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informationliteracy.ie – excellent online tutorial for graduate students

I’m learning many things about Irish libraries during my sabbatical in Dublin. At a recent meeting I found out about the online tutorial called informationliteracy.ie and then I took a look and came away very impressed. I’m told it’s not quite finished, but even what is available already is inspiring.

So what’s it all about? The target audience for this tutorial is graduate students including those engaged in Research Masters programs, PhD studies, or hired as postdoctoral staff.  This tutorial comprises seven units all designed to enhance the information literacy competencies of this target user group.  It forms part of the Strategic Innovation Funding Generic Skills Project titled “Enabling Fourth Level Ireland” (for more background information read this) . The Strategic Innovation Funding (SIF) programme is administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The three main partners in producing this tutorial are the libraries at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Cork (UCC). The content creators are subject librarians at each of the partner university libraries. The multimedia development for this course was done by EMEDIA.

The seven modules are: (1) Introduction to Information Literacy, (2) Research Resource Discovery, (3) Evaluating Your Search, (4) Tracking Down Results, (5) Managing Your Information, (6) Ethics in Using Information, (7) Publishing & Disseminating. It’s a multimedia experience in that there is audio and video. Much of it is presented by the information literacy guide, Ruth, who with her nice voice and clear diction takes the user through the steps.

Sequential progress through the tutorial isn’t necessary and it’s appealing that you can dip in and out of it based on your own skill base. And there are also exercises giving the learner a chance to test their own understanding.

There are also quite a few text-based slides. And when it comes to demo-ing certain concepts or skills, screencasting software has been used. The examples used in this tutorial focus on cancer or biomedical type research but it’s been designed to ensure a broad disciplinary appeal with skills learned being transferable for the most part to other disciplines.

I believe the plan is to make this tutorial available to other higher education institutions, who might wish to use and adapt it for their own purposes. I’ve not come across any tutorials of this calibre focused specifically on graduate level information literacy competencies, but of course feel free to enlighten me. In any case, I think this project and the people behind it deserve a lot of credit.

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