Writing learning cases for an information literacy tutorial

Gunhild Austrheim

Abstract


The research and writing processes are often hidden mysteries to our students. A key point in the online tutorial Search and Write (Søk and Skriv) has been to supply our students with tools to handle these processes. Learning cases embedded in the tutorial allow us to demonstrate a variety of working techniques and to better cater for a diverse student population.

The tutorial can be used as an independent resource for students and as a teaching aid for both library sessions on information literacy and for faculty-led sessions on academic writing. Our tutorial is available in Norwegian and in English and thereby the tutorial can be used with both local and international students. An online tutorial is aimed at all students and therefore the information literacy content is of a general kind. The pedagogical foundation for the Search and Write tutorial is in contextual learning. Adding context to our general content has been important to us and we decided to develop learning cases for this purpose.

In our online tutorial we have developed three sample student blogs, Kuhlthau’s information search process functions as a template in structuring the students’ stories. The blogs are learning cases, developed with the intent of illustrating various aspects of academic writing tasks. The blog stories are idealized and touch upon many of the known stumbling stones for student writers. Contextualising the search and write process like this let us explore the diversity of student assignments and from various fields of study.

When our real-life students use Search and Write they may use their own research question as a point of departure. They can read the blog stories and relate these stories to their own experiences. They can use the How to brainstorm-tips provided in Sofie’s blog. Christian’s use of tutors, library staff and his writing group can provide guidance on who to ask for help. For students writing literature reviews Oda’s systematic approach to searching can be helpful. Good writers have the tacit knowledge that feedback and re-writes are necessities of text productions. The tutorial help make some of the tacit knowledge in writing visible to the students.

Our sample blogs are pedagogical text, written with the intention of providing information and understanding of the research and writing processes for the students. The blog stories can be used as interventions in the interaction between student and library staff. As the blogs are structured along the stages of Kuhlthau’s information search process it aids the library staff in choosing an appropriate interventions strategy from her Zones of intervention. A further possibility is to consider our sample blogs as templates for creating learning cases related to the student population and learning needs at one’s own library. Writing learning cases are one way in which teaching librarians can explore the new learning landscape.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.15845/noril.v3i1.129

Copyright (c) 2011 Gunhild Austrheim

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University of Bergen Library

ISSN: 1890-5900