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Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Your library virtually everywhere: using what you have to give them what they need where and when they need it

Ruth Ivey & Kay Young
(Room jam-packed - had to bring in extra chairs and close the door on people.)

Tutorials, virtual tour developed

Tours (Ruth)
Online versions of what already offering face to face - wanted it where and when needed. 2 years research and development. First-time users link to download flash. Modules - much scripting. Design encourages interaction. Can work through or go to topics or select a module. Refer to other modules but no live links to avoid people straying and getting lost.

Interactive activities time-consuming to create but very successful. Eg Boolean connector - AND Have had requests from other libraries to use all or part of WISE for themselves.

Virtual tour uses online campus map as recognisable. Tours took 6months to create - not in colour until live. Also interactive with guided tour using 'next' or clicking on floor - each floor different colour. Went live beginning A semester for Central, B semester for Education. On tour can choose location or choose resource

Legal Research Skills (Kay)
Time pressure. Couldn't just deeplink into WISE but gave opportunity to give a legal slant. Could piggyback off research done. List of modules, index of resources covered. Drag-and-drop puzzles, quizzes, polls. Radio-style and songs. :-)

Podcasting very easy
Microsoft Producer free if Office - but creates ginormous files, slow to download even on campus!
Snagit for capturing and annotating screenshots (not free)
Audacity to record webcast mp3 files. Just recorded in office with phone turned off.
Hot Potatoes for games and quizzes - free for public websites
Picasa for editing photos

Learning experiences (both)

  • Research - looked at lots of other online tutorials.
  • Useful to develop common vision, agreed goals, limits etc at start.
  • Communication - ongoing vital. Much drawing. Timelines essential (never kept to them!) to give way of tracking progress. Any scripting or instructions had to be very clear on communication so all needed to be standardised. Documenting everything absolutely necessary
  • Talent-spotting - enthusiastic amateurs as useful as professionals. Check out free resources. Look at talents of team around you. Used whole team.
  • Funding - having no money restricted options so allowed quick decisions!
  • Learning preferences - catering for different learning methods: audio, visual, puzzles, etc. Varying voices by age/gender/ethnicity for webcasts.
  • Usability - navigation important. Simple. If difficult for you then difficult! Usability testing crucial.
  • Promotion - promoted through academics (some put on course site); postcards in course packs; screensavers in library; newsletters; photos of tour on website which clicked through to tours. Related assignment.
  • Monitor - Poor response to online survey (common for online surveys) so will repeat with face-to-face class. Subject librarians monitor pages to make sure kept up-to-date. Tours need changes regularly; have added to legal research tutorial too.
  • Fun - started without humour but too flat; then put in, usually at end so people had choice whether or not to use them. Work sometimes tedious so needed to be fun for staff too. Often those had most fun creating have had best success on.

other libraries ask if can use - do you allow use? - Linking to it have okayed. Some ask for files - send them to web developer.

Assessment - didn't have time at the time but looking to do it. Probably quiz-based which not happy with but haven't had better idea.

(thought to self - maybe don't call tutorials 'infolit', 'tutorials', etc but "about the library' 'how to use the library', 'what the library has'?)