05 May 2006

Whither the practicalities of information literacy. How do you collaborate with Faculty? Who teaches, Who marks, How do you keep track?, What’s your l

Quote of the week - “Creativity consists of coming up with many ideas, not just that one great idea.” Charles Thompson

Whither the practicalities of information literacy. How do you collaborate with Faculty? Who teaches, Who marks, How do you keep track?, What’s your limit? Are your library facilities able to support long-range developments?
How do you collaborate with Faculty?
Are you new to a Faculty and need to know what your Faculty is doing with courses or programs in terms of information literacy. What are you going to do? Do you have access to a database or other information literacy map which gives you this information? Have you conducted an Infolit audit or survey of your Faculty? This could be as complex or simple as desired. Why not try an email survey, email the document as an attachment and ask for responses within a specific time-frame. Keep in mind the ‘marking’ times or busiest times of the year or otherwise they might ignore it. Ask the Faculty for the most suitable time to conduct a survey, School Secretaries are a wonderful source of knowledge for the administrative side. Perhaps give the option of either printing and hand-writing or saving to file and typing the responses. There is plenty of ‘literature’ on conducting Faculty infolit surveys, so have a look at these for some ideas. Keep a regular visit schedule happening and let the Faculty know about all things library that impact on their teaching and research activities. Build existing friendships and new friendships.
Look for invitations to Faculty events, such as Faculty retreats or planning days, Faculty seminars & workshops, Faculty Education Committee meetings – there may be opportunities to mention different things here, such as when a new course proposal is put forward, ask if there are plans for integrating information literacy in the curriculum. [have specific examples in mind when you ask this question].
Here are some suggestions for faculty workshops:
Give the workshop participants a reference list with incomplete, and/or inaccurately styled references; include websites (more than other sources) and ask the question - How many of you see this all the time in student assignments? Or if you know an academic who could provide a real example, it would be great to have a 'legitimate' paper that you could use (without student name on paper) instead of a contrived one. It would be getting academic staff interested from a 'known' and experienced angle. You could then highlight the need for students to learn 'early' in courses the required standard of a Reference list, the referencing style, as well as the need for a variety of references. This is where librarians can work with academics to teach these 'information competencies' or information literacy skills. Other suggestions have been to survey the attendees to determine their level of information literacy competence. There have been suggestions on the ili-l list. Also, different library websites have infolit surveys available, choose a few that most suit your needs.
This one from Bernadette Doane, “Rather than introducing "Information Literacy" first, I pass out a brief "quiz" with questions related to 5 (or 6) basic info literacy standards. The questions are those I would expect an information literate student to be able to answer (but not at the highest level). The following question could be used as it relates to "using effective and efficient strategies for locating needed information:"

The best place to look for an introduction to a topic such as astronomy is:
a. the online catalog
b. an encyclopedia
c. a journal
d. don't know

Or this one for "using information ethically and legally:"

Which of the following requires a footnote or citation giving credit to the author or source? (Check all that apply)
a. summarizing a book chapter
b. using information freely available from the World Wide Web
c. stating factual information that can be confirmed by several different reference sources
d. writing about your brother's ideas on leadership
e. none of the above “

Who teaches the Infolit/Library classes? This depends on the content and the academic. If the academic is ‘happy’ to teach the ‘theoretical’ parts that’s a great start. The ‘practical’ or tool parts, i.e. catalogue, databases, etc. should be librarian taught, but if the academic is with you in the tutorial this sends a message to the students that it’s important, and also the advantage to the academic is that they also ‘learn’ anything new in databases/services. I have had a number of very positive experiences team teaching with academics, especially when it came to discussing ‘research’ articles as opposed to ‘trade’ articles etc. This is where team teaching works really well, when the academic is on hand to deal with the ‘theory’ and ‘discipline-specific content’ of the course and the librarian supports the learning by showing how to ‘limit’ to these types of articles, etc.
Who marks assessment? This is primarily an academic task and is extremely time consuming, be wary of involving librarians in actual marking, but developing the marking criteria is a key LL role. Hats off to all academics involved in marking. I have been involved in marking workbooks, and it took 1 hr per workbook to mark, [admittedly, this was because the marking criteria were not aligned closely with the assessment pieces and by the end of my involvement with this marking, the workbook and the criteria had heaps of red ink on them]
* Do a ‘prototype’ – ask another librarian, or the academic, or ‘someone’ to do the workbook and then ‘mark’ it so that you see how it goes before rolling it out to the classroom.
* Include marking criteria in an excel spreadsheet, so that marks allocated are ‘automatically’ totalled. Perhaps Faculty staff use a particular program to do this, but whichever way, the ideal is to ‘reduce’ workload and effort.
* It’s a good idea to be involved in the first run of marking so that you can see if the content, assessment pieces/activities and marking criteria gel, and then hand over the marking to academics in following offerings. MAKE THIS CLEAR FROM THE START. Perhaps only mark a certain ‘proportion’ of the first round. Make updates as required and make sure these get changed in the Faculty ‘master’ course content.
* How do you successfully keep track of every course? What is problematic is ensuring that all of the course content for every infolit course is updated each year. I have had time to reflect on this aspect since I am not in the daily grind at the moment, rushing from one thing to the next. When academics and librarians leave the institution, if infolit knowledge goes with these people, it puts things at a stalemate. To avoid multiple time wasting with every new person having to ‘personally’ track the courses with ‘workbooks’ or other assessable components, record this valuable data in a database of some description. An ‘information literacy plan’ that each individual librarian composes is not going to give you this data if there is no ‘heading’ to cover this, or if it leaves the library when they go. It’s good to have a ‘central curriculum database’ or library infolit course curriculum database which all courses with infolit infiltration, whether assessable or not, such as ‘activities’, workbooks, Blackboard, or other infolit components. Consider establishing an MS Access database. You want something sophisticated enough so that a new Liaison Librarian can ‘filter’ or sort the list to find courses that pertain to their Faculty, School or program. Things to include as a starting point, (but not limited to):

 Faculty – Faculty of Education
 School – Sometimes not relevant
 Program - Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) (ED92)
 Stream – (mostly flexible programs)
 Course Code - EDB006
 Course name - Learning Networks
 Modes of offering - campuses and Distance
Type of infolit - What are the different types of information literacy infiltration into course curriculum] incorporation, your institution may already have these defined
 Library tutorial time - 1hr or 2hr [ideally the database would be able to calculate total hours of teaching time for a particular program]
 Librarian lesson plan file location
 Assessment type: annotated bibliography, essay using 15 different sources, etc
 IL Standard and associate Learning outcomes: 1.2.2, 1.2.3
 Marking criteria for 1.2.2: 5 marks for Differentiates between information sources, (journal article, book, chapter in a book, conference proceedings, newspaper article and web document, etc)
 1.2.2 – 1 mark – found at least 3 different information source types of those covered in course content and identified database(s)
2 marks – found at least 5 different information source types of those covered in course content and identified database(s)
3 marks – found at least 5 different information source types with appropriate comments regarding the database(s) used
4 marks – found at least 10 different information source types with appropriate comments regarding the database(s) used and explains why those databases were used
5 marks – found at least 10 different informaton source types with appropriate comments regarding the database(s) used and explains why those databases were used and discusses further the limitations of each database used
 Marks for 1.2.3 – 3 marks total
1 mark – Correctly identifies at least 3 article types, scholarly, popular, peer-reviewed
2 marks – correctly identifies all article types covered in course content and assessment
3 marks – correctly identifies all article types and discusses or reflects extensively, raising further applicable criteria and demonstrates critical awareness
 The above 3 headings and associate examples are rudimentary for ‘sample’ purposes; your criteria and mark allocation would depend on content, assessment and academic – these would evolve in your planning with the academic
 Evaluation of library session: link to document used or file location
 Evaluation of Course content and IL components: link to document used or file location

What’s your limit?
How many courses can 1 librarian reasonably teach per term? How many courses does 12hrs per week limit you to? This should be determined from the beginning by librarians and library management. You can’t promise what you can’t deliver. If all the librarians need to run classes during weeks 2-6 of term, how well does your existing library and training room facility support this? What contingencies are in place when rooms are double booked? How many rooms are required to support the maximum uptake of infolit? Are there any other facilities on campus that could be used?

Articles to read or share with faculty staff:

Black, C., Crest, S. (2001). Building on a successful information literacy infrastructure on the foundation of librarian-faculty collaboration. Research Strategies (18)3, p215-225.

Brabazon, Tara (2004). Bachelor of Arts (Google): Graduating to information literacy, Keynote Paper, IDATER on-line conference on e-learning in Science and Design Technology, Loughborough University, August 2004 (URL: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/cd/docs_dandt/research/ed/elearning/Lead%20papers/BrabazonPDF.pdf

Quarton, B. (2003). Research skills and the new undergraduate. Journal of Instructional Psychology, (30)2, p.120, 5p.

Wu, D., Roldan, M. (2004). Building context-based library instruction. Journal of Education for Business, 79(6), 323-327.


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