Embedding information literacy in the science curriculum: a collaborative approach

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Embedding information literacy in the science curriculum: a collaborative approach. Lecturer, Tutors, Learning Advisor, Librarians, CLD. Karen Lycett and Pam Thornton Edith Cowan University Library. Professional Science Essentials background. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Collaborations for Best Practice

Embedding information literacy in the science curriculum: a collaborative approach

Karen Lycett and Pam ThorntonEdith Cowan University Library

Lecturer, Tutors, Learning Advisor, Librarians, CLDId like to talk about an embedded information literacy program that Karen Lycett , the subject librarian for the School of Natural Sciences and I developed and participated in this semester, as part of a new foundation unit in the sciences, called Professional Science Essentials. Karen wasnt able to attend ShareCase today, but Id like to acknowledge the work she did in preparing and developing this information literacy program. As part of the Librarys Computing Health & Science team, I was also involved in all stages of the development. We chose to talk about this program as its been different in many ways from other embedded information literacy programs, primarily due to the collaborative approach and our involvement with the unit from initial planning stages to the final presentation of the students work. 1Professional Science Essentials background

Curriculum 2012 initiative and 1st year experience.

PSE : New 1st year foundation unit for the School of Natural Sciences

Embedded graduate attributes/Skills required of professional scientists.

New teaching approach: interactive workshop facilitating learning rather than imparting knowledge via lectures.

Skills woven into the curriculum and based around the topic Nanotechnology

Collaboration: Lecturer, Tutors, Learning Advisor, Librarians, CLD

PSE was set up as part of the Curriculum 2012 initiative and is a core foundation unit for all first year students in the School of Natural Sciences. Main disciplines in this School are Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Science. The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the skills required of professional scientists, with a special focus on effective communication. The Curriculum 2012 Project was established to support the embedding of graduate attributes and academic skills into undergraduate programs. There was a focus on employability, the first year experience and enabling student learning by promoting a supportive, stimulating and engaging learning and teaching environment.

To get students actively engaged, interactive workshops facilitating learning were used rather than imparting knowledge via lectures. We had previously worked with the lecturer in developing a program for Chemistry, so were familiar with some elements of the interactive, activity based teaching style.

For the Professional Science Essentials unit, skills were woven into the curriculum and based around the science topic Nanotechnology.

2Collaborations for Best Practice

value addedstudent activitiesworksheetsdrop in sessionsreferencingCollaboration enabled best practice teaching and learning outcomes for students and occurred at all stages of the unit right through from the initial planning stages. Librarians and the Learning Advisor worked with the Lecturer, to embed information literacy and academic skills . The fact that information literacy was built into the unit meant that students were able to see the relevancy of what was being taught and were able to receive assistance when needed. An important factor was that other staff in the team also provided ongoing reinforcement and support, following the Library workshop.

Of course Karen and I also had to work closely as a team to ensure that in the workshops and following we delivered the same package.


Librarians involved in the planning of workshops, projects, activity worksheets and assessments

Library workshop and activities in wk 1

Established clear aims for the Library workshop

Professional Science Essentials pages on the LibGuides providing online support materials for the unit.

Librarians were involved in the planning of workshops, projects, activity worksheets and assessments.

It was considered important that students start their journey in week 1 with the Library workshop and activity.

We established clear aims for the workshop, focussing on critical assessment and evaluation of information.

As the assessments were based around the topic, we identified suitable resources on Nanotechnology and developed new Professional Science Essentials pages for the relevant LibGuides. These provided the main online support materials for the unit.

The lecturer also put forward materials to be included on the guide, so this too was a collaborative effort.

4Embedding IL

Library Workshops (week 1):

7 workshops over 2 days, approx 160 students. PowerPoint presentation with hands on exercises.

Library workshop exercises (2)

Librarian ongoing involvement throughout the semester:

Drop in assignment labs

Librarian & Lecturer developed exercises on APA Referencing for use in specific referencing workshops credits: www.freeimages.co.uk

We started with the Library workshops in week 1 and had 7 workshops over 2 days, with approx 160 students.

A PowerPoint presentation was given with hands on exercises. The focus was on evaluating internet and Library resources relevant to Nanotechnology. We deliberately started with the internet, showing how to evaluate freely available resources and websites.

There were 2 Library workshop exercises where the students put into practice the concepts wed discussed and demonstrated. Students started working on these in class. Exercises werent formally assessed, but formed part of a portfolio of work as evidence of learning.

Students were also expected to show evidence of applying these skills in other assignments that were part of the unit, a group poster and annotated bibliography.

During semester drop-in assignment labs were held. At specified times both a learning advisor and a librarian were available for assignment assistance.

The librarian was also involved in assisting the lecturer to develop workshop exercises on APA Referencing, which was an integral part of the unit. Well likely have greater involvement with the referencing component next year.

5Contributing factors to success of the program

Librarian working as part of a team with common focus, purpose, commitment

Workshops were compulsory

Activity based with students applying concepts in the workshop

Skills delivered in context

High level of student engagement

Highly structured with regular skills audit

Follow up and reinforcement of skills

A key contributing factor to the success of the program was the collaborative team approach and interactive style of teaching, with a common focus, purpose and commitment

The fact that workshops were compulsory, meant that we captured almost all students

As workshops were activity based with students applying concepts in the workshop, skills were delivered in context and there was a high level of student engagement.

The unit was highly structured, with a regular skills audit. For example accessing quality resources was an area students identified as needing improvement after the library workshop, which showed that the need was recognised.

Another important factor was the follow up and reinforcement of skills throughout the semester.

6Student Feedback (Library related)

Something I learned in this unit that is useful for my other studies

Sourcing quality materialsLooking for quality referencesImproving my referencing ++ (many students)How to use my Library resources betterHow to effectively research topics using reliable information

Something that challenged me in this unit

Researching a previously unknown topicResearching and annotated bibliographies

Student feedback was positive. Although generally related to Referencing, also pleasing was the number of students who provided feedback demonstrating that they recognized the need to evaluate and select quality sources of information and valued learning how to research a topic.

In addition, informal feedback gathered from 2 groups after the Library session indicated that theyd all learnt something new, including a proportion of students who werent new students.

My hope is that the significance of this type of program for librarians will lead to further discussion within our library and beyond. Its important that the library is involved in this new initiative and priority for the university.

7Future Directions

Positive outcomes:

Maximisation of staff resources Academic skills embedded at the start of the student journeyStrength in collaborationsPossibility of application to other courses

Planning in place for next year (semester 1):

Building on the 2012 programDevelopment of further online materials In class, drop in sessions

Overall the future looks very positive. We considered sustainability and found a number of positive outcomes.

Weve seen opportunities for maximisation of staff resources via a foundation unit rather than across several 1st year units, resulting in consolidation of IL programs and effort.

As academic skills are embedded at the start of the student journey, skills are applied at the appropriate time

Strength in collaborations has assisted value adding through shared expertise, knowledge, and experience. In this way weve all been able to learn from each other and had the chance to upskill along the way.

Were also looking at the possibility of applications to other courses for example Biomedical Science.


Poster presentationsContinued follow up ensured that we were consistent & accurate in our messageYou were also supportive of student feedback e.g. inviting some students to complete an EndNote workshopThe collaboration was so much more than the workshop on the day In conclusion : some academic staff responsesIn conclusion, it was a most rewarding experience. The final poster presentations and selection of a winner from the finalists was a wonderful afternoon. A chance to meet with all involved and chat to the students. Of course several of the students were really keen to pursue a career in Nanotechnology!The enthusiasm and commitment from the students was amazing. There were some outstanding posters. All required application of the range of academic skills, including Information Literacy.

These are some comments send to us by the lecturer and a photo of students and staff at the poster presentations. They were appreciative that we also attended the poster presentations.

My hope is that the significance of this type of program for librarians and the importance for the Library of being involved in this new university initiative, will lead to further discussion within our Library and beyond.



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