ISIS : Information Skills & IT skills where you are, when you need them
Type of snapshot
Central services provision e.g. library, learning development, e-learning, ICT
What was the context for this snapshot?
We were aware of lots of good ‘stuff’ out there on different websites – both within the university and externally, the problem was the students had to go looking for them.
By bringing those sites into WebCT we had a way we could push them out to students so they had a sporting chance of finding some of the good stuff.
We worked in cross-disciplinary teams to select content and put it together, but all the teams tried to focus on tasks students might want to do and problems they might want to solve rather than starting from organisational structures and hierarchies.
Our WebCT ‘course’ is called ISIS – information skills and IT skills. It has a mix of fun and serious, web pages, quizzes and videos, hopefully most students will find helpful stuff there. Mostly it is links to other existing materials, it’s about surfacing stuff to make it easier to find, not about recreating it all.
What kind of learners were involved in accessing this provision or support?
ISIS is available to all our students, all UG and taught PG students are given access semi-automatically. We hope that students will stumble upon ISIS because they see it on their MyWebCT list and they will wander in out of curiosity and then remember it is there for use when they need it – much easier than bookmarking a website when you use a variety of computers!
Some sections can be embedded into discipline modules, other courses specifically direct students to use the ISIS materials.
What skills or literacies were particularly being addressed?
ISIS covers a broad range of Information skills and IT skills without drawing on a formal framework. The main categories for content are Getting used to university; Writing; Citing; Dealing with Data; Finding reading materials; Plagiarism; Keeping your work safe; Communicating online; Powerpoints posters and presentations; More things you are invited to use; Courses
ISIS doesn’t aim to cover learning and study skills although this would be a natural extension, and hopefully will be included soon. The international office was keen that all international students should get access asap
Who provided the support? How was support provided?
The content was selected by cross-disciplinary groups, including some student representatives. We did small scale evaluations and there are a variety of feedback options included so new ideas are always welcome. Content can always be changed and updated, there is no need for it to be static.
A small number of information services staff monitor ISIS, make changes and respond to any discussion postings that need responses, but mostly there is no support needed.
Benefits, outcomes, and lessons learned
Cross-disciplinary groups was a good way to work and allowed us to focus on student tasks, rather than the traditional boundaries of IT, Library, etc. We think this makes the information more accessible for the students.
We had hoped to make more content packages for easy inclusion in other courses but it didn’t quite work, lots of new content inside ISIS would allow this, but it is less useful for collections of web links which some topics are.