IT Carlow Library & the Defence Force (DF) Library worked together to create a mixed
media tutorial designed to enhance the digital learning experience of DF students when finding, using and managing information during their academic studies. Information literacy can be a challenge for students particularly when using digital resources. For many of the DF students, their use of library resources is primarily off campus thus their learning experience in terms of using library online resources is challenging.
The process of creating the mixed media online tutorial was informed by a number of measures including:
- Consulting with Libraries who had designed online tutorials and worked with DF students
- Consulting with colleagues in IT Carlow for help with learning design and the creation of digital objects
- A fact-finding visit was undertaken to the Defence Forces Library in the Curragh (02.03.2016) by IT Carlow library staff to meet stakeholders including students and lecturers. By doing this we learned about their facilities and heard how we could best help DF students
- 6 weeks later the DF team spent a day working with IT Carlow (21.04.2016). Proposed tutorial content and design was evaluated and refined. IT Carlow Library staff also gave a library tour to our DF Library colleagues.
What we learned
Our project dynamic is perhaps, slightly unique in that most of the other participants were individuals, whereas we had a team of four in IT Carlow and another team in the Defence Forces. We had to ensure that the project was managed in the context of these teams. The team format did enable us to include different perspectives on the task in hand. It provided a rich shared learning experience. The development of skills in using various software packages also proved to be invaluable. Working with our colleagues in the DF provided a unique opportunity for us to interact with group who have distinct requirements in terms of their information literacy provision.
Library staff had to develop new skills to create online tutorials. The development of these skills while significant were ultimately worthwhile and has produced a template for the preparation of future online information literacy support packages for other cohorts within the Institute.
The final stage reached in the project which is where we are now is the testing and final client feedback phase. The tutorials in draft form were circulated to the Students, Instructors and Library Staff in the Defence Forces. Feedback was requested to ensure that: (1) the software chosen was suitable for remote user access (2) tutorials supported the primary information literacy needs of the end users as identified early on in the initial consultation meetings (3) Final suggestions on content can be included. It is envisaged that this tutorial will be launched in August 2016 and that these tutorials will be expanded further beyond the lifespan of this project. IT Carlow Library would like to acknowledge the work of our colleagues in the Defence Forces, advice from library colleagues in IT Tallaght and Cranfield University, advice from IT Carlow colleagues in IT Services, School of Sport, Media & Marketing, Faculty of Engineering and the Teaching and Learning Centre.