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Journal ArticleDOI

A portrait of Olas as a young information literacy tutorial

01 Dec 2004-Library Review (Emerald)-Vol. 53, Iss: 9, pp 442-450

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.

AbstractThis 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.

Topics: Information literacy (60%), Literacy (56%), Educational technology (53%), Virtual learning environment (52%), Information society (51%)

Summary (2 min read)

Introduction

  • 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.

Developing OLAS

  • 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.

Pedagogical Concerns

  • 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).

Instructional Design

  • 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 Future

  • 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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1
A PORTRAIT OF OLAS AS A YOUNG INFORMATION LITERACY TUTORIAL
Nora Hegarty, Neil Quinlan, Ted Lynch
The authors
Nora Hegarty, Assistant Librarian, Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries and
Neil Quinlan, Deputy Librarian, Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries are
members of the library’s Learning Support Team.
Ted Lynch is Head Librarian at Waterford Institute of Technology 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 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
both by CAUL 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. Dewald’s (1999)
characteristics of good library instruction form the basis of its pedagogy. OLAS is
currently being piloted at WIT. It is freely available from WIT Libraries’ website, apart
from the integrated commercial database product to which access is contractually
limited to WIT students & staff. Further development is focussed 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.
*A created word, the English language pronunciation of which sounds very similar to
the Irish Gaelic pronunciation of the word “eolas”, meaning “knowledge” or “practical
understanding” (Ó Dónaill, 1977)
KEYWORDS
Information Society, Information overload, Information Literacy, Online courses,
Learning Support, Lifelong Learning, Academic libraries, WebCT, Virtual Learning
Environments (VLEs), Library Instruction, Pedagogy.

2
Introduction
The global knowledge society in which we in the developed world participate is
characterised by a super-abundance of information, all of which is broadcast
available and all of which is conveyed around the world by ICTs (Information &
Communications Technologies). ICTs are capable of generating volumes and
varieties of information in very short time spans. Potentially, they contribute to one of
two human conditions.
Information overload, or ‘information fatigue syndrome’, describes a condition felt by
people “who no longer can deal with the tidal wave of information that washes over
them” (Wilson,2001). In this pathology, sufferers are overwhelmed by a constantly
evolving array of media spouting endless information. The lack of a single definitive
source to satisfy an information need disturbs them. Victims feel increasingly
frustrated and hopeless and ultimately controlled by ICTs.
Information literacy, "the overarching literacy essential for 21st century living" (Bruce,
2002, 1) is an empowering and enabling force. It describes the process of
recognising when information is needed, where it is located, how it is to be evaluated
and effectively used. Information literacy makes for the creation of information literate
individuals, who know how to learn because they know how information is organised,
how to find information and how to use information in such a way that others can
learn from them (ALA, 1989). Information literacy: "a pre-requisite for participative
citizenship, social inclusion, creation of new knowledge, personal empowerment and
learning for life" (Bundy, 2003, 2 ).
The individual within our society must develop information literacy skills or risk
succumbing to “information overload”. In recognition of this stark reality, The Boyer
Commission Report, Reinventing Undergraduate Education, advocates the
development of “information literacy competencies” and goes on to state that
“Gaining skills in information literacy multiplies the opportunities for students’ self-
directed learning, as they become engaged in using a wide variety of information
sources to expand their knowledge, ask informed questions, and sharpen their critical
thinking for still further self-directed learning.”
(Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000)
National policies follow these recommendations more or less. 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. It outlined the
government’s current position on information literacy and lifelong learning and cited
the White Paper on Adult Education: Learning for Life (2000), which
highlights the importance of mass familiarity with ICT applications in the knowledge
society, especially in preventing new forms of exclusion, as well as the vital role ICT
can play as an innovative pedagogical tool, as a key access route to knowledge and
information, an important motivator in learning and as a vehicle in overcoming
barriers of distance, timing and mobility, particularly for those with disabilities, older
people and those in the workforce (New Connections, 2002, 35)
Information Literacy at WIT
Strategically, Waterford Institute of Technology has tried to align itself with
government policy. In 2002 a Strategic Plan for the future development of WIT was
agreed that tried to reflect government policy and the concepts discussed above. The
Plan’s main policy supports learning for everyone, committing the Institute to the
production of information literate individuals.
Waterford Institute of Technology will apply excellence in teaching, learning and
research within an inclusive student-centered environment to foster graduates of
distinction who are ready to take a leadership role in business, the professions,
industry, public service and society”. (WIT, 2002, 8)

3
WIT Libraries’ 2002-6 strategic plan has in turn aligned itself with the Institute’s
strategic vision. This plan, to quote, Ted Lynch, Head Librarian, WIT Libraries:
acknowledges the fact that the Information Age imposes a new responsibility on
academic libraries: librarians must equip students with skills and reflexes to evaluate
and make use of the proliferation of information, which defines modern civilization.
(Lynch, 2002)
The policy of WIT Libraries is that information skills are an integral part of every
learner’s education. The library service recognises the role of Information skills ”in
creating information-literate citizens for the Information Age”(WIT Libraries, 2002,1).
One of the most important initiatives to date is the establishment of a Learning
Support Centre in the Luke Wadding Library, which makes provision for those who
are free to come to a physical location for information literacy training within a limited
range of hours. The Learning Centre consists of a contact/help desk and a fully
equipped library classroom where Learning Support librarians train large numbers of
staff and students in the effective use of library information sources and technologies.
The Centre is instrumental in developing independent, information literate lifelong
learners at WIT. It currently hosts a series of programmes including introductory
information skills sessions for undergraduates, refresher courses for 2nd to final
years, and research support sessions for postgraduates and staff. The ultimate aim
of these programmes is to equip participants with transferable information literacy
skills in order to improve the quality of their research output and boost their potential
for lifelong learning.
Learning Support staff liaise with academic staff to integrate the information skills
sessions into academic courses and to tailor the content according to the needs of
specific groups. The training process follows a classroom model and initially
appeared to serve the majority of learners well. As the results of our recent library
survey reveal, learner needs are constantly evolving, however. Many students are
unable to attend library training either because they are not based on campus for
much of their time or because they work many hours during the academic year.
The survey was completed by over 1100 undergraduate students and consisted of 20
main questions covering 6 specific categories: usage, access, environment,
information technology, services and overall satisfaction. While the overall
satisfaction levels were high, results from the services category revealed that just 1 in
3 students have attended library information skills tutorials. This is not surprising
when we analyse the results from the Usage and Access categories - 51% of those
sampled rely on remote access facilities, 75% regularly visit the library after 6pm, and
33% visit at weekends. (WIT Libraries, 2003)
These results confirm that on-campus, face-to-face library training does not cater to
every student’s needs. We know that our clients include a mix of traditional and non-
traditional users and recognise that not all learners are free to attend a library tutorial
in a specific location within a limited range of hours. We also realise that for some
learners flexibility and convenience of choice are crucially important, as is user-
friendly, just-in-time library support.
The library response at an early stage was to develop an Internet tutorial, created
and hosted on the library website. A series of subject guides were also put online in
2002. Such developments highlighted the need and paved the way for a more
comprehensive approach. A new priority was now the creation of an online
information literacy course at WIT Libraries, a course that would be place and time
independent, available to all learners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a
year, that would offer greater flexibility and convenience to each individual learner,
and would complement, and where necessary, replace, our existing face-to-face
offerings.

4
OLAS is the result. OLAS is a web-based, self-paced information literacy tutorial that
enables us to reach more learners than we can through face-face instruction alone. It
places user centred developments at WIT Libraries within the context of information
literacy initiatives in third level libraries worldwide and allies us with international best
practice in the field - q.v. RIO (University of Arizona, USA), PILOT (Queensland
University of Technology, Australia) and SAFARI (Open University, UK).
We intend to further develop OLAS as a WIT accredited core-skills module. We plan
to do so in partnership with our academic colleagues using the WebCT virtual
learning software package as recently acquired by WIT. 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. Rather than trying to find one perfect template for OLAS,
and deliberately ignoring a ‘one size fits all’ approach, we decided to conduct broad
range searches for a framework or series of frameworks that we could, if necessary,
customise according to our own ends. The sets of standards and lists of related
learning outcomes for the US, Australia and the UK provided us with a choice of
information literacy models for OLAS. In addition, comprehensive online tutorials
from libraries worldwide provided us with backdrops from which to create an online
tutorial to meet local needs.
We noted that in the United States a National Forum on Information Literacy was set
up in 1989 that led to the inclusion of information literacy as a goal in a National
Education Technology Plan in 2000. That same year, the US Association of College
and Research Libraries (ACRL) published their Information Literacy Competency
Standards for Higher Education. These standards profile the ideal information literate
student. S/he
determines the nature and extent of the information needed.
accesses needed information effectively and efficiently.
evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected
information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
either individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to
accomplish a specific purpose.
understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the
use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.
(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 Australian standards use the generic term
'people' rather than specifically referring to the 'student' emphasising the belief in
Australia that information literacy is not just for students, but is a prerequisite for
lifelong learning for everyone.
We chose to use the Seven Pillars Model of Information Literacy drawn up by the UK
and Irish Society of College, National and University Librarians (SCONUL) in 1999 as
the framework for OLAS. It shares a great deal in common with the US and
Australian models and is consistent with the evolving national thinking on the shape
of the information literacy programs in the future. The ‘seven pillars’ model
graphically charts the progression from ‘novice information user’ to ‘information
literate person’. It displays an iterative process whereby information users make this
progression from novice, through competency, to expertise by practicing the skills.
The model suggests a progression from
1. recognising information need to--

5
2. distinguishing ways of addressing information gap to—
3. constructing strategies of locating information required to—
4. locating and assessing information to—
5. comparing and evaluating found information to—
6. organizing, applying and communicating found information to lastly—
7. synthesising and creating new knowledge
(Webber and Johnston, 2000, 382)
OLAS is generally structured according to SCONUL’s model with one variation: the
subdivision, for practical purposes, of the ‘Locate and Access Information’ pillar into
three constituent parts:
1. Locate and Access Information using Books
2. Locate and Access Information using Journals
3. Locate and Access Information using the Internet
This subdivision allowed us to build a substantial proportion of practical examples of
the use of different media into the course in a controlled way.
The next challenge was to find a set of learning outcomes, which fleshed-out the
framework laid down by the Seven Pillars Model. Research led us to a detailed and
comprehensive set of learning outcomes as produced by CAUL (Council of
Australian University Librarians), which is practically applied in Queensland
University of Technology. The QUT Library web pages provide a detailed information
literacy syllabus, including Proficiency Maps, Learning pathways and an Acquisitions
Table. (QUT, 2003)
As regards SCONUL’s model, Peter Godwin's "Information Skills Benchmarks” is one
notable attempt to draft detailed learning outcomes to justify the model. These
outcomes form the basis of content for InfoSkills, the information literacy tutorial at
South Bank University, London.
In developing our own set of learning outcomes for OLAS, we 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.
Developing OLAS
At this stage, we 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. OLAS is a variation of the SCONUL 7 Pillars Model. Each module
covers a particular aspect of information literacy and can be accessed either on a
step-by-step basis, or as user needs dictate:
1. Understand your need for information and define your topic
2. Types of information sources and choosing suitable sources for research
3. Using search tools to locate & retrieve information
4. Locate and access information using Books
5. Locate & access information using Journals
6. Locate & access information using the Internet
7. Comparing and evaluating information and thinking critically
8. Organising & citing Information. Using information ethically & appropriately.
9. Keeping up to date, communicating information and contributing to new
information
OLAS was designed and developed by three staff at WIT Libraries over Summer
2003. The total lead time for the project was five months. Content was mostly created
in Microsoft Frontpage, with quizzes created in the free Coursebuilder add-on to
Macromedia Dreamweaver. Graphics and animations were created using Adobe
Photoshop. Initial drafts concentrated on content and were essentially linear, textual
and non-interactive. A subsequent version of OLAS relies on a combination of linear

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  • ...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)....

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  • ...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....

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Abstract: This bestselling book is a unique introduction to the practice of university teaching and its underlying theory. This new edition has been fully revised and updated in view of the extensive changes which have taken place in higher education over the last decade and includes new material on the higher education context, evaluation and staff development.The first part of the book provides an outline of the experience of teaching and learning from the student's point of view, out of which grows a set of prinicples for effective teaching in higher education. Part two shows how these ideas can enhance educational standards, looking in particular at four key areas facing every teacher in higher education:* Organising the content of undergraduate courses* Selecting teaching methods* Assessing student learning* Evaluating the effectivenesss of teaching.Case studies of exemplary teaching are used throughout to connect ideas to practice and to illustrate how to ensure better student learning. The final part of the book looks in more detail at appraisal, performance indicators, accountability and educational development and training. The book is essential reading for new and experienced lecturers, particularly those following formal programmes in university teaching, such as courses leading to ILT accreditation.

4,428 citations


"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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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Part 1: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 1.Introduction 2.Ways if Understanding Teaching 3.What Students Learn 4.Approaches to Learning 5.Learning form the Student's Perspective 6.The Nature of Good Teaching in Higher Education 7.Theories of Teaching in Higher Education Part 2: Design for Learning 8.The Goals and Structure of a Course 9.Tecahing Strategies for Effective Learning 10.Assessing for Understanding Part 3: Evaluating and Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning 11.Evaluating the Quality of Higher Education 12.What Does it Take to Improve Teaching?

3,552 citations


BookDOI
01 Jan 2003
Abstract: I. Concepts and Cases 1. E-moderating 2. 5 stage model (text) 3. 5 stage model (21st century technologies) 4. E-moderating qualities and roles 5. Training e-moderators 6. Developing E-moderating skills 7. Participants' experience 8. Future e-moderating II. Resources for Practitioners Scaffolding online learning Achieving online socialisation Achieving knowledge sharing Developing e-moderators Costs Summarising and Weaving Taming Online time Promoting cultural understandings Creating presence Housekeeping Promoting Active Participation Assessing learning Evaluating conferencing E-moderating for synchronous conferencing E-moderating for virtual worlds E-moderating for Podcasting Monitoring E-moderating Encouraging self-managing groups Helping online novices Understanding lurking What's going on? What will we call ourselves? Communicating online References Index

2,175 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Abstract In 1999 the ACRL Board established the Task Force on Information Literacy Competency Standards and charged it to develop competency standards for higher education and seeks endorsement and promulgation of these standards from professional and accreditation associations in higher education.
Abstract: In 1999 the ACRL Board established the Task Force on Information Literacy Competency Standards and charged it to develop competency standards for higher education. ACRL seeks endorsement and promulgation of these standards from professional and accreditation associations in higher education. An Information Literacy Standards Implementation Task Force will be charged to promote the use of the standards in higher education. “Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education” was approved by the Board of Directors of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ARCL) on January 18, 2000, at the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association in San Antonio, Texas.

2,126 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: E-Moderators are \"the new generation of teachers and trainers who work with learners online\" (p. viii) using Computer-Mediated Conferencing (CMC) as a learning tool, regardless of the subject they are teaching. They are the focus of E-Moderating, a recent book which provides both a theoretical framework for developing online learning using CMC (part one), and a wealth of practical advice (part two). The book is supported by a Web site. The author, Gilly Salmon, a distance education specialist with the Open University Business School in the UK, provides a five-step model of effective online education, along with copious examples of how the model relates to real-life online learning contexts. Salmon proposes that, by basing learning on a constructivist model, it is e-moderators that can make the difference in online education as they convene, direct, summarize, and archive synchronous and asynchronous discussions.

1,025 citations