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Paper Win-win: the benefits of successful collaboration for information professionals, teaching staff and students

By Martin Rich and Jonathan Smart


This paper weaves together issues of collaboration among staff and collaboration among students. It builds on experience at two very different British universities and it fits with one of the conference themes of ‘collaborative action in and beyond the campus’. One connection between these is that by practising effective collaboration, staff can contribute to a climate where collaborative information and technology skills are perceived by students to be valuable. Among staff the paper focuses particularly on collaboration between academic and information staff. Information professionals have an important, and often undervalued, role, in knowing where expertise is situated within a university; this is particularly valuable where electronic resources are used widely to support teaching. In the authors ’ institutions there is a considerable variation in approaches to electronic support for teaching and learning, and one barrier to wider use is often the lack of a ‘comfort factor’. It is suggested that effective collaboration across roles within a university can help to build greater comfort with the use of electronic resources. Among students the paper discusses information skills, notably those relevant to effective group work. Even students who perceive themselves to be highly information literate on arrival at university, have demonstrated scope for improvement, often in the light of reflection about their requirements. From the students ’ viewpoint, evidence of effective and visible collaboration among staff, especially those in various roles, can promote the benefits of collaborative work

Year: 2011
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