Wolfson College Library Teaching and Learning Philosophy
Closely aligned with Wolfson College’s strategic plan for education and learning, which states that “Wolfson College will support all its students to achieve their highest potential,” the Wolfson College Library offers a programme of educational support — including classes, online and 1-2-1 support — to help students acquire and develop academic skills, information literacy and digital competencies to be successful in their academic pursuits and as life-long learners. As such, the Wolfson College Library strives to embody the following beliefs and principles:
We believe that:
- Our educational support must be aligned closely with the needs of Wolfson students. We therefore aim to create a programme of educational support mapped to students’ disciplinary journeys through Cambridge, paying close attention to the needs of mature and part-time students.
- We must work closely with Directors of Studies, Tutors and students to ensure that our educational support is useful, timely and allied with students’ intellectual endeavours at Cambridge.
- Our role is to teach academic literacies that help build students’ confidence to make the most of Cambridge’s intense learning environment. As such, we strive to help acculturate students to the assumptions and expectations of Cambridge and encourage their self-reflection, whilst recognising and respecting their identities and previous learning practices.
- Our educational support must be pedagogically sound and underpinned by research on mature/adult learners. As such, and where appropriate, we should strive to structure our classes according to principles of backward design and include learning activities designed to validate and build on students’ past experiences such as active-learning and problem-based learning activities.
- We should have a strong focus on academic skills and literacies in the wider context of Wolfson students’ evolving needs, including “learning how to learn” skills and competencies for advanced researchers.
- Where relevant and appropriate, our programme of educational support should be informed by the four major tenets of the Cambridge Information Literacy Framework:
- Resource Discovery: An understanding that finding information is a non-linear, iterative process in which learners must be flexible in finding and selecting resources appropriate for their assignments and research.
- Critical Assessment: An understanding that disciplinary expertise is constructed, which affects learners’ assessment of the appropriateness of resources for their assignments and research projects.
- Managing Information: An understanding that learners participate in a community of scholarship and therefore have a responsibility to use information ethically and to develop strategies to manage information of all kinds.
- Creating and Communicating: An understanding that learners are both information creators and users and therefore must grasp the processes by which scholarly material in their discipline is produced and disseminated.
- Students need multiple formats and opportunities to engage with educational support at point of need. For that reason, we must offer our learning materials in a wide-range of formats, including face-to-face classes and online resources, paying close attention to standards and best practices in accessibility and universal design.
- Students’ learning is situated and contextual. We should therefore develop students’ capacity to apply what they learn from our education support programme to their own disciplines both during training (face-to-face and online) and in independent study.