Web Tutorials Rated by the CJCLS Library Instruction Committee


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Community and Junior College Libraries Section

Reviews of Web Tutorials from CJCLS-LIC

(Content last updated 2003 - some links updated January 2011)

The Library Instruction Committee (LIC) of the Community and Junior College Libraries Section of ACRL has compiled this list of reviewed web tutorials which in our judgment are appropriate for community and junior college students.   Each web site is described and rated according to the criteria listed with each review. The list is arranged in reverse chronological order by review date.


Information Literacy & You(link updated January 2011 - selected resources available)

The goal of the Information Literacy & You tutorial designed by Penn State University Libraries, is to teach students about the information gathering and research process.  The tutorial is arranged in nine modules:  

  • Defining Your Topic

  • Identifying Resources

  • Using Periodicals & Journals

  • Searching Online Databases

  • Locating Resources

  • Using Web Resources

  • Evaluating Your Search

  • Citing Your Sources

  • About the Information Age

This is an excellent tutorial for community college students new to the library research process.  It provides step-by-step instructions for approaching a research paper assignment, from defining a topic to citing sources.  The first four modules are particularly useful since they use simple concept maps to graphically illustrate concepts related to narrowing down a topic, developing research questions, writing topic definitions, different types of library resources and where to find them, database organization and structure, and Boolean searching.  Users can follow modules in the sequence arranged, or in the order they prefer.  

The tutorial permits some interactivity through Research Logs and self-tests.  A Research Log is embedded in eight of the nine modules.  Students can use the research log to take notes or record sources and information pertinent to their specific projects.  Research logs can be emailed to the instructor, to the student, or to a team working on the assignment together.  Six of the nine modules also include short, multiple-choice self-tests to help reinforce concepts presented in that module.

The home page of the tutorial is attractively designed and modules are arranged in a logical sequence.  However, the navigation leaves a lot to be desired.  After completing a module, there is no way to proceed directly to the next module without going back to the home page.  There is also no consistent placement or use of certain navigational aids.  The yellow forward and backward navigation arrows in modules 1 & 2 disappear in the remaining modules.  Similarly, the Let’s Get Started icon is used only in modules 1,2 and 3 and is nowhere to be found in modules four through nine.  The tutorial was last revised a year ago in July 2002, and even though most of the information is still current, the designers may still want to revisit the content and update it.  Despite the navigability and maintenance issues, Information Literacy & You is still a valuable instructional aid for community college students wishing to acquire a basic knowledge of the library research process.

  CRITERIA (out of 5 possible )
***               1.  Site is easy to use and navigate
***               2.  Site is well designed
*****           3.  All links work
****             4.  Writing style is easy to read and understand and the page uses correct grammar and spelling
***               5.  Site is updated and lists a contact person
****             6.  There is some degree of interactivity

Smiti Gandhi
Valencia Community College
July 2003


Rio Salada College Library and Information Center 
Information Literacy in the Electronic Age

(link updated January 2011)

Information Literacy in the Electronic Age gives a good basic overview of what information literacy is and how it applies to research and using the Internet.    The tutorial uses five steps and an interactive quiz to explain information literacy.   The steps discuss defining and developing a research topic, developing a search strategy to find information, locating information using search terms, evaluating information, and citing electronic information.     

While the tutorial is easy to read and understand, it is primarily text based.    It could be enhanced with more graphics and interactivity for visual learners.   In addition, there are a few discrepancies in the tutorial.   The tutorial should be periodically reviewed and revised as information changes.   In step three, the section on search engines indicates that AltaVista and Northern Light are the largest search engines.   Currently, Google is the largest search engine.   Question six of the information literacy quiz is misleading because some information on the World Wide Web can be evaluated and verified for accuracy.   The tutorial navigates well, but I would suggest putting a heading for Test Yourself to make the test link more visible.   I would also place the tutorial menu on the test page because there is no link back to the tutorial.   Despite these minor problems, the tutorial provides a good basic introduction for applying information literacy in the electronic age.

 CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)

****      1.   Site is easy to use and navigate
***       2.   Site is well designed
***** 3.   All links work
****     4.   Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
***       5.    Site is updated and lists a contact person
****    6.    There is some degree of interactivity

Imogene Zachery
Prince George's Community College
April 2003


Prince George’s Community College’s 
Quick Research Library Tutorial: an information literacy tool.

www.pgcc.edu/library/tutorial/index.htm

This is an extremely thorough and complete tutorial designed by a community college librarian for community college students.   It can be used in place of formal library instruction or to supplement library instruction or as a review of a particular information literacy skill.   There are eight modules, each with its own quiz.   Each module is well designed, self contained and extremely easy to navigate.   All the links worked well and the quizzes too.   A few of the examples were difficult to follow because the directions disappear when you go to the first step.      

While the average student might not go through the whole process in one sitting because of its length, all that you want them to learn is here.   Some of the animations seemed a bit frenzied and distracting to me, but I’m not of the MTV generation.   In terms of sequencing, I might put the Library Web Site before the online catalog and databases to reflect its importance.   Overall this is a well designed and extremely useful tutorial. 

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
***** 1. Site is easy to use and navigate
****   2. Site is well designed
***** 3. All links work
****   4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
***** 5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
***** 6. There is some degree of interactivity 

Barbara Alper
Bergen Community College
March 2003


Kentucky Virtual Library's
How To Do Research

(link updated January 2011)

This tutorial was developed by the Kentucky Virtual Library Information Literacy Work Group, which includes academic and public librarians, to help adults develop information literacy skills.    Users include the general public, community college, college and university students.   The tutorial is easy to use. Basic information is provided on each screen, with links to an extensive glossary or more detailed information.   Users can click on the arrow to see all the slides in order, or use the drop down menu to go directly to a specific screen.   The site offers alternative text navigation.   There is a feedback form to email for more information.   Links are checked monthly and the site is maintained and updated as needed.   The only interactivity is clicking on the glossary or other links for more details.   The sections include:

Doing Research
Finding Books
Finding Articles
Searching the Web   
Evaluation Information    
Citing Sources            

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
***** 1. Site is easy to use and navigate
***** 2. Site is well designed
***** 3. All links work
***** 4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling.
*****5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
*          6.There is some degree of interactivity.

Judy Born
March 2003


Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Information Literacy Tutorial

No longer available in this form (January 2011)

This tutorial is a well thought-out and easy to use tool that would compliment almost any basic research oriented class. Made up of a series of static html pages, it has a very clean look and clear navigational structure. Impressively, it provides a standard version and an ADA compliant version. The tutorial’s seven lessons,

The Production of Knowledge
The Politics of Research
The Organization of Knowledge
Defining Your Research Topic
Using Electronic Resources
Using Print Resources
Citing Your Sources
Intellectual Freedom & Censorship,

are clearly laid out and broken down into succinct sections that are easy to follow. The information is very thorough and perhaps, runs the risk of being too thorough. The tutorial is not designed as a quick help tool to be used by students as they research. Instead, this is a tool that would be best employed by a class context where instructors could follow up on and emphasize the key ideas presented. The use of quizzes at the end of each section give users the ability to self-test and introduces a useful amount of interactivity. The authors could show more care in using terms such as information and knowledge interchangeably, since many information professionals do not see these terms as synonyms. The authors also spend a great deal of time discussing government produced information but do not discuss news sources such as Time, Newsweek, or the New York Times, places where many first-year students turn for information. However, these are minor discrepancies considering the professional manner and excellent quality of this tutorial.

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
***** 1. Site is easy to use and navigate
***** 2. Site is well designed
***** 3. All links work
***** 4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
***** 5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
***     6. There is some degree of interactivity

Troy Swanson
Moraine Valley Community College
May 2002


Raritan Valley Community College’s Information Literacy Web Page

http://library.raritanval.edu/Infolit/infolit.html

This is a very comprehensive tutorial.   It claims to be a summary of the library instruction given in the classroom and at the reference desk, but it would be a very fortunate instruction librarian who had the ability to put all this information into the “typical” 50-minute one-shot class.   There is very good use of icons, graphics, hot links and other interactive elements.   This course takes the student through all the steps from selecting a topic; locating information; evaluating the information; proper citing and plagiarism.   Its strength is also its weakness – in trying to be as complete and comprehensive as possible – it is very hard to keep it as up-to-date as one would like.   It is nice to finally find a tutorial for community college students done by a community college and at the right level.   There is a very good, interactive information literacy test that accompanies this tutorial.   Unfortunately when you finish it there is no final grade or analysis, but it is excellent. 

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
  *****   1. Site is easy to use and navigate
  *****   2. Site is well designed
  ***        3. All links work
  ****     4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
  ***        5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
  ****    6. There is some degree of interactivity

Barbara Alper
Bergen Community College
4/3/02


Bare Bones 101: A Basic Tutorial on Searching the Web 

http://www.sc.edu/beaufort/library/bones.html 

Bare Bones 101 is designed to teach the basic search techniques of search engines.   The tutorial consists of twenty lessons.   Lesson one begins by defining search engines and the different types.   The lesson on subject directories defines directories and the difference between a search engine and a directory.   This tutorial also provides a lesson on developing a search strategy, using Boolean Operators, field searching, search tips, and evaluating Web pages.   Seven lessons describe some of the major search engines with links to their sites.    The Final Exam, which is lesson nineteen, allows the users to rate the tutorial, to provide criticisms, and to make suggestions.   Lesson twenty provides a comprehensive list of recommended sites that focus on search engines and tutorials. 

This tutorial is easy to navigate but it is primarily text based.    At the end of each lesson, there are links to the previous lesson, next lesson, and table of contents.    It is an excellent starting point for the novice and community college students to get a good foundation on search engines and how to search them.

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)   
*****   1.   Site is easy to use and navigate
****     2.   Site is well designed
*****   3.   All links work
*****   4.   Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
****     5.   Site is updated and lists a contact person
***        6.   There is some degree of interactivity 

Imogene Zachery
Prince George’s Community College
12/13/00


Online Tutorials

No longer available in this form (January 2011)


The web site developed by the Learning Resource Services at the Austin Community College which consists four sessions.   Two of   the sessions are intended to provide information specific to Austin Community College students and faculty.   The other two are basic introductory level and very useful for Internet beginners. 

The "Using the Netscape Browser" session is condensed from the original tutorial copyrighted by the Department of Computer Science at the   University of Rhode Island.   The tutorial provides step by step instruction and is easy to follow.   The "Finding Information on the Web" session is well organized with clear definitions and very useful links.   Pages are easy to follow, search strategies are well explained, examples are simple and   understandable. All the pages have updated information and a contact email address.   An appropriate site for community college students.

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
***** 1. Site is easy to use and navigate
****   2. Site is well designed
***** 3. All links work
***** 4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
***     5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
***     6. There is some degree of interactivity

Ying Li
St. Charles County Community College


Web Searching, Sleuthing and Sifting
http://www.thelearningsite.net/cyberlibrarian/searching/ismain.html

This 8-part tutorial "addresses a range of search topics and was written for users who have no prior knowledge of how to locate information on the Web."   After a brief treatment describing the history and development of the world wide web, each part progresses through basic searching and evaluating to power searching, Boolean operators, and locating images on the web.   Users can progress through the units at their own pace, and exercises are suggested at the end of each unit.   This is also offered as a 4-part Internet course for a fee, but the basic content of the tutorial is available free of charge.   Very heavily text based; not for the true beginner, but quite helpful for those who are tired of floundering around on the net.   Readability level is high.

Recommended for advanced community college students and other web-familiar undergraduates.   Tutorial authored by Angela Elkordy, Coordinator of Electronic Resources at the Sage Colleges, Albany & Troy, NY.

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
****   1. Site is easy to use and navigate
****   2. Site is well designed
***** 3. All links work
***     4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
***** 5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
***     6. There is some degree of interactivity

Michelle R. Swain
Kansas State University-Salina


TILT -- Texas Information Literacy Tutorial
http://tilt.lib.utsystem.edu

The University of Texas at Austin developed a list of student proficiencies in library and information literacy which were the basis for this online tutorial.   While it is directed at students in the University of Texas system, it is available to anyone on the web.   Users are asked to register, but you may also enter the site as a guest.   There are also two versions, a "Full TILT" which uses a Shockwave browser plug-in to show animation and interactivity, or a "TILT Lite" which only requires that the cookies option be turned on in your browser.   This is so your scores on quizzes and preferences can be incorporated into the presentation, and it should erase from your computer when finished.

This tutorial was one of the best that I have seen, with just the right amount of text, images, animation, and interactivity.   The readability level was on target, and it did not rely on just text to illustrate the material.   There were a number of fun activities as well as quizzes at the end of each of three modules.   The only drawback is the time involved in working through the modules, but if you register you can come back to where you left off which is a feature not often seen in web tutorials.   In addition to multiple choice questions, there are opportunities for participants to give their subjective opinions about the tutorial and about the resources discussed.   An excellent model case of the potential of the web to deliver information literacy instruction.  

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
***** 1. Site is easy to use and navigate
***** 2. Site is well designed
***** 3. All links work
***** 4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
***** 5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
***** 6. There is some degree of interactivity

Michelle Swain
Kansas State University-Salina


Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/FindInfo.html

This web site consists of information presented in the two-part Internet workshops offered by the Teaching Library at the University of California at Berkeley.   It includes a basic introduction to the Internet, the WWW, and Netscape.   A new section on 'Analyzing Your Topic will assist students in determining whether to use a search engine or a subject directory.   This area also contains a worksheet for students to practice analyzing their chosen topic before searching on the web.   The informative section on searching the Web is very detailed, and while it may contain too much information for the novice, the tutorial will fill the needs of those students whose curiosity is boundless.  

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
***** 1. Site is easy to use and navigate
****   2. Site is well designed
***** 3. All links work
****   4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
****   5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
***     6. There is some degree of interactivity

Janet Key
Tarrant County College Southeast Campus


Web Teacher

No longer available in this form (January 2011)


Web Teacher is a self-paced Internet tutorial that includes online exercises and activities.   Two Tennessee teachers and a webmaster created this site as a training tool for anyone, but especially teachers.   Basic information is contained in 'Web Primer' and is a condensed version with very brief, introductory lessons for those just beginning to explore the Web.   The full tutorial offers more in-depth information.   This site is recommended for the novice wanting to gain an understanding of the Internet.   The section on 'Finding Information - Search Engines' only uses the example of one search engine, but is still helpful.

CRITERIA (out of 5 possible *****)
***** 1. Site is easy to use and navigate
****   2. Site is well designed
****   3. All links work
****   4. Writing style is easy to read and understand and page uses correct grammar and spelling
****   5. Site is updated and lists a contact person
***     6. There is some degree of interactivity

Janet Key
Tarrant County College Southeast Campus


Other Links of Interest

LOEX (Library Orientation Exchange) "is a self-supporting, non-profit educational clearinghouse for materials used in library instruction" the have links to online tutorials on their site: LOEX clearinghouse’s Instruction Links


 

Copyright 2000.   Community and Junior College Libraries Section, Library Instruction Committee, of the Association of College and Research Libraries.

 Page last updated: January 25, 2011.  Questions or concerns?  Contact the webmaster.