Using a VLE to teach information skills within an English Literature course Greg Garrard and Nick Drew Bath Spa University College.
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Using a VLE to teach information skills within an English Literature course Greg Garrard and Nick Drew Bath Spa University College
2: Information Skills Tutorials Nick Drew Library and Information Services 1: Contexts Greg Garrard School of English and Creative Studies
1: Contexts Institutional School & Subject Course Technological
Institutional Context University College 4500 students, U/G & P/G Modular system Current Learning and Teaching strategy: “To implement the use of VLEs, giving each student the opportunity to take at least one (VLE) module by the end of their undergraduate study”
School & Subject Context School: English & Creative Studies Subject: English Literature –7.25 FTE academic staff –150-180 students per year Module Coordinator for compulsory ‘Reading Texts’ module
Course Context Two core, compulsory, team-taught courses –Maximises student experience –Multiple authorship of content VLE component –weekly online tutorials designed to supplement existing seminars/lectures - Introduced in 2002-2003, and run again in revised form in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005
Course Context EN1002: Texts and Readers –First year, first semester –Three literary texts –Rationale: to help students in transition into HE EN2001: Reading Texts –Second year, second semester –Literary theory –Rationale: to support students through a particularly challenging module
Assessment of VLE EN1002: Texts and Readers –formal assessment: library tutorial (pass/fail) –Portfolio of ‘key skills’ tasks (pass/fail) EN2001: Reading Texts –maintain notebook of responses to questions in tutorials (except library tutorials) (50%) –researched essay (50%) must demonstrate use of information skills
Technological Context Blackboard™ adopted 2004-2005 –Improved functionality / interactivity for students and accessibility for tutors Partner FE colleges (Texts & Readers only) –Liaison with IT depts at 4 colleges for local ‘mirrors’ Access to campus PCs (improving) –Block-booked IT rooms for weekly 1-hour session Network reliability (improving) –VLE on CD 2003-2004. Bb crash Easter 2005
Student Feedback Online ; specific evaluations; focus group Positives –Exciting & challenging ideas; detailed analysis of texts; working at own pace; IT confidence; able to develop informed responses to texts Negatives –Student anxiety; IT literacy/confidence; workload; inconsistency over use of VLE work in seminars
Content of level one tutorial Focus on full text sources only –Quick Reference books –Journals –Electronic journals –Subject Gateways –LIS pages.
Content of tutorial one at level two Sound recordings, video and DVD Full-text electronic journals Inter-library loans Databases How to access other libraries
Content of tutorial two at level two Search Techniques –JSTOR –MLA Evaluating websites for academic purposes
Assessment Level one: Library practical, via web-based form Automatically marked Pass/Fail basis Level two: Un-assessed Quizzes Assessment of course work by English staff.
Student evaluation of level one tutorial Tutorial Helpful? 120 Yes 3 No 2 Don’t Know Recommend tutorial to others? 119 Yes 4 No 2 Don’t Know 125 respondents out of 173 What did the other 48 think?
School evaluation of level one tutorial “The library sections…were really well designed, with lots of practical information and clear exercises that students could relate to the demands of their subject…an exemplary way of bringing general study skills into a disciplinary context.” (Helen Beetham, Consultant)
Evaluation of level two tutorial This year ’ s feedback currently being collated “ the students who made use of the library tutorials …. were very impressed. Their essays were definitely improved by them …” (Module Leader) But difficulties for students – technical limitations? – databases change after examples are created?
Future plans Make more interactive Move some full text content to level one Prepare similar programmes for other subjects Use INFORMS materials.