emerging technologies in instruction, instruction section, acrl

May 2004 Site of the Month

InfoPathways Tutorial

Authors: Kate Croker, Reference Librarian, Mathematics and Physical Sciences Library, University of Western Australia
Interviewer: Caroline Cason

Description:

"InfoPathways" is a generic online information literacy course which takes students through searching, finding, using, evaluating and presenting information in relation to their university studies. It is an introductory level course.

Interview with tutorial author:

Q: What was the motivation for creating the InfoPathways Tutorial?

A: The Library wanted to create an outcomes-based online information literacy introductory tutorial. It aimed to use UWA information literacy outcomes statements (based on the ACRL Information literacy standards for higher education) to develop interactive, online information literacy modules to form the basis for undergraduate online information literacy courses. The modular format was devised with the intention of allowing different modules to be integrated into different discipline specific online information literacy courses.

The Library wanted to create an outcomes-based online information literacy introductory tutorial. It aimed to use UWA information literacy outcomes statements (based on the ACRL Information literacy standards for higher education) to develop interactive, online information literacy modules to form the basis for undergraduate online information literacy courses. The modular format was devised with the intention of allowing different modules to be integrated into different discipline specific online information literacy courses.

InfoPathways already existed at this stage but needed to become more student-centered and interactive.

Q: How long did the entire creation process take? Who was involved? What technology did you use?

A: The process started back in May 2002 and the second version of InfoPathways was ready for first semester of 2003. Redesign of the content took several months as it was directly related to the implementation of outcomes-based education at the University.

Kerry Bedford (Project Manager), Penny Jones (InfoPathways Co-ordinator) and Brian Polykett (CygNET Web Coordinator) were significantly involved in the entire process.

In addition, all UWA subject reference librarians were involved in the redesign of content and attended training sessions on related topics such as storyboarding. By involving all reference librarians, the hope was/we hoped that they would feel some ownership of the process, and thus be more inclined to use the product. Subject librarians on our Teaching and Learning team were also involved providing guidance and feedback. The Cygnet Web Coordinator (our webmaster) was particularly involved in the creation of the more technically challenging content (i.e. JavaScript mouse-overs, graphics etc.).

Technologies used included:

  1. Creation application software: Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe Photoshop, WebCT 3.8.
  2. Languages: JavaScript, HTML.


Q: What were some of the challenges (technological or other) that you faced?

A: Technological challenges for the team included creating dynamic, interactive activities without complex creation application software.

Q: What support, if any, did you have in creating the project?

A: We had strong support from the Associate Librarian for Reader Services, Imogen Garner. She championed the supply of resources with the Library Executive to enable the reference librarians to have the time to work on the project. We are also very fortunate to have such strong IT support.

Q: What kind of feedback, either formal or informal, have you received from students or faculty and what are your future plans for the project?

A: Currently we are evaluating InfoPathways and obtaining feedback from our current students, academic staff and librarians. We have two areas of focus:

  1. How to improve the overall look/graphics of InfoPathways and include more self testing
  2. Exploring further ways for InfoPathways to cater to different learning styles.

Substantial changes may be made to the look of InfoPathways by the end of the year, hopefully capturing a wider student audience in their first year of study at UWA.


To contact the authors of the InfoPathways Tutorial, please write:

Name: Kate Croker
Email: kcroker@library.uwa.edu.au