Digital Literacy – inspiration from Cardiff

By digital literacy we mean those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society: for example, the skills to use digital tools to undertake academic research, writing and critical thinking; as part of personal development planning; and as a way of showcasing achievements.

JISC

A couple of weeks ago I headed to LSE for one of their NetworkED seminars entitled “Putting digital and information literacies into practice.” It was delivered by  Cathie Jackson, Janet Finlay and Joe Nichols from Cardiff University about their Digidol Project. It was one of those presentations where you come away inspired to do lots of things and also wondering where to begin.

Cardiff have a solid background in Information Literacy (IL), it has been part of the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy since the early part of this century with a view to it being fully embedded. They explained that they have had a good top down buy in to IL and in turn this is helping with Digital Literacy. Cathie made a few excellent points about embedding IL (something close to my heart):

  • Has to be embedded this is the only  way it makes sense in academic context. It has to be entirely embedded and Not preserve of library but library provides support so academics can deliver IL.
  • Subject Librarians worked with academic staff on a course by course level.
  • Not too precise – what is comfortable for discipline.

She also mentioned the excellent Cardiff Information Literacy Resource bank which I myself have used and which academics can pull things from to use in their teaching. The items are deisgned so anybody anywhere could reuse them – worth pointing academics in our own institutions towards this resource.

Whilst IL is embedded in at least 66% of Cardiff’s courses DL is not massively widespread and embedded. Cardiff are bringing it all together, building on the strong IL foundation and blending  digital literacies, academic literacies, information literacies  together in the education strategy.
They have strong support from management. For example the Chief Operating Officer uses digital media incl blogs. This managerial involvement is seen as key to getting digital literacy on to the agenda. They are also involved in the central staff development programme.
One of the areas they have indentified as being an is issue is the communication gap between service providers and staff and students.
Taking Beetham and Sharpe’s  2009  model they have added another layer at the bottom for Awareness :
Cardiff found IL was stopping at skills and there was a need to look at how to apply it for example to produce a presentation. Different literacies mapped on to the pyramid from Beetham and Sharpe.
They came up with core tasks – building blocks for practices. I.e. find, manage, manipulate, producing, share.
They also identified practices – e.g. Giving presentation, Managing online presence, writing an essay
They also thought of the highest level and what do you want to see from a graduate  in other words what you want to see at end of course.
They looked at different models including the SCONUL digital literacy lens and now have set of 5 core tasks and examples at higher levels. This has been critiqued by their subject librarians. One key point is that DL (and all literacies) flow round triangle, students don’t reach top and finish.
There are some pertinent points:
  • Difficult to talk about practices and attributes – core tasks tend to be combined.
  • Practices need to be disciplinary based I.e. science versus arts
  • Some disciplines expect a read paper.
  • Tools are changing every week – using concept mapping including external tools and how they match the core tasks but also important to understand what people do I.e. tasks maps back to services this allows new technologies to be mapped back.
It is all about conversation – need to talk to staff and students about what they use and get other services involved. Conversations can happen on social media which led on to thinking about what opportunities might social media provide?
They asked students “What do you think you would benefit from?”
Answer:
“how could they use social media promote themselves”
So the answers to questions might not be what you expect but provide great opportunities for developing new areas of training. This echoed the skills gap they had observed. Service providers (including the library) might have tools to solve the problems and tasks of the staff and students but often the two don’t match up.
This is where developing learning literacies helps to enable the staff and students.
Connecting with other areas of the institution such as careers to bridge these gaps works well.
Putting digital and information in practice
Strategically driven
  • Building on establishes iniatives
  • Detailed in university strategies and action plans
  • Key gatekeepers and decision makers
Contextualised
  • Learning literacies development framework
  • Promoting ac ownership
  • Task and practice focused
Scalable and sustainable
  • Linking services to practices – knowledge hub
  • Initiating and maintaining conversations
  • Building communities of interest
This is a link to the Prezi.

23 things at Royal Holloway – is go! #RHUL23

 

 

The week before Christmas we launched Royal Holloway’s 23 things programme (RHUL23). For those who don’t know –  23 Things is an online learning programme designed to introduce library staff at Royal Holloway to new media and technologies (more information is on the About page of the 23things blog)

 

I am a bit nervous about it – I know how brilliant it can be as a concept and I really want this to work as well as it did at City but as with anything you can’t tell until it is well underway how it is going.

 

I have to thank Emma Cragg, Laura Wilkinson and Rowena Macrae-Gibson for their advice and encouragement in getting this started – all their tips from their own experience was invaluable. I can only hope this goes as well as their iterations.

 

The first week concerned blogging and RSS feeds. I used to think blogging was an indulgent frippery, all navel gazing and self-importance but have found that it has become a more and more essential part of my working life. Sometime things can be a bit introspective but I have also found the use of reflection as a learning tool has helped me a lot.

 

I’ve blogged before about professional versus personal in social media and RSS Feeds both posts say much of what I would say now in reflection on week one of RHUL23 – blogging saved my sanity two years ago after major surgery and gave me a different perspective on blogs. Couple that with the fact this blogging has helped me find an outlet for my film reviews as well as interact with my profession and I really feel a place for blogging.

 

Professionally I also think that blogging is an important tool which helps maximise the library’s reach to our users as shown in my work on the Cass Library Blog – it works because it is part of a set of tools, including Twitter and Facebook (and Libguides). There is no point in only having one of these outlets in isolation – you might miss a whole swathe of your users but I shall blog about that next week when we do Social Networking …

 

This is the Prezi introducing the programme:

 

http://prezi.com/7f3ok_bctm8h/23-things-rhul-rhul23/

 

 

College of Occupational Therapists

Last Wednesday I attended the first College of Occupational Therapists (COT) library day. This was a chance to meet 11 other librarians who support Occupational Therapy and hear about what the Occupational Therapists do to support our students.

It seemed we were all agreed that OT students are very rewarding to work with. They make use of the libraries and are grateful for the help you give.

It was also good to meet other librarians too, it’s so easy to get caught up in the day in day out part of the job but getting out and meeting people who are experiencing the same things and sharing ideas is invaluable. It also made me feel very fortunate to work for a university which is forward looking and supportive of libraries.

The major thing I hope will come out of the day is an ongoing peer group where we can share helpsheets, learning materials and other advice.

Part of the day was spent discussing Information Literacy and the best way of supporting it. One group discussed definitions of IL and agreed the CILIP definition from 2003 was the best:

Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner. (http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/advocacy/learning/information-literacy/Pages/definition.aspx)

My group discussed how we can help students to develop information literacy skills. We agreed one thing that is needed is for students to be able to get all their infomation in the same place, they don’t need to know the library does one thing while Student Services does another. I am proud to say at Brighton we do this already!

It was also agreed it needed to come in a variety of formats from hands on sessions to workbooks and online tutorials.

It was lovely to meet the team from the COT library. They are so helpful and the resources are great.