Teaching an online course: embedding digital copyright

Isle of Wight sunriseI’ve had a busy few weeks with my regular job, various Information Literacy Group tasks, copyright-related projects, and no less than three external events: APT in Greenwich, the CILIP Conference in Liverpool and a UnionLearn meeting where I spoke about IL. On top of this I have spent the last 6 weeks running an online course, Teaching in a Digital Age (TIDA). I followed the 23 Things for Libraries courses that ran several years ago at Cambridge and at Oxford. I wanted to launch one at that time at LSE for teaching staff, and so to get the opportunity to do this for my International Programmes secondment has been fascinating, a lot of fun and a real learning experience for me. I have over 20 students on the course from India, Malta, Malaysia and the UK. Every Monday and Friday I’ve been scheduling the new blog posts to go live and sending emails to gently encourage students to stay engaged. The most difficult part of the course, aside from the rather fast pace, has been keeping up with the students’ blogs! I wondered if they would take to blogging, but the vast majority really seem to have got stuck in! You can see all the students listed on the TIDA blogroll.

I have to say, the week I was most excited about was teaching them about Creative Commons and finding open educational resources, and to many of the teachers it seems to have been a real eye opener. And what a great way to demonstrate that understanding about copyright and licenses is a fundamental part of being a digital teacher. I’ve collected together some of the posts from the teachers on this topic below, as I think reading their reflections say a lot about how to teach copyright to academics – make it relevant, timely and straightforward, but most of all embed it in the course!

The course continues for another week – this week’s topic is managing information and getting organised exploring tools such as Dropbox, Evernote, Zotero and the concept of tagging.


Secondment starts today!

Today I am starting a two day a week secondment to LSE’s International Programmes, the department that is responsible for our distance learning provision accredited by the University of London. I know something about their work as for five years or so I was a Fellow at UoL Centre for Distance Education (CDE). Back in 2007 CDE funded the LASSIE project which is how I got into blogging and researching libraries, social media and education.


Which technologies have you used in your studies?

Back to my secondment though; for the next six months I’m going to be working to develop a digital literacy programme aimed at teachers. The teachers are based at affiliate institutions around the world and the idea is to offer them a teaching certificate. It won’t be a full blown PG Cert but it will cover many of the same elements of a typical teaching in HE course. The challenge is that much of the course will be taught online as the teachers are based around the world. And this course will have digital literacies embedded in it. It will also explore the challenges of teaching in the digital age and assumptions about the concept of students as ‘digital natives’. I will be looking for existing courses and OERs to inspire me. Models like 23 Things seem to offer ideas about the approach we could use. In addition to teaching about digital literacies we want to use a variety of appropriate technologies with the teachers to encourage them to share ideas and be reflective about their teaching.

My first step will be carrying out a literature search to find out about similar existing courses and to find a suitable teaching model. I also need to devise a curriculum and find out more about the teachers, their current practices and use of technologies. It’s very exciting starting a new project and today feels like the first step on a new adventure! Wish me luck!

For she’s a jolly good Fellow

I’m very pleased to announce that I have been appointed as a Fellow of the University of London’s Centre for Distance Education. This is the Centre that funded the LASSIE project so I hope to build on the work I did in 2007-8. You can find out more about what the Fellows are expected to do from the CDE Fellowship web pages. I’ve got to write something about the work I’ll do as part of my Fellowship, so I have been thinking I would like to update the LASSIE literature review. There has been a lot of great work in UK libraries since this was published. I would also like to do some evaluation work on the information literacy course I developed for LSE’s External programme known as IRIS (Improving your Reading and Information Skills). Finally, I’m really interested in reading lists and how we can improve these and make creating them easier for academic staff.This ties in with a lot of work I’m doing at the moment on reading lists in Moodle.
On a related note, I was particularly pleased to hear that Talis Education have launched what they call the Talis Incubator, to fund projects in the open education arena. It strikes me that there could be some potential opportunities to explore how social bookmarking tools might help facilitate the creation of reading lists.

At the University of SevilleFinally, in a few weeks Debbi Boden and I will be off to New Jersey, partly on a work related trip, promoting LILAC 2010. We’re visiting and staying with Jacqui Weetman-Dacosta, who is now based at the College of New Jersey. She’s taking me along to meet some information literacy librarians at Monmouth University and a little known fact is that Jon Bon Jovi once gave a speech there! We’ll also be visiting Princeton University and Princeton public library, where I’ve been invited to a Phillippa Gregory book launch by Leslie Burger, the Head of Princeton Public Library, and a keynote at last year’s LILAC.

LASSIE rides again!

Sunset at Whitstable

Last week the LASSIE Project Steering Group had a final round-up meeting at LSE. Most of the original project members were able to attend, so it was good to catch up with everyone and hear how they had been putting into practice some of what they had learnt during the project. Following on from this meeting I have modified the blog’s about page, to reflect it’s new role as the ramblings of a learning technology librarian! No doubt you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve decided to keep posting on this blog, but just included some information about it’s historical role in LASSIE for any new readers.

I was pleased to be able to report I have another five talks lined up in the coming few months, all as a direct spin off from LASSIE. The first talk is in just a few weeks, at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth – my old library school. There is a Facebook event you can sign up to if you wish to attend! I’m really looking forward to catching up with old friends and spending a few days by the sea in West Wales! The next talk after Aber, will be at the Oxford University Library Services one day conference on 24th September where I’ll be talking about web 2.0 and information literacy. I’ll keep you updated about the continuing LASSIE roadshow!

The other main development I reported on at the LASSIE meeting was the recent work I’ve been doing to develop an information skills course in Moodle for LSE’s distance learning students. The students are part of the University of London external programme studying economics, management, information systems and various social sciences. I am putting together a six week course built around the SCONUL seven pillars of information literacy. These students are supported through the University of London Online Library, and later this week I’ll be helping Sarah our media specialist in CLT do some filming to make short video clips for this course on topics such as: the role of reading, search techniques and why you need to visit libraries. I’m really excited about this course, and once I can, I’d really like to show it off to other librarians. Anyway, enough for today, but I’m pleased to report that LASSIE’s adventures are continuing!

The reading lists are going live!

This week students on the external programme course Introduction to Information Systems are going to be presented with the four different online reading lists and asked for feedback via a short survey. We are using Moodle to communicate with them after discovering over 600 students have signed up for access! So I hope we get some decent feedback. If anyone feels inclined to take a look at the four reading lists and also send me any feedback they are available below and the survey is available online.

Online reading lists

I decided to explore how you might use CiteULike to set up an online reading list. My feeling is that it is probably good for managing your own references, but I’m not sure how useful it is for managing a reading list as you can’t add enough annotations to the list as a whole. You also don’t seem to be able to order the list very easily. I have tried to tag all the readings with the same tag so there is a link to the specific resources for one course. For example, the Introduction to Information Systems course reading list which is a External Programme course is now available at: http://www.citeulike.org/user/seckerj/tag/60introinfsys

This reading list was very short – I searched the Amazon catalogue to add the books to the list. I found CiteUlike is probably better for lists of journal articles than books as I had trouble finding the correct addition to the book to add to the list on Amazon. Ideally I would like to pull the books from a library catalogue rather than from Amazon.I also tested a few other online reading list management tools to compare them with CiteUlike. So far I’ve tested H20 Playlists which were developed by Harvard Law School. Initial thoughts are this system isn’t as easy to use as CiteULike, in terms of adding books or articles. You seem to need to add things manually and there don’t seem to be any plug-ins that allow you to pull records from Amazon or other catalogues. This slows down the process of creating a reading list. However the software is designed to create reading lists, and is more useful in terms of adding annotations and notes for students about the material they should read. You can also add headings to the list and very easily move items around on the list.

The same reading list in H20 is available at: http://h2obeta.law.harvard.edu/160724 As this reading list only includes book it occurs to me I could also use LibraryThing which is really easy to use. Again whether it’s useful for a reading list that needs annotations and structure remains to be seen. If anyone has any other good social software tools they think I should try out let me know.

As this reading list only includes book it occurs to me I could also use LibraryThing which is really easy to use. Again whether it’s useful for a reading list that needs annotations and structure remains to be seen. If anyone has any other good social software tools they think I should try out let me know.

A day writing plus some ideas for the case studies

I decided to spend today writing the literature review rather than continuing to read more and more material. That is the trouble with this topic, there are so many interesting blog postings and articles to read. I’ve just found another hugely useful blog written by Michael Casey who coined the phrase Library 2.0. Now added to the Blogroll! However, time is ticking and my deadline of the 1st June is already looking wildy unrealistic for a first draft of the review. So today I spent a concerted effort putting onto paper what I’ve read so far.

The day was interupted with a meeting this morning with Kate from the External Programme at LSE. We had a really useful chat about my idea to use CiteULike as a reading list system for some students on a real distance learning course. My first task is to put the reading list onto CiteULike and document how this process compares to building a conventional reading list. We hope to be able to offer both systems to the students and get some feedback in the Autumn about which they prefer. I’ve created an account on CiteUlike and may also explore the Groups feature to see if this offers us much more. For an undergraduate course however, getting students to read resources on a reading list is enough of a challenge so it might be a bit ambitious to expect them to start suggesting new resources! We’ll see.

Gwyneth and I chatted this afternoon as I’ll be doing a short presentation at the CDE Fellow conference on the 19th June on the progress of the project. I’ve also been asked to give a presentation on using social software in libraries at an event organised by ALISS on Meeting the Challenge of the Google Generation and another by the Education Libraries Group. Both in July, so it’s going to be a busy month. Gwyneth also had a useful meeting with Sandra Tury from the University of London Library and with Martin Oliver from the London Knowledge Lab who is working on a project to do with Second Life. More from Gwyneth on those projects though! The sun has finally come out today, let’s hope it warms up soon!