USTLG Summer 2001 Meeting
Electronic Publishing and Online Support Materials
Tuesday 12th June 2001, Aston University Library
Reports by Clare Humphries, Adrian Smith, Angela Newton and Joanne Yeomans, all University of Leeds
Delivering an Information
Skills Module via a VLE
Geoff Walton, subject Librarian for Psychology and Sport and Exercise Science, Staffordshire University
The talk began with an outline of the history of this project. As a part of the Building a Learning Community initiative, this project was initially run for nine months. Preliminary work prior to launching the VLE included conducting a survey to find out what staff and students felt that they needed to learn from the module. The end product prior to the launch consisted of six separate sections covering the major aspects of information skills acquisition:
Assessment of the module takes place through group work activities, culminating at the end of the course in the production of a user guide to a particular resource.
The module was run as a Level 1 undergraduate elective initially in the Engineering and Social Science departments, with an uptake of six students in the first year, rising to seventy-five in the second year. This rise in numbers followed a rethink of publicity for the elective, which was found to be more effective when promoted by academics in Induction sessions. The module has proved to be particularly popular amongst students of Science and Social Science.
The experiences of Staffordshire in running the module via a VLE have had positive and negative consequences, namely:
The technology being used to implement the VLE at Staffordshire consists of two products, Lotus Learning Space and COSE (Creation of Study Environments, a JISC funded product). Around eighteen products of this type are available, though the two mentioned were felt to be most appropriate to Staffordshires needs, COSE being particularly well suited to delivering Information Skills materials. COSE enables module co-ordinators to deliver learning opportunities over a number of cumulative stages, each following a similar format of theory followed by hints, a task for completion and a selection of relevant web-links. Students are given demonstrations and training in the use of COSE during their third week of teaching, enabling them to make the best use of the VLE. Students studying the Information Skills module are also asked to use print resources in the course of working on group projects, so that the bias towards online resources is not overwhelming.
In conclusion, Geoff outlined future developments for the project, which could include:
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