Morag Higgison and Paul Gray attended days 2 and 3 of this year’s varied, fun and informative LILAC conference. Although the conference felt largely FE/HE focused to us, as a UK government library we’re all too aware of the need to develop information literacy skills in the workplace too. We also enjoyed the spacious (if hilly) venue at the University of Nottingham:
In this post I’ll summarise some ideas on how we could put what we learned into practice in the Scottish Government Library, as well as mentioning other things I found particularly interesting. But first, here are some useful conference links:
- Keynote speakers and presentations
- A selection of conference tweets
- Pam McKinney and Sheila Webber’s conference live blog
Thursday: Day 2
There were a quite a few things we took from Ruth Carlyle’s insightful keynote ‘health literacy: information for life’ that we could adapt for use in the Scottish Government. One is to consider Nutbeam’s 3 types of health literacy (functional, interactive and critical) when we teach information literacy skills.
Ruth also advocated the use of ‘teach-back’ and ‘chunk and check’ (giving small chunks of information then checking understanding) in health information settings to ensure the patient has understood correctly. These are techniques we’ll adapt and use in our social media and searching skills training sessions.
Like the health sector, the government sector can also be very jargon, acronym and initials heavy. We do try to use plain English in our work, but we’ll check and see if we can improve on this.
The reuse of Open Access materials is something we often discuss in our Library. The information literacy and open access panel discussion helped shed some light on this area. The online documentary Paywall: the business of scholarship discusses how much money publishers make out of research. The panel suggested copyright should be different for publishing than for movies. At the moment the approach is the same.
With free (or cheaper) access to research more people would benefit from sharing quality information. And academics are happy to share their work. However, only 7% of Open Access materials have a reuse licence. Plus in research, copyright on a work generally starts with the author but by the time it’s published most rights have been handed over to the publisher.
So there is a need for copyright education for authors to help them retain rights to their work. Also for researchers to publish where they want, but it’s hard to break the tradition of publishing in peer reviewed journals for the reputation and kudos that brings.
Information literacy: necessary but not sufficient for 21st century learning from Darryl Toerien was a fascinating insight into FOSIL – an inquiry based learning cycle and framework for schools. At its heart is the understanding information literacy needs to be taught from primary school to prepare pupils for university and life in general. Of course in Scotland we now have a national strategy for school libraries. But as the FOSIL inquiry based learning cycle and framework documents can be reused under Creative Commons it’s worth us sharing it here.
Friday: Day 3
Stepping into the unknown by Lorna Smith and Anne Archer from Newcastle University Library was an interesting summary of how they transferred a face-to-face information skills workshop into a more meaningful, holistic online learning experience for students. The online self-assessment is via an Information Skills Checker which measures the results from 12 statements on a Likert scale asked at the start and end. Responses are anonymous (and subjective) with feedback given in results to say if students need to refresh any skills they scored low on. Feedback has been positive with 89% of students appreciating learning at their own pace and 64% appreciating being able to revisit difficult concepts.
This is something our Library will consider adapting for use across the Scottish Government.
Allison Littlejohn gave the final conference keynote on the growing popularity of the MOOC in HE – the (un)intended consequence of innovation in HE. A fascinating take that MOOCs are being driven by those who have no interest in them. They are often seen more as a revenue stream. Also MOOCS are usually linear and so have high drop out rates. Students need to find their way through a MOOC. We expect students to follow predefined pathways rather than finding their own. However, Allison explains there are self regulated and non-self regulated learners. They go through a MOOC differently. Allison cited Kiron as a good example of a MOOC. Kiron enables access to higher education for refugees.
Online learning tends to just replicate classroom learning, but courses need to reflect the workplace structure and how it can be applied. Authentic learning activities motivate learners and context is important to ensure literacy is learned as an embedded practice. These are things we should consider for our Library’s very own 10 Things MOOC.
As our Library has our own Fighting Fake News presentation it was interesting to see Jessica Long and Jennifer Hicks’ presentation on Fake News for the Masses and the Miami University LibGuide on evaluating news sources. From the resources covered a few were new to us. Of note are the Trump Twitter Archive and the tip to use a reverse image search (e.g. TinEye) to authenticate images.
The conference closing panel discussion stressed we should focus on the why rather than the how of information literacy. It was noted this should include how to search for grey literature.
June 22, 2019