About Jane Secker

Digital Literacy and Copyright Advisor at LSE's Centre for Learning Technology

Secondment to International Programmes

This week I am starting a two day a week secondment to LSE’s International Programmes, the department that is responsible for degrees and diplomas studied by 45,000 students based around the world and accredited by the University of London. I know something about their work as for five years or so I was a Fellow at UoL’s Centre for Distance Education. I will be working in the International Programmes office on Monday and Friday for the next 6 months.

I’m going to be working to develop a teaching course including a digital literacy programme aimed at teachers. The teachers are based at affiliate institutions around the world as many students studying for a University of London qualification also receive institution from an affiliated institution. The idea is to offer this group a teaching certificate and although it won’t be a full blown PG Cert, it will cover many similar elements to a teaching course in higher education. The challenge is that much of the course will be taught online as the teachers are based around the world, although I do get to visit Singapore in January to deliver workshops to the teachers. The plan is that the course will have digital literacies embedded in to it, to equip teachers for 21st Century teaching. It will also explore the challenges of teaching in the digital age and assumptions about the concept of students as ‘digital natives’. I will be looking for existing courses and OERs for ideas as I know there are plenty of existing courses on this theme. Models like 23 Things also seem to offer ideas about the approach we could use to delivering the content. In addition to teaching about digital literacies we want to use a variety of appropriate technologies with the teachers to encourage them to share ideas and be reflective about their teaching.

My first step will be carrying out a search to find out about similar existing courses and to find a suitable teaching model. I also need to devise a curriculum and find out more about the teachers, their current practices and use of technologies. It’s very exciting starting a new project and today feels like the first step on a new adventure! I will be working in LTI on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on my regular job, but there are of course many parallels, particularly as we are launching the second year of the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy project, with 4 undergraduate departments this year! I am also sure that many of the LTI workshops can be adapted for the teachers working with International Programmes.

Supporting researchers with information literacy: Czech good practice

I’ve just attended an Information Literacy seminar held at Charles University in Prague, (founded in 1348, so around 500 years older than LSE) although the meeting was at the more modern Faculty of Social Sciences. I was invited to give the keynote which opened the seminar and to speak about the support for research students we offer in LTI, working with colleagues in LSE Library. The IVIG seminar, which is an information literacy seminar, was organized by the Association of Libraries of Czech Universities, Institute of Information Studies and Librarianship of the Charles University in Prague, and SPRIG Civic Association. I have made my presentation available on Slideshare.

The programme was really interesting and it isn’t that often you get to meet over 60 Czech academic librarians. The group arranged for an interpreter to help me out, as the entire day was (unsurprisingly) in Czech. I had been invited following meeting Hana Landová, Lenka Bělohoubková and Ludmila Ticha last year at the ECIL conference in Istanbul. Their information literacy group has made great progress furthering good practice in the Czech Republic and the seminars they organize are very popular.

The focus of the seminar was supporting PhD students and early career researchers and there were presentations from a wide range of universities. Overall I found the issues they were discussing were very similar to those we experience in the UK, such as how to promote workshops to PhD students and also how to evaluate their effectiveness. The sessions being offered by Czech librarians were quite similar to those we run in LTI and LSE Library: literature searching, managing references, citation analysis, copyright issues. A couple of differences I noticed were several people talked about offering courses to PhD students on the publication process and on writing an academic (or scientific) paper. Courses on the writing process are run by LSE’s Teaching and Learning Centre, but combining this with issues of open access and identifying high impact journals in your field could be really interesting. Petra Dědičová from Brno, University of Technology was one speaker who had a particularly impressive programme of support for PhD students, with a complimentary Moodle course. However, I was also impressed with the use of BYOD (bring your own device) in workshops for PhD students described by Kristýna Paulová from the Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague. They reported no technical problems and this seemed like an excellent idea for a BYOD pilot with LSE students. You can read a longer post about the seminar on my own blog, but I’d like to thank the group for inviting me to Prague for a fascinating event to a beautiful city.

September 29th, 2014|Research Skills|Comments Off on Supporting researchers with information literacy: Czech good practice|

The North American perspective: the same, but different


Photo from Flickr taken by astrangelyisolatedplace

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a conference in Portland, Oregon, held at Portland State UniversityLibrary Instruction West is an information literacy conference and I was representing a national committee called Co-PILOT that I helped to set up, and LSE. Co-PILOT is a community of practice which encourages those teaching information and digital literacy to share their teaching materials as open educational resources (OERs). This helps to share resources, saving us all reinventing the wheel across higher education and hopefully encourages good practice. I was speaking at the conference about work this group have been doing in the UK, educating others about how to find good quality open resources you can re-use and how to use Creative Commons Licences to licence your own work, so others can use it. I got involved in OERs about four years ago when LSE led the DELILA project, which led to us sharing a number of teaching materials owned by LTI and LSE Library in the national repository of OERs, Jorum.

Working in Learning Technology and Innovation, I was on the look out for new ideas for teaching and innovations. We often think that exciting things are happening in North American universities that we need to be aware of in the UK. I certainly came back with a sense that things are different, I’m just still trying to pin down exactly how. There were over 250 delegates at the conference from a wide range of US and Canadian universities, community colleges and schools. In my first blog post written during the conference I was struck by the differences in terminology we use in UK higher education compared to across the Atlantic. People had quite different job titles so the majority were instruction and outreach or information literacy librarians (not subject librarians or academic support staff) I also met instructional designers (what LSE would call educational developers) and educational technologists.  Those differences suggested to me that academic support services are set up slightly differently in US and Canadian universities. However, people did talk about the same issues we deal with in LTI, such as how to engage academic staff, how to embed digital and information literacy effectively into the curriculum, how to be innovative in teaching and use technology appropriately.

Open Practices for Early Career Researchers

LSE Library is co-hosting a one-day conference on Thursday 4th September on open access, research data sharing and enhancing impact via openness for early stage researchers. There are great speakers and practical sessions lined up and bookings are now open. If you would like to attend or find out more, please register online:

The event will be hosted jointly with Kings College, London and Queen Mary, University of London and there are 35 tickets for LSE PhD students and early career researchers. It is funded by the EU FOSTER project. More details available on the website:

August 12th, 2014|Research Skills|Comments Off on Open Practices for Early Career Researchers|

Reflecting on students as partners

Several conferences I’ve attended in the last few weeks have had the theme of students as partners and as the SADL (Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy) project ends it’s first year I think it’s timely to reflect on what we’ve learnt, what worked and what we could do differently. The project team included staff from LTI, IT Training, TLC, the Students’ Union and we worked with two academic departments: Social Policy and Statistics. We specifically recruited undergraduate students.

First what worked?
Recruitment went well and our project managed to grab the interest of students and in many cases keep them interested for the year. However we do really need to understand why a few students didn’t engage with us and why they just attended one or two sessions. Did it not meet their expectations? Were they too busy? Was it not relevant? Our end of project survey has some useful data here. Last week at our first NetworkEDGE seminar, Stephen Downes urged us to not just talk to the successful students but those who drop out.

July 16th, 2014|Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on Reflecting on students as partners|

Launching our new seminar series: NetworkEDGE

NetworkEDGE: The Future of Education is a new seminar series organised by CLT. Building on the impact and success of NetworkED, are are launching a landmark series of talks and debates about the future of Higher Education called NetworkEDGE.

Our first speaker is Stephen Downes works for the National Research Council of Canada. He has been a Senior Researcher since 2001. Stephen will present his thoughts and insights on the future of Higher Education. Being widely recognized to have taught (with George Siemens) the first Connectivist MOOC, Stephen has long been a distinct voice in the field of technology and pedagogy. His blog OLDaily, is the sector’s go-to site for considered and critical musings about the use of computers and the web in education.

To book a place to attend the seminar at LSE visit LSE online booking system. External guests are very welcome and should email Niamh Ryan to book a place. We will also be live streaming and recording the event which will start at 3pm BST.

July 1st, 2014|Events & Workshops (LTI), NetworkED|Comments Off on Launching our new seminar series: NetworkEDGE|

How do the new copyright exceptions affect you?

You may have heard in the news that new copyright exceptions came into force in the UK on the 1st June 2014. At LSE I have been trying to keep staff up to date with the changes and what they mean for teaching, learning and research and with this in mind I have drafted a set of guidelines. However, I thought I would take the opportunity to highlight a few of the new amendments – which are mainly changes to copyright exceptions, and what they mean in practice.

The changes around educational copying are probably of most interest to those of us in higher education. Section 32 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act had an outdated (some might say ludicrous) clause that permitted educational copying provided a ‘reprographic process’ was not used. This ruled out any form of photocopying or scanning for teaching and meant essentially you had to rely on your Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Licence or write things out in long hand! The new exception means you can display material on interactive whiteboards (or on the VLE) provided you must include a sufficient acknowledgment – essentially it sanctions what a lot of teachers were probably doing already. However, this exception is subject to ‘fair dealing’ so you should stick to a small amount of the work and the material you use must be illustrative of a subject you are teaching. It certainly broadens the scope for including third party material in teaching (for example in PowerPoint or on Moodle) for illustrative purposes, but a teacher will need to judge what constitutes ‘fair’.

June 23rd, 2014|Announcements, copyright, Images, Audio & Video, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on How do the new copyright exceptions affect you?|

Linking to Library Catalogue records from Moodle – important news

LSE Library will be launching its new resource discovery system on the 1 August, which will upgrade the Summon and Catalogue search tools. The new search system will provide all Library users with a simple, single point of access for searching, discovering and accessing all of the Library’s content. However as part of this move the URLs of all Library catalogue records will be changing.

If you maintain your reading list via the Reading Lists @ LSE system then links to Library resources will be updated automatically and you won’t need to do anything.

If you aren’t using Reading Lists @ LSE, and instead have embedded links to the Library catalogue directly into a Moodle page, or hyperlinked from a Word document or PDF, those links will break when the new discovery system is launched. This means that after the 1st August you will need to update any existing links manually.

Links to journal articles using stable URLs (or DOIs) will not be affected.

If you’re not already using Reading Lists @ LSE and would like to take advantage of this useful and intuitive editing tool before the switchover, please contact your Academic Support Librarian – the Library has been carrying out a conversion project over the last couple of years, so a version of your list may already have been set up for you in the system. The Library can arrange a short desktop training session to show you how to edit and maintain lists, and you can discover the basics through this short screencast.

June 12th, 2014|Announcements, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on Linking to Library Catalogue records from Moodle – important news|

Collaborate and connect: event for LSE research students

On Tuesday 17th June LSE Library and Centre for Learning Technology are hosting an informal networking event for research students. It will start from 6pm and be held  in the Sixth floor Bar / Terrace of the Saw Swee Hock Building. We will be offering free drinks and canapés and have information available about the support on offer.

It will be a chance to meet colleagues, make new connections with PhD researchers at LSE. This informal event is also a chance to find out about some of the research support services offered by the Library and Centre for Learning Technology and to network with PhD students across the School. A limited number of tickets are available for this exciting event organised in collaboration with the Students’ Union. Book here to secure your place:

June 10th, 2014|Research Skills|Comments Off on Collaborate and connect: event for LSE research students|

Conference round-up: learning development and information literacy

I’ve been to two conferences in the last month that I thought I would share with readers of our blog some of the highlights. At both conferences I was presenting as well as attending, sharing some of the work we’re doing at LSE. Before Easter I presented at the Association of Learning Developers in Higher Education (ALDinHE) conference in Huddersfield. Learner Developers are what you once might have called ‘study skills tutors’ who help students with reading, writing and academic practice and in the digital age technology plays an increasing role. You can read my longer blog post about this event, but a highlight was a chance to hear Etienne Wenger-Trayner’s keynote. He created the term ‘Community of Practice’ which is a theory of social learning developed by studying apprentices and how they learn as much from their peers as from their mentor. There were a lot of papers around the theme of digital literacies and it was great to share our experiences of the SADL project at LSE. I also really enjoyed a workshop where we got to design our ideal learning space for students, which was a little like the activity we did earlier this week at the IMT Staff day.

The other conference that I attended was the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) straight after Easter, which was held at Sheffield Hallam University.

May 21st, 2014|Conferences, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on Conference round-up: learning development and information literacy|