Mapping the CILN IL Framework at Murray Edwards College

Using the CILN framework within your teaching and learning is not meant to be prescriptive, they said, and can be used as much or as little as you like.  This was great news and I felt very relieved that I did not need to redesign and create new information literacy sessions from scratch.  Instead, I mapped the framework to our existing training at Murray Edwards.

The framework itself includes four competencies, as follows:

  • Resource Discovery
  • Critical Assessment
  • Managing Information
  • Creating and Communicating

In the end, understanding how our existing Information Literacy provision related to them was not that difficult.  That was because one of the other CILN strands was mapping the four competencies to existing teaching provision across the wider Cambridge University.  Their face-to-face survey was extremely useful in assisting me to see where our user education sessions fitted into the four competencies and in highlighting those, we did not cover.

Our current information literacy provision includes providing a combined library and electronic induction to our fresher’s, enabling them to get started using the library. However, our advanced information skills training includes:

  • Looking at the cycle of information
  • Finding and evaluating information sources appropriate to their subjects
  • Constructing searches including tips and techniques
  • Evaluating the information they find and reviewing searches if required
  • An awareness of referencing and software to manage information

Therefore our training covers competency one, resource discovery and competency three, managing information.

However, translating the CILN framework to our library’s teaching and learning sessions cannot be done in isolation.  That is because Murray Edwards provides an optional programme called “Gateway” which runs alongside our student’s academic studies for both undergraduates and postgraduates. This includes:

  • Academic development
  • Career development
  • Internships
  • Funding for enterprising experiences

The programme is delivered by a variety of different people from both the college and university, including Fellows, alumnae and careers advisors.

The library sessions, which I run, are embedded within the Gateway Programme and part of the academic development strand, but are booked as stand-alone sessions.  Therefore, in order to comprehensively map the CILN framework and its four competencies, it was necessary to include the whole Gateway Programme not just the library sessions themselves.

Whilst the Library Information Literacy sessions cover competency one, resource discovery and competency three, managing information. The Gateway programme covers the other two competencies.  For example, competency two, critical assessment and competency four, creating and communicating are also included in the academic development strand but discussed by Fellows leading the subject specific sessions, such as Arts and Humanities, Science and Technology and Medicine.   This includes critical reading, ethics, finding their own voice and extracting and conveying essential information.

Looking at the Gateway programme as a whole it is clear, that we do incorporate the CILN Framework within our Teaching and Learning across college, but not specifically within the library itself.   This presents me with the interesting dilemma of whether to design specific library sessions that cover the two competencies not currently covered or to leave our training as it stands, as it is covered by Gateway.   At the moment, I do not have an answer to this but hopefully this blog post demonstrates one aspect of implementing the CILN Framework by translating it onto existing provision.

Kirstie Preest, Librarian

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