The "Fun Factor":
Developing an Information Literacy Tutorial for First Year University Students

Presentation at CAML/ACBM Conference
Université Laval, Sainte Foy, Québec

by

Nora Gaskin
Music Librarian
Mills Memorial Library, McMaster University
May 27, 2001

Session Abstract

DOT@MAC (Digital Online Tutorial at McMaster) is a Web-based tutorial currently in development at the McMaster University Library System. Its purpose is to teach transferrable information literacy skills in a fun, interactive, self-paced format, available on the Web 24/7.

Funded by a one-time grant, the tutorial is being developed in-house by reference and instruction librarians, with coding and design support from a technical staff member, and plenty of good advice from McMaster's Centre for Leadership in Learning, the teaching excellence centre on campus.

DOT@MAC is aimed at first-year students, and will introduce information competencies such as how to recognize and choose appropriately from amongst the major types of research databases available in an academic setting, how to formulate a good keyword search, etc. Another primary goal is to keep the tutorial informal and lighthearted, in tune with the tastes and generational culture of its target market.

The developers used a modular approach, scheduling two key modules for completion first: Database Basics, and Keyword Searching. With equipment, software and expertise in place, further modules will be produced as time allows.

The look and overall design of the tutorial are now complete, and the first module is running in a beta-test version. Plans for assessment of the tutorial's effectiveness include pre- and post- testing, focus group discussions, and usability testing.

Work on this tutorial has been stimulating and challenging, frustrating and rewarding. Come and hear about the development process, and share some of what we've learned so far.

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