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The project, funded by the Teaching Enhancement Forum at the University of Leicester, aimed to develop medical students’ information literacy by embedding it directly into their course at the point of need using Web 2.0 tools rather than providing generic training. Students would then build their own personal learning environments which they would take with them throughout their degree course and eventually into their medical careers.
The project ran over nine months and was intended to kick-start a change of practice in how the library delivers its information literacy training. The Library is still at the initial stages of discovering how it can use Web 2.0, many of the benefits of Web 2.0 come from an accumulation of resources and development of networks over time. The long-term goal of information literacy is to enable students to find and assess research materials independently. The structure of the modules only had short-term projects and goals for the students. This meant that realistically the library had to shift the original focus of the project towards using Web 2.0 tools to tailor library and Internet resources for the students and by doing so raising their awareness of these resources.
The resources developed were popular with the students and the course tutor reported an improvement in the range of their reading. However, there was no perceptible change in the way the students worked nor did they use the Web 2.0 communication tools provided to enhance their learning. For the Library’s information skills training to be effective and to go beyond just providing search tools, information literacy and the Web 2.0 technologies need to be written into the course itself rather than as an adjunct.