Live Online Information Literacy Teaching and Learning – Challenges and Opportunities

Manecke, Ute (2020). Live Online Information Literacy Teaching and Learning – Challenges and Opportunities. In: Sengupta, E.; Blessinger, P. and Cox, M.D. eds. Designing Effective Library Learning Spaces in Higher Education. Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, 29. Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 101–121.



This chapter explores the challenges and opportunities that teaching and learning in a synchronous online environment pose by examining information literacy (IL) provision at the Open University (OU), which will serve as a case study. The OU provides distance education. While its flexibility offers more individuals an opportunity to start a course, it can be more challenging to ensure students develop their skills and knowledge and calls for innovative and engaging teaching methods. The OU Library’s Live Engagement Team runs a program of digital information literacy (DIL) sessions. The team’s online pedagogy is built on retention and success and involves the careful planning, designing and delivering of DIL sessions, creating numerous interactive moments to increase teaching effectiveness. The virtual enquiry desk allows students to consult library staff synchronously via the library helpdesk’s webchat service, which is delivered 24 hours a day. One of the advantages of this service is that students interact directly by having a dialogue with library staff in which they can ask further questions. Both services carry out continuous reviews of the ways they operate, innovate and intervene. The chapter provides first-hand experiences of what has worked well in information literacy teaching in synchronous online spaces.

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