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Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Visualising Information Literacy

Posted by sarahw9 on 23 October, 2009

Getting across to students what information resources they need to use and when

cc luisvilla
cc luisvilla:

to use them can seem a thankless task.  Its often pretty dry material and training sessions aren’t usually scheduled to link in with the point at which students immediately need to use the resources.  Medical librarians at the Clinical Sciences Library are in the halfway through running some sessions this year which we hope begin to address this problem. 

We have been experimenting with a new approach to our library training with our first year medics giving them a mindmap of information resources they need for their course.  The School of Medicine invited us to get involved in their new ‘clinical problem solving’ module, which aims to get new students making connections between their modules and understanding deeper processes rather than trying to get by learning by rote.  The students have to solve problems by making these connections and they are expected to be able to do their own research to before they can work out the answers. Google and Wikipedia alone won’t do this for them. This is where our information literacy training fit in. 

Previously we have dived straight into Medline to get them conversant with the research literature and how to find it.  This time we created a map of information resources.  The map links directly out to the resources and is organised to help the students see which places to go for either an overview of a topic or for more detailed information.  The resources range from dictionaries and clinical guidelines to statistics and bibliographic databases.  It is hoped that the students can return to this map to help them clarify where to look for information at any time within their course. 

In our training session the students are introduced to the resources on the map by integrating voting questions using Turning Point to ensure they understand them.  Later in the session they are given the task to find the answer to a clinical question using two contrasting resources, explaining where they found the information to support their answer and also how they found it. 

Its early days and when we have finished our sessions we will compile our feedback from the students and the course tutors.  We are hopeful that the map has the potential to be developed into a more ambitious elearning tool useful for many different contexts.

Posted in Service Delivery, Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Open access for new academics workshop

Posted by gazjjohnson on 16 September, 2009

I was approached last month by our Staff Development team to consider running a workshop for new academics on all the various aspects of open access.  Obviously I said yes, and followed up with the very helpful Derek Cox and Meera Warrier.  I gave them an overview of the sort of thing that we could include, and they went away to think about it.

Well they’ve come back now to give me the go ahead for December for a three hour workshop.  I’m rather delighted to be given this much time, but now I’m sitting down and thinking “How can I usefully fill this and shape it into a format that is both beneficial but objective at the same time”.  I’m immediately giving some thought to bringing in one of my colleagues as well, so it’s not just me droning on for the whole time (they do get a tea break).

I think I’m going to have to give this some very serious thought.  I’d like to include some hands on elements, but there seems little point in getting academics to search (say) RoMEO when we at the LRA do all the work on copyright for them.  But then exploring things like DOAJ, OpenDOAR, BASE, OAIster etc are likely to be of more direct interest to them.

I’m also going to have to tackle aspects of the REF and Funders requirements too.  I’m lucky in that we have a day event run by our Research Office in late October where a lot of these issues are going to be raised, discussed and presented by external speakers from the various bodies.  I’ll hopefully be able to crib elements from there.

At this stage in my planning I’m open to constructive suggestions though.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support, Training | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Talk like a librarian (or at least understand them)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 June, 2009

Following on from (and in no way inspired by I regret to report) my earlier posts about repository language, my colleague Andrew has put together a page on library language.  He’s aimed it at our distance learning community, of which it is fair to say Lre have a lot.  Andrew also has probably the lion’s share of them in his supported departments as well. 

You can find the A-Z of Library Terms here.

I’ve chipped in on a few of these terms, and I’ve already had a few suggestions to add to the page.  But I think anything we can do for the students (or indeed the staff) that helps demystify the terminology and processes that go up to make their library services are a good step in the right direction.

Posted in Subject Support, Training | Leave a Comment »

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World Reprise

Posted by selinalock on 1 June, 2009

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World: Cover

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World: Cover

Following on from Gareth’s earlier post on this subject, here’s my thoughts & questions:

  • Information Literacy is a major component of this report – it argues that it is a growing area that students are deficient in. Recommends that it is a high priority for HEIs to train their students in & keep their staff updated on.
  • “Information literacies, including searching, retrieving, critically evaluating information from a range of appropriate sources and also attributing it – represent a significant and growing deficit area”
  • However, no mention anywhere of how to do this or that libraris have been struggling to get this on the agenda for years.
  • Q: What do we do with this report? Take it to VC? Take it to teaching & learning committees? What strategies & solutions do we suggest for training students & staff? Do we take a take roots approach with lecturers? Do all of the above?
  • Web 2.0 skills (communication, networking, sharing) are becoming employability skills.
  • Students are living in a Web 2.0 world and might expect Web 2.0 solutions in the future – though at present they expect a traditional face to face approahc in HE and do not equate social software with learning. This may change as the next few generations come through the school system.
  • Students are currently consumers of content in the Web 2.0 world rather than creators – we need to find hooks i.e. show them how the technology helps them.
  • Q: What are the hooks for staff and for students in using Web 2.0 in a learning context?
  • Three types of online space: Personal (emails & messaging), Group (social networking sites) and publishing (blogs, wikis, youtube).  Students will not want us in their personal space but there is scope for utilising group and publishing space for learning & teaching.
  • Information literacy should incorporate other web awareness issues e.g. plagarism, data protection, personal data on the web and online identities.
  • Q: How do we do this? How do we work with others in the institution who teach/train on these issues? How do we update ourselves in all these areas?
  • Upskill staff on e-pedagogy: as this will be needed for them to take advantage of using Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Q: How skilled are we as librarians in this? What training do we need in order to offer the information literacy teaching the report advocates?
  • Report suggests there are already examples out there of good practice in the use of digitised materials and online learning resources at module level. Though no specific examples included. It asks how these can be supported and used on a wider/larger scale.
  • Q: What good practice are we already using or aware of with regards Web 2.0? Does it upscale? What opportunities are there for us to work with other colleagues inside & outside the institution to provide services?
  • Take into account the prior experience and the expectations of students.
  • Q: How do we do this? Do we cultivate more links with school librarians in the UK? What about overseas, distance learning and mature students?
  • Digital divide still exists – don’t forget that!
  • “Means of access will be multimedia, mobile and pocket-sized”
  • Q: Are we prepared for the next wave of multimedia and mobile type resources?

Overall, this report is good for librarians and the information literacy cause as long as we DO something about it. Take action & not just talk about it!

Posted in Service Delivery, Staff training, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Teaching with Emotional Intelligence

Posted by selinalock on 31 March, 2009

Teaching with Emotional Intelligence by Alan mortiboysI attended this session run by Alan Mortiboys on 23rd May at the University of Leicester.

So, what is teaching with emotional intelligence? Alan suggests “that is recognising the feelings of yourself and your learners, in order to make you both more effective in your roles” and “encouraging an emotional state in your learners that is conducive to learning.”

That doesn’t really tell you a lot until you start to examine the type of emotions you might (inadvertently) be invoking in your students. For example, in the session we looked at a list of metaphors of how we see our teaching role, such as law enforcer to the potentially criminal or carer to the vulnerable. Out of that list I chose salesperson to potential buyer, as I often feel we are trying to sell library resources to users and convince them to use them. However, I tend to associate salespeople with desperation and a feeling of discomfort. Is that really the effect I want to have on students?!

We then looked at the kind of feelings we do want to encourage in our learners, for example, confident, empowered, interested, receptive, motived, and thought about what we do to encourage these feelings. I felt slightly better in this exercise as I believe I encourage some of these feelings by acknowledging sources they already use, give them a chance to practice skills with help on hand and explain why the session will be useful. This also tied into the next exercise which looked at how we can address learners’ fears and expectations regarding their learning.

The last part of the session covered strategies for using emotional intelligence with learners:

  • Being present: ensure you are aware of your learners reactions and listening to them so you can respond to their needs (if appropriate).
  • Group empathy: try to be aware of things that could be affecting how your learners are feeling e.g. anxiety around exam time.
  • Dealing with fears & expectations: make sure your learners are aware of what will happen in a course and what is expected of them.
  • Acknowledging individuals: fro example, making eye contact equally among students, using their names and acknowledging previous contributions during a session.
  • Physical environment: making this as pleasant as possible (for the parts that are under your control!!).
  • Non-verbal communication: being aware of what your non-verbal communication might be saying – try videoing yourself to see what you look/sound like during teaching.
  • Self-disclosure: letting the students know your human in an appropriate context e.g. OK, I’ve not tried this before so we’ll see how it goes… or, When I first started studying this area I found it difficult…”
  • Prefacing your response: “I’m glad you asked that question…” but this only works if you genuinely mean it!

Overall, an interesting session which reminded me to consider the emotional dimension of teaching.

Posted in Meetings, Training | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Smile when you’re winning

Posted by gazjjohnson on 20 March, 2009

Another short one from me (to make up for all the long ones of late) – I kept meaning to point people who might be interested in information literacy at the SMILE Project blog, home of my Twitter-chum SmilyLibrarian.  The project is defined as follows:

Study Methods and Information Literacy Exemplars (SMILE) is a one year project funded by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) under its Re-Usable Objects Progamme. The purpose of the project is to design and deliver a study skills module to be delivered in a blended learning environment.

The module will support learners from the beginning of their assessment process to the end. The module will be piloted at University of Worcester in the academic year 2008-2009. The other partners are Imperial College London and Loughborough University.

So go have a read through their posts/add them them your reader.  Hopefully catching up with Smily at LILAC in Cardiff a week on Tuesday, so if anyone has any pressing questions, let me know

Posted in Projects, Training, Wider profession | Leave a Comment »

Using a wiki and peer evaluation with 1st year medics

Posted by sarahw9 on 12 March, 2009

wiki on BlackboardThis is our second year of using a wiki in our session with 1st year medics ‘Finding the Evidence’.  The purpose of this session is to make sure that students understand both where to find and how to use resources that support evidence based medicine.  This exercise also aims to support the students as they embark on their 10,000 word dissertations where they follow a real patient for two years, looking at the the patients’ medical condition, treatment and their social context. 

We set the students a clinical question, for example, they may be asked if a particular drug helps a medical condition or what evidence there is to support a particular type of treatment (I don’t want to give away of our real questions here!).  

Before the training sessions the students are given an assignment which they complete in groups of 3.  In the wiki there is list of resources they have to search.  They have to record their search strategy (keywords and more detail if relevant), and what they find in answer to the clinical question. Then they have to write a conclusion based on all the evidence they have found, and make any observations about differences of opinion they find in the literature. 

The resources they search are: Clinical Knowledge Summaries; Intute; Medline; The Cochrane Library; and the British National Formulary.  This is to familiarise students with guidelines for physicians, prescribing doses, patient information, as well as the literature at the highest level of evidence and the more exploratory (but still peer reviewed) levels of research literature. 

When they arrive at the session the students are given some further background to evidence based medicine and are shown some extra tips on searching these tools.  We hope they actually take it in now they have used them the tools for themselves.  We discuss the ‘answer’ to the clinical question they were asked and give feedback to the students on their assignments.  Then the fun starts as they are asked to look at another wiki and enter comments on each others wikis, noting three things another group did differently to themselves.   I think this is quite eye-opening for them – to see that another group answering the same question using the same resources finds different results and emphasises different aspects of the question.  They should (and virtually all did in fact) find the same basic bottom line answer to the question, but there may be a few subtleties for example different situations where different treatments are applicable or where the evidence is unclear.  We also ask the students to say what they would do differently if they were going to do this exercise again.

We are still compiling our feedback from the sessions, but so far it it mostly good, and amazingly the students say they can see the point of the exercise.  I think in future we need to consider ways to focus the students’ comments more.  Some have put in alot of detail and constructive comments, others are more along the lines of  ‘ours was better than yours’. 

Overall this is a good way to focus students on particular resources.  It is also very specific to a particular question and plugs straight into resources they are going to be using for their dissertations (or they should be using).

Selina has also used a wiki with the computer scientists if you want to compare notes and outcomes.  Interestingly different groups of students have different characteristics as a whole. This type of exercise may be working for medics and computer sciencists, but would it work for others?  Perhaps its time we tried it.

Posted in Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Digital Britain – governmental interim report from DCMS

Posted by gazjjohnson on 23 February, 2009

On 29 January 2009 the Government published a plan to secure Britain’s place at the forefront of the global digital economy. The interim report contains more than 20 recommendations, including specific proposals on:

  • next generation networks
  • universal access to broadband
  • the creation of a second public service provider of scale
  • the modernisation of wireless radio spectrum holdings
  • a digital future for radio
  • a new deal for digital content rights
  • enhancing the digital delivery of public services

You can read the report here (and yes there is a executive summary if you don’t feel like wading through the whole report – I know it’s a bit much for a Monday morning for me!)  Obviously, aside from libraries being under the DCMS’ umbrella, how the rest of the country are interacting with the digital society before they come to us will have a signicant impact on how and what they teach us.  This set me thinking that personally I’ve long since thought that the age of pure skills teaching (“this is how you search”) style of library educational activity is dying away; perhaps not totally but no longer as a core activity.  What we need to be teaching more is how to critically evaluate material (“Okay, why is that a good resource?”) as well as understanding your own informational search style.  Let me expand on this (and go slightly off on a tangent from the report)

Sadly this isn’t the sort of thing that can be taught standing at the front of a class of 100+ students running through a demo.  It’s a more interrogative and iterative style of teaching; something that requires all the more that user education from us is embedded within the curriculum rather than bolted on.  Are we equipped to teach this sort of thing?  Personally I’d argue yes; most librarian trainers I know are more than capable of; we just need to find the right in with departments (and I’m talking globally here, not particularly at Leics).  So how do we achieve this?

A discussion we had in the office last week was along the lines of “Should information librarians be effectively departmental staff first rather than library staff first?”.  I know some places embed their librarians actually within departments, rather than basing them in the library; from memory Australia is especially good at this.  Being within the department, physically and strategically would have the knock on advantages of keeping us as librarians better informed of what departmental needs and challenges are, getting us closer to our user communities and ensuring that when it comes time to turn to people to set up courses – well we’re close at hand and embedded from day one.

After all, just how beneficial is it for us to be based in a central building these days?  But I digress.  Doubtless there are examples of this kind of practise out there already; and perhaps we need to be paying closer attention to them to cope with the Digital Britain of tomorrow!

Posted in Technology & Devices, Training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Learning Futures 2

Posted by selinalock on 3 February, 2009

So, a little delayed but here’s the rest of my Learning Futures Festival write-up:

Keynote 2: Ralp Schroeder (Oxford Internet Institute)

Focused on virtual environments – which he defined as immersive environments that give a sense of being in another place than you are physically in & have visual & spatial aspects.

Argued there are 2 major versions of the technology that are likely to develop further.

1. Video-capture – e.g. video conferencing, talking heads.

2. Computer generated (CAVE technology), which can be programmed to do all sorts of things.

I’m afraid he lost me a bit after this, so I’m not sure how he saw the technology being used in education.

Workshop: Using narrative structure in projects

The most fun I had on the day, as how can I resist playing around with cartoon strips!? This workshop looked at how thinking about narrative structures (e.g. your hero, villain, story arc) can be used as another project management tool. We took a classical fairytale, in our case Red Riding Hood, and introduced novel learning technologies to see what impact they had on the narrative. We gave Red Riding Hood a mobile phone so she could warn Granny about the Big Bad Wolf, granny got the Wood Cutter to build a “hole in the wall” computer & the wolves used this to learn how to clone food so that they didn’t need to attack people!

Intervention panels

I’m afraid the title intervention panel had me envisioning us all reassuring one another that we weren’t addicted to web2.0 or something. It was actually more like a round table and general discussion. Points I picked up during the day were:

  • Will web2.0 make surface learning worse?
  • critical/evaluative skills of learners do not seem to be improving
  • Has the fundamental nature of learning changed?
  • Need pedagogical push & intelligent technological insights to provide best education e.g. use ebook readers flexibly, use virtual environments to improve on reality.
  • Change form students having to search our specialist information to having to trawl through huge tracts of information that were not available in the past.
  • Should be prepared to admit when we don’t know something – learn alongside our learners!
  • Change in locus – from academics telling/teaching to new generation of learners that want to share what they know. Need a more collaborative learning process?
  • New learners are multimodal & multimedia – live in a more immediate environment.
  • HE systems are very inflexible compared to the outside world.
  • We are all learners & we all have something to offer.
  • In HE we still need to challenge students in how they learn as well as what they learn.

Posted in Meetings, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

TAN: Web 2.0 & Information Literacy

Posted by selinalock on 15 January, 2009

Several of us from the library attended the Teaching Assessment Network presentation yesterday by Sarah Whittaker and Alan Cann.

The slides with an audio commentary for this session can be found in a previous post.

The session mainly consisted of a face to face and simultaneous twitter discussion about using Web 2.0 technologies in teaching, particularly with regards to information literacy skills.

I don’t have a particular problem twittering while listening/discussing issues face to face. However,  it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and some people had problems hearing the face verbal discussion due to the tapping of keyboards and/or concentrating on the online discussion due to the amount of tangential “twittering”.

Some of the interesting points I picked up in the room and online were:

  • Web 2.0 tools used included a customised google search engine, wikis, and a pageflakes page for relevant journal links and RSS feeds. All bought together through the Blackboard VLE page for the course.
  • As the students saw each other daily anyway there was very little interaction online.
  • The custom search and the journal pages were very popular with the students.
  • The tutor saw an improvement in the quality of resources used.
  • suggests it’s best to integrate appropriate Web 2.0 info literacy tools within student courses.
  • Academis staff were offered library sessions on RSS and social bookmarking but take up was low – they didn’t come because they didn’t know how it would be useful?
  • The library needs to expand on our Web 2.0 knowledge and the support we offer – need web 2.0 evangelists?
  • More emphasis on evaluation – less on searching?
  • Issues to think about teaching: advanced google searching, specialist image/audio search engines, wikipedia, youtube as reference tool, RSS, blogs/blog searching, citing new types of resources and copyright/creative commons.

Posted in Meetings, RSS, Staff training, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Learning Future Festival ’09: Hole in Wall Experiments

Posted by selinalock on 13 January, 2009

holeinwall1The conference was opened by the Vice-Chancellor; Professor Burgess and he mentioned the David Wilson Library in his address, including the fact that Librarian’s roles will change as more and more information becomes digital.


Professor Mitra talked about his “hole in the wall” experiments where he put a computer and touch pad into the wall in a slum in India to see what would happen. The initial experiment was done in 1999 and has been repeated many times since. The computer showed the alta vista search engine, and basically within a few hours of the computer being installed, a local lad of about 12 had figured out how to browse despite never having used a computer nor being able to speak/read English.

A later experiment, using the same concept, in a remote village where no-one could speak English, showed that within three months the local children had taught themselves English in order to use the computer. It’s all pretty amazing!


Professor Mitra terms this Self-Organizing Learning and more recent experiments in the UK suggest that children learn better when sharing one computer between 4 of them rather than one computer per child. He hypothesises that this is due to them having to discuss and collaborate when sharing a computer. He thinks this method of learning could be applied to undergraduate studies.


He also mentioned that once you move away from self-organised leaning and into a curriculum then doctrine starts to appear. Made me wonder if we, as librarians, were teaching doctrine – you need to know this because we say so, rather than showing why they might want to know the things we’re teaching. We can never predict what someone will take away from a session!


We did some self-organised learning at our table and found that the bright green liquid in an unlabeled bottle was undiluted lime squash – cue a slight bugging out of the eyes after the first sip and a rush to add water!

Posted in Meetings, Training | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Online Seminar: Web 2.0 and Information Literacy

Posted by sarahw9 on 12 January, 2009

During 2008 Alan Cann and I ran a UoL TEF funded project Using Web 2.0 to Cultivate Information Literacy via Construction of Personal Learning Environments.  On Wednesday 14th January 2009 between 12.30-2pm (GMT) we will be presenting a live TAN session in which we will outline the project and its main outcomes. Most of the session will be a discussion of how information literacy can be developed across the University.

If you would like to attend this seminar, please email the UoL Staff Development Centre on

Additionally, we will be conducting a live Twitter session at this event. If you would like join as a remote participant, the slides for the session are:

Posted in RSS, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »