The start of the academic year

Copyright the card gameIt’s been a hectic few weeks, with term starting a week earlier at LSE, to take into account of the new academic year structure, and the inclusion of a reading week in Week 6 of term. Start of the term means new academic staff induction events, an Open House in LTI, Welcome Week for our new students, where we promote Learning and Development opportunities from across the school and the launch of the third year of the SADL Programme (it’s not a project anymore!).

I’ve also been busy running more Copyright the Card game sessions, for colleagues in IMT last month and then for around 40 Cambridge librarians last week. I surprised myself that the game could work with so many people and in just under 2 hours. That is what a cup of coffee does for me! It also proved that no one can resist a copyright fortune cookie as a prize!

Today I gave only my second ever webinar, for EIFL, on the topic of digital literacy. I had around 50 people tune in from around the world and the recording should be on their website soon. It was a great experience and an opportunity to share some of the work we’re doing with people around the world. On that note, I’m currently in the process of preparing 3 presentations for the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL 2015) which takes place in just under 2 weeks in Tallinn, Estonia. I will be presenting a paper on the impact of the SADL Project, written jointly with my colleague Maria Bell. I’ll also be presenting on the UK Copyright Literacy Survey data with Chris Morrison from University of Kent and presenting with Geoff Walton from Northumbria University on the advocacy work the Information Literacy group have been doing outside the HE library sector, including work on TeenTech. This is the third ECIL and then third I have attended so I am looking forward to catching up with colleagues from Europe and beyond.

Last week I attended an event at the Digital Catapult on Euston Road, organised by CREATe (the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy, based at the University of Glasgow) on the subject of orphan works. It covered the IPO’s Orphan Works Licensing Scheme, the EU Directive and how different institutions are handling orphan works. It was great to meet up with members of CREATe, who are behind the website CopyrightUser.org. It was a week of copyright for me, as the UUK-Copyright working group had a meeting at the CLA.

And of course last week, there was some fuss about me being appointed an Honorary Fellow of CILIP. So all in all it’s been a pretty good start to the new academic year.

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Research, writing, working in teams and the joys of spring

tulipsI’ve been really lapse in blogging, mainly due to a lack of time and trying to juggle multiple projects at the moment and realised it’s been over a month since my last post.  I’ve got a few deadlines looming which have been keeping me busy including:

  • my final issue of the Journal of Information Literacy (JIL) before I hand over to the new editor, Emma Coonan;
  • the SADL project evaluation, which needs to be completed before the end of the term and a final event for LSE, UCL and other students involved in digital literacy projects, we are calling the London Digital Student Meet-up;
  • the launch of the online course ‘Teaching in the Digital Age’ I have been working on with the University of London International Programmes team at LSE and is scheduled to start on the 1st June;
  • analysing the copyright literacy survey data collected at the end of last year (and now accepted for two conference presentations);

I’ve also got to start judging around 14 TeenTech projects, which are eligible for the new Research and Information Literacy Award and I chair my first Information Literacy group meeting in a few weeks time.

One of the biggest motivations for me is working with other people – I find it easier to stay focused, to stick to deadlines, you can divide up work, play to your strengths and it’s much more fun.

Pretty much all of my projects involve working with other people, and being part of a team is really important with the Journal editorial work and the Information Literacy Group. It’s great to  have a group of inspiring colleagues around the country to call on to help out with projects – I think of them as my virtual team. In addition to this, recently Emma Coonan and I have been working together again a fair bit, not just on JIL, but preparing for two workshops – one this coming Friday at Cambridge librarians, on ‘librarians as researchers’. And another next Monday at University College Cork, where we are advising on the development of a new undergraduate course in research skills, digital literacy and academic writing. I’ve been working on analysing the data from the Copyright Literacy Survey, with Chris Morrison, and while I’ve enjoyed getting stuck into the qualitative data, Chris is a whiz with Excel. Meanwhile, Maria Bell and I continue to work on the SADL project together and we are collecting data from students on the programme this year, and about to start interviewing some of the academics and library staff who’ve been involved. And the event at UCL, I am working on with Moira Wright, who is UCL’s Digital Literacy Officer and I’m hoping our event is as much fun as the planning we’ve done so far!

When asked recently what aspect of my job I really disliked, I had to spend quite some time thinking about it – every day is different and having multiple projects and so many great people to work with is what inspires me. I also think May is my favourite month, when spring is in full bloom, summer just round the corner and there seems to be endless possibilities both in my garden and professionally!

Thinking about transitions

Nazrid Palace, the Alhambra, Granada

Happy New Year, and apologies for the short interruption to my postings. I’ve been enjoying a well earned break, celebrating my birthday and also working pretty hard since the start of term. I have been meaning to blog more and decided that there really was no point doing it unless I had something to say, and now I do!

Well this week is proving interesting. What with planning for the second SADL workshop, taking place next week and repeated the week after, planning for a presentation at the M25 event on Information Literacy taking place at the British Library next week and planning for the first of three sessions I’m teaching with Maria Bell, for A Level students from City and Islington College, I’m as busy as ever. Today we also had the first of the 2014 NetworkED seminars, and it was great to meet Sylvester Arnab, from the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University. He spoke about Games, Learning and Beyond and we should have a recording up on our website in a few days time.

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Meeting with student ambassadors

Last Friday and this Tuesday Ellen Wilkinson, Arun Karnad and I ran our first workshop for the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) project. Four students came to the first workshop, and 15 came to the second, so there was quite a different vibe in the two sessions. We’ve got 20 student ambassadors in total, from the Departments of Social Policy and Statistics. You can find out about them on our Ambassadors webpage. However, it was really exciting to meet them for the first time and hear first hand what skills they thought were important for their studies and the role of digital literacies. We concentrated on how they find information, and introduced them to the SADL blog and the project overall. We also asked them to think about the aspects of social media that annoy them! There’s a short blog post about the first workshop now online.

I also visited the University of Kent last week to give a talk about digital and information literacy based on ANCIL. I ran a short workshops for staff after the presentation where they had a chance to start thinking about how the support they deliver can be mapped according to ANCIL. My slides from the talk are available on Slideshare. Unsurprisingly the SADL project also attracted some interest and I enjoyed chatting to staff there about common interests and activities.

LSE cited as example of best practice in digital and information literacy

I am delighted to report that LSE’s MY592 Information Literacy for Research programme, has been highlighted as an example of good practice in enhancing the information literacy skills of postgraduate students and early career researchers in UK higher education. On behalf of the Research Information and Digital Literacies Coalition (RIDLs), the Research Information Network (RIN) and Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) have announced the results of this research, which showcases fifteen resources for information literacy training provision in a variety of UK higher education institutions.

The analysis draws from these cases, which provide a  range of online and in-house training resources, and incorporates various recommendations that may be of value to those planning to develop such resources.  The analysis is founded on the provisional criteria developed by RIDLs to describe and assess training provision in information literacy.

Project officer Dr Charlie Inskip said: “A number of self-selected information literacy resources have been evaluated, leading to a shortlisting of a selection of 15 good practice examples.”

RIN’s Stéphane Goldstein went on to say: “The value of the RIDLS criteria in this research has been to provide an analytical framework for such evaluations (for the researcher) and act as a reflective tool (for the developers/deliverers). Hopefully some of the recommendations and comments within the report, combined with a reflective look at the examples – and contact with their helpful representatives – may assist those attempting to deliver good practice information literacy in UK HE in 2013 and beyond.”

The full report and short list is now available on the project website, http://rilads.wordpress.com/

Teaching this term

It’s the time of the year when I seem to be frantically preparing teaching materials between delivering classes and workshops. In the last few weeks I have taught two workshops as part of LSE’s PGCert on Learning Technologies. This term I am teaching with Claudine Provencher from the Teaching and Learning Centre and LSE’s Department of Social Psychology. We made some changes to the workshop, and were both really pleased with how the session went. For once I also felt that many of the students did realise that technology was not something to think about after you’ve planned your teaching. We also had a greater number of students who had taken online courses or used technology for their own learning.

Last week I was teaching ‘Developing you web presence’ and today I ran a session on using Web 2.0 tools in teaching. Again it seems that many people attending these sessions don’t need convincing these tools are helpful for learning, they just need advice about the best way of using them. Tomorrow I’ll be teaching a session on Managing Information with colleague from the Library as part of the MY592 programme. And then at lunchtime I am teaching second year PGCert students about using technology for assessment and feedback. Then on Thursday I’ll be in Aberystwyth for my annual trip to the Department of Information Studies, to give a guest lecture for students. Wish me luck!  Don’t forget many of the resources for these sessions are available as open educational resources in LSE Learning Resources Online.

The Road to Information Literacy: further details

As previously mentioned a few weeks ago I was running a workshop at the IFLA Satellite Meeting in Tampere (http://iflasatellitetampere2012.wordpress.com/) with Maria Bell from LSE and Katy Wrathall from York St John University. Our workshop described our current project at LSE to investigate how we support undergraduate students in terms of a broad curriculum of information literacy, known as ANCIL, which I developed with Emma Coonan when I was at University of Cambridge last year. We interviewed staff across LSE to find out how joined up our provision is, with services such as TLC, Careers and Language Centre and with what is embedded into academic programmes We also carried out focus groups with students to find out what they want from the Library in terms of learning support. The workshop gave people a chance to try mapping their own provision in their institution. Our presentation is on Slideshare at: http://www.slideshare.net/seckerj/ifla2012final

The IFLA conference was a great opportunity to meet librarians from all around the world, including Scandinavia, United States, South Africa, Uganda, Namibia, Australia, Singapore and others. . Keynotes for the conference were given by Kirsti Lonka who is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Helsinki who spoke about designing engaging learning environments for the future and the value of physical spaces (and libraries) to support learning (see my previous post). The second keynote was from Carol Kuhlthau, who is Professor of Information Science at Rutgers University and has written widely in the field of information seeking behaviour.

Highlights of the conference included a valuable session on seemless delivery of learning support services from Vicki McDonald at Queensland University of Technology, who spoke about joining up information literacy with academic skills.  Courtney Bruch and Carroll Wilkinson from the US spoke about organisational culture, change agency and emotional intelligence: research findings for fostering librarian ownership of IL Programs. They have also written a book on this subject. Sharon Favaro from Seton Hall University, New Jersey spoke about teaching IL to first year students through knowledge management tools and there were lots of overlaps in her findings and our work at LSE. I also attended an excellent session from Portsmouth University about developing an information literacy framework for library staff to enable them to better support students.

Tampere was a fabulous city on the banks of two lakes, with a rich industrial heritage and many former factories and mills. Known as the Manchester of Finland, it was great to have an evening reception in the town hall and see some of the city on an afternoon tour. We also had a chance to visit the ‘Moomin Museum’ for those of you old enough to remember the strange hippo like creatures created by Tove Jansson.