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Interactive Information Literacy:
Using an Audience Response
System in IL Teaching
Academic Liaison Librarian
Academic Liaison Librarian
(English & Performing Arts)
What is an Audience Response
classroom / personal response system;
electronic voting system
Software / receiver / wireless handsets
Questions embedded in PowerPoint
University of Bedfordshire uses
Usefulness of an ARS as an
IL teaching tool?
Interactivity & student engagement
Instant feedback for students & lecturer
To pilot the use of an Audience Response System
(TurningPoint) for IL teaching with English, Performing
Arts and Business students.
To pilot the Audience Response System for library
inductions for selected groups (Business and Education).
To engage students more fully in IL sessions & to
promote a more active approach to learning information
To gauge student learning and improve our teaching
through feedback gained via ARS.
How did we use the voting system?
Assessing student confidence pre- and
Feedback on teaching
Generating discussion (e.g. what is
Taking ownership of learning…
ARS used with 2 groups of 3rd year
English Studies students.
Students choose the focus of their
Aim – to encourage students to reflect on
their existing knowledge; to recognise
gaps in skills and to take an active
approach to addressing these gaps.
What do you want to do in today’s
1. Discuss steps for
conducting a successful
literature search for my
2. Review databases &
practice searching for
3. Find out about how to get
materials for my
dissertation not held by
4. Explore other library
catalogues & websites
that might be relevant for
“The defining attribute is making teaching
(the course of a lecture session) dependent
upon the actions of the students, rather than
being a fixed sequence predetermined by the
teacher. To put it another way, this requires
not just the students to interact (to be active
and for that action to depend on the teacher
and material), but the teacher to be
interactive too. … This is important because it
makes the teaching relevant to actual
(Draper & Brown, 2004, p. 91)
A pain in the ARS?
Extra preparation time required
Must be flexible in delivery of sessions
Must allow adequate time for students to
Need to gives students choice while still
achieving clear learning outcomes
Majority voting can leave some students
feeling less engaged
Generating discussion on
plagiarism & referencing
Sessions on plagiarism & referencing for 2nd
Performing Arts & 1st
year Business students.
Feedback from students:
The session “helped with our understanding of plagiarism and
referencing and the ‘touchpads’ were really good”.
The ‘referencing [session] was fantastic’.
‘The interactive session at the end of term [was most useful] as it
motivated us to keep alert and it was a new way for us to
‘Great lesson on referencing, really useful’.
Impact on learning outcomes?
Very confident Confident Not very confident
Yes No Not sure
Before session: How confident
do you feel about referencing?
After session: I feel more confident
about my referencing skills after
this session…yes or no?
Anecdotal evidence from lecturers indicates that
referencing standards improved in assignments after
How has the technology helped us to
improve our teaching?
Encourages reflective practice (still
need qualitative feedback, however)
Teaching is more responsive to
student needs – learning to think
‘on the fly’
ARS more successful with some subject groups than
Most effective when used in conjunction with other
forms of teaching and learning (e.g. small group work).
Can be used in small groups as well as large groups.
Need to have mechanisms to get qualitative feedback.
Can be useful for drawing faculty’s attention to IL
Danger of over-use and impact of technology
diminishing over time.
What we still have to do…
Roll-out use to other subject areas
Long-term assessment of ARS – is it
having a real impact on student learning
& retention of material?
Develop new ways of using technology –
see use in plagiarism teaching at Imperial
(UK) and Dickinson College (US)
It’s an obvious point to make…
“… better learning outcomes are really
the result of changes in pedagogical
focus, from passive to active
learning, and not the specific
technology or technique used.”
Beekes, W. (2006). ‘The “Millionaire” method for encouraging
participation’. Active Learning in Higher Education, 7(1),
Burnett, S. and Collins, S. (2007). ‘Ask the audience! Using a
personal response system to enhance information literacy
teaching and induction sessions at Kingston University’.
Journal of Information Literacy, 1(2). Available at:
V1-I2-2007-1/11 (Accessed 12 October 2007).
Draper, S.W. and Brown, M.I. (2004). ‘Increasing
interactivity in lectures using an electronic voting system’.
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20, pp. 81-94.
Foggo, L., Mottram, S. and Taylor, S. (2006). ‘Ask the
audience: e-voting at the University of Leeds’. SCONUL
Focus, 38 (summer), Available at:
11.pdf (Accessed 11 October 2007).
West, J. (2005) ‘Learning outcomes related to the use of
personal response systems in large science courses’.
Academic Commons: The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal
Arts, Wabash College. Available at: http://www.
polling-technology (Accessed 15 January 2008).
Woolley, R. (2006). ‘Using personal response systems for
induction’. SCONUL Focus, 39 (winter). Available at:
/12.pdf (Accessed: 11 October 2007).