Comments on Information literacy Interventions in Nursing and Engineering Courses at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. Project Sponsored and financed by:Western Cape College of Nursing Health and Wellness Faculty HOD: Mr. Shafick Hassen Cape Peninsula University of Technology Dr. Oswald Franks :Dean Engineering
Information Literacy: SA Context • SAQA and the NQF. • Frier (2006:277) defines information literacy in a former paper. • Defining information literacy in SA. • SAQA and NQF – Infolit as a CCFO (critical cross field outcome) early 1990’s. • Sayed’s “The Segregated information highway”.
Information Literacy: SA Context • Apartheid divisions still loom large over education landscape, although much has been achieved since 1994. • Language differences a barrier to imparting information and eventual knowledge generation. • Tertiary education in the mother tongue? Can South Africa afford it? • Some very vocal proponents of this approach, eg. Prof. Rhoda Kadalie and Prof. Wilmot James (former Dean of Arts Faculty, UCT)
Information Literacy in the Classroom • Two to three lecture periods per semester. • Curriculum already loaded with course-related matter. • Very little room left for anything else. • Infolit instruction sessions need to be timed well. • These should take place when propensity for information needs to solve problems students encounter in their assignments is high.
Others concur with this approach • Morgan et.al (2007:43)state that timing these sessions is of utmost importance • Should be presented in such a manner that the Infolit session does not always revolve around a “which button do I push next approach” to teaching these skills. • Not always easy to achieve this approach: emphasis on reading journals, professional newsletters and e-journals.
Ground-breaking Infolit work in SA • Sayed's study, “The Segregated Information Highway” • Hands-on approach to infolit instruction. • Basic computer literacy skills assumed, not always the case though. • Difficulties as a result of this. • Financial implications for improved infolit education delivery, historical outline.
Feedback from Infolit study: Classroom Action Research 78% Engineering students do not have internet connectivity at home – previous study. Compares to 84% Nursing students -2009 study. This impacts directly on Infolit programs offered by library staff. Blackberry being rolled out in Africa as a substitute to expensive PC internet connectivity. Seacom Cable now active via Durban.
Feedback from Infolit study: Classroom Action Research • Qualitative feedback indicates that students struggle to formulate ideas. • Many are unable to state even the basics about what they have learnt in the Infolit education sessions. • English is a 3rd sometimes 4th language. • No real knowledge of Dewey, 70% Eng and 82% Nursing do not understand how Dewey works at all.
Feedback from Infolit study: Classroom Action Research Website used during training session: • 97% of Engineering respondents surveyed could mention a website used. • 56% of Nursing School respondents Use of reference materials: • 91% of Engineering respondents used these prior to coming to university and knew what they were. • 65% of Nursing respondents used these
Feedback from Infolit study: Classroom Action Research • Use of libraries before and during university - Engineering students:1.1% Cited School Libraries 42.7% Cited a municipal or local library 41.6% Cited a University of Tech Library 6.7% Cited a University Library 2.2% of the answers were unrelated to the question. 5.6 % left this one blank
Difference in teaching approach needing attention • Heavy reliance on class notes … library inundated with requests for photocopies of notes. • Chalk and talk • Textbook and teacher centred education • Outcomes based education (OBE) only taking root now. • Need for electronic repository of lectures. • After more than a decade, Infolit policy finally ratified by university senate & council.
Recommendationsand where we are heading • Further investigate mother tongue education at all levels and its feasibility. • We have come a long way in past decade at CPUT – from 4 OPACs in LIS in 1997, and an HDI to important equal roll player in SA Higher Ed including campus-wide WIFI at present. • Great strides, even though slowly, in information literacy education, Mechanical Engineering dept to be applauded, particularly their bridging courses. • More & faster connectivity, broadband on the horizon if not already here for SA. • Further rollout and partnering with universities of “free” Blackberry devices for mobile internet.
The End • My contact details Mark Douglas Frier B.A. (Amherst College), PGdipLIS (UCT), B.Bibl. (Hons)(UCT) Branch Library Manager: Athlone Campus Cape Peninsula University of Technology Cape Town, South Africa. FRIERM@CPUT.AC.ZA