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


Top 10 Things We Learned Developing a Web Tutorial

  1. Fun is Hard Work, But Worth It

  2. What Makes You Think They'll Read That? Writing for the Web

  3. Who Are We Trying to Teach? Target Market

  4. Test Early; Test Often: Don't Build it Until They've Come

  5. Mine Your Community: "There's Gold in Them Thar Offices, Labs & Classrooms"

  6. Three Heads are Better Than One: Sometimes a Few More

  7. No Need to TILT in the Wind: The Wheel Has Been Invented

  8. Now Where Were We? Plan to Build, Sustain Momentum

  9. Under the Hood: Components and Toolkit

  10. WHAT Month Did You Say It Was? Everything Will Take Longer Than you Think

Web Tutorial Links

  • click on "About DOT@MAC" for Web tutorial links used in the development of DOT@MAC
  • includes:
    • sites about usability, instructional design, teaching theory, assessment
    • links to other Web based library tutorials

Recommended Readings:

Bloom, Benjamin Samuel and David R. Krathwohl. Taxonomy of educational objectives : the classification of educational goals. 2 v. New York : McKay, 1956.

Nielsen, Jakob. Designing Web Usability. Indianapolis, Ind.: New Riders, 2000.

Tapscott, Don. Growing Up Digital : the Rise of the Net Generation. New York, London: McGraw-Hill, 1998.

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 can 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.


Nora Gaskin, Music/Reference/Instruction Librarian,
Mills Memorial Library, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6, 905/525-9140 x22742
This presentation is available at (click on About DOT@MAC)