Thursday, September 09, 2010

Slavic Information Literacy tutorial at #CKVI

Today's morning keynote at the Creating Knowledge VI conference was from Erda Lapp (Bochum University Library), on Piloting a National Online Tutorial in Slavic Information Literacy: The LOTSE-Slavic Studies Project at Bochum University Library, Germany.
Erda said that there was a well developed programme of subject-specific information skills, in particular searching skills. This includes lab sessions and roadshows (taking a laptop and materials round and about e.g. to cafeteria, to promote what they do). Through various activities they feel they have made information literacy a core competence on campus.
Specifically, Erda was talking about LOTSE, a German-language information literacy tutorial. She was taling about LOTSE for Slavic studies. The tutorial can be found here: It is a module within a larger Slavistics portal In turn this is part of a set of subject portals
There is actually a menu on the left side, which takes you to LOTSE tutorials in other subjects (e.g. history, business). They each have a diagram at the start which displays all the options, and the menu on the left highlights the key areas (e.g. Finding articles, keeping up to date).
Bochum have used it in various ways. They have a credit-bearing course on searching and accessing Slavic Studies information, which is particularly targeted at first year undergraduates, but is also taken by students at other levels. It is taught by the library jointly with academics. As part of the class, students have to present about a search strategy and hand in the powerpoint. They have taken the work of Carol Kuhlthau as a basis for their approach for the class. LOTSE is used at various points, and Erda described the process that the students go through to develop their search topic, carry it out, and present their results. For example LOTSE has advice on identifying your search topics, including some mindmapping tools (this can be found in the Toolbox area of LOTSE). One of the other things that Erda highlighted were the Tutorials (e.g. one on the deep web) that students are directed to at appropriate points.
Feedback has been that LOTSE gives an excellent overview and supports all steps in the research process, and can be explored at your own pace. The negatives were that the amount of information could be overwhelming and that it was a bit difficult to navigate. Its development will continue, and an advantage is that it is freely available on the web.
In the questions afterwards Erda said that LOTSE was not necessarily used so much in the other subject areas (e.g. engineering, history): it did seem to make a difference that students had a specific motivation and framework for using LOTSE in Slavic Studies (i.e. the class).

There is an article: Lapp, E. and Platte, M. (2009) "Piloting a National Online Tutorial in Slavic Information Literacy: The LOTSE-Slavic Studies Project at Bochum University Library, Germany." Slavic & East European Information Resources, 10, (2 & 3), 257 - 266. There is also a freely available paper on the subject here.

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