The Library Passport is specifically created for students at Franklin University, but much of the information presented is applicable for understanding research in general. The Library Passport consists of a section on general library information and a section on business information. The general library information tutorials could be used for new students. They could also be used by any beginning researcher or as a review for anyone needing to brush up on research skills. The tutorials on business information offer an introduction to finding business information. The business tutorials are brief, but they provide an introduction to some of the best business databases for use with some of the most frequent business research questions.
Type of Material:
This resource is useful as an out-of-class self-paced tutorial as students begin to do research reports on business topics. Specific tutorials could be assigned for specific assignments.
Features Flash video, PDFs, text file, web page
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Gain library skills in Research Resources, specifically
1) developing Research Strategies
2) searching databases
3) searching the Internet
4) using information tools
5) understanding Plagiarism and Citing
Gain business research skills, such as:
1) conducting market research
2) finding company and financial resources
3) finding country statistics and demographics
Target Student Population:
Undergraduates or students needing a review or an update if they have been away from school for a while. Very useful for beginning business majors.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Ability to navigate web pages, download and open files, basic reading skills
Content covers essential aspects of locating research information. The business modules are engaging in that they use a Q/A format. The "tips" module provides practical advice once the basics are covered. Real people from the university (with representation by students, faculty, etc.) present the information. The modular approach enables the user to choose the desired content, since the modules do not require a specific sequence. Nevertheless, modules do refer to each other to give more details as needed.In addition, the modules include an external resources links, which is helpful.
Sometimes, the demonstrations were a bit too brief. For instance, the application of the CRAAP test could definitely be expanded. The business modules are uneven in terms of coverage and depth. The video is much easier to follow than the text script, even though some of the video content is only spoken. The jpg image is not very useful, and the user has to download it first, and then open it from their own computer. Some of the material is site-specific, although it is not too distracting or limiting. While the external resources links page is useful, it would have been convenient to include those links in each relevant module.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The library research skills modules are more effective than the business ones, the latter being somewhat surface level in coverage. The library part is applicable to almost any discipline. The modules refer to each other to an extent but can be self-contained. The main purpose would be in helping students start a research paper, locating relevant articles, so in that respect, teachers could assign the modules as outside homework. The concepts are nicely built to unfold in a progressive way. The PDFs and external sources are great additions to the information presented in the tutorials.
In the “Library” portion of the tutorial, the “Information tools” tutorial is a bit too long and unfocused. Focusing more on library homepage navigation would be easier to follow. A separate tutorial could be created for understanding which databases to search for business info, newspapers, ebooks, etc. The business part is very introductory. It would be possible to write a learning activity incorporating it, but the information does not go very far in some of the modules. Thus, the instructor would need to go through the modules to determine their usefulness.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The avatars, who are real students and faculty of the university, make the videos more appealing. The quality is quite good visually. Content is easy to follow. There is a text script for visually impaired.
The instruction is not interactive, and sometimes concepts are not written on on the video, so could be missed. The text script is complete, but is harder to follow logically than the video. The jpg image is not that useful, and one has to download it, and then open it from the desktop (or other place that a downloaded file lands), which is inconvenient. The test feature is present only in the library part, and is not very useful; either it has just 1-2 simple questions, or it is overly complicated (relating terms) with unuseful feedback (too many directions for the key terms test, and not clear). The system also "greys" out at times, maybe because of their server, but that is very frustrating. The tests are not ADA-compliant.
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