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.

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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.

On following your heart

Jane in RomeSome of you know I’ve been on the Aurora programme since October. It’s a women’s leadership course and I’m enjoying it immensely, not least because of the wonderful women I’ve met, the inspiring workshops and the great readings and resources you get introduced to. I love a Ted Talk and its difficult to know which I’ve enjoyed most, from Amy Cuddy to Hillary Clinton. This week I particularly enjoyed Simon Sinek on what makes for successful leadership and starting with why and Dan Pink on ‘drive.’ What has really resonated with me is focusing on why we do things, not so much what we do when trying to explain it to people.

It became clear to me last year that I love teaching and research and inspiring others to use information and technology for their own and others learning. So I’m delighted to be able to officially announce that from mid April I’ll be following my heart, taking up a new role at City University, as Senior Lecturer in Educational Development based in Learning Enhancement and Academic Development(LEaD). I’ll be focusing on educational technologies, digital literacy and hopefully looking to support and develop open practices. Its going to be a really exciting opportunity as I’ll also have more time to pursue the things that interest me, as the post is 3 days a week. But I’m really excited to be joining such a great team, and of course just moving up the road!

I’m going to be very sad to leave LSE where I’ve worked for 15 years. I have wonderful friends and colleagues and I’ve loved working here. LSE has given me so much, including the ability to have considerable autonomy to learn and develop myself, while providing copyright and digital literacy advice for the institution. But its time for me to do something new and I’m not leaving anything behind, but building on all my experience and networks. Copyright and information literacy remain my passion and I’ll be infusing all I do at City with that perspective. I’ll continue my professional work in both these areas, remaining the Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group and staying firmly involved in the UUK Copyright Working group. So it is onwards and upwards for me and I hope you will follow me on my next step in the journey of life!