This embedding project builds on one that was delivered in 2001, headed by Oliver Pritchard, Dudley Learning Centre Manager, leading a research team with staff working from different Learning Centres in the University. In the 2001 project, sessions on information skills were run in three differing subject areas for second and third years and their impact on student learning was assessed using questionnaires and focus groups for students and in-depth interviews with academic staff. Findings were encouraging. Skills and experience gained within the sessions were taken on and applied within assignment work to good effect. Within this small study there is evidence of a progression in student awareness, confidence and skills and Information Skills sessions bring a longer-term, practical and tangible element to the learning experience and are a valuable part of helping students to become more effective learners.
Bastable, Wendy; Morris, Pamela(University of Wolverhampton, 2007)
This Phase 3 (evaluation and embedding) project has been developed from a highly successful earlier project: Embedding information skills on student learning: making the difference (2006). The earlier project produced a programme of information literacy skills, based on SCONUL’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which was delivered to two modules of first year students from the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences (HLSS) in bite-sized presentations at the end of their lectures. Importantly, it found that: “an effective Information Literacy programme delivered at the very beginning of Undergraduate life can contribute significantly to students’ ability to find, use and record information and increase their confidence regarding academic performance.” Bastable and Morris (2006). Valued by students, it clearly had a part to play in the learning experience of first year undergraduates and potentially in Schools’ retention and employability strategies. This was the impetus for a Phase 3 project which would test the information literacy programme on a more diverse range of students and subjects within HLSS and provide models which would encourage further take-up within the School and other Schools in the University. Other important outcomes from the previous project also needed to be carried forward and tested in a wider context: “We as librarians have been able to assess our approaches to the design and delivery of a structured Information Literacy programme. We have had the opportunity to work collaboratively as a team of librarians with academic staff and, crucial to the embedding process, earn important space on first semester, first year modules. We now know that the bite-sized sessions of information skills which are dove-tailed into existing lectures are a successful way to deliver the programme.” Bastable and Morris (2006). It was this combination of the following three features in Phase 2 which distinguished it from any other work being conducted in the field of information literacy: the partnership between academics and librarians, a structured information literacy programme and delivery in bite-sized sessions. So, it was these three crucial areas which would be put to the test in this current project by the delivery to an extended range of students.
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