Monday, 1 September 2008

Libraries and e-Learning Master Class

This was a great seminar presented by Robyn Tweedale from USQ, who has experience in implementing elearning projects. Although this covered no new territory for us at Utas it pulled together many ideas and gave the tools to plan and think about our elearning intiatives.

Main Points

  • Importance of stakeholder buy in from the beginning of any project, particularly from academics. Students won’t use eLearning unless compelled to, or recommended to
  • Spend time determining the scope of eLearning intiatives, what is appropriate for your users, what can you achieve in terms of time and budget
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel (we certainly know about this point!), use collaboration and piggy backing wherever possible
  • eLearning is learning, that is it should follow sound pedagogical principles
  • eLearning should be a balance of technological innovation and pedagogical innovation
  • eLearning is most effective at point of need or integrated into curriculum

To elaborate on “don’t reinvent the wheel” – Robyn stressed the value of looking for opportunities to share and borrow and emphasised the value of quick wins. USQ has adapted the original QUT Pilot tutorial ( which is freely available), added some content from University of Washington Library’s Research 101 tutorial. Robyn’s team is still working on adapting this and asked the group if any team would be interested collaborating to make Pilots better. Could this be an opportunity for Utas?

Robyn made clear that she did not see the tutorial being used in its entirety by students, but rather something that could be used to create learning objects, saved in Equella, that could then be adapted quickly and easily for specific courses and units, be placed in MyLo etc.

There are many examples of eLearning used in libraries currently listed on the Wiki for the course

If you want to look at these I can give you the user name and password.

Much of the day was spent looking at our gaps in services, our strengths and weaknesses and how to plan an eLearning intiative. Materials to assist with this are also on the Wiki. I feel that we have lots of expertise in the content of elearning but at the moment no clear direction in which to head. There is also a lot of expertise in the Uni to draw on, CALT and flexible learning units in the Faculties.

I think our next eLearning project should be small in scope, tailored very specifically to a course and lets have a quick win we can build from!

Other useful tips from the day:

  • Robyn preferred to use Adobe Captivate over Camtasia as she said it was easier to make changes when you need to update material.

  • Don’t give your elearning products fancy names. After using focus groups USQ decided to call their product “Finding Information Tutorial”, and their multiple database search product is called “multiple database search”.

1 comment:

Felix Wilson said...

Thanks for a very good, pertinent report Juliet. It all sounds very useful for us. Using the existing technologies to deliver content is a 'no-brainer' as far as I am concerned, why do we want to create a new online learning system when we have MyLO that is used by most (all?) students already and could be used to deliver training in conjunction with academics quite easily. We have the expertise to create content (or reuse the content we already have) as you say and we have an existing system to deliver it. For me this clarifies the direction we should be moving in.