December 2009 Site of the Month

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December 2009 Site of the Month

Beginning Information Literacy for Distance Learners

Authors: Nicole Montgomery, Kevin Jones, Brad Marcum

Interviewee: Brad Marcum

Institution: Eastern Kentucky University

Interviewer: Robert Schroeder

Q: What prompted you to create this tutorial for distance learners?
A: Basically, it was a combination of factors. We were unsatisfied with the results of our general library orientation sessions aimed at teaching basic information literacy to lower division students. Due to hiring freezes and staffing shortages, we were compelled to look for more efficient means of providing these orientation sessions. Additionally, we were looking for a more efficient way to provide these orientation sessions to regional campus and online students that would not require travel and the expenditure of time and resources that entails. We had become comfortable with the Captivate software, and this seemed like an ideal tool that would enable us to provide orientation instruction and assessment 24/7, no matter the location.

Q: You mention that you were feeling unsatisfied with your general library sessions and you were also looking for an efficient means of delivering these. How well do you think the new tutorials have helped in these areas?
A: While they have not been a panacea for all the issues we have with orientation sessions, I think the tutorials have achieved their purpose - To serve as an efficient and effective 24/7 resource that imparts key information literacy concepts to both our distance and traditional on-campus students.

Q: I imagine that you had a team of folks working on this project. Who were they and what different duties did they have?
A: We had three librarians who worked on the project -Brad Marcum (Distance & Online Education Program Officer); Nicole Montgomery (Justice & Safety Librarian); and Dr. Kevin Jones (Reference and Instruction Librarian). Nicole was our Captivate and screen capture expert, having had experience from several other library tutorial projects and with working with online students. All three of us were tasked with deciding on the pedagogical strategies and concepts we wanted to use and with coming up with the scripts for the tutorials. Kevin also was principally responsible for the test instrument, although we all three served as editors and contributors of every aspect of the project.

Q: How long did it take you to develop the tutorial from start to finish?
A: We started work in early May and ended in late August. So, just over 3 ½ months.

Q: Were there things you learned by the end of the project that you wish you had known about before you started?
A: What did we learn?

  1. Be ok with imperfection. Nothing is truly perfect when working with tutorial projects.
  2. Learn to say “No” to making changes based on every suggestion and observation made by people who were outside the tutorial project. It gets to be overwhelming, very quickly.
  3. It is very difficult to “modularize” the tutorial into small segments and requires a lot of labor to keep up to date.
  4. Working so closely together, we realized early on that we had all turned into very good editors of each other’s work.

Q: I noticed that you have a quiz available for students to take after completion of the tutorials. Have faculty taken advantage of this and do you have any information on how well the students are scoring?
A: Several faculty took advantage of the quiz and integrated it into their grading scheme. Our first semester, we had over four hundred students take the quiz.
Here are some of the statistics:

  • Fall 2008 N=413
  • Overall Average 69.0%
  • Low (peer-reviewed journals) 31.7%
  • High (Book’s status) 93.7%

Q: You’ve integrated these tutorials in with your library research guides – what kind of software do you use for your LibGuides, and what benefits do you see from this integration?
A: The biggest strength of LibGuides is that it is a content management system completely maintained and provided by the company Springshare. Springshare has made LibGuides very easy to use, allowing librarians with little or no HTML writing experience to easily create dynamic guides. Publishing the tutorials in our LibGuides was a logical step as our library was integrating them into our new website. But more so, LibGuides would allow other librarians to simply copy the tutorials into their own subject specific LibGuides, embed tutorials into Blackboard, and use just the relevant pieces of a particular tutorial as needed.

December 2009 PRIMO Site of the Month