December 2014 Site of the Month


Ship to Shore Information Literacy Tutorial

Authors: Christy Fic and Kirk Moll

Institution: Shippensburg University

Interviewee: Christy Fic

Interviewer: Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra

Tutorial Description:

The Ship to Shore Information Literacy Tutorial has existed in various forms over the years. The tutorial was recently revised using Adobe Captivate to create ten interactive modules that now include audio and video elements, and allow students to simulate database searches, navigate LibGuides, and refine research topics, as a recording of a librarian guides them through the exercises.

Q: What was the original motivation to develop this project? What were your goals?

A: Library instruction is an integral part of our mission at Ezra Lehman Memorial Library. We strive to teach our students how to effectively use the research materials available through the library to complete their coursework and become savvy consumers of information. Librarians work very closely with first-year students in both the Writing Intensive First Year Seminar (WIFYS) and Introduction to Human Communication Studies classes to help them successfully transition from high school to college level research. The Ship to Shore Information Literacy Tutorial plays a large part in these efforts.

Ship to Shore is designed to teach students how to effectively use general information sources, pick good topics and terminology for research projects, identify appropriate types of information sources, select appropriate information retrieval systems, design effective search strategies, and learn how to get additional research materials from other libraries. In the past, Ship to Shore included a set of five modules comprised of screenshots from the library web page with captions that explained the different library resources and services. The goal for the Ship to Shore revision was to include audio, video, and interactive elements that would allow students to participate in the tutorial, while being guided by the recording of a librarian through the exercises.

Q: Who was involved in the creation of these tutorials? How long did they take to make?

A: Last year I served as the Library Instruction Coordinator, and Ship to Shore was primarily my responsibility. However, I based several of the scripts off of the previous iteration of the Ship to Shore modules, which were created by the library’s last Library Instruction Coordinator, Kirk Moll. For each module, I wrote the narrative script, created a storyboard, coordinated the recording schedule, and created each module in Adobe Captivate. Several other librarians provided video and audio narration for the modules, which were recorded by the university’s Director of Broadcasting.

Making the ten modules was a major job responsibility for an entire semester. I did not calculate all of the hours, but the project did take a significant portion of my time that semester. Aside from teaching instruction sessions and providing reference services, updating Ship to Shore was my main goal for Fall 2013.

Q: What led you to select Adobe Captivate for this project?

A: In the initial stages of the project I spoke with the Head of Instructional Design, who recommended Adobe Captivate. The program was easy to learn and allowed for quick editing. The best part about Captivate was that it would allow us to incorporate screenshots, audio, video, and interactive components all in one. It had all of the features we were looking for.

Q: Currently the modules come with a disclaimer that they might not match the library website due to a site redesign. How much work do you anticipate will be involved in keeping the modules up-to-date in the future?

A: The current modules were uploaded to the library’s website in early Spring 2014. The library website changed its look at the end of Summer 2014 due to an upgrade to LibGuides V2, which we use as our Content Management System. The modules were designed with the knowledge that they would need to be updated in the future. A number of screenshots will have to be swapped out to reflect the new look of the website. Staffing changes slowed the process this time, but normally it would be a pretty straightforward process to update the Captivate files.

Q: The modules cover a range of topics. How did you decide what to include, and how much detail to provide?

A: Ship to Shore is meant to be used by our first-year students. The librarians all agreed on what concepts were most important for a first-year student to know in order to be successful in their transition to college level research. We agreed that we wanted to keep the modules short. Each module only takes 3-5 minutes to complete. This time frame was our primary limiting factor when deciding how much detail to include in each module.

Q: How are the modules being used? Are they integrated into any assignments or courses?

A: The Ship to Shore Information Literacy Tutorial is a requirement in the university’s Writing Intensive First Year Seminar (WIFYS) classes. All first year students are required to take WIFYS, and during the course of the semester they must complete the modules and then take a review quiz that tests their mastery of the information literacy concepts. Currently, WIFYS professors use the quiz in different ways–as a participation grade, a quiz grade, etc. The library is working to gain access to the quiz data for the future.

Q: Have you conducted any assessment of the effectiveness of the modules?

A: Kirk Moll and I are currently working on a research project to assess the effectiveness of Ship to Shore. Working with faculty in the Human Communication Studies department, we are going to perform a citation analysis of the reference lists of several groups of students—a control group, which had no library instruction and did not take Ship to Shore; a group that only took Ship to Shore; a group that only had library instruction; and a group that took Ship to Shore and had library instruction. We have just started collecting our data set.

Q: What feedback have you received from faculty? From students?

A: We have not yet conducted any formal surveys, but both the faculty and students appear to have responded positively to the new Ship to Shore modules! This feedback has largely come through casual conversations, with several professors expressing their appreciation for the new interactivity.

Q: What advice would you have for someone contemplating a similar project?

A: It’s crucial to have collaborators whose strengths you can draw upon. Updating Ship to Shore in the way we wanted to would not have been possible without the technical assistance of the university’s Instructional Design and Broadcasting departments! Also, allow plenty of time to try out different approaches in whatever software program you end up using.

There were things that we thought would work originally, but as we spent more time with Captivate, we learned there were better ways to accomplish what we wanted. For instance, it was difficult to get the videos to work in Captivate. As it is an Adobe program, Captivate works best with flash files. However, it refused to accept our .flv files and export a quality product. We learned to insert .mp4 files and then Captivate converted those into .flv files during the publishing process and that worked a lot better.

Q: Do you have anything else to share?

A: Recording audio and video was a much more intensive process than we originally imagined. After speaking with the head of Broadcasting, we realized that we needed to set aside a significant block of time to allow for review of the recording and re-recording if necessary. For each 3-5 minute module, we scheduled a 30 minute recording session. This gave us plenty of time to perfect each recording, and we didn’t have to go back to the studio to re-record anything later. Recording a single module in one shot was key to maintaining consistency in the speaker’s tone and volume level, which can vary from day to day.

December 2014 PRIMO Site of the Month

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