Strength at The Edge: Information Literacy at the CoLRiC summer events 2015

Further Education is a rapidly changing world and the events organised by the Council of Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC) have an important part to play supporting service managers.

This year’s events, hosted in London and Birmingham, were entitled “The Edge”, with a programme that reflected the “can do” attitude of presenters and delegates alike. Information literacy had a prominent role, with participants encouraged to consider the importance of strategic thinking for IL.

Three service managers, from very different colleges, presented their approaches:

Hackney Community College

Nicola Scott (Hackney Community College) has developed a strategy which considers the locations of learning for this skill set.  These are diverse and can include: whole class independent study sessions; IL lessons; at the enquiry desk; online study; or when embedded in teaching. Nicola then demonstrated how one written objective from her strategy, that of supporting teachers to embed information literacy into their teaching practice, had led to a series of actions. A success for 2014/15 was the creation of a training resource aimed at vocational teachers:  “Teaching students the writing process”. This resource describes how the steps of the information literacy skill set relate to writing skills, and suggests related activities that can be embedded into teaching. It can be used as a poster or handout and is now available via JORUM for others to use.

St Aquinas 6th Form College

The development of an eSafety policy at St Aquinas 6th Form College presented Jim Temple with an ideal opportunity to promote his service’s role in developing information literacy. The key to success was getting involved and working closely with the College’s eLearning team. Having undertaken the Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP) Ambassador training, Jim was able to lead on staff eSafety training across the College. This led to the library service being given free rein to deliver the student eSafety programme across the tutorial programme. Subsequently, a series of library-led programmes and strategies formed the core of the College’s eLearning Plan. This case study illustrated how inclusion in a formal strategy helped the programme grow and develop, but also ensured the library service was embedded in and was indispensable to core areas of college life. The direct pay-off of the service’s raised profile means direct access to students to deliver a wider programme of information and digital literacy.

Wiltshire College

Wiltshire College is a large multi-site FE college where Janet Waters has been able to develop an IL strategy that actively engages with learners’ needs at all levels. The value of a written strategy was emphasized for 2 reasons: 1) to allow the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) Team to rationalize their thoughts on the aims and purpose of IL for all levels, and 2) to take a clear coherent progressive strategy to teaching staff and the leadership team. IL is key to helping students as they progress through levels,  e.g. from level 2 to 3 in health and social care. All levels should have IL from entry level to HE. Also, the role of the LRC in embedding English and Maths outside of the classroom is a key component of the strategy and of interest to colleges under the new Ofsted Common Inspection Framework.

CoLRiC Best Practice Awards

The two events, in London and Birmingham, were also an opportunity to present CoLRiC’s annual Best Practice Awards. This year, there was a category dedicated to information literacy, which was won by Lincoln College for their innovative approach to induction using a murder mystery theme.

More on information literacy in the Further Education sector

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