Library Scene: Fairfield Edition

Institution: DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Fairfield University

Two of our learning goals for our fall semester instruction sessions for the freshmen English courses are: to connect students with the services we provide to support them, and to provide an orientation to our building. Previous attempts to accomplish these two goals–guided tours and a choose-your-own-adventure style movie–either took too much time away from the active learning activities that are crucial to the success of our Information Literacy Program or quickly became dated.

To stay true to our vision of creating life-long, information-literate learners, we needed to take a more creative approach. We had read several articles discussing the benefits of gaming in pedagogy, and were excited about the possibilities this might afford. After further discussion and research, we decided to create an interactive, multimedia game for our instruction classes. However, we knew that we didn’t have the skills necessary to create the quality of product we envisioned. So, we approached Fairfield University Media Center to propose a partnership. We assembled a creative team composed of librarians, producers and programmers to create a game based on the popular DVD game, Scene It.

The project was a collaboration from the start. The librarians worked closely with each other to establish learning goals for the game. The librarians wrote the script, and producers and programmers from the Media Center offered feedback and suggestions. Team members met many times to discuss script ideas, presentation formats, and question/answer options. As a result of this process all team members were able to bring ideas to the table that strengthened the finished product. For example, it was the media center who suggested to animate the characters in the film clips to allow for the addition of future game modules. The librarians worked in close consultation with the programmer to make sure the final product could be played both with a live classroom, and online.

Preliminary evaluation data suggests the game has been a huge success. In post class evaluations 95% of students reported that the game “somewhat” or “substantially” contributed to their awareness of library services. We are still awaiting results of our more comprehensive evaluation pre- and post-tests, but observational data suggests the students thoroughly enjoyed playing the game. They were engaged, attentive, and took the “competition” seriously. It garnered enough positive response that the University is considering making the game part of First Year Orientation events. Such a successful project was only made possible by the extensive collaboration between the Media Center and the Library, and the good working relationships of the members of the creative team.

Project Type: Completed Project

Budget: $2500

Team Members:

Jessica McCullough, Sr. Reference Librarian and Instruction Coordinator
Philip Bahr, Reference and Media Librarian
Curtis Ferree, Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian
Karen Connolly, Producer
Steve Evans, Programmer
Chris McGloin, Media Services Specialist

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