Information literacy courses at graduate and postgraduate level

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Transcript Information literacy courses at graduate and postgraduate level

Information literacy courses
at graduate and postgraduate level:
some experiments and some experience
Paul Nieuwenhuysen
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and
Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen
Presented at IATUL ‘99 Conference
in Chania, Crete, Greece, May 1999
Subject and aims
of this contribution
• This contribution focuses on some official courses for
which I am responsible in Belgium
»at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
»at the University of Antwerp
• They are related to
information literacy and information retrieval.
• Levels of the courses:
»3rd study year at university
»Master (postgraduate studies)
for this contribution?
• This deals with some experience of a person (colleague?)
who combines functions of
»university librarian for science and technology, and
This contribution may be of interest to other people in a
similar situation
»educating and training information users
»teaching information literacy
Information technology and
information literacy
In these times of evolution towards increased importance of
information sources based on computers and on the
information literacy has become more important than
so that the virtual information sources become as visible
for the users as the printed volumes on the shelves of
classical libraries.
The contents of the courses
(Part 1)
• About “information”
• The information industry and the information market
• Classifications and thesaurus systems
• (Assessing the influence of scientific journals)
• Computer technology
• Computer software
• Disks
• Compact Discs
• Multimedia / Hypermedia
The contents of the courses
(Part 2)
• Data communication, computer networks and Internet
• Remote terminal login and file transfer
• (Gopher and veronica)
• World-Wide Web = WWW
• (Developing WWW documents and sites)
• (WWW extensions)
• (WAIS, Z39.50 and SR)
The contents of the courses
(Part 3)
• Online access information sources and services !
• Electronic mail
• Computer network interest groups
• The future of computer networks
• Client-server systems
• Evaluations in information retrieval
• Document delivery and interlibrary lending
Overview of course materials,
tools and methods applied
1. An overview of the contents of each course on WWW
2. The contents and evaluation procedure of each course
3. Series of slides related to the course contents
4. Questions, tasks, problems,... for self testing
5. Assignments for students during the study year
6. A bibliography about the course subjects
7. Case studies as part of the evaluation procedure
8. Electronic mail to communicate with students
1. An overview of the contents
of each course on WWW
• These WWW pages are part of the official central WWW
site of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (V.U.B.).
• Here we have to comply with the rules and guidelines
established in the framework of the study exchange
programmes in the European Community.
2. The summary and
evaluation procedure of each course
• This is an extension of the official course descriptions
made available by the university.
• The most important addition is a detailed description of
the evaluation procedure.
• These documents are distributed
»printed on paper for registered students
»through the WWW for everyone interested,
as a part of the personal WWW site of the author:
3. Series of slides about the subjects
covered in the courses
• The slides are used for projection during teaching.
• They form the basis for printouts that are published.
• All in English ==> suited for international audience.
• The importance is shown on each slide from * to ****
• Advanced techniques have been applied, such as
»(inclusion of small video files)
»animations in slides!
to illustrate flows of information
• Some of these presentations have been put on the WWW
as examples, in HTML + GIF format.
Internet search systems: scheme
client program
with Internet
Internet search
client program
4. Questions, tasks, problems,...
for self testing
• These are included in the presentations mentioned earlier.
• They come in the form of slides all formatted similarly to
distinguish them well from the other, normal slides that
offer some course contents.
• These slides are used in the course sessions to guide the
discussions with students.
• Afterwards they allow the students to test their own level
of understanding.
!? Question !? Task !? Problem !?
Here comes normally
a question or problem
for the student.
5. Small assignments
during the study year
• Descriptions of small assignments to be carried out by the
students during the study year
between the course sessions.
• The aims of these small assignments are
»to stimulate discussions and involvement in the course,
»self assessment by the student, and
evaluation of the level of the students.
!? Question !? Task !? Problem !?
Here comes normally
a small assignment
for the students.
6. A bibliography
about the course subjects
• Hundreds of references are included.
• A suitable style sheet has been created which allows
»easy additions,
»automatic and consistent formatting
• The bibliography is divided in chapters,
so that each chapter corresponds
to a subject and to a presentation.
• The bibliography is printed together with the slides.
• The file is also made available through the WWW.
7. Case studies:
the core of the evaluation procedure
• The case studies simulate the preparation and
presentation of an advice by each student for a senior
member of personnel in an organisation.
• Each student presents the results of his or her individual
case study in the form of a written report.
• In the exam period, these reports are discussed in a group
with fellow students and the professor, to increase the real
life atmosphere and to motivate the students.
• In this way the exams form an extension of the teaching.
8. Electronic mail
to communicate with students
• E-mail becomes more and more important.
• Through e-mail
»the students ask questions and receive replies from fellow
students and from the responsible professor
»the students submit small reports to the professor
• A problem here is that the professor must spend many
hours on e-mail communication with students,
besides the normal classical contact hours.
Computer programs used
in this work
The computer programs applied nowadays
to create and maintain
»the documents
Microsoft Word 97
»the slides
Microsoft PowerPoint 97
»the Web site
Microsoft FrontPage 98
Courses on information literacy:
the fast evolution
• Fast evolution of information technology
fast evolution of
»the contents of this kind of courses
»educational tools and methods (WWW, e-mail, programs)
»advantages (“cool” aspects)
(time consuming...)
Courses on information literacy:
increasing needs
• Information literacy is important for everyone,
in all countries, including developing countries
shortage of teachers.
Courses on information literacy:
towards the “virtual university”
• Trends in universities:
»educational methods that allow study at any time and any
place (print + WWW + e-mail)
»towards the “virtual university”
»from teaching to learning
»from “teachers” to “learning managers”
»lifelong learning
»distance learning
»flexible learning
Courses on information literacy:
the costs
• Development of course material
• Application of Internet in teaching
• time consuming
• not without difficulties.
Courses on information literacy:
future work
• A central framework and service is needed in each
university to assist in setting up learning environment for
the future.
• Therefore, a few colleagues and myself have submitted a
project proposal to our university to study how to set up
such a framework.
• I can only hope to report on this one of the next years.
Thank you
Any questions?