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The first European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) took place on 22-25 October 2013, in Istambul, Turkey. I proposed two papers for this conference and I had the opportunity to get both accepted. This was an important milestone in my career to have two papers selected for the same conference, among the quite impressive sample from Iberoamerican works, Alejandro Uribe Tirado counted 23 contributions, in a conference with an European focus. Athough I could not attend the conference, both these papers were presented by my coauthors and they got published by Springer in the conference proceedings ‘Worldwide Commonalities and Challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice’. In the following paragraphs you will find the information of both articles and some bullet points about them.
1. Machin-Mastromatteo, J., Lau, J., Virkus, S. (2013). Participatory action research and information literacy: Revising an old new hope for research and practice. Worldwide Commonalities and Challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice: Communications in Computer and Information Science, 397, pp. 48-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-03919-0_5
- Slides available!
- Open access version
- Tracks and rebuilds a research agenda integrating information literacy with participative methodologies (E.g. action research).
- It deals with some topics that are also dealt with on my own PhD research, although on a meta level
- Develops and presents a questionnaire for worldwide experts that is being answered at this moment. You can still answer this questionnaire and share it with your colleagues!
- It studies the future contributions of this perspectives for the advance of information literacy
- Sheila Webber wrote a nice post about this research on her blog, thanks!
2. Machin-Mastromatteo, J., Virkus, S. (2013). Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills: A Mutual Shaping Perspective for Information Literacy Research and Practice. Worldwide Commonalities and Challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice: Communications in Computer and Information Science, 397, pp. 380-385. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-03919-0_50
- Slides available!
- Open access version
- It’s part of my PhD research, it integrates social media in a learning experience, discovering the role of information literacy in such integration.
- The research and methodological framework ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ is presented.
- It advances a conceptual, epistemological and methodological understanding that is important for online learning activities.
- This particular article discusses the conceptual idea of mututal shaping in this research
On September 19, 2013, CETYS Universidad hosted the International Colloquium ‘Higher Education: Alternative Models of Learning and Access’ and I had the opportunity of moderating its second panel ‘How to successfully swim in learning new schemes Info – skills, MOOCs, ICT and other technologies’. I dedicated some words of introduction to this interesting topic from my perspective as a librarian and as an academic and I also presented the panel’s speakers: Alison Hicks and Jesús Lau.
I wanted to share with you some of my notes of introduction to this session:
- Although my background is in Library and Information Science, I have been interested in technology and education since I graduated from my bachelor studies on Librarianship, as you may see if you read this blog. I have not been able to study or use Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), although they are perhaps one of the most important conceptual and technological innovations regarding alternative models of education.
- MOOCs are massive, imagine having hundreds or thousand of students; they are open, as they follow the philosophy of openness; and they are online, after all they are courses, online courses.
- MOOCs are quite interesting as an alternative model, as they may provide universal access to the university, which might have lost its way regarding its uni prefix.
- I see that MOOCs have plenty of opportunities and challenges for those teaching them and learning from them, some of them have to do with the competences individuals must develop to deal with them, to develop a strong discipline when it comes to study and for managing one’s own time.
- Information and digital literacies play a very important role when dealing with MOOCs as well as processes of academic certification and rigor, which acquire a new and perhaps more demanding dimension because MOOCs differ a great deal from classic courses.
- I believe MOOCs must be oriented and grounded on research and problem solving assignments, and that takes a very special academic to lead them. A special type of course needs special teachers and special students and they can be taught special competences for dealing with them. Training would involve various university departments, such as research, the academia, and the university libraries.
- It is interesting to point out the importance of the focus of this panel, where we have two librarians as guest speakers, Jesús Lau and Alison Hicks, as well as myself, the Learning and Information Development Librarian of CETYS Universidad, having the honor of introducing the topic in discussion and our distinguished guests. I believe that this configuration of speakers is quite a statement from CETYS’ part, because it means that libraries and librarians must be integrated as part of the engine of educational innovations. One clear path to follow is through information and digital literacies but we must question and enhance libraries’ role in breaking educational ground.
You can take a look at the whole session, which was recorded. I also prepared a Spanish/English bibliography on MOOCs, higher education and skills for this Colloquium.
I received a very kind invitation from a Mexican colleague to participate with a conference in the 3rd National Encounter and 1st International of Librarians in the Autonomous University of Chapingo (Mexico). On the October 4th and via Skype, I made my intervention titled “An approximation to the new competencies of the librarian”, which was some kind of summary of the keynote I delivered for the 3rd Conversation with librarians, bibliophiles and archivists. At the same time, this is part of some research I am conducting in parallel to my main research on the integration and mutual shaping of social media, higher education and information literacy.
With these working documents, I attempt to research on the new competencies and new roles that us librarians and related professionals are developing and fulfilling in the last few decades. We can take a work such as this in order to:
- Reflect upon our practices
- Rethink our roles
- To seek diverse and novel offers of professional and lifelong training
- To develop these new competencies and roles
- and finally innovate on library services