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Promoting academic reading with Web 2.0: using social bookmarking ...


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4 Pages


Promoting academic reading with Web 2.0: using social bookmarking ...



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Language English


Promoting academic reading with Web 2.0: using social
bookmarking to facilitate literature searching and critical analysis
E. J. Thompson
, S. Snowden
N. Bunyan
Sydney Jones Library, University of Liverpool, P.O Box 123, Liverpool L69 3DA, United Kingdom
University of Liverpool Management School, Chatham Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZH, United Kingdom
Educational Development Division, University of Liverpool, 128 Mount Pleasant, L69 3GA, United Kingdom
Much of the literature on the use of Web 2.0 in teaching and learning has focussed on the bigger players on the
Web, such as Second Life, Wikipedia, and Facebook.
In a pilot project with e-Business students, a new approach
was taken. A series of seminars, covering Information Literacy and critical analysis, were developed in a
partnership between the library and the academic department. The Web 2.0 application H2O Playlist, created for
use in an academic setting, was introduced as a tool for managing information and recording student reflection.
Performance of first year e-Business students in their early assignments had been a concern to the programme
leader. Previous cohorts of students had lacked skills in critical reflection expected of undergraduates, choosing
instead to describe the sources they had found.
The quality of the assignments submitted following the seminars
and social bookmarking task were of significantly higher quality than in previous years, with evidence of wide
reading and understanding, and an extended pilot is planned in a contrasting subject area.
web 2.0; social bookmarking; Higher Education; Information Literacy; Technology Assisted Learning
1. Introduction
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Samuel Johnson
Web 2.0 tools are increasingly important in the lives of students, whether they keep in touch with Facebook, use
Wikipedia, or check user reviews of products before they buy products online.
Yet so far these tools are not
being used to a great extent in the academic environment.
Liverpool University Library has created widgets for
students to include in their own areas on Facebook, or on start page aggregators such as iGoogle, PageFlakes or
NetVibes, but web 2.0 had not yet been widely used in Information Literacy training. This case study considers
a less well known Web 2.0 application, H20 Playlist, and examines its use supporting key skills development in
the in the early weeks of a degree programme. Previous research in the fields of Information Literacy and web
2.0 in education are considered, and the next steps are proposed following this pilot study.
2. Background
Previous cohorts of E-business students had performed well in technology based assignments, but their
performance had been weak in their early essay and report assignments, demonstrating scant academic reading
and lacking critical analysis.
With the 2008/09 cohort, a new approach was taken. The key areas of weakness:
critical analysis and scholarly
reading were tackled in a partnership between the library and the Management
A series of seminars were planned, covering Information Literacy and Scholarly reading.
In the course
of these seminars it became clear that these “digital natives” [1, 2], lacked the skills required to evaluate and use
the quality electronic resources available via the library, instead using free resources available via Google and
Wikipedia. This observation fits with other studies that have questioned the extent of student expertise in using
the web effectively, despite having grown up with this technology [3, 4, 5, 6]. Clearly students who choose, and
are enrolled on a degree programme in e-Business should have an interest in, and an aptitude for Information
Technology, but what seems to be lacking is the discernment required to select and use information to inform
their writing for assignments.
3. Information Literacy
The Information Literacy seminar, led by the Subject Librarian for the Management School introduced the
concept of the “hidden web”; the web-based subscription resources hidden to those without a staff or student
username and password, including electronic journals and datasets.
The message was given that these databases
include high-quality, peer reviewed articles and data, and to miss them out entirely would prejudice the grades
Research, Reflections and Innovations in Integrating ICT in Education