Here we go again: Repurposing, regenerating and reimaging an information literacy framework – Greta Friggens, University of Portsmouth.
Through getting the delegates to work in pairs to play cat’s cradle whilst a video demonstration played on screen, Greta got us to consider the difficulty in learning a new, unfamiliar skill (or reacquainting yourself with a rusty one) whilst being bombarded with the information in one uncontrollable form. She compared this to the student experience during a Library induction. Students must listen, absorb, take notes, potentially interact or follow along on devices, but cannot pause or slow down the instruction, ask the instructor to repeat him/herself, or fast forward where they are already proficient. Furthermore, they cannot go back to refresh their memory in the following weeks and months.
Portsmouth wanted a resource to go alongside their teaching that would be more useful than PowerPoint slides. This needed to be self-paced, accessible for different learning styles, include an element of self-testing and possibly offering rewards for achievement. Staff also wanted to monitor student interaction, integrate it into the VLE (Moodle) and map it to their existing literacy framework.
The Library managed to obtain 3 year project funding from the University, and acquired Credo Courseware. This is an American produced e-learning platform, which provides online course materials on information literacy and study skills. These are aligned to existing frameworks such as ACRL, ANCIL and SCONUL’s 7 Pillars. The University of Portsmouth are their first UK customer.
Portsmouth initially ran a focus group for user feedback, offering a £10 incentive to student participants. This was aimed at Undergraduates but there were some Postgraduate participants, from a variety of disciplines.
The Faculty Librarians then worked together to customise the available lessons over the course of 9 months. There were 26 lessons in total, categorised into information literacy; ethics; referencing; and study skills. The Librarians looked at 2 or 3 lessons each.
Librarians then customised the lessons further for their faculties. Greta customised the content for the Faculty of Cultural and Creative Industries with help from academic staff and students. This was then trialled as a block in Moodle for the start of the new academic year.
From looking at the usage, it appeared that students did engage before classes in order to prepare. However, they did not tend to look at the end of the Library instruction, as the “lecture covered it all”. It transpired that one of the most used resources was the PowerPoint presentation from one of the classes (looked at over 200 times). The most popular Credo lessons were Evaluating Information, Why Citations Matter and APA referencing. There was a peak in usage in January and the week before assessment deadlines in May. Despite focus group participants expressing an interest, students did not actually engage with the quiz elements or videos. Further focus groups would be required to investigate the reasons behind this.
Portsmouth concluded that they still need to do further customisation for optimum effect. They want to repurpose materials that already exist elsewhere such as videos, Lynda.com tutorials, and links to useful webpages. However, this is time consuming and more difficult to do at subject/programme level rather than at faculty level. Greta noted that in their initial focus group, students fed back that subject customisation was a ‘nice to have’ rather than essential.
Despite engagement not being as high as anticipated, the project has allowed the Faculty Librarians to come together to work with a combined focus on supporting information literacy. The opportunity to collaborate with academic staff has further improved liaison. Faculty librarians also gained full access to Moodle modules, which was not previously easy to obtain.
The 3 year project is now reaching an end, and Portsmouth may not have continued funding for the Credo package. They are currently considering whether they will need to migrate content elsewhere if their subscription ends, and what alternative products are available elsewhere for free.
Report by Angie Applegate | Loughborough University London