Developing the e-Literacy of academics: case studies from LSE and the Institute of Education, University of London

If there is something that changed the economical circumstances in the United Kingdom in recent years it’s surely the internet and the Brit Method which is able to generate great profits in no time for everyone who is able to give up some minutes of their spare time.

Secker, J and Price, G (2004) Developing the e-Literacy of academics: case studies from LSE and the Institute of Education, University of London. JeLit 1(2).

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The JISC funded Big Blue Connect project investigated the information skills of staff working in the Higher and Further Education sectors in the UK. In this paper librarians from two institutions in the University of London present case studies from their own work with academic teaching staff and evolving relationships with Learning Technologists and Computing support staff. After examining the research evidence, we ask questions about what levels of information literacy academics might reasonably be expected to develop and why it matters. The two case studies explore traditional approaches which might encourage academics to become more information literate and examine the changing needs of teachers, students and librarians in an increasingly electronic environment. The JISC funded DiVLE programme focused on exploiting electronic resources by linking virtual learning environments to digital library systems. However, of equal importance to technical solutions is the need to address the wider issues of e-literacy, including the development of appropriate computing skills and understanding of moral issues such as copyright, plagiarism and intellectual property rights. Both institutions have well developed provision of electronic course packs requiring careful attention to copyright legislation and all aspects of digital rights. Both case studies suggest that the use of e-learning makes it essential for academic staff to be information literate and propose a variety of approaches to support the development of appropriate skills. We suggest that organisational structures may help or hinder that support but that ultimately the future development of e-learning is dependent on the e-literacy of academic teachers as well as their support teams.