decide how to spend it. Some thought that by Ref 2020 there could be a requirement that everything submitted is open access.
Tomorrow I return to teaching, starting at 10am with the first class of our information literacy programme for PhD students, MY592 at LSE. I’ll be joining colleagues for the first hour of the 2 hour workshop, and then running next week’s session and the final session in week 6. However, I also start teaching students on our PG Certificate in Teaching in HE tomorrow. Module 1 on Planning your teaching kicked off a few weeks ago and I’ll be running the workshop on learning technologies at midday with my colleague from TLC, Claudine. It’s our first time teaching together, so I am really looking forward to it, but also hoping all our timings and activities, including using the voting system, works ok!
I know lots of people hit the ground running at the start of term with a lot of teaching, but it’s often a slower start for me after the initial induction programes for staff. Next week I’m running the Managing your Web Presence workshop, and I’m also preparing a day long training programme on copyright issues for another university. But I’m really going to be busy later this month with workshops and conferences. I will also be taking the long train ride to Aberystwyth to give a lecture at the Department of Information Studies in a few weeks time. Oh and in case you missed it, the conference I presented at a few weeks ago on Future Strategies for HE libraries, was picked up by the Times Higher and you can read the write up here. My presentation on Librarians as Teachers Integrated into the Curriculum is on Slideshare.
I’ve had to write a report last week for LSE’s Annual Fund, who funded the new seminar series we launched in my department last year. Known as NetworkED: technology in education, the series brought a number of speakers to LSE to present to staff, students and some invited guests. However, the key feature of this series was that we tried out a variety of lightweight technologies to amplify the series. So we used Twitter and the hashtag #LSENetED to allow people to follow the seminar remotely, but also post questions for the speaker. We live streamed the events, purchasing some new, but fairly inexpensive kit to do this. You can read the blog post from my colleague Darren Moon about how we did this. It’s worked well and so we have a schedule on the website for speakers we are lining up for next academic year. Our first speaker will be Diana Laurillard from the Institute of Education, speaking about Teaching as a Design Science.
If you would like to watch any of the seminars from last year they are all available on our website. The seminars are quite hard work to set up, but a really useful experiment to find out how you can live stream an event to potentially reach a global audience. It’s also seen a number of challenges, including technical and legal issues we need to consider when ‘broadcasting’ in this way. For example, we now have a release form our presenters sign to allow us to licence the recordings under Creative Commons, but also to protect LSE from any potential copyright infringement, through presenters including third party copyright in their presentations. Do tune in on the 10th October at 3pm to our latest seminar!
Back in July I attended a three day summer school focusing on digital literacy and organised by SEDA (Staff and educational development association). As it is a few months after the event David Baume who was the key facilitator of the summer school, has reminded us we agreed to write a blog post on the impact of the event. I’ve already written two posts as I got a huge amount out of the event, but it is useful to take stock a few months down the line.
The summer school came at an incredibly busy time for me as I had a seemingly endless number of conference presentations between March and August this year. I was feeling quite overloaded at the time of the summer school and a bit giddy from all the travel. At one point a few days beforehand I was seriously contemplating withdrawing from the event. I am so glad I didn’t. It was undoubtedly one of the best development courses I have done since the Springboard programme around 7 years ago. But why was it so good and what outcomes has the summer school had? Well I’ll try to explain.
Firstly some direct outcomes. 1) Networking and contacts with like minded professionals. Prior to this conference I believed that the profession I felt most affinity with was the library and information world. Despite working in learning technology for over 10 years I often felt the core of my interests fell outside this profession. Sure I’ve been to ALT and heard people talk about digital literacy but the SEDA summer school was full of like minded learning technologists and educational developers and for me I felt like I had come home. I felt the searching to find where I fit was over and I was in the right profession after all. I have now added numerous people added to my network and in fact only one person on the summer school I knew previously! I’ve stayed in touch with people and even met up for lunch with one person since.
Research in Distance Education 2012
Friday 19 October 2012, 9am-4.30pm. Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, University of London
This year’s CDE conference, Research and Innovation in Distance Education and eLearning, will be held on 19 October 2012 at Senate House, University of London. You can now register for a ticket here.
We are delighted to announce that our two keynote speakers for the day will be Professor Diana Laurillard, Chair of Learning with Digital Technologies in the Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy, London Knowledge Lab, and Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor in Information and Computer Technology, School of Education, Plymouth University. Networking and discussion will be promoted during the seminars and panel discussions that span our three parallel strands: design for learning; future technology and enhancing the student experience. The conference in October will also feature extended workshop sessions around the themes. The conference will be of interest to anyone involved in distance learning research and practice, within the federal University of London and beyond.
Poster session: If you are interested in submitting your own research for the conferences poster session please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year: To give you an idea of what to expect you can view our keynote presentations access other seminar resources from last year’s conference at the CDE’s website: http://bit.ly/n5TdAI.
THIS IS A free EVENT. REGISTER AT THE CONFERENCE WEBSITE HERE: CDE-RIDE2012.EVENTBRITE.COM.
As previously mentioned a few weeks ago I was running a workshop at the IFLA Satellite Meeting in Tampere (http://iflasatellitetampere2012.wordpress.com/) with Maria Bell from LSE and Katy Wrathall from York St John University. Our workshop described our current project at LSE to investigate how we support undergraduate students in terms of a broad curriculum of information literacy, known as ANCIL, which I developed with Emma Coonan when I was at University of Cambridge last year. We interviewed staff across LSE to find out how joined up our provision is, with services such as TLC, Careers and Language Centre and with what is embedded into academic programmes We also carried out focus groups with students to find out what they want from the Library in terms of learning support. The workshop gave people a chance to try mapping their own provision in their institution. Our presentation is on Slideshare at: http://www.slideshare.net/seckerj/ifla2012final
The IFLA conference was a great opportunity to meet librarians from all around the world, including Scandinavia, United States, South Africa, Uganda, Namibia, Australia, Singapore and others. . Keynotes for the conference were given by Kirsti Lonka who is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Helsinki who spoke about designing engaging learning environments for the future and the value of physical spaces (and libraries) to support learning (see my previous post). The second keynote was from Carol Kuhlthau, who is Professor of Information Science at Rutgers University and has written widely in the field of information seeking behaviour.
Highlights of the conference included a valuable session on seemless delivery of learning support services from Vicki McDonald at Queensland University of Technology, who spoke about joining up information literacy with academic skills. Courtney Bruch and Carroll Wilkinson from the US spoke about organisational culture, change agency and emotional intelligence: research findings for fostering librarian ownership of IL Programs. They have also written a book on this subject. Sharon Favaro from Seton Hall University, New Jersey spoke about teaching IL to first year students through knowledge management tools and there were lots of overlaps in her findings and our work at LSE. I also attended an excellent session from Portsmouth University about developing an information literacy framework for library staff to enable them to better support students.
Tampere was a fabulous city on the banks of two lakes, with a rich industrial heritage and many former factories and mills. Known as the Manchester of Finland, it was great to have an evening reception in the town hall and see some of the city on an afternoon tour. We also had a chance to visit the ‘Moomin Museum’ for those of you old enough to remember the strange hippo like creatures created by Tove Jansson.
Kirsti Lonka, University of Helsinki, Professor of Educational Psychology (@kirstilonka) gave the opening keynote at last week’s IFLA Satelllite meeting on Information Literacy, at Tampere University, Finland, entitled ‘Engaging learning environments for the future.’ There are now some photos from the conference online. Kirsti told us how teachers in higher education might actually be able change society with their thinking, but they don’t always recognise this. Kirsti talked about how we need to adapt new ways of collective learning for better results and to consider the emotions we experience while we are learning. This theme of ‘emotional intellgience’ came up a number of times at the conference, and chimed with my work on ANCIL and the affective dimension of learning.
Kirsti has moved from medical to teacher education and believes it is inspiring to work with future teachers. Teachers have a great impact on society. She started by asking what it means to teach the ‘digital natives’? Even if you are skeptical about the notion of digital natives, it is still worth considering how information behaviour has changed, particularly when people are growing up with constant access to the internet and technologies. She spoke of sociocultural ideas of the human mind, how learning always takes place in a context (ideas of Biggs, Lave and Wenger etc.) And Vygotsky’s belief that context relies of culturally and historically developed structures. Recent brain research suggests we are biologically cultural creatures and that culture actually affects our brains. For example a person’s brain changes from driving a London taxi for a long time. Unfortunately 90% of lay people think learning is taking knowledge, storing it, spreading it on the exam paper and then forgetting it. The goals are defined in quantitative terms – 60%, 70% (but of what?) Lonka asked us to consider how does being passive while learning shape our minds?