Thursday, February 28, 2013

Online Journal Club: 13 March: ANCIL

The next online online blog-comment information literacy Journal Club meeting takes place at 8-9 pm UK time on Wednesday 13th March 2013 (see http://tinyurl.com/chs7qu3 for times elsewhere - and note that this is one of those pesky times of year when the difference between times in the UK and times in North America are different from usual, because we go over to summertime later than the USA/Canada!).

The topic will be A New Curriculum for Information Literacy (ANCIL). For those new to ANCIL, you may want to start with the Executive Summary, which is here:
http://ccfil.pbworks.com/f/Executive_summary.pdf
or by paging through the powerpoint which is embedded below.

As before, the real-time discussion will take place in comments to this blog post during the hour mentioned above. During that time the authors of ANCIL, Jane Secker and her colleagues, will be present and helping Niamh Tumelty and me facilitate discussion. People are also very welcome to add comments and questions before and after this real-time event. Note that moderation is usually turned on for comments (because otherwise we get spammed!), but we will turn moderation off on the day of the discussion, so that your comments appear immediately.

There is lots of information about ANCIL on the ANCIL website at http://newcurriculum.wordpress.com/. On the website it explains that "ANCIL is the product of a two-phase research fellowship funded by the Arcadia Programme at Cambridge University Library. The original project research by Jane Secker & Emma Coonan (May-July 2011) produced A New Curriculum for Information Literacy, a structured and holistic framework for meeting the information literacy needs of undergraduates entering higher education over the next five years. A second phase researched by Helen Webster and Katy Wrathall (October-December 2011) looked at Strategies for Implementing the New Curriculum at a number of UK higher education institutions, including Cambridge."

There has been much interest in ANCIL internationally so we hope people will take this opportunity to discuss it ;-)

We will add some questions for discussion nearer the time!

75 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm looking forward to the discussion, which will start at 8pm UK time (in 20 minutes). Some hints for discussion are:
    - Refresh the page often, to see the latest conversations
    - Please use "reply" to a comment if you are commenting on the same topic as the blog comment. Otherwise post a new comment (and if you aren't sure - just do what you feel like ;-)

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    1. Hi all, and welcome! I've been following ANCIL since Emma and Jane first started working on it so really looking forward to the chat!

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  2. I'm joining you too, to share my experiences of working with the ANCIL curriculum from the perspective of a learning developer. Looking forward to the discussion, and thanks for asking me!

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    1. Thank you for joining us! I realised I should have linked to the http://implementingancil.pbworks.com/w/page/48731612/Introduction ANCIL wiki too

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  3. Hi all - just finished Rethinking Information Literacy recently - found that it really brought ANCIL to life for me.

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    1. Welcome ;-) Was there a particular chapter you'd recommend?

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    2. I really liked Isla Kuhn’s application of teaching resource discovery to medical students and Andy Priestner's too. I just found it gave me lots of ideas for my own instruction activities - very practical that's why I really like the ANCIL framework.

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    3. That's great to here that the chapters brought ANCIL to life. That was the intention, but I worried that people were expecting something different. We wanted to show that people are already doing ANCIL and that is came out of what practitioners told us, so it's not so new really in many ways. I guess very few people are doing all the 10 strands

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    4. What I found was that there are so many interprofessional areas of expertise which ANCIL touches on, and which combine to make ANCIL a fully rounded approach, that I'd be surprised if there were anyone doing all 10 - it's a whole institution approach!

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    5. Doing all 10 fully, or being wholly responsible for all 10, anyway - I reckon all of us touch on all the strands in one way or another.

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    6. @Helen so do you think Information Literacy needs to be featured in the university's teaching, learning and assessment strategy for it really to take hold? (I would say that I do)

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    7. Yes and from the research I've been doing at LSE, I suspect that a lot of institutions are not really doing all 10 either. My report on undergraduate support at LSE is also now online, which is an institutional mapping exercise: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/48058/

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    8. Yes, as a medical librarian the subject based strands were definitely most relevant in terms of what I do everyday but the way the book is structured you can easily dip in and out of it - especially if faced with one of the strands you don't often teach/deliver. It's so interesting to see how others structure and deliver their sessions - you learn so much!

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    9. I ABSOLUTELY think it needs to be embedded in T&L strategy - it needs to be owned by an institution and not farmed off to be dealt with by any one group within an institution. That can only lead to a bolt-on, remedial approach which sidelines it.

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    10. Michelle, your feedback is really heartening - Emma and I hoped that people could dip in and out of the book in the way you describe.

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    11. Totally agree Helen! IL will never work if seen as something separate - in fact even calling it IL can make it seem like something separate. Really it's should be so seamless with T&L that it should not (ideally!) even be referred to separately (though that does make talking about it difficult!)

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    12. It's partly a matter of professional terminology too - when Jane and Emma first approached me to discuss information literacy, I thought it was something 'librarian-y' which I knew nothing about. Other contexts call it other things - study skills, academic literacies.... when I saw the full breadth of ANCIL, it made me realise that it drew on all of those approaches into one which spans professions, and was very much the kind of thing I address as a learning developer. Not sure how to resolve the issue of terminology, but I hope that ANCIL speaks for itself!

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    13. Absolutely! That's always a problem I think, constant emphasis on information literacy could lead us to forget how we can contribute to other aspects of teaching and learning.

      Also, trying to 'own' it as librarians can mean missed opportunities for collaboration. That sense of shared responsibility for information literacy is really clearly put in this curriculum and I think that's essential. I wonder how often/easy it is to implement it collaboratively though?

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    14. (ah, Helen's response slipped in while I was writing mine, but yes, absolutely, that too!)

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    15. Helen--agreed. I find here that there are several groups working to similar ends but fragmented by, among other things, terminology. Some focus on "media literacy" or "digital literacy" and these efforts and our librarian notion of "information literacy" don't seem to be connecting. I'm trying to figure out how we can bring all this good work together and build on strengths . . .

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    16. Terminology is so difficult. I now tend to tell people, when I talk about information literacy, I mean this (and use the ANCIL definition) and some people call that digital literacy, academic literacy, media literacy etc. Emma and I wondered for quite some time if we should come up with a new term and I still wonder sometimes if the terms information and literacy as too broad and wooly. But we've suddenly got buy in at LSE when we call it digital and information literacy.

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    17. I would love to know what that new term would have been! You would have run the risk of people saying, "oh, but that's just...." and not engaging with looking closely eiher at ANCIL or at their own use of the term...

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    18. As I say quite often, I think IL is worth sticking with as it now has a research base, and journals, and it's used in job titles etc. etc. so I think if you are trying to convince someone it's "real" there is more to go with.

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    19. I also tend to think that "digital literacy" has a limited lifespan, as digital becomes so much just part of what everyone does, but I will admit that university senior officers etc. haven't got into this zone yet!

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    20. Yes I was very struck by something you said when I interviewed you Sheila as part of the ANCIL research - that we worry too much about whether it's the right term and we should be more assertive about it's use. So you don't know what 'IL' is? Well here's a definition and it's not a term that's up for debate!

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    21. I've been working in Digital Humanities recently, and I entirely agree that it's a very trnsitory term - very soon we will just be doing Humanities again, but with an enlarged set of methodologies. Digital helps to get people's attention at the moment, but that will wear off, and be a bit empty of meaning, I think.

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    22. Jane- might involve a bit more work to get other professions to own the concept and the curriculum if they call it something else, and it does place it in librarian territory to begin with, but then you'd just have had the same battle in an opposite direction if you'd chosen to call it, say, academic literacies. I'd go with it!

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  4. Hi everyone, Jane here, just joining you and I'm happy to try and answer any ANCIL questions. Hello to Michelle and great that Helen can join us as she worked on implementing ANCIL the follow up research.

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  5. Hi from Canada-
    I'm just starting to learn about ANCIL and am quite intrigued. Please forgive me if my questions are addressed in material that I haven't yet read.
    I was looking to situate ANCIL in terms of the bigger picture. Do you see it as ultimately being part of a lifelong information literacy program, along the lines of the Scottish/Welsh programs?
    Also, do you think there is potential to have it adopted at a national level as a government-endorsed type of program, like that called for by the Alexandria/Prague meetings?

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    1. Thanks for joining us Cara! I'll let Jane and Helen answer since they're the experts on it...

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    2. My impression was, with the emphasis on embedding it in a subject curriculum, that it was more focused on the higher education sector BUT with definite links downwards (to transition from school, for those who are coming direct from formal education) and a link forward in strand 10.

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    3. Hi Cara - great you can join us. ANCIL started as something for undergraduates, but I do want to extend it to different levels. Whether it could be a national (or international?) approach I don't know. UNESCO already have their own media and information literacy curriculum, so I think they would be unlikely to adopt ours. I think it is a bit different to other frameworks though.

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    4. I'd be interested to know (and then I'll quit dominating this discussion!) what prompted you to develop your own curriculum rather than adopt or modify UNESCO's . . . was it the need to embed in the subject curriculum that took you in this direction?

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    5. Well actually the UNESCO one didn't come out until the final month when we were working on ANCIL - and I didn't know anything about how that curriculum was developed. ANCIL also came out of a research project that specifically wanted to develop an undergraduate curriculum for information literacy, suitable for the future. The project was chosen by our academic advisor, Professor John Naughton at Cambridge.

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    6. At the moment the UNESCO curriculum is also aimed particularly at teachers (who should be teaching IL to their pupils in due course, as part of teaching their subject, so it's a slightly different perspective) and I think it's rather biased currently towards media literacy ... (I'm referring to this, am I talking about the same thing?: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/publications-and-communication-materials/publications/full-list/media-and-information-literacy-curriculum-for-teachers/ )

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    7. Hi Sheila - yes that is it, and you are right it is aimed at teachers and it is quite biased towards media literacy!

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  6. Although developed in the context of HE, I do think it's broader than that - strands 1 and 10 address transition in and out of HE, but I think it's important that it's not seen sequentially, but that learners are able to transition in and out of information literate contexts all their lives, and in all areas of their lives.

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  7. Yes I should also say, I have interest from a school librarian to develop ANCIL for schools for pupils 11-18, which is something I am very excited about. I think information literacy is not just something for higher education, particularly if we believe it's about lifelong learning!

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    1. information literacy is perhaps given more visible form in HE but I always try to recognise that students will have developed approaches to IL in other areas of life which may not always be assessed or rewarded, but which are just as valid in those contexts. if ANCIL can help to make those visible so that students can reflect and build on them and teachers can take them into account, then we avoid the tendency to think that 'real' IL only happens in universities.

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    2. I am developing an Evidence Based Practice lens for the Sconul 7 Pillars model at the moment and would also love to look at using ANCIL as well. Completely agree that it is relevant to learning and development in general, not just HE.

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    3. Yes, I think acknowledging existing information literacy, and getting students to reflect on that is important - I see there is an element in that in Strand one "Reflect on
      your current and previous information behaviour". Also, although most students at Sheffield do come direct from school, adult returners are an important group to consider, I think.

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    4. Emma and I did do some mapping of the various frameworks that exist, such as the SCONUL 7 pillars. We have been asked several times how ANCIL is different, and I always struggle, but I do think we need to somehow get information literacy outside the library echo chamber, and I have found non-librarians seem to like it better than other models.

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    5. This leads to another question I had: what has been the response of those outside of library-land to ANCIL? Faculty members, policy makers, etc?

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    6. To me it feels more practical/implement-able/concrete than a lot of the other models - in fact model seems too theoretical to describe it in some ways. I also think it is much more about reflection and facilitating independent learning rather than just skills like some other models (although I know the revised SCONUL model did address this aspect). But that is just my take on it as a practitioner/user of the model!

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    7. Cara - you ask about the response outside library land. I am not the best person to comment, but as a framework at LSE it has gone down reasonably well. It has also been a good way to start a discussion about teaching and learning with faculty. And in response to Michelle, people have told me they find it more concrete. Emma and I started to wonder if ANCIL really was a curriculum though only a few months ago - But Helen's reassures us it is. It's just also an approach .....

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    8. I'm getting increasingly dubious about the whole notion of skills. I'm working with researchers (PhDs and PDocs) at the moment, and thus having to engage with Vitae's Researcher Development Framework. I kinda know what they mean, but the skills they include, whatever they are, are so intangible that I don't know what to *do* with it as a framework. Not much distinction between a skill, a personality trait, a preference, a behaviour... I far prefer the term 'literacy'.

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    9. Yes I quite agree, skills is something people seem to understand, but literacies as about so much more, and seem so much more powerful. Skills, competencies, fluencies, all these words seem somehow unsatisfactory and I keep coming back to literacy.

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    10. Interesting! I've no problem with the term 'literacy' but feel that 'fluency' expresses a similar thing but with implies a higher level of mastery, if you know what I mean. I'm 'literate' in German, but wouldn't call myself 'fluent'. I agree that it's better to work with established terminology than to promote new ones.

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    11. I've struggled with the "skills" problem as well, particularly as I consider the ACRL Info Lit Competencies (which currently guide much thinking in Canada). They seem too simplistic and skills-oriented to describe what information literacy really is. I like that ANCIL (and other IL discussion I've seen out of the UK) seem to have a deeper understanding of the complexities of and need for reflection in IL.
      I really like Sturges and Gastinger's connection of IL to the UN Declaration of Human Rights . . .

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  8. I was interested in how the curriculum might inform other types of learning, other than formal workshops. I looked a bit at developing a model which would guide conversations with individual students when they asked for guidance, and haven't had the chance to use it myself much, being in a more research than practitioner role at the moment.

    I wondered if anyone else had discovered any applications other than in formal workshops, or series of workshops? How about providing guidance materials?

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    1. Helen - when we mapped provision across LSE, we specifically asked people about formal and informal provision, and asked did they provide some of the 'support' online / face to face. what we found was there was a lot of evidence of 'informal' IL in terms of one to one support for students who were struggling, online resources they were directed to, guides, leaflets even.

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    2. @Helen was this by you? http://implementingancil.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/49095011/Information%20Literacy%20First%20Aid.pdf

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    3. it was inspired by a Mental Health First Aid course I went on, which offered you a model for structuring a conversation with someone about their mental health. It really helped move from 'I have spoken to the person about mental health' to 'I have achieved these things in a conversation with a person about their mental health'. Far more practical, productive, and also reassuring to have a model for a difficult conversation!

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  9. I'd like to look more closely at that - does it mean 'yes we're asked about it and will talk about it if asked' or 'yes, we have a defined approach to offering guidance when students request it'? I'd love to see a strategy for ANCIL informing online and printed guidance too. *thinks* Difference between checking off the topics from ANCIL and actually using it as a model which informs how that guidance is given, if you see what I mean. For me, ANCIL is something which informs mode of delivery as well as content - it has a strong ethos

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    1. When do we get the Revised New Curriculum lol ?

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    2. Sheila in all seriousness, if we had the dedicated time, like when we had the Arcadia Fellowships, I think this would be forthcoming! I'm really interested in carrying on this work and I know Emma, Helen and Katy are too. It's just time (the day job!)

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  10. Cara - can you share the full reference to Sturges and Gastinger please? I was inspired by the Alexandria Proclamation which also links IL to human rights - very powerful!

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    1. Sturges, Paul, and Almuth Gastinger. “Information Literacy as a Human Right.” Libri: International Journal of Libraries & Information Services 60.3 (2010): 195-202.

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  11. Just to say I'll aim to trawl through the conversation and find the various links and references and pop them into a new post.

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    1. Great - thanks Sheila.

      If there are any lurkers out there with any more questions, then I think we'll be finishing in 5 minutes, but do get in touch via our blog as well http://newcurriculum.wordpress.com

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    2. I will sign off now . . . I have to go buy a copy of Rethinking Information Literacy . . .

      I'm coming to LILAC in Manchester, so hopefully I'll meet some of you there!

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    3. Thanks Jane for your insight on ANCIL! And everyone else for a great discussion.

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    4. Yes, I'll be there, look forward to meeting you.

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    5. Cara - yes I will be there, presenting with Katy Wrathall on Tuesday lunchtime, so I hope to catch up.

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    6. Thanks for the questions. It was good to have a chance to talk more and get some feedback on the book!

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    7. Thanks Sheila, that would be really helpful! I think I'll do something similar for terms that may not be known outside UK/wherever they're used.

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  12. I'll be at ALDinHE later this month, and will be talking about how ANCIL has informed the online digital literacy provision I've been working on!

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  13. Thanks to everyone for contributions! The hour is over, but we will leave comments open and unmoderated til tomorrow. After that we'll have comment moderation on (because of the spam): so please do add comments, but they may not appear immediately.

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    1. Thanks especially to Jane and Helen for joining us - it really added to the discussion to hear you expand on the ideas.

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  14. And finally, I think we are hoping to organise an ANCIL event in July in Cambridge, so definitely keep an eye on the blog for details about this!

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    1. Excellent, I'll definitely aim to get to that anyway.

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