Designing Blended Learning to Foster Students’ Digital Information Literacy: Developing an In(ter)vention


  • Bettina Kathrin Schwenger Unitec Institute of Technology



digital literacy, information literacy, first year, intervention, embedded


How to integrate online with face-to-face learning appropriately is an often-discussed question as New Zealand tertiary institutions increasingly offer blended learning. In this context, there is a need to develop students’ academic literacy, for example digital information literacy (DIL) as its significance for study (Feekery, 2013) and workplace (Bruce, 2004) success is well recognised. Embedding DIL in a blended learning course offers teachers options to create additional learning and practice opportunities for students. My research explores how blended learning design can support DIL, with a particular focus on the potential of online learning affordances. The article reports on the iterative process of creating an embedded digital information literacy (DIL) in(ter)vention aligned with the assessment in a first-year undergraduate course and focuses on the four online resources developed. The research is still in progress and this article therefore addresses the development process rather than the findings.

Author Biography

Bettina Kathrin Schwenger, Unitec Institute of Technology

Bettina Schwenger is a Senior Lecturer at Te Puna Ako, Centre for Learning and Teaching at Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.




Beetham, H. (2013). Designing for active learning in technology-rich contexts. In H. Beetham, & R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing for 21st century learning (2nd ed., pp. 20-29). New York, NY: Routledge.

Benseman, J., Sutton, A., & Lander, J. (2005). In Ministry of Education, Acts of Teaching. An observation study of New Zealand adult literacy, numeracy and language teachers. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Biggs, J. (1999). Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does. Philadelphia, PA: Society for Research into Higher Education: Open University Press.

Bruce, C. (2004). Information literacy as a catalyst for educational change: A background paper. Paper presented at the Lifelong Learning: Whose Responsibility and What is Your Contribution? The 3rd International Lifelong Learning Conference, Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia.

Cram, F. (2001). In M. Tolich (Ed.) Rangahau Māori: tona tika, tona pono: The validity and integrity of Māori research. Auckland, New Zealand: Longman.

Cooke, B. (2016) Embedding Digital (Information) Literacy in the First Year Curriculum: An Intervention. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 4(2).


Feekery, A. (2013). Conversation and change: Integrating information literacy to support learning in the New Zealand tertiary context (Doctor of Philosophy). Retrieved 2 Feb 2016 from

Gosling, C. & Nix, I. (2011). Supported online learning: Developing an integrated information literacy strategy online. In T. Mackey & T. Jacobson (Eds.), Teaching information literacy online (pp. 91-108). New York, NY: Neal-Schuman.

Gunn, C. (2013). Promoting learner engagement and academic literacies through blended course design. In C. B. Wankler Patrick (Ed.), Increasing student engagement and retention in e-learning environments: Web 2.0 and blended learning environments (pp. 145-174). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


Hugh, H. & Bruce, C. (2012). Informed learning in online environments: Supporting the higher education curriculum beyond Web 2.0. In P. Goodwin & J. Parker (Eds.), Information literacy beyond library 2.0. (p. 65-79). London, England: Facet Publishing.

Mayes, T., & de Freitas, S. (2013). Technology-enhanced learning: The role of theory. In H. Beetham, & R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing for 21st century learning (2nd ed., pp. 20-29). New York, NY: Routledge.

McLoughlin, C., & Lee, M. (2011). Pedagogy 2.0: Critical challenges and responses to web 2.0 and social software in tertiary teaching. In M. J. Lee, & C. McLoughlin (Eds.), Web 2.0-based e-learning: Applying social informatics for tertiary teaching (pp. 43-69)


Pihama, L., Smith, K., Taki, M., & Lee, J. (2004). A literature review of kaupapa Māori and Māori education pedagogy. Auckland, New Zealand: The International Research Institute for Māori and Indigenous Education.

Pihama L. (2010). ‘Kaupapa Māori theory: transforming theory in Aotearoa. He Pukenga Korero, 9(2), 5-14. Available at

Plomp, T. (2013). Educational design research: An introduction. In T. Plomp and N. Nieveen (Eds.), Educational design research: An introduction (pp. 10-51). Enschede, The Netherlands: SLO Netherlands institute for curriculum development.

Rogers, P., Graham, C., & Mayes, C. (2007). Cultural competence and instructional design: Exploration research into the delivery of online instruction cross-culturally. Educational Technology Research & Development, 197-217.


Schwenger, B. (2010). Utilising action research and enquiry processes to achieve sustainable academic development. In M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg (Eds.), Research and Development in Higher Education: Reshaping Higher Education, Melbourne, (33), 563-572.

Schwenger, B. (2016). Enhancing Students’ Tertiary Blended Learning Experience Through Embedding Digital Information Literacy. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 4(1).


Smith, L. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples (2nd ed.). London, England: Zed Books.






On the Horizon