The Library and the Learning Centre have been awarded grants for three innovative Open Learning Environment (OLE) units. Each unit will focus on skills needed by undergraduate and post graduate students when they try to manage the excess of information they are faced with when undertaking research at university.
“We want to empower our students to be truth seekers rather than passive consumers of information and opinions”
Michelle Harrison, Information and Research Skills Manager at the Library.
The first unit being developed by the library team is “Search hack: how to search pretty much anything”. Elizabeth Litting, Michelle Harrison and Symmon Natour have looked carefully at the research skills that students most need when they begin their university careers. This unit will help students become adept at searching for and evaluating quality online data from a wide range of sources. Without these skills, students, faced with excess irrelevant data, flounder when trying to assemble resources that are acceptable for use in an academic setting. The unit will also act as a foundation unit for students wanting to undertake any of the more advanced face to face study skill courses offered by the library.
In a similar vein, the second library-developed unit, “Knowledge Toolkit: matching knowledge with need”, will enable students to refine their search skills so they can effectively match appropriate resources with specific topics. This second zero credit point unit “will reward ‘habits of mind’ rather than outcomes so students develop their capacity to solve novel problems and learn how to learn”, says Michelle. The unit builds on the model of award-winning online resources that library staff have already created.
The third unit, for HDR students, is being built by Alexandra Garcia Marrugo from the Learning Centre in the DVC (Education) Academic Enrichment team with assistance from Michelle Harrison. The unit, “Writing a Literature Review”, will integrate, expand and improve material already created by the Learning Centre, the HDR Administrative Centre and the Library. Using interactive adaptive learning software, the unit will be able to tailor the online learning path for individual students. This will enable students to focus on the particular skills they need in their discipline.