A portrait of Olas as a young information literacy tutorial
TL;DR: An analysis of the information society, discussing its repercussions and defining the term, information literacy, and the need for, as well as the creation and development of, an online information literacy tutorial, named Olas at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Libraries.
Abstract: This article begins with an analysis of the information society, discussing its repercussions and defining the term, information literacy. It also describes the need for, as well as the creation and development of, an online information literacy tutorial, named Olas at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Libraries. Olas follows international best practice and its overall framework is based on US, Australian and UK information literacy models, while its learning outcomes follow those produced by both the Council of Australian University Librarians and Peter Godwin, South Bank University, London. Olas aims to introduce basic and advanced concepts of information literacy to the broadest possible range of learners both on‐campus and remotely. Olas is currently being piloted at WIT. Apart from the integrated commercial database products to which access is contractually limited to WIT students and staff, it is freely available from WIT Libraries' Web site. Further development is focused on building an improved version of the course in the WebCT virtual learning environment. The WebCT version will include more richly interactive content, will facilitate credited assessment of WIT‐registered students, and will address outstanding accessibility issues.
Summary (2 min read)
- ICTs are capable of generating volumes and varieties of information in very short time spans.
- Potentially, they contribute to one of two human conditions.
- In Ireland an Action Plan on the Information Society, entitled New Connections: a Strategy to realise the potential of the Information Society was released in 2002.
Information Literacy at WIT
- Strategically, Waterford Institute of Technology has tried to align itself with government policy.
- The policy of WIT Libraries is that information skills are an integral part of every learner’s education.
- The authors know that their clients include a mix of traditional and nontraditional users and recognise that not all learners are free to attend a library tutorial in a specific location within a limited range of hours.
- Such developments highlighted the need and paved the way for a more comprehensive approach.
- WebCT allows for the creation and delivery of web-based educational courses, such as OLAS, online.
A Framework for OLAS
- When creating OLAS, specifications were prepared with a close eye on similar developments elsewhere.
- Evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
- (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000) In Australia Information Literacy conferences have taken place every two years since 1992 and the Australian Information Literacy Standards draw upon the American standards but cover additional areas.
- The ‘seven pillars’ model graphically charts the progression from ‘novice information user’ to ‘information literate person’.
- In developing their own set of learning outcomes for OLAS, the authors decided (with kind permission) to use the learning outcomes in the CAUL document and the Seven Pillars structure as explored in detail in Godwin’s Benchmarks.
- At this stage, the authors had a foundation for OLAS, which in its final form consisted of nine online modules, which are further organised into multiple sections, according to their learning outcomes.
- Types of information sources and choosing suitable sources for research 3.
- Content was mostly created in Microsoft Frontpage, with quizzes created in the free Coursebuilder add-on to Macromedia Dreamweaver.
- Its overall design remains linear, in the sense that it progresses from Section 1 to Section 9, whereas each individual section is designed as a self-contained unit, facilitating navigation and cross-navigation.
- WebCT includes many features and facilities that potentially enhance OLAS and the authors are currently exploring the package as a platform for the ongoing development of the information literacy project at WIT.
- WIT Libraries’ Learning Support model is based on the premise that information literacy training is perhaps the predominant professional duty of today’s librarian.
- As with classroom-based courses, good online teaching and learning practices were of paramount importance, but although pedagogical considerations are equally as important for online courses as they are for face-face ones, the emphasis in many respects, is different online.
- OLAS is based on a set of learning techniques that help students become effective learners in the Information Age.
- These concepts are presented in simple, realistic formats within the context of the student’s own coursework.
- Templates are available within WebCT for the creation, timing and automatic grading of four different types of quiz (Multiple-choice, Matching, Calculated and Short answer).
- One possible solution to this problem is to create different versions of OLAS within a core OLAS model.
- Within each of the different levels or subject specialist versions, a truly learnercentred approach would necessitate that different content is presented to users depending on their own interaction with the course.
- The content module provides for the delivery of course material in an enhanced format, while a suite of course tools encourages interpersonal interaction to promote higher order learning, such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation, rather than rote memorization.
- His role has also changed: the man at the top of the classroom has become the man at the other end of the PC, yet, his function remains the same: the teacher persona is still the teacher persona.
- All WebCT courses need to incorporate such a presence if they are to succeed as effective and efficient learning mechanisms online.
- In partnership with educators, librarians now have opportunities to emerge as trainers and teachers, to prepare citizens for productive work and lives in the Information Age.
Work in Progress
- OLAS is taking shape as a remarkable initiative in information society education in terms of its sound, well developed pedagogical basis.
- Its overall framework relies on SCONUL’s Seven Pillars Model of Information Literacy.
- Its learning outcomes are devised from those created by CAUL and Peter Godwin and form the basis of its content.
- To quote Dewey (2001, xv) on this point, purposeful and well-planned programs need to be put in place to expand the integration of IL or information fluency throughout the curriculum and as a basis for lifelong learning.
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Cites background or methods from "A portrait of Olas as a young infor..."
...The Olas tutorial’s developers suggested active learning included “simulation, manipulation of objects, and quizzes, any activity that induced problem solving and self assessment” (Hegarty et al. 2004, 446). Sariya Talip Clay, et al. stated the developers of the CSU Information Competence Web tutorials required “the user to make choices and actively engage in the learning process.” They noted their tutorials were visually interesting and included a frame design that offered opportunities for “live instructional sessions” (2000, 159). Many authors suggested active learning was fun. However, Hunn and Rossiter (2006) argued the experience must be “relevant, engaging, and fun, without being trite” (2006, 194)....
...A user survey at Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries highlighted the importance of a tutorial with “flexibility, convenience of choice, a user-friendly interface and just-in-time library support” (Hegarty et al. 2004, 443)....
...The Olas tutorial’s developers suggested active learning included “simulation, manipulation of objects, and quizzes, any activity that induced problem solving and self assessment” (Hegarty et al. 2004, 446)....
...The developers of “Olas,” an information literacy tutorial, said they “kept a close eye on similar developments” (Hegarty et al. 2004, 444)....
Cites methods from "A portrait of Olas as a young infor..."
...References ACRL (1998), Task Force on Academic Libraries Outcomes Assessment Report, available at: www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/whitepapers/taskforceacademic.htm (accessed 18 March 2004). Ballard, B. and Clanchy, J. (1997), Teaching International Students: A Brief Guide for Lecturers and Supervisors, IDP Education Australia, Deakin....
Cites background from "A portrait of Olas as a young infor..."
...Recently there has also been a rise in online information literacy tutorials integrated in the curriculum (Hegarty et al., 2004; Merrill et al., 2005; Skov and Skoerbak, 2003)....
...Many examples of information literacy programs can be found on university web sites (Bianco, 2005; Correia and Teixeira, 2003; Hadengue, 2004; Hegarty et al., 2004)....
"A portrait of Olas as a young infor..." refers background in this paper
...A learning environment that permits intensive and relevant engagement with the subject matter, being individualised and self-paced, allowing immediate access to large amounts of data, asking questions to test student understanding, and providing guidance when errors or misconceptions are noted ( Laurillard and Ramsden, 1992, p. 159...
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