Information literacy and writing centres

Theme: Information literacy and writing centres

Author abstracts


 

A university writing centre in the middle of the library

 

Baldur Sigurðsson, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland (Presenting author)

The
Academic Writing Centre (WC) at the School of Education is located in
the middle of the library, a desk with a computer on it, in one of the
open working spaces. The attendance of thesis writing students has grown
rapidly from about 40 visits the first year to more than 300 visits
annually the last two years, which is about one third of the total
number of registered visits in the writing centre. Besides the
registered visits we have a number of drop-in visits from students
working in the library.

With increased knowledge about how the WC
works, more and more students come earlier in their writing process,
bringing in questions about their own research question, discussing
information handling, ideas and argumentation.

In this paper I
will argue that in the case of the School of education WC the location
in the library has been crucial for it?s development in several aspects:

The WC becomes a part of a normal working environment for the guests of the library ? and vice versa

Asking a writing tutor becomes as natural as asking a librarian

A library and a WC together provide a cohesive support during the writing process from beginning to end

Dealing
with many issues of writing is natural in the library and becomes
easier where most authentic non-electronic sources are just footsteps
away

Close cooperation between tutors and librarians on educating students about writing and information handling has mutual benefits

In January 2016, a WC will be opened in the National and University Library of Iceland, just opposite the entrance.

Keywords: writing centre ; academic writing ; writing tutoring


 

We
have to talk about collaboration: How a University Library and Writing
Centre work together to better help students with information literacy

 

Magnus Olsson (Presenting author) and Annika Bindler, Umeå University Library, Umeå, Sweden

Many
academic libraries are asked to do more for less money. By reaching out
to other academic services, for example, the writing centre, might make
it easier to fulfil the expected goals placed upon the library by the
University administration (Ferer, 2012). However, there are also
pedagogical reasons for collaboration. Academic librarians and academic
writing tutors who transcend the traditional organizational boundaries
within a university can together provide a more integrated picture of
information seeking and the writing process for their students. This
team approach, which emphasizes helping students become independent and
active learners, can strengthen their academic skills, such as
information literacy, that are essential when attending university.
Nevertheless, in Sweden the few university libraries that house writing
centres simply share a location rather than collaborate on a routine
basis. Umeå University Library is unusual because the Library and
Writing Centre are organized in the same unit, Scholarly Communication,
and work as a team. Collecting this expertise into one location allows
students more comprehensive support and convenient access: ‘one-stop
shopping’ (Cooke & Bledsoe, 2008). Drawing on our practices, we will
describe Umeå University Library?s collaborative approach to teaching
information literacy. Academic librarians are taking a greater role as
literacy educators in helping students create personal knowledge
(Elmborg, 2006). This personal knowledge is then transferred into
writing where students demonstrate their evaluation and understanding of
sources and through writing enter the conversations in their field,
thereby finding their own voice. Rather than compartmentalizing these
information seeking and writing processes, librarians and writing tutors
can work together with students to help them navigate and come to
understand that these processes are intricately linked.

Keywords: information literacy ; collaboration ; writing centre


 

Partners in information literacy: The research mentor program at UNH

 

Ann
Donahue
, Kim
Donovan
, and Carolyn Gamtso, University of New Hampshire, Manchester,
United States of America (presenting authors)

Introduction; The Research Mentor Program
is a partnership between the UNH Manchester Library and the College?s
Center for Academic Enrichment whereby student peer tutors receive
training in both practical writing and research strategies along with
theoretical applications for peer-assisted learning. Research Mentors
are able to holistically support the research process from brainstorming
topics; developing effective search strategies; and evaluating sources
to preparing outlines; developing thesis statements; and drafting
through the writing/revision cycle. Research Mentors contribute to the
effectiveness of information literacy instruction by recognizing gaps in
students? evidence, modelling the dispositions of the Information
Literacy framework in their interactions with students, and connecting
students to the librarians for further research instruction. The
Research Mentor Program originated in 2004 and evolved during the past
decade in response to classroom assessment and program evaluation
findings. The current adaptation aligns course curricula with the ACRL
?Framework for Information Literacy”. Mentors engage with each of the
frames through class discussions, hands-on activities, role-playing
exercises, and reflective writing entries. Study Findings; Two
evaluation studies found that this peer-assisted approach led to
improved student learning outcomes. In the first study, First-Year
Writing students demonstrated increased progress in information literacy
skill development across the semester. In the second study, the
Research Mentors identified a deepening of their own writing and
research skills and attributed this growth to their peer-assisted
experiences within the program. These findings confirm that reciprocal
learning environments, like the ones created through the Research Mentor
Program, positively impact learning for each member in the peer-to-peer
dyad. Impact; UNH Manchester?s Research Mentor Program impacts library
instruction by extending the influence of information literacy
principles beyond the librarian?s classroom instructional sessions into
the research mentor led tutorials and circling back to the library for
individually focused instruction.


 

Focusing on students: Librarians and writing tutors working together

 

Miritt Zisser and Bodil Moberg, Karolinska Institutet Universitetsbiblioteket, Stockholm, Sweden (Presenting authors)

The
aim of this presentation is to highlight and reflect on the advantages
of collaboration between librarians and writing tutors, as well as to
give three examples of fruitful collaboration at the Karolinska
Institutet University Library. Librarians and writing tutors have
different competencies and can help students with different aspects of
their work. This specialization is however not obvious to students,
which may lead to them approaching the wrong person, or focusing on
tangible and specific details instead of the big picture.

Collaboration
between librarians and writing tutors has many advantages, both for
students and staff. Firstly, it enables an overall view of the student?s
working process and a contextualization of their work in a way that
each group cannot achieve on their own. When the students understand the
context of their assignments and theses, they are able to assume
greater responsibility for their work, act more independently, and
develop their critical thinking. Secondly, collaboration leads to a
development of the staff?s competencies as we learn from each other, but
we also get a deeper and more nuanced understanding of each other?s
competencies, and can therefore plan teaching in a more efficient way.

During
our presentation, we will present and reflect on three activities on
which we have collaborated: a lecture which addresses all the aspects of
writing a thesis: searching, collecting, writing, and sharing; a
seminar which aims to deepen the understanding for why and how sources
are used, as well as how they are indicated in the text; and an online
self-correcting test which highlights all aspects of thesis writing.

The
collaboration has been successful and motivated us to find new areas of
collaboration. The next planned step is to offer students joint
appointments with librarians and writing tutors to discuss their
assignments.