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1 Teaching and learning about libraries and information: some experiments and some experience Vrije Universiteit Brussel,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Teaching and learning about libraries and information: some experiments and some experience Vrije Universiteit Brussel,"— Presentation transcript:

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2 1 Teaching and learning about libraries and information: some experiments and some experience Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Universiteit Antwerpen Belgium Paper presented at the International Conference on Information Management ICIM 2005 in Mumbai (ex-Bombay), India, February 2005

3 2 Some methods are described that have been applied in teaching university students about exploiting and managing information. - contents - summary - overview of this contribution

4 3 A few words about Belgium Belgium is a small country in Western Europe.

5 4 The target audience: university students in Belgium Vrije Universiteit BrusselVrije Universiteit Brussel »Master Communication Studies (in Dutch) »Master Literature Science (in Dutch) »Master Science … (in English) University of AntwerpUniversity of Antwerp »Master Library and Information Science (in Dutch) Occasionally in other organisations and projectsOccasionally in other organisations and projects

6 5 The contents of the courses Information literacy Creating a small and simple digital library Exploiting available digital libraries Other topic

7 6 Methods for teaching & assessment: introduction Besides the application of traditional, classical, proven methods and approaches, experiments are going on continuously and more experience is acquired with less traditional methods.

8 7 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

9 8 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment Time

10 9 Methods for teaching & assessment: electronic learning site on the WWW This offers for each courseThis offers for each course »an outline of the contents and aims »a description of the evaluation procedure »a link to the student discussion group that has been created for each course »slides used in classroom with explanations, exercises, references for further reading »a bibliography for each course chapter Available for everyone through the Internet = open accessAvailable for everyone through the Internet = open access

11 10 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

12 11 Methods for teaching & assessment: communication through the Internet For each course, we have created a discussion group based on and the each course, we have created a discussion group based on and the WWW. This is available through the electronic learning WWW site for the course.This is available through the electronic learning WWW site for the course. This supports communicationThis supports communication »student students ! »(professor students)

13 12 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

14 13 Methods for teaching & assessment: co-operative learning (1) Each student works not only on small individual assignments, but contributes also to a bigger assignment that is carried out by a group of students.Each student works not only on small individual assignments, but contributes also to a bigger assignment that is carried out by a group of students.

15 14 Methods for teaching & assessment: co-operative learning (2) Some reasons why to organise group work:Some reasons why to organise group work: »It can enhance the group spirit of the class. »Students learn to cope with problems of working in group, such as co-ordination and management;co-ordination and management; heterogeneity in language, motivation, expertise, punctuality;heterogeneity in language, motivation, expertise, punctuality; leaders versus followers…leaders versus followers… »A larger work can be realised, which is more motivating, more realistic, more interesting…

16 15 Methods for teaching & assessment: co-operative learning (3) The groups are formed in such a way that they are NOT composed only of friends or of students from the same region or who speak the same language or who have the same level of expertise. Instead they are created on the basis of alphabetical order of the names of the students, because this guarantees heterogeneity in the group. Heterogeneity is desirable as it enhances the learning experience during the group work.The groups are formed in such a way that they are NOT composed only of friends or of students from the same region or who speak the same language or who have the same level of expertise. Instead they are created on the basis of alphabetical order of the names of the students, because this guarantees heterogeneity in the group. Heterogeneity is desirable as it enhances the learning experience during the group work.

17 16 Methods for teaching & assessment: co-operative learning (4) The co-ordination of the group work is organised by the group members as an exercise in management and democracy.The co-ordination of the group work is organised by the group members as an exercise in management and democracy. The groups compete to create the best report. So working with at least 2 groups is desirable.The groups compete to create the best report. So working with at least 2 groups is desirable. Each report includes of course the names of the contributing students, but also their portraits and an outline of who contributed what.Each report includes of course the names of the contributing students, but also their portraits and an outline of who contributed what.

18 17 Methods for teaching & assessment: co-operative learning (5) Example 1 of group work by students:Example 1 of group work by students: »Information retrieval about a particular subject that is related to the main focus of the curriculum

19 18 Methods for teaching & assessment: co-operative learning (6) Example 2 of group work by students:Example 2 of group work by students: »Building a small web site = creating a digital library, starting from a classical, hard-copy, printed document that includes structure, at least 1 picture and at least one computer-screen shot. This confronts students with many aspects of digital libraries, such as dealing with analog to digital conversion; OCRanalog to digital conversion; OCR pictures with various resolutions and file formatspictures with various resolutions and file formats structure and architecture of a web sitestructure and architecture of a web site HTML versus PDF versus Word-XMLHTML versus PDF versus Word-XML

20 19 Methods for teaching & assessment: co-op. learning & communication Co-operative learning is supported by efficient communication independent of place and time, through the discussion group that has been created for each coursethe discussion group that has been created for each course electronic mailelectronic mail closed discussion groups that are created by the groups of competing studentsclosed discussion groups that are created by the groups of competing students

21 20 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

22 21 Methods for teaching & assessment: student portfolios (1) Besides a classical examination to assess the level of knowledge of each student, each student creates also a portfolio = a collection of reports concerning small assignments.Besides a classical examination to assess the level of knowledge of each student, each student creates also a portfolio = a collection of reports concerning small assignments. That portfolio is also used in the assessment.That portfolio is also used in the assessment.

23 22 Methods for teaching & assessment: student portfolios (2) Some advantages of the portfolios are the following:Some advantages of the portfolios are the following: »The portfolio is a direct, physical reflection of skills and knowledge, that is closer to reality and more satisfactory than a mark on an exam and that can also be shown to other interested persons. »The portfolio forces students to improve their presentation skills. »Creating the portfolio enforces active learning = learning by doing (constructivist approach in education).

24 23 Methods for teaching & assessment: student portfolios (3) Some examples of the contents of such a portfolios:Some examples of the contents of such a portfolios: »A written proposal of an approach to solve a specific problem in an information-environment »The digital version of a personal WWW site created by the student, and a print-out »The digital version of a series of slides to support a live presentation of their personal scientific work, and a print-out of hand-outs for the audience »The digital version of a poster created to support the live discussion of their personal scientific work, and a print-out

25 24 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

26 25 Methods for teaching & assessment: (1) Methods for teaching & assessment: study close to reality (1) Library and information science is NOT the main point of interest for most students. Therefore, the illustrations/contents/subjects/examples used in teaching and for the assignments are chosen as close as possibleLibrary and information science is NOT the main point of interest for most students. Therefore, the illustrations/contents/subjects/examples used in teaching and for the assignments are chosen as close as possible »to the main focus, the core of the curriculum, and »to the personal interests of the student »to the reality of the student

27 26 Methods for teaching & assessment: (2) Methods for teaching & assessment: study close to reality (2) Examples of choosing illustrations:Examples of choosing illustrations: »The subjects of assignments in scholarly information retrieval are chosen so that they are close to the core of the curriculum. »Students learn how to present information by presenting their own scientific research to the whole group of students. »Students are guided to create their personal site on the WWW and to explain their scientific interests there.

28 27 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

29 28 Methods for teaching & assessment: peer assessment (1) The report by each student is not only assessed / questioned by the responsible teacher / professor, but also by peer students who are member of a competing group.The report by each student is not only assessed / questioned by the responsible teacher / professor, but also by peer students who are member of a competing group.

30 29 Methods for teaching & assessment: peer assessment (2) Some advantages of peer assessment by students are the following:Some advantages of peer assessment by students are the following: »All students together can spend more time than the busy professor, to discover errors or weak points in the work of others, and more importantly: to suggest improvements. »The student who evaluates can learn from the different approach by another student to the same problem. »The students learn to have scientific and constructive discussions.

31 30 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

32 31 Methods for teaching & assessment: active learning Less:Less: »classical professor student teaching More:More: »question & answer sessions »practical work »presentations by students »co-operative learning »creation of a portfolio by each student »peer assessment

33 32 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

34 33 Methods for teaching & assessment: inviting feedback (1) Each student is formally invited to provide some critical but constructive feedback on any aspect of the course, such as:Each student is formally invited to provide some critical but constructive feedback on any aspect of the course, such as: »contents, coverage, illustrations, subjects »assignments, tasks, exercises »bibliography, recommended reading »the WWW site for the course »the educational methods applied »…

35 34 Methods for teaching & assessment: inviting feedback (2) Why inviting the students to provide feedback?Why inviting the students to provide feedback? »Constructive remarks can lead to improvements of the course in future years. »Stimulates critical thinking by the students. »Students learn that constructive criticism is more difficult but more rewarding than simple negative criticism.

36 35 Active learning Co-operative learning Study close to reality Communication through Internet Each student creates a course-portfolio Peer assessment of students Students offer feedback on the course Electronic learning environment

37 36 Methods for teaching & assessment: conclusion: some recommendations Consider co-operative learning as a possible additional method.Consider co-operative learning as a possible additional method. Consider asking students to create a portfolio.Consider asking students to create a portfolio. Choose illustrations, examples, subjects of assignments that are close to the core interests of the students.Choose illustrations, examples, subjects of assignments that are close to the core interests of the students. Consider peer assessment as a possible additional method to assess the achievements of the students.Consider peer assessment as a possible additional method to assess the achievements of the students. Invite students to provide constructive, critical feedback.Invite students to provide constructive, critical feedback.

38 37 Thank you Questions?


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