University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

From Information Literacy to the Learner Journey: Using what Academics Really Think to Develop the Teaching Offer at the University of Worcester

Pittaway, Sarah ORCID: (2018) From Information Literacy to the Learner Journey: Using what Academics Really Think to Develop the Teaching Offer at the University of Worcester. In: European Conference on Information Literacy, 24-27/09/2018, Oulu, Finland. (Unpublished)

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Information literacy is not a term used in the everyday life of the average academic or student in the UK. Despite having had currency in the library world for many years, with underpinning frameworks that articulate our contribution to our universities, talking the language of information literacy often does not result in the library’s contribution being recognised or valued.

At the University of Worcester, we were keen to increase the visibility and impact of our teaching, and decided on a practical, new tool – a “menu” of teaching – that would help academic colleagues understand how we could support their curricula.

It quickly became apparent that such a tool needed to be underpinned by academic understanding of students’ skills and development, in a much broader sense than just information literacy. Thus the learner journey project was born.

Academic Liaison Librarians were tasked with conducting informal interviews with staff, often over a coffee, asking such questions as:
- What assumptions do course teams make about the skills students have at the start of their course?
- What expectations do they have about how these skills should develop throughout the degree programme?
- How are these expectations articulated to students?

Consciously avoiding the term ‘information literacy’, librarians questioned academic staff about the broad skill base that students bring with them and develop at university, mapping their view of the student learner journey from pre-entry through to graduation.

Although starting out as a small-scale project, it soon piqued the interest of senior management at the university, and grew into a much larger piece of work. Through focusing on broader skills’ development, we have developed a body of evidence and data that has wide interest and application for both academic Institutes and other professional services (e.g. Disability & Dyslexia). Alongside highlighting themes, the data has demonstrated inconsistencies across the university and even within departments, with disparate staff attitudes towards such topics as progression, student confidence, and learner independence. These results have been shared widely across the university, for course teams to discuss, all of which has served to raise Library Services’ teaching and pedagogic profile.
This session will:
- Share data from the project, and overarching themes, as well as some of the internal inconsistencies revealed. These are surely not unique to Worcester and delegates may find this useful evidence to inform conversation in their institutions.
- Showcase our refreshed teaching offer and supporting action plan, encouraging delegates to think about how teaching is promoted and organised in their institutions
- Encourage delegates to consider the issue of terminology, and whether taking a different linguistic/semantic approach can further the cause of information literacy in their institutions
- Demonstrate the additional benefits of undertaking this kind of work, from empowering library staff, to tapping into institutional narratives, inspiring delegates to undertake their own research projects or consider new ways to interact with faculty and senior management.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: information literacy, learner journeys
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Divisions: Central Services > Library Services
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sarah Pittaway
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2018 14:07
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2021 13:06

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