I was up bright and early Sunday morning to listen to Bob Glass who talked about the LearnHigher CETL at Manchester Metropolitan University which focuses on learner development. The library school, where Bob is based, was given information literacy as a key area and they’ve created a new flexible learning space for students. In addition there are various online resources for students. Moira’s got a great photo of Bob who set the scene for a morning of talks on information literacy (IL). Bob is using the ACRL Information Literacy audit to test students each year for 3 years to explore whether you can identify IL development.
Bob was followed by Cath Hunt and Maggie Smart from Salford, who have used software called Wimba Live Classroom to deliver information skills training for PhD students, studying at a distance. The software allows you to deliver a live training session and share your desktop with the students, who are working away from the campus. The library induction sessions can be archived so students can go back and review them. They are also presented alongside complementary materials in the VLE.
Sirje Virkus from Tallin University in Estonia talked about her PhD research into the development of information-related competencies (IRCs) (a term she uses for information literacy) in open and distance learning universities in Europe. Using surveys, interviews and case studies her research concluded that the institutions are at an early stage in integrating IRCs into the curriculum and that librarians involvement in teaching is still fairly traditional. She also believed the concept of information literacy created confusion and there wasn’t a common agreement on meaning. She also found a less than positive attitude towards librarians in some institutions and concluded that strong leadership is very important in ensuring the library is more highly regarded.
Virpi Palmgren and Jouni Nevalainen from Helsinki University of Technology gave a useful paper on using mind maps, dialogue maps and concept maps to improve information retrieval. They prepared their presentation using Freemind, a mind mapping software and described how they can be used to structure the information retrieval process. Moira’s post includes further details of this paper, but I really like mind maps and must experiment using them further.
Maitrayee Ghosh from Kanpur in India than gave us a fascinating talk into enhancing information literacy and empowering citizens in rural India using ICTs. She described projects to develop low cost wifi technology, a mobile computer on a cycle rickshaw called the InfoThela, the use of telemedicine and the Simputer which is the $100 computer that uses a touch screen. She also spoke about open access repositories in India and the development of public libraries to become knowledge centres.
The final session of the morning had been advertised as a workshop, but sadly one of the delegates had been unable to get to the conference in time. Therefore, Rob Davies talked about ‘Public libraries, learning and the creative citizen’ reflecting on European developments in public libraries to respond to lifelong learning policies. Gwyneth may want to report further on this session as it continued after the lunch break and she was chief note taker!