2017: the year in review

I have been writing the Copyright Literacy review of 2017 and it amazed me how much fabulous work I’ve done with Chris as part of UK Copyright Literacy. Two people working together can do far more work than two individuals faffing about on their own. Updating and launching v2.0 of Copyright the Card Game and co-creating our ‘academic game of life’ The Publishing Trap has been fantastic.
However, what I’ve discovered this year is that what I do on my own is also important and like everyone, I have to keep trying to work out what matters to me and be better at what I do. This year has been a journey, a time of change, but it has also been a year of trying to be authentic, ‘braving the wilderness‘ (I now work 3 days a week!) and make a difference myself.
Rather than just reel off a list of achievements, I thought I would try to provide a balanced look at some of what I’ve been up to. I’ve had a lot of fun this year, but I feel I have worked harder than ever and perhaps had less time off, less time in my garden, or just chilling out. So I am reviewing the themes of 2017, rather than just running through everything I have been up to. These include:

Travel: I’ve always loved to travel, whether in the UK or abroad. But my trips away specifically those on my own have been important this year: to the USA for ACRL in Baltimore (did I mention it before?) to Latvia with the British Council, to Llandudno for CILIP Wales, to OER 17 with a terrible hangover, where I almost missed my presentation slot. Travel broadens the mind, but travelling on my own has been good for me. To visit places, to enjoy time on my own, to be open to meeting new people and having new experiences. In Latvia I went to my first opera. In the US I went to the Library of Congress. I realise I love travelling, particularly by train – I just need to learn to pack more lightly!

My work for the CILIP Information Literacy Group: I am entering my third year as Chair of the group, we continue to be involved in TeenTech, we have been busy creating a new definition of information literacy, building a strong committee, creating a new brand for the group, launching a new website and a overall creating a united team between ILG and LILAC. I’ve also been building a relationship with CILIP over campaigns like ‘facts matter’ and realise there is still a lot to do on all fronts. But this is my plan for 2018, to continue to build a strong team and advocate for information literacy everywhere I can.

Personal and professional development: completing Aurora, the women’s leadership programme, in March made me realise that personal and professional development are completely linked. Aurora was a fantastic experience and I have spoken about it a few times since and encouraged women I know to do the course – I was particularly pleased that LSE opened up the number of places after my endorsement of the programme. I’ve also tried to add more of ‘me’ into my talks which is partly through discovering the work of Brene Brown on shame and vulnerability. Brene says that vulnerability is the key to connections with others and wholehearted living, but it doesn’t stop us feeling fear. Through reading Brene’s work (and other similar writers) I realise I need to keep getting out there and going into the arena and showing up and learning to have courageous conversations. It’s all about trying to be authentic which will probably always make me feel a bit uncomfortable, which is the reason why I need to keep working on it.

Discovering mindfulness, which is about noticing when the mind drifts, trying to develop greater awareness and trying to be in the present moment, trying to still the ‘monkey mind.’ But also learning we are not our thoughts and emotions and we can’t always control them. And trying to practice my meditations but not beating myself up when I don’t have time or manage to always be mindful. I’ve completed two courses on mindfulness and also realised it has some really valid links to teaching and pedagogy, and information literacy. Again, it’s the realisation that personal and professional development often overlap.

Leaving LSE, not being a copyright  person and having to build up a new identity and a new network at City University.  I have now have School-wide responsibilities for departments such as Music, Journalism, English and a wealth of social sciences. Learning about how people teach in these subjects and how I might be able to help them has been massively rewarding and scary. But I’ve really seen how not being a copyright officer is liberating, but also often leads me to have conversations that return to it in some shape or form. And it’s amazing how many times I find myself telling people I was the Copyright Advisor at LSE for 15 years and watch their eyes widen!

My fantastic new job – I finally feel I have found my place, being able to say I am a Senior Lecturer in Educational Development is amazing and I realise I love to teach people about teaching more than anything. I love watching people teaching others, trying to find ways of engaging students with a discipline. Trying to convey their passion for a subject to others. And realising this is one of the most challenging things you can do, it makes you vulnerable if you do it properly and yet it’s the way you learn and develop. And at times it’s been exhausting and I’ve felt under scrutiny about the way I teach and whether I’m modelling good practice (or using the right verbs in my learning outcomes!). Because as much as every teacher, I want my students to learn but I want them to like me too.

Friendship: which comes in so many shapes and forms and how people can help us in so many different ways. But also to cherish those people, as they won’t be there forever. Losing a friend, and Deputy Chair of ILG Rowena was a shock in October and this year has been marked with sadness. People come into your life, people can leave, people can change and so can you but friends and family are so important. And when I feel down I think of my little nephew Henry with his cheeky little smile and the world doesn’t seem so bad. But I want to thank all my friends for their support this year, new friends (Ruth, Sheila), friends I’ve known a while now (Chris, Emma, Lisa, Louise) and those who’ve just been kicking about forever, but I promise I don’t take for granted (Sue, Maria, Sarah, Caroline, Ellie the list goes on and in mentioning anyone I feel I have inevitably forgotten many people).

Developing a business: thinking hard about my talent and reputation, getting people to pay me for my expertise, which is something I struggle with because I wonder if I am worthy enough? But also asking what should I charge people for and what should be given away freely because it’s something I just want to do and because I have a level of privilege that means I can help others. And I’m so grateful to Lisa for all her support and help on the business side of things and working with me and Chris on one of the most fun projects you can have about copyright!

Writing: I’ve continued to write loads of things with Chris, we’ve had reports, articles, conference papers published many of which are listed on our website. We have a chapter coming out in a new Routledge book early next year. But getting a proposal accepted by Palgrave to write a ‘Pocket guide’ book on information literacy for students with Emma, is very exciting. It’s going to be a different format to what I’m used to, and it uses cartoons and illustrations. It should be fun!

Fun, games and play: that’s been another part of the year realising that I really like playful and creative approaches to most things in life. It’s partly why I have really taken to leading historical walking tours in my spare time. It’s a bit like acting (which I am dreadful at!) combined with teaching and a bit of showing off. Life has been too serious for a long time and I like laughing and using humour as an approach to helping people learn and engage with me. I’m so very proud of the Publishing Trap, but I feel this is just the start of more games and creative approaches to education. I just know how much work this will be, but that is good, because when it’s something you love, it’s not work.

In conclusion….
Wow what a year, it’s no wonder I feel tired, but not everything always goes to plan – turning up at a conference and almost missing my presentation slot was a personal low as well as almost missing the ILG AGM due to a lost pair of sunglasses! I found at times I had definitely taken on too much work, with multiple crashing deadlines towards the end of the year leading me to work far too late into the night (and test some people’s patience with me to the limit). I have to get better at saying no to things that don’t matter to me, at delegating (when I have someone to delegate to!) or working smarter, so setting up apps and reminders that mean I always know what I’m up to. Wunderlist has tried to keep me on track and more of my tricks and tips were included in the chapter (I rather rashly) agreed to write for David Hopkins in his EdTech Rations book. I can’t promise I’ll be perfect in 2018, I am sure I will still take on too much, and have plenty of failures or times when I just don’t live up to my expectations of myself. But I know with some fantastic friends and colleagues around me and with techniques like mindfulness, next year is going to be a great fun!
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Open educational resources: tracking their use or releasing them into the wilderness

I’ve been pretty busy over on the Copyright Literacy blog in the last few months which has led to me rather neglecting my own blog. However a few days away at the I2C2 conference, staying just outside Scarborough, is a perfect time to recharge and take some time to reflect on all the stuff I’m interested in (of which copyright literacy is of course a huge part). I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s Braving the Wildnerness so the title of the post partly reflects this. However, the focus of this post is open educational resources, in light of the work Chris and I been doing on the new copyright, open access and scholarly communications game: The Publishing Trap. We’ve now written quite a number of blog posts on the creation of the game (on our blog, on the LSE Impact blog and on the Kent Office for Scholarly Communications blog), which we launched during Open Access week. We’ve also been planning a post about the licensing decisions we made about the game itself. But in the run up to writing that, I had a bit of a scout around to look into how you track and work out who is using your open educational resources. We wanted to release our game, but our experiences from Copyright the Card Game meant that we were keen to try and see how many people might download the new game, and then what they might do with it.

Some of the decisions we made about licensing the Publishing Trap reflect my long term desire to see a way of tracking and measuring the use of open educational resources. Years ago when I worked on a Jisc OER project, DELILA, in the final recommendations we concluded that as teachers we wanted people to use our materials, but it would be so nice to know what they did with them, how they used them and were inspired. In the way that research outputs are tracked through citation analysis, why is it still not possible to find a way of tracking OERs? Perhaps I am trying to control something that it’s not possible to do though, once it’s out in the wilderness?

However, the experience of releasing Copyright the Card Game has been wonderful and liberating, we’ve heard from some people who use it in their teaching, or have been inspired to create adaptions (there is even an online version in development) but we actually now have no reliable metrics since Jorum was retired and the resource is now on our website. This is really not a great situation. It’s something I raised on Twitter a few weeks ago, asking how to measure or track OERs. Short of putting it in an institutional repository, and only putting your resource in that one place, you are a bit stuck. So our decision to opt for the most restrictive of the Creative Commons licences for this resource is also shaped by feeling like I want to know what happens to the Publishing Trap. I know that our creative work should be free to inspire other people, and in this case it’s not just a matter of wanting credit. It’s because the game is still in development, it’s still quite precious to me and Chris. We’d like to oversee how it grows and evolves for a little bit longer, while letting the wider community experience it. We hope this makes sense to people. We are both hundred percent committed to open practice, we are also committed to shaping how our teaching resource develops though.

I’m happy the Publishing Trap is out there, but if anyone has any great ideas about how best to track an OER, then do let me know, but for now it’s in the wilderness (sort of on our website with some tracking) so do have a look at it.

A new survey on academics and data literacy

I recall last year at the CILIP Conference discussing what data literacy was and being quite doubtful about it as a concept that was distinct from information literacy. However, knowledge, data and information are different things so I’ve come round to valuing the benefit in recognising the value of defining these new literacies. We recently added a definition of data literacy to the information literacy website.

At the European Conference in Information Literacy (ECIL) conference this year in St Malo France, I attended a number of papers on data literacy research. Colleagues are conducting a multi-national survey not unlike the copyright literacy survey I worked on in 2014 with Chris Morrison. Geoff Walton, my colleague on the Information Literacy Group is working on a project with Gobinda Choudhury, Serap Kurbanoglu and Joumana Boustani to gather information about levels of data literacy among the academic community. Geoff needs as many responses as possible to create a really meaningful dataset so he has asked me to pass this on to academic colleagues to complete. I thought it was worth writing a short blog post about the research as well as encouraging my academic colleagues at City, University of London to complete it.

The survey aims to collect data about the data literacy of academics and research students in higher education institutions. Responses will enable the researchers to  fully understand the current levels of awareness and gaps in knowledge which will help us develop appropriate data literacy training for the higher education community. The survey is anonymous and it will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. By completing this survey you are consenting to the use of your data for research and dissemination purposes.

The survey is being carried out simultaneously in 14 partner countries: Australia, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, France (Lead Partner), Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey (Lead Partner) as well as the UK (Lead Partner).

Please visit this link to complete the survey:
http://survey.docinfos.fr/index.php/178684?newtest=Y&lang=en​

If you have any questions or comments as you are going through the survey, please contact Dr Geoff Walton g.walton@mmu.ac.uk

The New Information Literacy website

As many of you know I am Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group and one of the things our group does (as well as organising the best library conference ever, LILAC) is to host a website. I’m delighted to announce that the new-look Information Literacy website is now live!

The group’s web team have been working hard over the last few months to give the site a fresh look and feel, while continuing to expand the content. We’d love to hear what you think about the changes we’ve made! You can contact us directly with your feedback or suggestions about the site.

To celebrate the launch of the new-look site, we’re also running a Twitter competition throughout September 2017, with the chance to win a £30 gift voucher for an online store of your choice.

To be entered into the prize draw, tweet a link to your favourite section of the refreshed Information Literacy website (http://informationliteracy.org.uk), say why you like it, and make sure you include the hashtag #ILWebsiteRefresh. All entries posted between September 1st and September 30th, 2017 will be eligible to be entered into the prize draw.

Please note that, by entering the competition, you are consenting to have your name publicly displayed on this website and on the CILIP Information Literacy Group’s social media channels without prior consent. The winner will be notified by email by October 6th, 2017 and will be publicly announced via CILIP ILG’s social media channels and website. Please note that you are limited to one entry per person, though please do feel free to tweet about the website as often as you would like! CILIP ILG committee members (including sub-committees) are not eligible to enter the competition. See the new website competition rules.

We’d also really welcome any case studies that showcase interesting work relating to information literacy. The website is provided by the CILIP Information Literacy Group, and seeks to represent and promote the role of information literacy across a wide range of different sectors. Are you carrying out innovative work in teaching, developing or researching information literacy? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Ways to get involved include:

 

On finding a place and space to reflect

I’ve been doing a lot of work recently, for those following the Copyright Literacy blog, it’s been a fairly hectic few months. Since starting my new job in April I’ve been to Latvia to speak at a Media Literacy conference in Riga, I’ve been to Southampton Solent to the UCISA Digital Capabilities event. Then I’ve been to pretty much every CILIP conference going (the CILIP Copyright Conference in April, CILIP Wales in Llandudno in May, CILIP Scotland in Dundee in June and the main CILIP Conference in Manchester in July). At pretty much all these events I was speaking about copyright education and the work I’ve been doing with Chris Morrison. And in fact in less than two weeks the road trip continues as we’re off to Wroclaw, Poland to speak at an IFLA joint offsite meeting organised by the Copyright and Legal Matters Advisory Committee and Information Literacy Section Committee. We had an exciting July as we launched version 2.0 of Copyright the Card Game. The content has been updated and amended and the cards have been re-designed with a more professional brand. We even have a colour palette which I am particularly pleased about because I had a lot of input into that.

However, one thing that has become clear to me over the last few months is that I’m not employed as a library and information professional anymore (arguably I wasn’t really at LSE I suppose!) and so I’ve been thinking a lot about my interests and how they might be evolving. I remain interested in copyright, information and digital literacy as it’s such an important part of learning. I can see that not knowing how to find, manage or use information can seriously hamper people’s chances of success. Understanding copyright is not central to all disciplines, but it does impact on many lecturers and teachers when they share content with their students or with colleagues. It also is something that students need to think about not just in creative subjects, as they are increasingly producing content they want to share online.

I’m about to start teaching in early September for real (I’ve dabbled a bit over the last few months), on the Learning, Teaching and Assessment module of the MA in Academic Practice at City, University of London. I’ll be teaching about learning theories, learning environments and approaches to teaching in the first workshop. In preparation I’ve been reading up on educational development and learning theory (it has been a while since I studied this stuff!) I’ve been drawn to the work of Donald Schon, partly because I see him on our reading list, partly because I think reflection is really important, and also because I’ve started to read what he had to say about change.  I remembered how Emma quoted from him in her ANCIL theoretical background report – she used this quote to preface the study:

[O]ur society and all of its institutions are in continuing processes of transformation ….We must learn to understand, guide, influence and manage these transformations. We must make the capacity for undertaking them integral to ourselves and to our institutions. We must, in other words, become adept at learning.” Donald Schon, 1973.
Schon also wrote about reflective practice, which is hugely influential in educational development. The idea of reflecting in and on action, is something many of us may do as teachers. Reflecting in action is sometimes described as ‘thinking on our feet’ and involves looking to our experiences, our feelings, and attending to the theories that influence us. Through this we can build new understandings to inform our actions in a situation, as it unfolds. However I think the important thing is to ensure we record these experience, observations and feelings soon after they happen, to really benefit from them. This is what Schon called ‘reflecting on action’ where we write up, talk through with a colleague and explore why we did what we did. This is really important to help us develop our own ideas and questions about our practice. I think you can avoid being overly critical when things go wrong, but reflection is so important to help us improve our practice.

Change, transformations and adaptation are a good thing, but they can be hard work, so it is important to reflect on where we are, where we’ve come from and where we are heading. With that in mind I’m working on adapting one of the resources I developed in my copyright education, on creative approaches to learning. It’s a new set of cards, so far there are just three suits, but I am working on a fourth, to make it a nice compliment to the copyright card game. I have cards for learning theories and for learning (or teaching) approaches. I plan to create a set of cards for learning environments (lecture theatres, online learning, flexible classroom), and then perhaps I need discipline and level of students, which is of course where any planning needs to start. I don’t think teaching is a pick and mix approach, but I think that being exposed to a variety of different scenarios and approaches helps teachers come up with some more creative approaches to learning. So many of the lecturers at City I’ve spoken to recently are concerned about student engagement and relying on lectures and expecting students to do further reading is pretty much the bare minimum these days. It’s difficult, because we don’t want to fall into the rhetoric of saying that our learners have changed and need more engaging teaching, as we have further evidence that digital natives do not exist from Kirschner and De Bruyckere. But I think student expectations have changed, with far greater numbers of students coming into higher education, from a wider variety of backgrounds, we can’t afford to be complacent and adopt a sink or swim approach. We owe it to all our students to help them be the very best they can, and that means helping the lecturers be as best they can too. I hope that is what I’m going to do this term!

It really has been quite a period of change and on my days I don’t work for City I’ve started doing some freelance work, including some copyright consultancy for several universities. I am also in the middle of a great project working with Learning on Screen to better understand the needs of the education sector for copyright advice related to audiovisual materials. It’s great to work with friends and Team J’seskimo as we jokingly called ourselves (Lisa Jeskins, Chris and I) have run a survey, two focus groups and are currently in the middle of telephone interviews and analysing the survey data.

And not being a librarian has finally meant I need to start addressing some of my short comings. I am fed up with being dreadful at organising my own information, particularly my paperwork, but generally all my stuff. I’m a bit of a hoarder and I am desperate to change. Having so many things to juggle means I have to be better organised and so I’ve been using some leave to have a house tidy up and clear out. I’m not exactly embracing Marie Kondo principles, but I do keep repeating William Morris’s saying of having ‘nothing in your house that is not beautiful or useful’. It’s a slow and painful process, one room at a time, but I do think that to organise my mind, I need to de-clutter and be surrounded by the things I need and love to inspire me (although I don’t need two cats sitting on my desk and paperwork all the time). I’ve also decided to sign up for a mindfulness course. I’m hopeless at switching off. My idea of taking a break recently has involved just having two devices on the go and not looking at Twitter for 15 minutes. However, I realise to think clearly I need to get outside much more and start walking and being in green places, visiting gardens and going on long walks by the sea. A few days down in Dorset earlier in the week showed me that and then I read this article on walking.

I’m looking forward to autumn, I’m sure there will be plenty going on and plenty of challenges along the way. I’ll be making time for reflection, sharing my successes and failures (I love that Thomas Edison quote about not failing but finding 10,000 ways that don’t work!). I’ll hopefully be a bit better organised, and more mindful, but most of all I know I will be learning a lot along the way.

Reflecting on a transformation

I was delighted a few months ago to find out I had been nominated for the Informed Peer Recognition Award, nominated by Emily Shields, Lisa Jeskins, Rosie Jones and my other wonderful friends on the LILAC committee. It came at a time of transition for me, as I am starting a new job, as a Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City, University of London. I’ve worked at LSE for over 15 years so this is a big change, but a move I had been thinking about for quite some time. I was asked by Jennie to write something about getting this award and I immediately thought of a talk I prepared last December when I was invited to the University of Ulster, to speak to the librarianship students. In preparing that talk I reflected on my career path to date. So I thought at this moment in time it was appropriate to write a blog post and I rather suspected it might be quite long! So if you don’t read it all, I won’t be offended because it has been a valuable process for me, to write down my journey. In doing this, I don’t want to make it seem like I had a grand plan, as I said in Ulster to the students, I often did things because I was interested in them or because opportunities came my way. Moving to City has however been about following my heart and finding a job where I can spend more time being able to teach and do research, which for means means making a transition to being an academic. It also means letting go of being a copyright advisor, something I love, and not being an information literacy practitioner. But I think it’s the right thing to do and I’m really excited about this journey and my research interests so will travel with me – I should have more time to work on them too! Working out what I really wanted to do was also a large part down to being on the Aurora Programme which I started in October last year and and finished in February 2017. I knew I wanted a change, but Aurora gave me the confidence and kick to do something about it, and getting my new job was partly down to a chance discussions with my new head of department Susannah, who is a role model on Aurora.
However to go back to the beginning of my career, like many others I fell into librarianship. I once wrote a blog post about how my decision to be a librarian was based on my inherent dislike of swimming underwater in the sea (I don’t like fish!) and the fact it didn’t require me to purchase a wetsuit. When trying to get a place through clearing after missing my A levels grades to go to Cardiff University, it was a choice between history and marine archeology at Bangor or history and librarianship in Aberystwyth. Never one for extreme sports, and frankly always liking books, I choose librarianship, with the explicit understanding I would be able to drop the subject after one year and study single honours history. But you know, after one year, it had started to get interesting, and I actually did rather well in the end of first year exams. The course had a lot about emerging internet technologies and elements of media studies in it, and (much to my parents delight) it added a vocational element to the otherwise pointless (in their view) history degree. I toyed with the idea of being an archivist, although a summer placement at a record office put me off, largely because I started to see that librarianship and helping people get access to all sorts of information was something I really cared about. I have always loved history, because history is about evidence,  arguments, and building up a picture of what might have happened in the past, while taking into account things such as bias and propaganda. But for me history was not about old documents, it was about the people and personalities and trying to understand what motivated them. Looking back I see it’s these things that have always been central to my interests – people, access to information (and learning) and the need to be discerning about what we read and what people tell us. I guess I am skeptical at heart and like to see some evidence before believing in anything!

Digital, information or copyright literacy for all?

copyright-literacy-cakesThere has been a lot happening in the world that indicates that digital and information literacy are vital skills to survive in the 21st Century. Whether it’s knowing how to work out fake from real news to staying safe online and maintaining your digital well being, these are all critical abilities everyone needs unless you decide to cut yourself off from the internet and go and live off the grid!
However, while I am passionate about helping people find, evaluate and use information I have been struck by the increasing need for everyone to develop what Chris and I call ‘copyright literacy‘ and how this relates closely to information literacy. Some might think copyright literacy is something only specialists or professionals need; teachers creating online courses, librarians digitising collections or artists and musicians who want to re-mix others work. However, if you own a smart phone, or pretty much any device with access to the internet, then copyright and licensing impacts on your life, whether you know it or not. This notion was highlighted in the Guardian shortly after the new year, in a story about how children were “regularly and unknowingly’ signing over their digital rights on social media. The UK’s Children’s Commission had published ‘Growing Up Digital’ a report detailing, among other things, ways in which the Internet can help young users become better informed about the websites and apps they use. The story highlighted the popular photo sharing social media site, Instagram, which is used by more than half of 12 to 15 year-olds, and 48% of eight- to 11-year-olds. The Guardian explained how “Instagram has terms and conditions that none of the young children in the taskforce’s focus group could fully understand. Only half of the eight- to 11-year-olds could even read the terms, which ran to more than 5,000 words on 17 pages of text”.
A privacy law expert from the firm Shillings was tasked by the Children’s Commission with re-writing the terms so they could be understood by 13 year olds and found that in the main the teenagers were not happy with the rights they were signing away. Many children suspected the terms of use were deliberately written in such a way that they couldn’t understand. The report went on to highlight the importance of e-safety and privacy issues, and while copyright perhaps seems insignificant in light of the threat of online abuse and exploitation of children, it highlighted to me the importance of a comprehensive digital literacy curriculum in the schools. It also seems that in addition to highlighting the dangers of the internet, a key part of digital literacy should surely be about understanding your rights, and understanding that the terms and conditions of apps are legal agreements. It’s all too easy to just agree to these without reading them, but we would all be advised to think before we click.
I’m also reminded of the Crash Course video, an Introduction to Intellectual Property or their video on Copyright Basics, which highlights how copyright is something that impacts on all of us but we tend to encounter it when someone is telling us no, or telling us about something we can’t do. In addition to making digital literacy more about the benefits, rather than dangers of using the internet, wouldn’t it be better if copyright and IP education focused on user’s rights and copyright exceptions, not just the thing they can’t do? That is my intention, to develop copyright and information and digital literacy education that empowers people, teaches them about their rights and makes them think about the ethics of what they are doing, and to be careful about what they might be signing away when they agree to terms and conditions of use. I was struck by the talk Daniel Levitin gave last week at the RSA, based on his book The Field Guide to Lies, and he suggested that in the age when we can Google everything, we just spend a bit of time, that would have been taken up running to the library, searching through books for information, to do some thinking about what we have just read. To sense check it and to ask some questions about who wrote it. Sensible advice! And some might call that critical thinking.