Information Problems Encountered by Asian Students at the European Universities. A Case of Poland
University of Warsaw, Poland
For about a decade, we observe the internationalization of European universities. They want to go global both in the field of research and didactics. They open their doors for the students from beyond the EU, hence currently we observe a growing number of Eastern and Southeastern Asian students at European universities. Asian students coming to European universities face several information and communication challenges due to a different socio-cultural and educational background (Wiorogórska, n.d.). Cultural and linguistic differences can affect information literacy (Al-Muomen, Shaw, & Courtney, 2016). The topic of information literacy in cultural context is one of the current trends in studies of information users and still remains to be discovered deeply. Much has been done already in Australia and North America. However academic environments of those countries have a common denominator; English i,s the official language, so is the language of didactics and all the tools in educational milieu (e.g., library catalogs or information resources). In Europe the situation is different. English is not widely spoken in the majority of EU countries, so incoming international students and university staff must communicate in the language which is not a mother tongue for either part of the didactic process. For the purpose of this study, the target group will be Vietnamese students who come to study in Poland.
A qualitative approach was chosen to collect data. Quantitative research begins with a theoretical framework established from the literature review (Pickard, 2007). A survey of literature covering the issues related to international students was completed, paying particular attention to literature covering the issues of information literacy, information behavior, and information needs of Asian students at Western universities. From this framework a hypothesis and a set of interview questions was designed to obtain the richest and the most detailed data. Then, Vietnamese students will be interviewed to find out their experiences. They will be also asked to share any information- and library-related experiences or problems they encountered while studying in Warsaw. The interviews could not be conducted earlier since the first term finishes in mid-February and I decided to explore students’ experiences and opinions not earlier that after the first 15 weeks of their studies in Poland. Interviews will be manually coded, using the elements of grounded theory to create codes and construct categories from collected empirical data. In sum, I intend to interview 15 MA and PhD students enrolled at the University of Warsaw.
Data analysis and complete results of the study will be reported at the ECIL 2018 conference in September. I hope my study will contribute to better understanding of Asian students' information behavior, their information needs and expectations towards academic libraries. It will also help establish an information literacy education tailored for this group of users. I believe that the application of information literacy concepts and tools, theories of information studies and cross-cultural psychology, as well as research methods in LIS and, more widely, in the social sciences, might lead academic libraries to establish a successful program of support for Asian students, to assist in their study adventure at European universities, and in a life-long learning process after completion of their university education.
Al-Muomen, N., Shaw, D., & Courtney, M. (2016). “How will I know?” engagement with information resources: A comparison of undergraduates at Indiana and Kuwait Universities. Library Review, 65(4/5), 242–254.
Pickard, A. (2007). Research methods in information. London: Facet.
Wiorogórska, Z. The importance of information literacy for Asian students at European universities: Outlines. Paideia [Accepted for publication].
Critical Information Literacy Teaching in Canadian Academic Libraries
1University of Edinburgh, Scotland; 2Capilano University, North Vancouver, Canada
The 2016 publication of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy led to extensive discussions in the academic library community on the theories and practices related to information literacy teaching in higher education. In particular, discussions regarding librarians’ understanding of new critical perspectives on information literacy have come to the forefront. Following a literature review on the concept of critical information literacy and library pedagogy, a gap was identified regarding the understanding of information literacy teaching theory and practices in higher education in Canada and, in particular, in the province of British Columbia (B.C.).
This paper will provide an overview of research and findings related to the application of critical information literacy theory in B.C. higher education library practices. It explores how librarians apply a critical lens to their information literacy practices, such as addressing concepts of social justice and indigenizing library practices, both within a Canadian context, and beyond. It emerges from research conducted with librarians in higher education, as part of the thesis work for the credential of Doctor of Education, through the University of Edinburgh.
In the autumn of 2017, research was conducted to address the question: How are librarians in B.C. higher education applying critical information literacy in their practice? The mixed methods study involved participant librarians from the 25 public higher education institutions in the province who provide leadership for their institution’s information literacy programmes. The first phase of the research involved a survey probing existing practices and librarian understanding of theory underpinning those practices with a focus on the concept of critical information literacy. Twenty four survey responses were received from 22 institutions of the total population of 25 public institutions. For the second phase, 13 individuals, representing 13 different institutions of the total population of 25 institutions agreed to follow-up, semi-structured interviews. The in-depth interviews were conducted across institution types, sizes, and geographic regions in the province. Information related to awareness and application of theory in practice was gathered. An inductive approach was taken to analysing the qualitative data in both the surveys and the interviews, with the survey data forming the basis for the further exploration of themes emerging from the surveys. Quantitative data collected related to the particular institutions provided an opportunity to compare and contrast data between institutions and to determine whether institution type and location has an impact on the application of critical information literacy in higher education teaching. Themes arising from the research provide an understanding of how and why practices occur as they do and recommendations for further research and information sharing are identified by the researcher and the participants. This information will be useful to librarians teaching information literacy in tertiary institutions and researchers who are interested in further questions regarding the development of critical information literacy practices.
Information Literacy of Masaryk University Students and Evaluation of Campus-wide Course
Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Information literacy helps students in their academic and personal life (Shao & Purpur, 2016). A nationwide self-evaluation in information literacy identified a lot of problems in competencies of Czech university students (Landová, Prajsová, & Tichá, 2016). The question is how to correlate self-evaluation and objective evaluation. Competencies in awareness of information needs, its acquisition, critical evaluation, and effective use should be included in courses with consideration of information technology (Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, 2015). Information literacy education can be embedded in field curricula, long-term or one-shot sessions, where the first two approaches and connection with the real life of individual students have better results (Anderson & May, 2010). E-learning helps students choose the time and topics that suit their needs, but the role of tutor is important (Nichols Hess & Greer, 2016).
Objectives and Methodology
This research had two related goals. The primary goal was to determine the level of information literacy of Masaryk University students by means of a test. This level could be improved by the campus-wide information literacy course. Therefore, the second goal was to identify changes in competencies of students after the semester online course by comparing the pre-test and post-test results. Both results should be reflected in field curricula or the evaluated course to strengthen education in areas identified as insufficient competencies.
Data was collected using an online questionnaire in autumn semesters in 2016 and 2017 (pre-tests in the first two weeks of each semester, post-tests after the studying period in December to February). Both tests were distributed to all students enrolled in the course at the time of data collection. We received 1287 responses in pre-tests and 550 responses in post-tests from all nine faculties at Masaryk University.
In self-evaluation, students felt they were best at Internet searching, defining the topic, and formal text processing. On the other hand, working with databases, creation of text, and sharing of one’s own work received the worst self-evaluation. In the pre-test, students had the most problems with library services, self-presentation, and visualization, while suitability of resources, social networks, and structure of document were the least problematic topics. After the course, the worst results were in response to questions about type of text, search query, form of a text, and visualization. On the contrary references, data storage and backup, resource evaluation, and orientation in a document had the best results. The paired t-test showed a statistically significant improvement of competencies.
Anderson, K., & May, F. A. (2010). Does the method of instruction matter? An experimental examination of information literacy instruction in the online, blended, and face-to-face classrooms. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36(6), 495–500.
Association of College and Research Libraries. (2015). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Retrieved September 23, 2016 from http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/issues/infolit/Framework_ILHE.pdf
Landová, H., Prajsová, J., & Tichá, L. (2016). Information literate or not?: A nationwide survey among university students in the Czech Republic. In S. Kurbanoğlu et al. (Eds.), Information Literacy: Key to an Inclusive Society, The Fourth European Conference on Information Literacy, ECIL 2016, Prague, Czech Republic, October 10-13, 2016: Revised Selected Papers (pp. 317–326). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Nichols Hess, A. K., & Greer, K. (2016). Designing for engagement: Using the ADDIE model to integrate high-impact practices into an online information literacy course. Communications in Information Literacy, 10(2), 264–282.
Shao, X., & Purpur, G. (2016). Effects of information literacy skills on student writing and course performance. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(6), 670–678.
Influence of Leadership Behaviour on Information Culture Typology within Higher Education Institutions: A Multiple Case Study
Tallinn University, Estonia
The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study that explored how leadership behaviour influences information culture typology in higher education institutions. The study examined how thirteen aspects of leader behaviour, found to be associated with effectiveness at departmental level, are in relation with the main five attributes by which, according to Choo (2013), any information culture type can be characterised: the primary goal of information management; information values and norms; information behaviours in terms of information needs, information seeking, and information use.
Oliver (2011) argues that information culture is a part of the whole organisational culture and is inextricably intertwined with it. Curry and Moore (2003) believe that the synthesis of information culture and organizational culture is an integral part of the process of becoming a knowledge-based organization. Virkus (2011) reports that one of the dominant features of successful development of information literacy (IL) is effective leadership and good management. Several other researchers have highlighted the importance of leadership and organizational culture within an organisation and their relationship with information culture. Findings from previous research suggest that the part of organizational culture that deals specifically with information: perceptions, values, behaviour, and norms that people have about creating, sharing, and managing information, has significant relations to information use in organizations (Lauri et al, 2016). Although leadership and management have received some attention in different IL frameworks and guidelines and by some IL authors, it is not an issue has received much attention in IL and information culture research (Virkus and Mandre, 2015). Therefore, this study is designed to investigate the influence of leadership on information culture within higher education institutions in Estonia.
A qualitative method approach is used in the study. The researchers take a constructivist approach and employ a multiple case study research strategy. Semi-structured interviews are used for data gathering from academic staff of higher education institutions. The interview protocol was developed by the researchers on the basis of the previous research.
The results of the research project show that leadership behaviour influences information culture typology in higher education institutions.
Choo, C.W (2013) Information culture and organizational effectiveness. International Journal of Information Management, 33,5, 775–779.
Curry, A., & Moore, C. (2003). Assessing information culture: An exploratory model. International Journal of Information Management, 23(2), 91–110.
Lauri, L., Heidmets, M., & Virkus, S. (2016). The information culture of higher education institutions: The Estonian case. Information Research, 21(3). Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/21-3/paper722.html
Oliver, G. (2011). Organizational culture for information managers. Oxford: Chandos Publishing.
Virkus, S. (2011). Development of information-related competencies in European higher open and distance learning: An exploration of contextual factors (Thesis). Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester.
Virkus, S., & Mandre, S. (2015). Information literacy, leadership and management. In S. Kurbanoğlu et al. (Eds.), Information Literacy: Moving Toward Sustainability, Third European Conference on Information Literacy, ECIL 2015, Tallinn, Estonia, October 19–22, 2015: Revised Selected Papers (pp. 80–89). Cham: Springer International Publishing.