Mapping the Territory: a new direction for information literacy in the digital age
Evidence increasingly suggests that the information behaviours of students entering further and higher education have changed dramatically as a consequence of the internet. As learning developers in an HE art and design context, we are seeing many new students who exhibit an unfocused approach to research, bouncing from link to link with little analytical or critical thought. Such behaviour is leading to a growing lack of understanding concerning plagiarism and issues surrounding academic integrity. This in turn is having a significant effect on the quality of students' academic writing and is challenging the role academic libraries have traditionally played in the student experience.
This paper reflects on a research project called Mapping the Territory at the University for the Creative Arts. The project, which began in 2006, seeks to investigate a new pedagogy for information literacy. The project team has been looking at an integrated approach between librarians, study advisors and key academic staff in order to develop workshops that actively engage learners and help them to develop transferable skills in information literacy and information behaviour. Our research so far has focused on an extensive literature review exploring areas such as inquiry based learning, information behaviour, cognitivist theories and the nature of research in art and design. We have also conducted a series of focus groups at the Maidstone and Canterbury campuses, asking students about their experience of research and how such skills could relate to employability. A workshop model is being piloted where students have the opportunity to search for, select and begin to make use of information which is relevant to their field of enquiry. This model can be adapted to suit a range of disciplines and aims to start to embed research skills at an early stage with the hope of having a positive impact on student retention and employability.
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