Exploring and embedding literacies for student outcomes
David Baume presented a list of literacies identified in the literature such as academic literacy, careers literacy, digital literacy, information literacy and research literacy. The audience suggested additionally data literacy, emotional literacy and creative literacy.
But which literacies are embedded in our programmes? David noted an emphasis on careers literacy (employability), information literacy (referencing and plagiarism), library literacy (knowing your subject librarian) and asked why some literacies are getting more attention than others.
He noted the changing role of the term literacy, previously being ‘able to read and write’, but now becoming a broader meaning of 'being competent or capable'; something he explores further in a blog post ‘Literacies, Part One’.
Considering the role of knowledge vs. skills and the importance of both, he asked “where do competencies fit in?” and suggested that it's a combination of the two. It's not just about doing something, but knowing why you are doing it a particular way.
David presented some emergent issues in information literacies, based on a CDE project to investigate whether these issues relate to other literacies.
When it comes to programme design, he highlighted the perils of providing direct links to course materials as it doesn't help students to develop the necessary information literacies and urged programme designers to embed literacies in existing teaching, rather than making them a separate subject, e.g. teach numeracy as part of teaching engineering.
But do academics have to have these literacies in order to teach them? David emphasised that academics need to work with experts in these literacies such as learning designers, learning technologists, librarians and careers staff.
During the audience discussion, Linda Amrane-Cooper noted that there are additional modules available to UoL students for particular literacies, but that distance learners tend not to do things unless they are assessed. We should therefore consider either how we motivate them to take the additional courses or how we fully embed literacies into the curriculum so they aren’t seen as a bolt-on.