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The Scottish Information Literacy Project and Glasgow Caledonian University

Since its inception in 2004 the Scottish Information Literacy Project has worked with both external and internal partners building upon and creating good working relationships which are mutually beneficial to all parties. Our internal alliances and partners have and do include:

Our project aims and objectives are closely aligned with Government and University policy in relation to skills and employability. We have been involved in / contributed to several university initiatives including:

We also actively seek out and work with those in the University involved in innovative learning strategies such as blended learning.

We are keen to:

  • enhance research teaching linkages across GCU
  • develop action research projects in learning and teaching
  • develop appropriate pedagogical models to underpin innovations in the curriculum
  • embed innovation in learning and teaching using Caledonian Academy as a resource to identify and disseminate research findings
  • develop excellence in pedagogical research through internal and external collaborative activities.

We recognise that the active support of the Caledonian Academy and Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning is essential to achieve them.

Underpinning this internally focused work are two studies reported in:

Crawford, John et al (2004) Use and awareness of electronic information services by students at Glasgow Caledonian University: a longitudinal studyJournal of librarianship and information science, vol. 36, no.3, pp. 101-117 [the 18th most frequently cited article in the journals’ history]

and the follow up:

Crawford, J. (2006) The use of electronic information services and information literacy: A Glasgow Caledonian University study . Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 38 (1) pp.33-44

The first of these studies showed a clear relationship between the use of electronic information services and innovative learning and teaching agendas and progression and retention and course completion. The second study extended the debate to alumni and showed the importance of information literacy as an employability, workplace decision making and career progression skill. The studies both showed that information literacy skills are much better integrated into learning in some subject areas and departments than others and that, information skills, taught by subject librarians, are directly utilised in the workplace by former students who have studied in departments which show the highest awareness of the value of information literacy.

We are also active in an area which as yet to be recognised by LTAS, active engagement with the Curriculum for Excellence which has been a project priority since its inception.  In his lecture to the Scottish Learning Festival in September 2008, Professor Richard Teese, the Australian authority on Scottish education, criticised the Scottish universities for failing to engage directly with the Curriculum for Excellence.  Information literacy is a key transitional skill which inculcates skills which can be used directly in primary and secondary education and used as a bridge to the independent learning culture of higher education. We are currently working with Learning and Teaching Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence Literacy Team to develop early years information literacy training and to develop online information literacy CPD materials for teachers. There may be lessons for HE in the second part of this.

John Crawford & Christine Irving

Updated: 14 December, 2009