emerging technologies in instruction, instruction section, acrl

September 2004 Site of the Month

You Quote It, You Note It


Authors: Tanja Harrison and Erin Patterson (primary authors, content development),
Jamie Chang (illustrations and animation),
Kaur Singh (programming),
Scott Olszowiec (interface template design)

Institution: Acadia University
Interviewer: Cassandra Osterloh

The "Acadia Advantage" at Acadia University program provides all full-time students and faculty with a laptop. In an effort to reach more students in this technology-rich learning environment, Acadia librarians embarked on an online tutorial project to teach core research and information literacy skills. The five tutorials planned are designed to be cross-disciplinary in nature and focus on first and second year students; broad enough for campus-wide instruction and flexible enough to allow for subject-specific modification. This first module was chosen to be developed early in the project to respond to the growing concern of academic integrity on campus. The learning objectives of You Quote It, You Note It! are that students discover: 1. Why it's essential to start research early 2. The difference between paraphrasing and quoting and how to do both properly 3. When to cite, what to cite and how to cite 4. Where to get help. The software used to create the tutorials is Macromedia FlashMX. The module is available freely on the internet and users need only a browser and to download a flash plug-in from macromedia in order to view it.

Interview with the Author

Q: What was the motivation for creating "You Quote It, You Note It"?

A: Our university has a laptop program, so our teaching environment is unique in that computing on campus is ubiquitous: everyone has a laptop and is connected practically everywhere, especially now with the integration of wireless networking on campus. We realize we can't reach all students in class, so we wanted to supplement our current instruction program with online resources. We weren't entirely satisfied with the tutorials we were finding, so set out to design our own! We have plans for five tutorials altogether to introduce first and second-year students to core research and information literacy skills.

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

A: The biggest challenge was to incorporate all the information we wanted to teach into a succinct, fun tutorial that isn't overloaded with text. We knew we wanted to make it as interactive as possible and design it in such a way that it didn't seem like a "test." Another challenge was the collaborative nature of the venture: librarians supplied all the content
and envisioned the scenes and activities, and student technology experts working at the Acadia Institute for Teaching and Technology brought our ideas to the screen. The funding was received through Counselling Services to support resources for students with learning disabilities. There are always challenges with project management when working with other departments with different cultures and ideas, so this was a learning process that has allowed us to better understand and work with each other. Partnerships outside the library are invaluable, and what better way to promote the library and what we do?

Q: How has the tutorial contributed to or influenced your library's instructional services?

A: We finished the tutorial a bit behind schedule in the spring of 2004 and have only just begun to promote it for the new academic year. It has been getting good reviews and the students really seem to like it. If anything, it has provided professors and librarians with an engaging resource that they can refer their students to and it has become an excellent jumping-off point for teaching and discussing issues surrounding plagiarism, citing sources and academic integrity in general.

Q: If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently (or the same)?

A: I think we would have incorporated more multimedia in to “You Quote It, You Note It.” The FlashMX software used to create the tutorials is amazing and we're learning more and more about the capabilities of the software with each tutorial we create.

To contact the authors of You Quote It, You Note It, please write or call:

Tanja Harrison, Acadia University
Email: tanja.harrison@acadiau.ca
Phone: 902-585-1378