Last modified on July 22, 2014, at 22:39

GEN757

CLL Workshop mini-project reporting template

Part one: Project description

Project fundholder / Project leader


Jane Secker

Funding awarded


£1500

Institution


London School of Economics and Political Science

Project title


SADL: Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy

Project description





Twenty undergraduate students will be recruited to join the LSE Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy network. Participation will require their attendance at 4 meetings in the year to provide advice and support for colleagues in Library, Teaching and Learning Centre and Centre for Learning Technology who are developing a set of resources to embed skills support materials into LSE’s VLE, Moodle.


Students will be recruited from two departments at LSE, Statistics and Sociology. They will be part of a pilot programme that aims to embed digital and information literacy in the curriculum throughout the School and to develop relevant resources in this area to support both qualitative and quantitative social sciences disciplines. Following the publication of a report on student support at LSE, work to develop a Digital and Information Literacy Framework at LSE and to pilot this in these two departments has already been agreed. The SADL project will extend the remit of the work to allow students to take part in the development of resources and to ensure that resources that are made available in Moodle meet the needs of students, through the organisation of several focus group meetings.


The team will recruit students from 1st, 2nd and 3rd years in 2013/14. The students will be asked to attend a number of sessions (meetings, focus groups) during which they will be expected to contribute to the content and format of the future VLE-based resources as well as to provide feedback on resources that are being developed. Students will receive vouchers for their time and they will also get refreshments at the workshops or sessions they attend. A project blog will be set up and the students will be encouraged to write short blogs posts throughout the term about their activities to disseminate good practice to their peers. A prize will be offered for the best blog post.


Following the completion of the project, a workshop will be run at LSE for staff to provide advice and guidance on embedding digital, academic and information literacies into the curriculum, based on the experiences of the Departments of Statistics and Sociology. The workshop will explore what can be delivered in face to face teaching versus what can be provided digitally and the range of resources available in Moodle. It will also discuss the value of engaging students in this work.

Project aims and objectives





Project aims and objectives:

• Embedding digital, academic and information literacy support into the curriculum to meet the needs of LSE undergraduate students

• Developing an online resource bank for LSE teachers of learning development, study skills, digital literacy, information literacy materials that can be embedded into courses in Moodle

• Creating a Student Ambassadors Network to seeking advice and opinions from students to ensure the resources are fit for purpose

• Sharing best practice on embedding digital, academic and information literacies into the curriculum with the teaching and learning community at LSE.


Intended outputs (resources e.g. documents, videos, learning objects etc.)




  • Project Blog: http://lsesadl.wordpress.com
  • Workshop for staff and associated resources
  • Report on success of network and future areas of research
  • A sample of learning resources to be shared as OERs possibly to include some videos

Intended Outcomes for staff




  • Greater awareness of importance of embedding digital, academic and information literacies into a discipline
  • A set of resources to support social sciences teaching
  • Greater understanding of the students’ needs in terms of digital and information literacy

Intended Outcomes for Students




  • Greater understanding of the importance of digital and information literacy in the context of their discipline
  • Opportunity to provide peer support to fellow students and to demonstrate their commitment to their own development

Funding outline (how money is to be spent; list items or costs)




Funding will be used to launch a Student Ambassadors Network and although students will not be paid for their time, they will be offered vouchers and refreshments to encourage them to attend. The funding will also be used for a staff development workshop, which may require an outside speaker.

  • Vouchers for students who take part (20 students X £30) - £600
  • Lunch / refreshments for 4 meetings - £400
  • Prize for best student blog post (£100)
  • Staff workshop on embedding digital literacies into the curriculum: £400

Total budget requested: £1500

Activities (brief outline of work)






  • Recruit staff and course cohorts to work with.
  • Establish student ambassador network including requirements for students participation, application and selection process
  • Establish student blog for reflections throughout the year
  • Set up 4 meetings for students (1 MT, 2 in LT and 1 in ST)
  • Meeting 1 To establish student needs in terms of DL / IL in their discipline
  • Meeting 2: To review some sample materials and provide feedback
  • Meeting 3: To review more developed resources and provide feedback and peer support for fellow students
  • Meeting 4: To review the completed resources, suggest any further developments and reflect on their own participation in the project

Dissemination routes (e.g. events, posters, webinars…)




  • Conference presentation at LILAC 2014 (or similar event) on success or otherwise of student ambassador network
  • Presentation to HEA cluster event
  • There is a possibility we could run a live streamed seminar towards the end of the project as part of the LSE NetworkED seminar series.



Part two: Final outputs

Project resources inventory (list of items created)



Workshop resources: we developed and ran 4 new workshops for students. Workshop resources are all available at: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl/resources/

Student Ambassadors profiles: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl/our-ambassadors/

Badges recognised by Mozilla are being given to students for participation: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl/badges-and-recognitions/

Confirmed Conference Presentations on the SADL project: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl/conferences-presentations-and-staff-development/

  • University of London RIDE conference (November 2013)
  • LILAC conference (April 2014)
  • ARLG Conference (June 2014)
  • HEA conference (July 2014)
  • APT Conference (July 2014)
  • ECIL conference (October 2014)

Resources will also be developed and shared via the project website for a staff development workshop on Embedding Digital literacies, scheduled to run in Michaelmas Term 2014.

Link to project resources and blog

(URLs)

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl/

How did the project utilise and/or develop digital literacies in the participants?








Attach a mapping of key project activities onto http://www.open.ac.uk/libraryservices/subsites/dilframework/dilframework_view_by_level.pdf


The 20 Student Ambassadors attended 4 workshops which aimed to develop their digital literacies. The workshops were also an opportunity for the project team to better understand the existing abilities that students have in this area. The workshop topics included:

  • Introduction to SADL: finding and evaluating information
  • Academic Practices: Reading and Research
  • Managing and sharing information
  • Managing your digital footprint and the digital future

Between session students are encouraged to blog about their experiences and to share what they were learning with students on their course either through study groups, email or social media.

We also carried out a survey on students’ research practices at the outset of the project and repeated this at the end of the project along with an evaluation of the overall programme.

We aim to develop student abilities in the following areas according the OU framework:

  • Understand and engage in digital practices (workshops 1-4)
  • Find information (Workshop 1 and 2)
  • Critically evaluate information, online interactions and online tools (workshops 1,3 and 4 plus blogging activity)
  • Manage and communicate information (Workshop 3 – plus blogging and peer support / sharing role)
  • Collaborate and share digital content (Workshop 3 and 4 plus blogging, videos and peer support / sharing role)

General Issues raised by project





Undergraduate students have varying levels of digital literacy and many have limited knowledge about tools and support available at LSE and elsewhere. Students were however enthusiastic to learn about technologies and practices that support their studies.

We were interested in how students can act as peer mentors for developing digital literacies. We found students were willing to share their knowledge with their peers but unsure how to do this in practice. It was clear we needed to provide them with tools and structures to help them support others.

Motivating students to attend workshops was helped by use of Amazon vouchers and recognition on their HEAR statement (which student’s perceive as helping with employability).We also experimented with online badges which we gave to students for attendance at workshops and specific activities e.g. blogging and peer support. This meant that overall attendance at the workshops was very good.

Disciplinary differences between students in qualitative and quantitative social sciences were significant, due to the different expectations of the type of work and activities they undertake on their courses. There was merit in bringing the students together to compare their practices. It was also beneficial to have a mix of first, second and third years involved in SADL to see how their practices evolve over the three years of study.

Barriers / Challenges e.g. accessibility





Workshops were time consuming to prepare and run so scalability is an issue we are concerned about in the future. One option might be to involve student ambassadors in delivering the workshops, however resources for four new 1.5 hour workshops are now available and we plan to share these as OERs in Jorum.

Disciplinary differences mean that workshops ideally need to be customised for students in different disciplines – workshop 2 was particularly challenging for Statistics students who are not required to read as much as social policy students.

Students were less prolific users of social media than we expected and hesitant about blogging on our public facing website. However, they did want other students on their course to know they were an Ambassador. We also found they wanted us to publicise the project more within their department once they had been recruited and the project was underway.

All resources were made available on our website so students could download them afterwards. We had no specific issues arise related to accessibility.

Solutions deployed to above issues and challenges





We had a strong project team and shared out responsibility for the 4 workshops – each session one team members took the lead for planning and organising. Our Research Officer was also critical in communicating with students between workshops to keep them motivated and to deal with any queries.

We tried to build in different activities for students from different disciplines – but also to get them to reflect on the differences between their subjects.

We provided laptops rather than assuming that students would bring their own devices to many workshops (although in fact most students were happy to use their own computer). It was particularly important in the final workshop to bring equipment as we made student videos and used Flip Cameras.

We sent additional correspondence to the departments in March 2014 to inform them about the students we had appointed and progress to date. We have also invited representatives from the academic staff to attend the end of SADL student celebration, where we will be giving students certificates for completing the project.

How the roles/activities of the participant’s learning landscape was effectively changed by the project


Anecdotal evidence suggests that our students are more aware of the various technologies that can help them to find, manage and use information effectively at the end of the workshops. They were also far more aware of their digital footprint following workshop 4 and many took immediate steps to improve their web presence.

We will repeat the Research Practices questionnaire in mid-June to capture more formal feedback on how the students’ learning landscape was changed by their involvement in the project. This information will be made available on the website in July.

We also have a series of student made videos which capture their thoughts on why the student ambassador role is important, what the most important thing they have learnt from the project was and what they found out about their digital footprint. Many students state in their video they were more aware of resources and support available at LSE following SADL. Some mentioned specific tools they learnt to use e.g. the Library Search tool. The session on plagiarism was also well received by students. Students were overwhelming positive about their role as a student ambassador. Two students took up the opportunity to speak to some Year 12 pupils at an outreach session with a sixth form and they also spoke at a HEA event in May 2014.

Recommendations to future projects of this nature




Student engagement and ensuring the workshops are relevant to actual needs is critical. Workshops need to be well planned with clear learning outcomes so that the participants understand what they will get out of the sessions. However, the team also need flexibility to cover new areas or issues that arise during the sessions. We tried to include ‘quick wins’ in each workshop but included activities to keep the students motivated and engaged rather than demonstrating tools or lecturing them.

The workshops were as much an opportunity to learn from the students, so we asked students about tools they already used for example to manage information. We also collected feedback on existing support materials the Library have in Moodle.

We found that asking students to work in groups with flip chart paper to capture their research practices was particularly effective. We have numerous illustrations from the students to illustrate how they complete assignments, how their find and manage information and tips for managing their digital identity, which we will be making available on our website.

Vouchers, refreshments, and the formal recognition of their role through a statement on students’ HEAR record all helped recruit students. The involvement of the Students’ Union and the academic departments was also very important as part of the recruitment and engagement process.