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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
Library Network Support Services (LNSS): using reusable learning resources to champion information literacy skills across the Shannon Consortium.
BSc Econ, MSc, MA Institute Librarian Limerick Institute of Technology
Padraig Kirby BA(Hons) HdipLIS
LNSS Librarian Project Coordinator
Limerick Institute of Technology
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)
Catherine Murray (ITTralee)
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;
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 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)
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)
before we answer this we must first ask another question…
What are reusable learning resources?
…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)
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).
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Online information literacy
As mentioned earlier the following criteria was used to select two online information literacy suites for the LNSS project:
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 .
Research skills online
The Epigeum Research Skills online was selected by stakeholders because it met the agreed criteria
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