LRC Online – interactive and multimedia information skills materials
Provided within College intranet
Type of snapshot
Central services provision e.g. library, learning development, e-learning, ICT
What was the context for this snapshot?
LRC Online introduces learners to the LRC and helps them to develop their information literacy skills through podcasts, video clips and interactive guides.
The podcasts and video clips are based on a fairly light-hearted treatment of important topics, to appeal to young adult learners. The video clip entitled ‘Why use the LRC’ is presented by someone who had just completed his A Levels and the podcasts are narrated by a current HE learner. Most of the podcasts adopt enquiry-based scenarios in which a learner and a member of LRC staff discuss topics with the dialogue being led by the learner asking the questions. In the ‘scripting’ of these materials, careful consideration was given to viewing the issues from the learners’ point of view and raising the issues in a way that would be understandable and meaningful to them.
LRC Online is the first content to be developed for the student side of a new college-wide intranet site (recently rebuilt using a Sharepoint platform). It went live in January 2009. We made a deliberate choice to focus on information literacy right from the start of this new online venture and, as LRC Online is continually developed, we will build on this central theme.
This development was partially funded by a project titled Learning Enhancement and Progression (LEAP) which was aimed at effective transition from level 3 to level 4 and from Foundation Degree to top up honours (South London Lifelong Learning Project). One of the podcast scenarios involves a health and social care learner which was the focus of the LEAP project.
What kind of learners were involved in accessing this provision or support?
LRC Online is aimed at all learners in college and is currently the student intranet home page. Installation as the student home page was highly significant in terms of its college-wide visibility and accessibility.
What skills or literacies were particularly being addressed?
The current podcasts are titled: ‘What are LRC eResources and how do I use them?’; ‘Using the internet for your college work’; and ‘Basic library terms’.
There is also a strong interactive element to LRC Online, using web-based interactive guides to topics such as referencing and writing your first assignment. The interactive guide to writing your first assignment covers areas such as planning and starting your research, developing your academic reading skills and essay writing.
Who provided the support? How was support provided?
LRC staff have used the podcasts during classroom based information literacy sessions for a few courses, including childcare foundation degree courses. One of the podcasts, titled Basic Library Terms,is of particular use to international and ESOL students and LRC staff have supported this use in the classroom.
The LRC is currently promoting LRC Online to teaching staff to gain feedback on how it can be developed and used. We are also advocating blended delivery by teachers, for example, encouraging teaching staff to play the podcasts during relevant classroom sessions.
Benefits, outcomes, and lessons learned
The benefits, outcomes and lessons learned will be more fully realised after a sustained period of promotion to both teaching staff and students and following review of its use during the main student induction period in the next academic year. The initial response from teaching staff has been positive and early indications are that the teaching staff who have been made aware of its availability are enthusiastic about supporting its use, both by using it themselves in the classroom and encouraging their students to use it.
It is important for the LRC to gain feedback from students to assist future development and the LRC is using available cross-college feedback channels, for example, focus groups organised by student advocates based in the student union.
LRC Online came about during a review process about the ways in which the LRC supports the information literacy needs of the College and the effective use of LRC staff time in this respect. We considered how many learners were being reached through our offering of classroom based information skills sessions which are booked by teaching staff. LRC Online is a way of providing generic and flexible support to learners which does not rely on LRC staff being invited by teaching staff to deliver classroom sessions. LRC Online has the potential to reach more learners in a more engaging way than it would through its offering of classroom based sessions alone.