Reports by Linda Graves, Sue House and Louise Graham, University of Glamorgan
Using WebCT to teach information skills
Sally Patalong, Coventry University
WebCT (Web Course Tools) is used at Coventry to deliver Information Skills within online learning. Students log on and gain access to all the modules for which they have registered. Sally had undertaken this project as she had found delivering Information Skills sessions to 700 Computing students and marking the written exercises was not feasible. Within WebCT the assessment is as multiple choice tests and the module is assessed in 4 stages. The Information Skills assessment accounts for 10% of first year marks for that module.
She outlined the development of the project, and how she had worked closely with the WebCT manager to develop the tutorial. She acknowledged that the software package is cheap, approximately $4,000 pa, though the infrastructure is expensive.
She then gave a demonstration of the modules on the Homepage of WebCT. The modules are as follows and the descriptions are taken from the Student Miniguide of the package:
Module mail : "You can send private messages to the tutor or other students on the module."
Discussion Forum : "A forum where you can post public messages and where you can reply to those posted by others."
Calendar : "You can view scheduled events and add your own private entries. A list of new events pops up when you first enter the calendar."
My Modules : "This takes you out of WebCT to a list of hyperlinks to your Programme and Module Webs."
Resources : "This is a hyperlink to the Resources page with icons that link to Contents, Library Catalogue, Library and Study Skills and possibly others selected by the tutor."
Very importantly, the Information Skills module is located here.
Assessment : "A hyperlink to the ASSESSMENT page that lists the test, surveys and evaluations for your module. You also see information about when you can take them and your marks."
The additional modules are Student Area and Online help.
Sally has evaluated the Information Skills module in a survey entitled "Revising Information Skills for Computer Science Students". The survey revealed that generally users have responded well to the use of WebCT in Information Skills. They were quizzed on aspects of Information Skills such as its usefulness, the appropriateness of assessments being undertaken online and the appropriateness of the four-staged assessment approach.
Sally still takes Information Skills sessions in the library and WebCT has made the assessment part much easier for her. She is preparing to set up templates to enable other subject librarians to run their own Information Skills modules at Coventry.
Access is password protected and is gained at http://www.coventry.ac.uk/ and then opting for LEARN ONLINE
A handout entitled "WebCT. Learn Online at Coventry University. Students Miniguide" was provided.
The Powerpoint presentation and Web presentation are available.
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