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

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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.

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.

A review of 2016

IMG_2930I was having a think about what I’ve achieved in 2016 and what I’m proud of and reflecting lots of really great stuff amidst the depressing political stuff that’s been happening in the world. So here’s my top ten of achievements and things (and people) I am proud of this year.

1. Conference presentations – I always seem to be giving conference presentations but this year really has been quite a year for them including two keynotes – one at the Dublin Institute for Technology’s E-learning Summer school and my big highlight, a keynote at ALT-C in Warwick in September. I’ve also presented on a range of topics, from information and digital literacy to copyright education and games-based learning. In Ireland, Prague and all around the UK. Presenting at the CILIP conference on the Brighton Dome stage (where Abba won Eurovision in 1974) was another highlight for me this year, on the TeenTech information literacy award! And the show will go on, with plenty of exciting trips lined up for 2017!

2. Publishing my fifth book – I was so pleased to finally finish Copyright and E-learning in the spring which I updated with my co-researcher and copyright buddy Chris Morrison. It really has been great to see the positive book reviews over the last few months and to have people make such nice comments on it. I didn’t enjoy writing this book first time around, but working with Chris was a lot of fun and as I predicted, his knowledge and attention to detail (pedantic, no never!) made it a far better book from from the first edition. So thanks for working with me Chris to produce something we can both be really proud of.

3. Chairing the CILIP Information Literacy Group – I’m now in my second year of chairing the ILG  and I love working with my committee. We’ve been working on an exciting rebrand to be launched at Lilac in April and the work we’re doing on outreach such as funding research projects and working with TeenTech is so rewarding. I’m so proud of everyone on the Committee and the ILG working groups and can’t thank them enough.

4. Raising over £1000 for Cancer Research UK through charity runs. Some of you will know my friend Maria was diagnosed with cancer last year and I’ve completed 3 charity runs to raise money for CRUK this year. I would have liked go do more but injured my foot so I’m building up my strength and also hoping to do some charity cycle rides instead in 2017, as I love my new bike!

5. Getting a place on Aurora the women’s leadership in higher education. I was so pleased to get a place on this programme which I’m just over half way through and I am so grateful to Rosie Jones, Nic Whitton and to Suzanne Christopher formerly of LSE Learning and Development who suggested I apply for this programme. I’ve met some amazing women and I am learning so much. And it’s got me really fired up about issues related to gender and equality more broadly and helped me make some really big decisions about my future career.

6. Becoming an auntie. I cannot explain the joy and love I have felt since becoming an auntie to Henry James Secker who was born in July 2016. He’s an adorable little chap and I enjoy every moment I spend with him and his wonderful parents, my brother Dan, the computer games geek, and his lovely, generous wife, Keeley. I look forward to a future with this lovely chap in my life and want to share so many things with him when he grows up. I’m also proud to say I bought him his first book and a pen as I have great hopes for him!

7. Giving something back and amusing people through my costumed historical walks. I volunteer for an animal charity, but I am also secretary of our local civic society, which preserves the built heritage and green spaces of the town I live in. This is partly because of my love of history but has also been a great way of being part of the community I live in and I’ve met some really inspiring people, who give up their time to campaign for things they believe in. I’ve also got to combine two of my great loves, dressing up and telling people about history through leading two costumed historical walks this year! I can’t wait to do more.

8. Making copyright literacy a real thing through the website, our first bits of consultancy and continuing road show. This is largely the work I’ve been doing with Chris for the past couple of years, but it’s growing and becoming an international movement, with hopefully an IFLA event next summer in Poland bringing it all together. Teaching people about copyright may seem boring and geeky to many people, but for librarians it’s a really important part of their work and something many feel anxious about. So if we can help here, then that is a great thing, but also to teach this in a wider context as part of digital and information literacy, so copyright isn’t just a problem to fix, but part of open practices in education.

9. Discovering the creative side of me or should that be rediscovering it as I did study art and graphic communication at school and loved both subjects. Through working on games and developing new ideas for workshops I am really starting to enjoy bringing creativity and fun into the work I do and hopefully using that to inspire people. I also now have a lot of coloured pens, post-it notes and a collection of owl related stationary which help inspire me.

10. Having less fear and becoming more comfortable being me.  There are going to be some big changes for me in 2017 and I am actually really excited about the future and starting to feel more happier knowing who I am, what I stand for, what I value and what I want to do in my life. It’s been a difficult year in some ways, with some disappointments at work too, but overall the future is looking really positive. I’m excited about 2017, the travel opportunities, the new people I will meet and the fantastic people I hope to carry on working with, so here’s to the New Year and everything it brings! I am ready for it!!

Developing digital literacies in staff and students: a TEL Seminar in Sussex

Today I was delighted to visit the University of Sussex to give a seminar in their Technology Enhanced Learning Seminar series. Dr David Walker is the head of TEL at Sussex and we first met in May when we both spoke at the UCISA Digital Capabilities event. This led me to invite David to speak at the ILG / MMiT joint event on Digital libraries and digital literacies one day event held in August.

Today I gave a similar talk to the one I had given at the UCISA event, reflecting on over 10 years of running a digital literacy programme at LSE, the lessons learnt and challenges, and the importance of collaboration, which in our case is between the librarians and learning technologists and working with students as partners. My slides are below, but it was great to meet staff at Sussex and some old friends from the library. I had a chance to talk about the importance to embed copyright literacy and the use innovative approaches to learning such as games. And of course I spoke about information literacy and the importance of using technologies in a critical way. After the session we recorded a short podcast and I look forward to hearing this and the recording of the event.
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ECIL in Prague: copyright literacy and digital inclusion

Jane on the Charles BridgeI’m really excited to be presenting at the European Conference on Information Literacy which this year is being held in Prague from 10th -14th October. This is the fourth conference and I’ve been lucky enough to attend every year since the conference started in 2013 in Istanbul. I went to Dubrovnik in 2014, Tallinn in 2015 and this year I am in Prague. The focus of the conference is information literacy, and many papers address issues related to digital literacy as well. It’s a European conference but in fact people come from all over the world, so it’s a fantastic place to get a global perspective on the work I do at LSE to support staff and students develop their digital literacy. The conference also has a strong link with the work I do to provide support and education in copyright matters. This year there are nearly 300 delegates from over 50 countries with just 19 from the UK. The conference theme is about information literacy in the inclusive society and we’ve had keynotes from Tara Brabazon and Jan Van Dijk.

I am presenting twice at the conference, firstly in a panel session that was held on Monday, based on outreach and advocacy work I do as Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG). My co-presenters were Sharon Wagg from the Tinder Foundation, who are a charity who work to promote digital inclusion, and Stephane Goldstein, who as well as being a freelance consultant, is the Advocacy and Outreach Officer for the ILG. In our panel we discussed some recent collaborations between librarians in academic sector with those in public libraries, to share their experiences of helping to develop digital literacies and promote digital inclusion. The TeachMeet events ILG and Tinder Foundation organised earlier in the year were a great way that academic and public librarians could share ideas and experience. I was delighted that two colleagues from LSE Library, Andra Fry and Sonia Gomes, attended one of these events in February to share our experiences from the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) programme we were running for three years, to support LSE undergraduates. The panel discussion encouraged participants to share any digital inclusion initiatives they were involved in around the world. We also discussed what made these collaborations successful and why there might be problems and challenges working in this space. Sharon highlighted the Tinder Foundation’s work with libraries through their digital inclusion fund and it was inspiring to hear about work to support the most vulnerable in society, such as the elderly, job seekers and refugees develop basic and more advanced digital skills.

Astronomical clockECIL is also the spiritual home of copyright literacy, as this was where I first heard about the work of Tania Todorova and her colleagues to survey librarians on a country basis about their knowledge of copyright and requirements for education in this field. This was back in 2014 in Dubrovnik and last year Chris and I presented the UK survey results in Tallinn. This year I’m returning to present our latest research, exploring the experiences of UK librarians of copyright, using a research method used in education and information literacy called phenomenography. It’s still early days – we carried out 3 focus groups in higher education and have been juggling work and some pretty intensive data analysis. As neither of us had used phenomenography before we are grateful to the help and advice we received from Emma Coonan and Lauren Smith, as well as several very useful articles they pointed us to. I’m sharing our slides from the ECIL presentation which I delivered on Tuesday morning. It has also been great to catch up with Tania, Serap, Joumana and several of the people who undertook the copyright literacy survey in their own country. Part of what motivated Chris and I to do this research was to understand the fear and anxiety that copyright can create, to look at why it’s a topic many in higher education shy away from learning more about, and use this data to better inform how we develop copyright education. I was struck once again by how important it is to get an international perspective on the work we do, and to see in many cases there are so many things we can learn from others experiences and so much that unites us in our work.

Presenting at ECIL 2015The research and collaboration with Chris has informed my thinking about the best way to provide support for others with copyright queries at LSE. For example, I now use a Copyright Card Game in my workshops, which are a fun and engaging way to learn about copyright. However, being seen as ‘the copyright expert’ can be quite a lonely place, and for me it is important that everyone learns a bit about copyright. This is partly what has motivated me to set up a Copyright Community of Practice at LSE (admittedly I did borrow this idea from Chris who set one up at Kent over the summer). The next session is going to be on the 4th November and it is open to any member of staff at LSE! Meanwhile I will enjoy a few more days in beautiful Prague and return to LSE full of more ideas and possibilities to enhance the support that we provide!