Library Network Support Services (LNSS): using reusable learning resources to champion information literacy skills across the Shannon Consortium. Jerald Cavanagh BSc Econ, MSc, MA Institute Librarian Limerick Institute of Technology Jerald.Cavanagh@lit.ie Padraig Kirby BA(Hons) HdipLIS LNSS Librarian Project Coordinator Limerick Institute of Technology Padraig.Kirby@lit.ie
Contents • What is Library Network Support Services (LNSS)? • LNSS and information literacy. • What are Reusable Learning Resources and are they a high priority for libraries? • LNSS and the use of Reusable Learning Resources for information literacy in the Shannon Consortium. • Why was Cranfield Online Information Literacy suite selected? • Why was Epigeum Research Skills Online selected? • Conclusion: what will the LNSS have achieved?
Library Network Support Services (LNSS) • The Library Network Support Services (LNSS) project was made possible by the availability of funding from the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) a fund which was set upto promote collaboration, support change and enhance quality in Irish higher education so that it is equipped to meet the challenge of driving Ireland’s development as a leading knowledge economy (Ireland, Department of Education and Science 2005). • In order to avail of an excellent opportunity for funding the Directors of Library Services at each of the Shannon Consortium Libraries-Limerick Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Tralee, Mary Immaculate College and the University of Limerick came together to form the Library Network Support Services (LNSS) Steering Group. • Following much consultation between the LNSS Steering Groupthe SIF proposalLibrary Network Support Services (LSSS) was submitted to the HEA (Higher Education Authority) in May 2007 as a Shannon Consortium project under the SIF 2 cycle of funding.The project submission was successful with Limerick Institute of Technology as lead institution for the project
Why do we think our submission was successful? What is LNSS about? What’s the timescale? The LNSS project submission- comprised of two main strands which are arguably the two most important issues facing libraries today that of:Information Literacy. Under the direction of the LNSS Steering Group Select, develop, implement and evaluate a suite of IL initiatives to International IL standards for the partners libraries as a framework of support for learners over 2008 for rollout in 2009/2010. This IL initiative will consist of web-based, self paced information literacy modules that is customisable and reusable.Library Staff Development. Under the direction of the LNSS Steering Group and in collaboration with the Library Staff development Unit of the University of Limerick- Development of a Regional Network for Staff Development for sharing of professional development opportunities across the Consortium supporting skills development and innovative practice enabling library staff to manage the evolving information environment and to match the changing needs of users. LNSS Initiatives will be rolled out across the partner institutions (LIT, ITTralee, UL, MIC) over two and half years (August 2008-January 2011).
. LNSS Steering Group, LNSS Staff The successful LNSS project submission was the creation of four Directors of Library Services who came together to form the Library Network Support Services Steering group. The members of the LNSS Steering Group are: Jerald Cavanagh (LIT- LNSS Project Leader) Gobnait O’ Riordan (UL) Pat Doherty (ITTralee) Gerardine Moloney (MIC) Brid.Foster (LIT) Catherine Murray (ITTralee) Funding. Total funding = almost 1 million euros (€990,000) This funding is broken down as follows: SIF requirement = €495,000 Matched funding= €495,000 =€990,000 Matched funding – consists of staff time of non SIF funded staff in partner libraries such as time spent attending training courses and any other work which is not directly funded by SIF. Information Literacy: €658,490 Regional Network for Staff development €331,510 = €990,000 In 2009 funding was re-evaluated due to recent economic developments. Future total available funding has not been established. There are 3 dedicated SIF Funded staff working on the LNSS Project: LNSS Librarian Project Coordinator (1); LNSS Administration and Accounts Assistant (2)
Select, develop, implement and evaluate a suite of online modular IL initiatives to international IL standards for the partner libraries. This will involve developing a framework of support for learners over 2008 for rollout in 2009/2010 which will enablethem to have: Improved skills in finding, using and evaluating information. Greater awareness of sources of information. A greater understanding of academic information resources as an important component in the learning cycle. Improved understanding of the risks and pitfalls of abusing information sources. Ability to retrieve information using a variety of media. Skills to critically evaluate information. Ability to access quality information. Enhanced transferable skills on completion of their studies. Ensure the IL initiatives align with and contribute to each partner library’s existing IL programmes. Ensure each partner library’s requirements are represented in the design and delivery of the new IL suite. Ensure library staff are aware of the IL suite and have the skills to deliver them;
Why is Information Literacy?
The idea of information literacy, broadly defined as the ability to recognize information needs and to identify, evaluate and use information effectively, has been of growing concern in the education sectors for a number of years. (Bruce, 1999) • Information literacy has emerged as a central purpose for Librarians over the past decade. Macrum (cited in Clyde 2005) • Recent years have indicated a phenomenal push toward librarians demonstrating their pedagogical skills. (Bloom and Deyrup 2003).
Some definitions: 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. (Chartered Institute of Information Professionals 2004) Also the Society of College National and University libraries. (SCONUL)
Why is Information Literacy important?
Sundin (2008) has noted that much has been written about IL yet there is no single undisputed definition of what IL actually is. Why is IL important? Information literacy is about people’s ability to operate effectively in an information society. This involves critical thinking, an awareness of personal and professional ethics, information evaluation, conceptualizing information needs, organizing information, interacting with information professionals and making use of information in problem-solving, decision-making and research. It is these information based processes which are crucial to the character of learning organizations. (Bruce 1999)
Why are reusable learning resources important for information literacy?- before we answer this we must first ask another question… What are reusable learning resources?
Reusable Learning resources- some definitions …any entity, digital or non-digital, that can be used, or referenced during technology supported learning (LTSC cited in Moral and Cernea 2005) A reusable learning resource may be …any digital resource that can be reused to support learning (Wiley, D.A. 2004) A learning resource is any grouping of materials that is structured in a meaningful way and is tied to an educational objective (Johnson 2003). Reusable learning resources can range from a one page Microsoft Word document to an electronic interactive learning package (CILIP CSG Information Literacy Group 2008) such as Epigeum Research Skills Online. Re-usable learning objects (RLOs) are materials, often in an electronic format, that are designed for re-use by others in a learning context (CILIP CSG Information Literacy Group 2008)
Why are Reusable Learning Resources important? It is becoming more and more important to develop materials for online delivery in such a way as to make them easily transferable and reusable. For most materials it is easiest to do this at the point of creation.. There are many advantages to this approach, which include your ability to transfer materials between different parts of a course, between different courses that you run, and to allow the content of your materials to be convertible should the delivery technologies for your course change. (Calverley 2008).
Reusable learning resources in libraries- a high priority? Ireland- The HEA (Ireland's Higher Education Authority) funded National Digital Learning Repository (NDLR) in Ireland is a national repository of learning objects, organised into subject areas known as communities of practice. The NDLR uses the Intrallect software, which also supports Jorum, to host a wide variety of re-usable learning objects (RLOs), for use by members of Irish higher education institutions. Within the NDLR is an Information Literacy Skills Community of Practice (ISCoP) which is championed by senior level librarians from various Irish libraries. UK- The University of Birmingham Library as part of a project called BRUM (Birmingham Re-Usable Materials) have developed 15 reusable learning objects (five types) for information literacy. They are downloadable from their website and will shortly be available from JORUM and they illustrate different ways of teaching information literacy. The project has a blog and their final report is available.
LNSS and the use of Reusable Learning Resources for Information literacy in the Shannon Consortium.
Information literacy in the Shannon Consortium- • LNSS Stakeholder Workshop October 6th 2008 • The LNSS Stakeholder Workshop October 6th 2008 • Information Literacy component was attended by 14 senior • library staff from Shannon Consortium Libraries including • staff at Director of Library Service level. • The purpose of the workshop was twofold: • To identify the current level of information literacy practice in the Consortium; • To identify suitable online modular information literacy suites for selection, modification and implementation by the Consortium.
LNSS Stakeholder Workshop October 6th 2008- • To identify the current level of information literacy practice in the Consortium. • To address the first issue, of current situation, the groups from the various institutions were asked to reflect on a number of questions that they were required to answer to ascertain the position in their own institution. • The purpose of this session was to ensure that when the group were reviewing the possible IL suites that could be used, that they would use the information gathered in this session to make sure that the needs of their own institutions would be met within whatever suite was chosen. The questions that each group considered were:
Current IL approach used in their institution? • Key challenges the institution faces in IL? • How the institution is marketing/ensuring a presence of the current IL offering? • IL needs in institution? (any unique issues to be considered) • Preferred direction of IL project for each institution, any specific requirements that the institution would like the model to include?
Summary of results: how is Information Literacy currently being provided in Shannon Consortium across Shannon Consortium Libraries? Provision of study guides online and paper. Information literacy guides/tutorials on the Library Website e.g. on plagiarism, referencing. Use of VLE’s such as Moodle/Blackboard for online delivery. Subject specific tutorials- presentations delivered by subject librarians in Library Training Rooms. General orientation for 1st years- e.g. library tours. Support provided by the Learning Support Unit. “Drop in” information literacy sessions for students. Source: LNSS Stakeholder Workshop October 6th 2008.
Summary of results: What are the challenges facing Shannon Consortium libraries regarding information literacy? • Over reliance on subject librarians- need for 24/7 online information literacy resource. • Lack of coordination with regard to information literacy efforts. • Fragmented approach to information literacy. • Need for marketing of current information literacy initiatives to both students and staff. • Lack of confidence of the staff regarding information literacy. • Convincing academic staff of the importance of Information Literacy. • The need for a more organised approach to Information literacy provision for students. • Shortage of staff to deliver information literacy initiatives particularly hands on lecture based IL provision. • Plagiarism is a big issue. • Need to select an online modular information literacy suite from suitable providers- something which would require the minimum amount of customisation. • Lack of facilities for IL training. • Need for Library involvement in the institutional marketing strategy in order to promote information literacy initiatives. • Need to cater for distance learners and international students. • Source: LNSS Stakeholder Workshop October 6th 2008.
2. To identify suitable online modular information literacy suites for selection, modification and implementation by the Consortium- before we answer this question perhaps we should first ask: Why did we choose to rollout online, modular information literacy initiatives in Shannon Consortium libraries?
The number of available electronic resources has skyrocked in recent years and • the access to these resources has become more widely available and hence the • demand for online support has also multiplied (Xiao 2004) • This has presented libraries with a two-fold challenge: • How to facilitate online support on a 24/7 basis? • How to communicate effectively to address queries covering a wide range of topics from users differing in skills and learning styles? • Also Boyle (2003) has noted the importance of implementing quality e learning resources which are reusable and customisable. • Good e Learning resources are expensive to produce. The effectiveness of these resources, however, and the return on the investment made, has traditionally been limited by a number of factors…The challenge of making learning resources ‘interoperable’ across different systems thus became a major goal. At a higher level tutors often wished to reuse and repurpose learning resources to meet the perceived needs of particular contexts of students. However, learning resources were often monolithic; the resources had to be taken on an all or nothing basis. The challenges of interoperability, reuse and repurposing of e Learning [has] thus attracted considerable development effort.
Also stakeholders in Shannon Consortium libraries and particularly the LNSS Steering Group were aware that delivering information literacy online using reusable learning resources was fast becoming a popular mode of delivery. • For example between one study of online information literacy modules between August and October 2004 identified that there were 31 Online information tutorials available through Scandinavian universities. (Sundin 2008) • In another study over 200 Information Literacy tutorials were identified from the English speaking world. (Hunn and Rossiter 2006)
Why select information literacy content from suitable providers rather than design from scratch? Research into the cost of designing content in- house had shown that the LNSS could achieve better effect value by selecting e learning content from suitable vendors following extensive research into Information literacy suites available worldwide rather than design in house . For example… Rumble (2001) estimated the cost of developing an e learning as between $6000 and $1, 000, 000. In a more recent study (Lee et al 2004) an e learning resource for 23, 000 students was launched at a cost of $1.1 million. While e learning must be successful in reaching learning objectives, have easy accessibility, have a consistent and accurate message, be easy to use, entertaining, memorable, relevant, and if possible result in reduced training costs (Angeliki et al 2005 in Steen 2008) it need not be developed from scratch and existing best models may be adapted and utilized.
Methodology for selecting online, modular information literacy initiatives Prior to the LNSS Stakeholder Workshop research was conducted across the Consortium coordinated by the LNSS Librarian Project Coordinator into online information literacy suites currently available worldwide. Using criteria influenced by research into current practice in Reusable Learning resources (University of Cambridge 2003) and instructional design 20 potential suites were identified which were subsequently reduced down to 8 using interview email and survey techniques. These 8 tutorials were subsequently reduced down to 2 using Workshop techniques involving the main stakeholders comprising of senior library staff in the Shannon Consortium. These 2 were selected for purchase.
LNSS Stakeholder Workshop October 6th 2008 • Methodology for selecting online, modular information literacy initiatives • These are the criteria agreed by stakeholders with which to evaluate the online information literacy suites. These criteria were used to reduce 20 online information literacy down to 8. Such criteria was influenced by research into reusable learning object specification (University of Cambridge 2003) and instructional design. • Does it meet a variety of learning styles? • What is the degree of interactivity? Does it promote active learning and hence is the pedagogy sound? • Can the resource stand alone or is substantial customisation required? • Can the resource be customised if required? • Does the resource cater for different levels of IL needs of students • What is the level of ongoing maintenance? • How does the resource look? Will students find it appealing? • Has the resource been created using learning outcomes based on information literacy standards? • Is the duration a good estimate of the time it will take to work through? • Is content factually accurate?
At the workshop the following criteria was agreed by stakeholders with which to evaluate the IL suites. Using these criteria accompanied by a demonstration of each 8 potential IL suites were reduced down to 2 for selection:
The results were as follows: Each suite was scored out of 5 taking into account the criteria. Note to arrive at the arrive score; the total score for the suite was divided by the number of people who actually scored the suite. Where a member did not score against certain criteria in a suite, a score of zero was allocated.
The death of text based, online information literacy tutorials? • Why were the Cranfield and Epigeum products selected? • Perhaps the main reason why these were selected was due the fact that stakeholders and particularly the Steering Group felt on the day that all other tutorials were far too text based and lacking in active learning activities and interesting imagery and role play. • All stakeholders were particularly interested in IL suites that used tools such as online video where experts speak about such topics as Research methods or, career planning or getting published. Epigeum Research skills online was particularly strong in this regard. • Xiao (2004) emphasizes the importance of using online video methods: • Text based tutorials offer little help when dealing with complex concepts or processes. Direct assistance from library personnel is only available when the libraries are open. In today’s web environment, a more effective learning tool is required to facilitate the support and instruction of electronic resources in a manner that appeals to the user.
Why was the Cranfield Online information literacy suite selected?
Why was the Cranfield Online information literacy suite selected? As mentioned earlier the following criteria was used to select two online information literacy suites for the LNSS project:
Why was Cranfield Online modular information literacy suite selected? The Cranfield Online Information Literacy suite was selected by stakeholders because it met the agreed criteria Criteria 1. Meets a variety of learning styles. Where possible Honey and Mumford learning styles; activists, pragmatists, theorists and reflectors catered for. (Hunn and Rossiter 2006) Criteria 2. Degree of interactivity At least two active learning activities provided in each of the 9 modules. Criteria 3. Ability to stand alone (no customisation required) Could stand alone if no modification required. Criteria 4. Ability to customise and to be reusable/repurposed if required. Some customisation possible but not all content customisable. Is reusable and can be repurposed to some extent. Criteria 5 Caters for different levels of IL needs of students Caters for lower order information literacy skills, pillars one to four of the Sconul Seven Pillars Advisory Committee on Information Literacy, 1999 as well as higher order Il skills, SCONUL’s pillars five to seven. (Hunn and Rossiter 2007) Learning outcomes for each tutorial written and reviewed by library professionals and then mapped against each of the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy. Criteria 6. Student appeal but professional looking. Navigation effective. Always clear to the user where they are in the tutorial and where they are. Innovative use of metaphor and engaging learning activities .
Why was Epigeum Research skills online Selected?
The Epigeum Research Skills online was selected by stakeholders because it met the agreed criteria • Criteria 1. Meets a variety of learning styles. • Honey and Munford learning styles; activists, pragmatists, theorists and reflectors catered for. • Criteria 2. Degree of interactivity. • Active learning opportunities provided in each module. • Criteria 3. Ability to stand alone. (no customisation required) • Could stand alone if no modification required • Criteria 4. Ability to customise and to be reusable/repurposed if required. • Is updated regularly with regular Update Workshops run by the supplier. Modification can also be made within the organisation. Resides on Moodle. Is interoperable, reusable and can be repurposed. LNSS partner libraries have access to a high quality online research skills resource which will be updated regularly hence ensuring sustainability, reusability and the option for repurposing as well as access to leading academics and authors worldwide. • Criteria 5. Student appeal but professional looking. • Navigation effective. Always clear to the user where they are in the tutorial and where they are. Innovative use of online video, metaphor and engaging learning activities.
Conclusion: what will the LNSS • have achieved? • A model for resource sharing and a foundation which will strengthen the future potential of the region. • Increased opportunities for blended, active and online learning using reusable learning resources for information literacy • Staff across the Consortium unskilled and aware of the most up to date practice with regard to IL. • Increased collaboration and capacity building. • Students who can “recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the information needed. (ALA)
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