The final keynote of LILAC 2019 was by Allison Littlejohn, who has recently moved from the Open University to become Dean (Learning & Teaching) of the College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow. Allison thinks of librarians as being a keystone species in Higher Education, meaning that without them Universities would be in serious trouble.
Allison talked about MOOCs and how they are often used to reinforce a University’s global presence rather than benefit learners. There are some notable exceptions, such as kiron, which allows refugees to gain access to HE.
We then heard about a Wikipedia editathon run at the University of Edinburgh, which aimed to increase the number of women editors on the platform and improve representation of women online. The participating editors created an entry on the Edinburgh Seven. This involved them researching using archives. Interviews were conducted with the participants to understand their motivations for taking part, which informed how they behaved and what they did. This showed that literacies are not just about what we do, but also about who we are and how we feel. They are foundational for people being able to learn for public and societal good.
Allison has also done research into MOOCs and the ways in which students approach them depending on whether they are low or high self-regulators. Pathways are often pre-defined in MOOCs but students should be enabled to develop their own pathways as interests and learning goals change over time.
The Fleming Fund supports antimicrobial resistance courses aimed at practitioners and technicians in low to middle income countries based on knowledge and skills gaps identified by students. They are helped to reflect on their workplace and how they will apply the knowledge they acquire.
The final message was that HE should move away from data like the NSS and move towards learning that will prepare society for the future.