By Jennifer Dumbleton
Academic liaison librarian
Institute of Education
Last month I attended LILAC, where Ray Land was one of the keynote speakers. His theory of threshold concepts and troublesome learning are very interesting, and I’m sure many of you are already familiar with them. I am, however, a pragmatic individual and am mostly interested in the practical application of thoughts. What I took away from the conference was how important collaboration is, particularly for students. If we take Land’s premise that the moment of understanding a critical concept within a field can happen at any time, and that the liminal period affects a student’s behaviour, then it is especially crucial that students have a strong support network encouraging them to learn, explore, research, evaluate, and analyse information. From what I’ve seen since joining in August, the IoE is great at this (at least in terms of working with the library). I just wanted to highlight the best practice I am seeing! I’m sure there is space for even more best practice, though.
I would also like to take this opportunity to talk a bit about Aspire, the new resource list system supported by the library. Aspire allows you to update reading lists as and when you have time; essentially, this should save you a fair few emails! You can add items from Library Search; likewise you can add from Amazon and request that the library buy copies using the Library Note function. The library will continue to check for new editions, etc, but it is expected that staff will now add/remove items from their own resource lists. An added bonus is the dashboard, which allows you to see which items are being clicked on, which items students are saying they will/won’t read, and more. There are university-wide staff development sessions in June, and I will also be running more sessions specifically for IoE staff. As always, I am more than happy to set up 1-1 sessions with staff, too.