Case study of the BSc Psychology (PSY01)

Overview and outcomes of the BSc Psychology project to embed IDL.



The Library had previously worked with the Department of Psychology to provide support for undergraduate students around information and digital literacy (IDL) through a mixture of face-to-face and online support.

However, this had been done in an ad-hoc way and support was not consistent across the programme.

The BSc Psychology programme has been reorganised into five streams under programme level approach (PLA) and the 2018–2019 academic year was the first year of this running for level one.

This project provided an opportunity to review the support in place and align it with the new programme level approach for BSc Psychology.

After exploring the information and digital literacy resources and Library content available to Psychology students and learning about the different digital learning tools that could be used to embed these in the programme, Lucy reflected upon each of the streams in her programme to identify where, when, and how it would be most effective and appropriate to embed IDL and Library content.

The project team met with staff representatives from the department. Meeting with the PLA lead enabled the project team to gain staff input into how Library content and IDL could most effectively be embedded within the programme.


There were a number of outcomes from the project:

  • Psychology Library subject guide linked from each level one Blackboard module.

  • New guidance for staff on using the reading lists service developed and communicated to key Psychology staff as part of departmental meetings to prepare for the new academic year.

  • New reading lists created for programme streams in level one and level two.

  • IDL resources have been embedded in specific level one Blackboard modules at the point of student need:

    • PSY1001, PSY1002, PSY1003, PSY1004 tutorials: using StarPlus; discovering and using ebooks effectively; MindView quickstart and tutorial video; APA referencing guide; understanding plagiarism; evaluating information and critical thinking; using Scopus; types of scientific paper; introduction to scientific literature. We also linked to the Academic Writing Tutorial from 301.

    • PSY1005 In addition to the above Library tutorials we also linked to the following tutorials from 301 and Maths and Statistics Help (MASH): Delivering a presentation (301); Poster Presentations (301); SPSS resources (MASH); Data analysis (MASH).

  • The IDL QuickMarks set has been shared with staff in Psychology for them to use to enrich assessment feedback and enable students to further develop their IDL. This builds upon the utilisation of QuickMarks within the Department of Psychology prior to the project.

  • An IDL Reflection Template and Reflective Portfolio were developed using PebblePad which has been made available for all BSc Psychology students to use. This is now being developed across the University with findings from this project being built in to the design.

  • Added Library IDL resources in the Blackboard content collection and Kaltura shared repository.


Lucy Payne, Library Student Associate

Each module creating module reading lists should make Library content quickly available. Linking e-textbooks directly from Blackboard will save everyone time in accessing textbooks and encouraging reading.

Embedding IDL resources within the VLE would make students aware of these resources and allow the hard work which has gone into creating them to pay off as they are being used for their original purpose by more of the cohort.

The IDL QuickMarks will make academic feedback more effective and useful for students and academics, and these will include links to IDL tutorials and information, enhancing student learning.

IDL is not something extra we need to go and develop, which I think we have tried to highlight in our project, to encourage students to see IDL in a different light, creating a reflective portfolio will encourage students to recognise and develop their IDL skills, creating a digital record which will be able to help them in the future professionally.

Pete Mella, Digital Learning Advisor

This project showed that students find the Library's IDL resources very useful, but they often don't know about them at the right time.

They can be surfaced much more effectively at the point when the respective skills are required during their courses, and work that came out of this project, such as QuickMarks and the IDL area of the Content Collection, can help tutors find and deploy them more easily. 

Tutors also provide very good information, but in inconsistent ways on the VLE that often do not utilise useful features such as the University’s Reading Lists system. Consistency within a programme on core information can reduce students' time and confusion when navigating their Blackboard courses.

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