Thursday, 4 April 2013

My first conference presentation

From the LILAC 2013 programme
Having attended LILAC as a delegate twice, I thought it was time to attend as a presenter. Luckily, this year I'd been involved with a Jisc project investigating links between students' attitudes towards and understanding of digital literacy and how it relates to employability. One of Jisc's requirements is that we disseminate our findings and, as one of the leading international conferences on information literacy, LILAC was identified early on as a key place to do this. We thought it was important to represent the collaborative nature of the project in our presentation so I asked Federica Oradini, senior lecturer in e-learning, to co-present with me. We submitted our conference proposal (my first ever!) and crossed our fingers. We were delighted to receive the email saying that it had been accepted.

Fede and I met up a few times prior to the conference to develop the slides and decide what to prioritise. We'd submitted a short paper so we couldn't cover everything. The project manager, Fiona O'Brien, sat in on our final run through (which had some technical glitches!) and made some helpful suggestions. However, part of what we wanted to talk didn't happen until the Thursday before. This was our "Get the digital edge" day, which was one of the key outputs of the project. Some short interviews had been filmed to ask students what they'd gained from the day. Fede and I went though these the night before our presentation to pick out a few to show.

Presenting at a conference for the first time was a bit daunting so I'm glad that it was LILAC and that Fede was with me - both of those really helped. I always get nervous when speaking in public, as I'm sure many people do, but nowadays I also get a buzz out of it. The time flew by and I realised afterwards there were a few things I'd forgotten to mention. We were asked some good questions and I hope everyone who attended got something from it.

Our presentation and some photos from the session (thanks to our Chair Steve McIndoe) are below.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Exploring Ancient Egypt (in Oxford)

This post relates to an excellent visit to Oxford last Saturday (10 November), organised by the Egypt Exploration Society (EES). It was an early start and a full day but I met many interesting people and got to indulge my passion for Egyptology.

The first stop on my group's itinerary was the Pitt Rivers Museum. Dr Alice Stevenson, a Researcher of World Archaeology at the Museum, gave us an interesting talk about the origins of the collection and the man behind it, Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers. We then had some time to explore the Museum - I defy anyone not to be enchanted by this weird and wonderful collection of objects from every corner of the globe. You enter the Pitt Rivers through the Natural History Museum (another of my passions) and I couldn't resist spending a few minutes checking out the dinosaurs. I'm now keen to bring my niece and nephew on a trip here! Anyway, when you're next in Oxford, this place is well worth visiting. If you're not able to get to Oxford anytime soon, or fancy a sneak preview, virtual collections are available.

After the wonderful chaos of Pitt Rivers, we then visited the more ordered Ashmolean Museum. I'd been meaning to visit here ever since its refurbishment some three years ago but it was well worth the wait. Liam McNamara, the Assistant Keeper of the Ancient Egypt & Sudan collections, gave us a highly enthusiastic tour of the fascinating new galleries of Ancient Egypt & Nubia, which only opened about a year ago.

After lunch, we visited the Griffith Institute, located in the Sackler Library. Elizabeth Fleming and Cat Warsi, Assistants to the Keeper of the Archive and to the Editor of the Topographical Bibliography) showed us some treasures from their Howard Carter collection of materials. These include some magnificent drawings by Howard Carter, as well as his diaries, which include the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb.

Many thanks to everyone who was involved in making this such an excellent day!

If you're reading this and are interested in Ancient Egypt, no matter where you are in the world, I strongly encourage you to become a member of the EES (would also make an excellent Christmas present!).

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The only way is LILAC: Friday parallel sessions and round up

Information Literacy Group stand
CILIP CSG Information Literacy Group stand - we got many new members at LILAC! Find out how to join at

Student centred active learning approach in an online information literacy credit course for doctoral students 
The University of Tartu Library in Estonia has been running online, credit bearing courses since 2006. For PhD level, there is an "introduction to information research" course. Information literacy is presented as a transferable skill and is a university wide elective subject. The course concentrates on effective information search and management, is conducted within Moodle, is available in both Estonian and English, and offers beginner to advanced options. It takes nine weeks to complete.

Atlas.ti was used to analyse the course.

Feedback summary:
  • course was challenging and time consuming
  • search tips were useful
  • students thought the course should be compulsory - for lecturers too
  • good for getting rid of old/bad search habits
Information Literacy through Inquiry: Using Problem-Based Learning in Information Literacy Instruction

One shot information literacy delivered in one hour.

Students suffer from "I Already Know That" syndrome so need to challenge them. To do this, Alan used modified problem based learning in a session that was peer observed. Students had to get into groups of three - a seeker, a scribe and a spokesperson. A research trigger was provided to drive the session - this could be anything relevant to the subject area. The presentation section provided an opportunity for reflection. It was about the process rather than the product. An energised atmosphere was observed in the room. Might be more POGIL (process oriented guided enquiry learning) rather than traditional PBL.

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain. 

Eliot, T.S., The Waste Land, Project Gutenberg, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost, viewed 26 April 2012.
April is definitely not the cruelest month when you get to attend LILAC! By far the best conference I have ever attended. I've gained lots of inspiration for my work and my PG Cert. I also caught up with old friends and made new ones. Many thanks to the LILAC committee for all their hard work in organising this outstanding event!