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Teaching internet research skills - new directions for the Intute: Virtual Training Suite. Place


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Presented at LILAC 2009

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Teaching internet research skills - new directions for the Intute: Virtual Training Suite. Place

  1. 1. Teaching Internet research skills New directions for the Intute: Virtual Training Suite Emma Place, Intute ILRT, University of Bristol
  2. 2. • What’s new with VTS? • Why we decided to change • Sneak preview of the changes • Discussion
  3. 3. You are the first to know …. The Intute: Virtual Training Suite is launching 30 new Internet tutorials this July
  4. 4. New tutorial titles … Arts and Humanities • Archaeologist • Historians • Philosopher • Religious Studies • Modern Languages • Photography • Performing Arts Health & Life Sciences • Agriculture • Microbiology • Health & Social Care • Medicine • Midwifery • Biodiversity • Nursing • Veterinary Medicine
  5. 5. Science & Engineering • Aeronautical Engineering • Civil Engineering • Chemical Engineering • ICT • Physics • Chemistry • Environment Social Sciences • Business & Management • Economics • Education • Lawyers • Psychology • Social Work • Government & Politics • Social Research Methods
  6. 6. So what’s new? We update the service in light of: 1. Internet developments 2. User feedback
  7. 7. Internet developments Intute editors have been following: Web 2.0 developments • blogs, podcasts, videos, social networks Academic Web trends • Changes in online academic publishing, library services, eBooks, eJournals, eLearning objects, Google scholar etc.
  8. 8. User feedback 1. Internal review of the VTS 2. Intute user-surveys 3. External market research report on Intute
  9. 9. Research questions • Is there a proven need/demand for VTS? • How do users want to see VTS develop?
  10. 10. Methods • Analysis of User-Feedback Forms: qualitative and quantitative analysis of the c5,000 online feedback forms received from VTS users over the last 5 years • Analysis of Web Statistics: focusing on statistics compiled during the year 1st Jan – 31st Dec 2007, but also making use of statistics from the previous 5 years. • Locating Examples of Use of VTS in Higher Education: examining university and library websites that link to VTS and a sample of feedback data collected via email • Online Survey of over 100 VTS Authors and Intute Staff: to gather internal views on the way forward for VTS • Tutorial Technology Review: comparison of different technologies available for offering online training tutorials • Literature Review: recent evidence in the academic literature about Internet research skills in higher education
  11. 11. Results There is a growing recognition of the need to teach Internet research skills to university students: • 100% of VTS survey respondents agreed • 66% of Intute user-survey respondents felt that a national training service like VTS was needed • Literature review reveals that Internet research skills are now increasingly mainstream for undergraduate degrees (eg. explosion of text books in this subject)
  12. 12. Is there a proven demand for VTS? • Analysis of Web statistics reveal an upward trend in use of the service from 2 million page views in 2002 to 12 million for 2007 • Market research revealed that VTS is one of the most highly used parts of the Intute service as a whole • Peaks in use match university terms dates, suggesting the service is being used by the target audience (and 67% of our online feedback forms come from university students)
  13. 13. Is there evidence of VTS being used in HE courses? • Online feedback forms from students state that they were guided to the tutorial by their lecturer/course materials • Referrral data from the Web stats revelas 1/3 of users are coming to VTS from websites, and access via search engines in low • Backlinks reveal many library websites now link to VTS tutorials, as do some course materials
  14. 14. Which tutorials are most popular? • Web stats enabled us to rank tutorials from most to least used. • Market research suggests we should focus more on HE degree subjects – with limited resources focus on those subjects with the highest student populations
  15. 15. What do users like/dislike about VTS? Feedback forms from students suggested they: Like • Collection of links • Links basket • Easy to use • Clarity and simplicity • quizzes Dislike • Length of the tutorials • Reading lots of text on screen • Technical problems
  16. 16. Feedback forms from staff: • Revealed some strong views that Web 2.0 actually increases the imperative for teaching students to Internet research skills. • That significant changes to VTS would be unpopular, now that it was built into websites/courses • 70% of respondents to the online survey thought VTS would be missed if it were gone
  17. 17. What works well, what would they change? Works well • Use of experts from the community to update tutorials • Tutorial approach / tone (“friendly expert”) • Not just spoon- feeding links but teaching search and evaluation skills Would change • More focus on academic Internet resources • Help students understand the process of academic research • More on the difference between academic publishing and Web 2.0 user- generated content • More community engagement
  18. 18. Change in approach • Target audience is now students in higher education (not staff) • Subject coverage VTS will not grow in size but tutorial titles will be based on most popular university courses
  19. 19. Changes to content • Written for HE students • To help with coursework & assignments • Focus on academic sources online • Includes Web 2.0 but in academic context • Much more about libraries!
  20. 20. Changes in design • Brand new web design • Easier to read online • Shorter • More graphics • No technical hitches!
  21. 21.
  22. 22. Questions • Would you use a VTS online community area? • Would you like VTS to offer a place to share methods for teaching Internet research skills in HE? • Would you be willing to share how you teach these skills / use VTS?