for Future Teachers
Roz Van Auker and Linda J. Goff
The project proposal is located at: /services/inst/indiv/libinst/infocompprop.htm
Overview of the Project
The purpose of this project was to provide Information Competence
(IC) skills to future K-12 teachers and to determine whether delivery of IC
instruction via web tutorial should be considered as an effective alternative
to in-person instruction by a librarian.
An upper division population of Child Development majors was
selected to extend the existing information competence instruction at CSUS.
A prior IC project has now developed into a unit that will be required in both
lower division Communication Studies classes which meet the Area A Basic Subjects
requirement in Oral Communication. Because many of our students come here as
transfer students from the local community college we wanted to target an upper
division course for education students. This project provided an opportunity
to reach them with information competence content related directly to their
This project targeted Child Development students completing
their foundation courses or core requirements for Pre-Credential Preparation.
Research in Human Development, CD 133, is the research methodology course for
the CD major.
A secondary purpose was to compare student outcomes in different
sections of the course, contrasting web-based IC instruction with traditional
Existing IC tutorials and related exercises from the California
Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo project had been previously modified
for use at CSUS during Spring 1999. These were rewritten with topics and examples
chosen which related to education and child development issues. A sixth tutorial
on ethical use of information was transferred and a brand new tutorial on ERIC
FirstSearch was developed and incorporated into module 4 of the project.
Tutorials selected for this project can be found at:
- Define a Research Topic
- Determine your Information Requirements for your Research
- Locate and Retrieve Relevant Information
- Use the Technological Tools For Accessing Information
(with link to ERIC Tutorial)
- Evaluate Information
- Understand the Ethical, Legal, and Socio-Political Issues
Surrounding Information and Information Technology
The bulk of the work done in Fall 1999 was to replace the
exercises that had already been modified so they could be emailed to the instructor
with Java script messages so that users would receive immediate feedback on
their answers as they went through the six tutorials. Significant effort was
made to to include education content and concrete examples of research topics
related to the course. The new tutorial for the FirstSearch version of ERIC
was written to incorporate a live online session.
For the post-test, our original proposal indicated that we
would use an existing IC assessment instrument developed at California State
Polytechnic University, Pomona. It was necessary to make some modifications
in their instrument to allow us to better align it with the tutorial content
in our project. This revised instrument was then used as the post-test to assess
both in-person and web tutorial instruction.
Subjects were students in five sections of a pre-credential
education research course.
The five sections were assigned to receive either traditional
instruction from a librarian or to take the online tutorial. In order to reduce
variability, two of the three participating CD 133 faculty divided their sections
so one received traditional instruction while the other section took the online
tutorial. All five sections received the same printed materials and took the
A special effort was made to align the presentation content
so that the librarian’s sessions included similar material to that included
in the 6 modules in the tutorial. Obviously since these session were limited
to one hour and fifteen minutes, it was not possible to include the same level
of detail available in the tutorials.
Each group started at the same web page:
which started with an introduction to the project and gave
detailed instructions on how to establish a campus computer account (SacLink)
which was a prerequisite to access WebCT course management software where the
brief survey, pre-test and post-test resided. A decision was made to place the
tutorials on the web where they would be most easily accessible. In addition,
WebCT proved an inhospitable environment for the frames-based format of the
original tutorials developed at CalPoly.
While not articulated as part of the original proposal, an
added benefit was that the project provided a preliminary needs assessment for
the targeted population of Child Development majors. The opportunity to administer
a library skills assessment instrument to a significant number of students (approximately
100) most of whom had been on campus less than two semesters, has identified
a number of weak areas that can be included in future IC instruction.
Librarians were able to evaluate the potential of using WebCT
course management software for collection and analysis of student data.
Development of a productive relationship with the WebCT consultant in
the CSUS Computer Center may pave the way for future collaborative projects.
It also gave librarians a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of WebCT
and its potential for future IC activities.
Working relations with Child Development faculty have always
been cordial but the project has enriched this partnership with librarians.
Putting the tutorials on the Web made them available to anyone,
but in doing so the ability to track individual student progress through the
tutorials was lost. This decision was because WebCT was not compatible with
the frames format of the original tutorials. An additional factor was that librarians
wanted the tutorials available to all interested library users, not just to
course enrollees. Modification of the entire program to WebCT would have
required extensive reprogramming, beyond what was funded with this grant or
which was possible during the timeframe involved.
The project was hampered by the resignation of a Systems Office
staff member familiar with the project, and delays were also caused by difficulty
While cooperating faculty all agreed that all students would
be instructed to set up campus SacLink accounts as soon as the semester began,
student compliance was problematic and not done in a timely manner. Technology
can be a barrier as well as an enabling feature toward achieving Information
A significant obstacle to a fair comparison of the two delivery
methods was the constrictions imposed by the class period in the librarian delivered
mode. The tutorials had no time limits and could be completed at the convenience
of the students while the live sessions had to allow enough time to administer
the survey, the pre-test, and deliver the instruction. It also included the
post-test all within one or two class sessions. Obviously since these session
were limited to one hour and fifteen minutes, and had to accommodate student
questions, it was not possible to include the same level of detail available
in the tutorials.
While not a total surprise, it was found the amount of librarian
time needed to deal with many details needed to bring the project to fruition
was significantly underestimated. It was necessary to simultaneously coordinate
with faculty, respond to student queries, negotiate problem solutions with the
WebCT coordinator and the Library Systems Office in order to meet project timelines
and to make the project work.
The CSU Information Competence Work Group, which provided
funding for this project, established a March 1, 2000, deadline for all 1999/2000
IC project reports. Since this project was still underway, much of the
data analysis and evaluation of student outcomes will be completed later in
the Spring 2000 semester.
Student feedback forms were due the week of February 28, 2000
from two of the five sections while the remaining sections are expected by March
8th. Reports of the time they used to take the online tutorials will
allow a better basis for comparison of the two delivery modes.
Since students did one or the other, not both, there is no
actual data about which format was preferred, however student comments as well
as faculty perceptions will be reviewed with this in mind.
It is anticipated that analysis of the post-tests will show
which delivery method was more effective in teaching the six Information Competencies.
Student Feedback Form
Questions or comments? Contact:
Roz Van Auker, Education Librarian, firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda J. Goff, Library Instruction Librarian, email@example.com