Case study of the BA Hispanic Studies (HSSU01)

Overview and outcomes of the BA Hispanic Studies project to embed IDL.



In Arts and Humanities, most of the subject specific Library information and digital literacy (IDL) support from the Faculty Engagement Team occurs in semester one of level one and is reviewed generally at the start of semester two.

Satisfaction with IDL support varies across the Faculty and the Library has been aware of the need to improve the disciplinary focus of its work.

The Library IDL project was able to complement the School's student researcher-led project looking at including the student voice in the restructuring of their curriculum.

The School of Languages and Culture (SLC) was chosen because of the unique IDL challenges faced by learners working across multiple languages.

The Library's existing support for SLC was embedded in the compulsory, but non-credit bearing, module SLC101 which runs in semester one.

Although this module will continue in the new BA Modern Languages and Cultures (BAMLC), the IDL support may need to be reviewed as it is more successful when delivered in an interactive environment.

The Library IDL project was able to complement the School's student researcher-led project looking at including the student voice in the restructuring of their curriculum.

The Library Student Associate and Liaison Librarian met with the programme level approach Lead to discuss how the project's work could fit the new curriculum.

The project team were invited to host a discussion at the Student-Staff Committee and a proposed new approach has been drafted and endorsed by the Committee and programme level approach Lead.


The recommendations from the project are:

  • To articulate the term information and digital literacy (IDL) so that it becomes familiar to students and associated with the Sheffield Graduate Attributes and with key employability skills. This should also include an 'IDL for employability' guide for level four students using language that is used in job profiles.

  • To embed the online IDL tutorials within the programme so that students can use them when required.

  • To create a guide for staff to use when providing feedback on assessment. This will raise staff awareness, enabling them to inform students of the IDL workshops run by the University Library.

  • To complement IDL tutorials with tailored practical hands-on sessions in the non-credit bearing module SLC101. These sessions would focus on discipline specific skills for language learners, such as searching across languages, transliteration, and sociolinguistics.

  • To consistently use reading lists in Blackboard across the department.

Collaboration with the department will continue to further embed IDL within the programme as part of the programme level approach.


Janice Azu, Library Student Associate

I feel that I have had purpose and a directive during the project and that my experience as a student has offered valuable insight.

Having met with Rhian and Pete on a few occasions, I have been able to bridge the gap between the Library and departmental offer and contribute a view on what students engage with.

I think that many students don’t know where their weaknesses may lie at University level of assessment. 

Therefore, semester two post assessment feedback in the SLC101 module could allow the IDL workshops and tutorials to be advertised/embedded more, so that they are utilised ahead of end of year assessments.

I believe that the changes will lead to more IDL competent students and students will have a more coherent learning experience.

Familiarising students with ‘information and digital literacy’ as a term that means something to students is also one of our aims – it should be articulated in the PLA as it will be synonymous to the employability skills and qualities that employers look for.

I believe that the changes will lead to more IDL competent students. They will have a more coherent learning experience, understanding what skills they are refining within each module and assessment as well as articulating themselves at employment level with skills they have gained as a Sheffield Graduate.

Pete Barr, (Former) Liaison Librarian

I think the conclusions of this project have been so much richer than previous attempts to review our departmental IDL provision. Undoubtedly the determining factor in this has been Janice, both her personal insight and the access she then gave us to the department.

When we went to meet Rhian – the Programme Level Lead – having Janice there to explain IDL in context was crucial.

Our conclusions were broadly in line with what I would have expected but they highlighted that sometimes in the Library we get carried away with thinking about more advanced skills, without focusing on the basics of how to use the Library as the foundation of IDL at University.

We have been thinking about how to transition our teaching away from didactic lectures to something that was more available at the point of need, and I think this case study will give us the base to go ahead and do this.

My personal feeling has always been that IDL is a little bit of a Library obsession and not something that is considered more widely, or at least not in those terms.

So it was interesting to see Janice embrace the concept and advocate that we should try to explicitly explain it rather than promote it in softer terms (as would have been my assumption).

I really liked the blend of evidence that we were able to bring to bear in this project and hope we can build more student perspective into how we design our curriculum based IDL in the future.

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