Library debuts series of online tools

The University of Lethbridge Library continues to seek ways by which it can further serve its students. The latest example of this is the development of a number of online modules designed to help students become more familiar with the research process and Library resources.

In January, the library strengthened its existing partnership with Academic Writing by launching a series of online learning modules for students enrolled in Writing 1000 (Introduction to Academic Writing). The modules include videos, worksheets, and quizzes, with content that covers topics such as narrowing down a research question, using library databases, evaluating information sources and formatting citations.

"Good academic writing goes hand in hand with good research, with information literacy," says Academic Writing Program co-ordinator Cliff Lobe. "We've been pleased to work with the library to help students develop both skills simultaneously."

Information literacy, the ability to recognize when information is needed and be able to locate, evaluate, and make effective use of information, is becoming increasingly recognized as an essential skill.

Over the last few years, it has become common practice for a librarian to visit each section of the Writing 1000 class at least once per semester to introduce students to finding and evaluating key library resources to support the successful completion of the course's major research paper. While the partnership has been a positive one, both the writing instructors and librarians felt that students were not getting all they needed to become proficient researchers. There was simply too much material to cover over the time presented by a three-credit course.

The library had discussed putting more instruction resources online, and with the advantage of having a full-time intern with a background in education on staff this past term, the project took shape. Intern Librarian Heather Nicholson, with support from librarian Rumi Graham, has largely been responsible for developing the online modules.

The added advantage of the online component is that students can work through the material at their own pace and return to topics later on for review. These tools also provide additional library support to the growing number of U of L students enrolled in courses in Calgary and Edmonton. Looking ahead, the plan is to work over the summer to modify the modules based on student feedback and work to make them available on Moodle and through the Library's website for the fall semester.

Librarians are always eager to have the opportunity to work with faculty to provide information literacy instruction to students. This latest initiative is in addition to the two credit courses taught in library science each term and the many library instruction sessions taught in faculties across campus.

Instructors are encouraged to contact their subject liaison librarians to arrange instruction sessions for their individual classes.

This story first appeared in the Legend. For a look at the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.