Communications in Information Literacy, Vol 1, No 1 (2007)

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Developing Students’ Information and Research Skills via Blackboard

Jacqui Weetman DaCosta, Becky Jones

Abstract


This paper summarizes work undertaken at De Montfort University (Leicester, UK) to develop students’ information and research skills using the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment. It outlines how a traditionally delivered and assessed program was reviewed and revised in order to produce a blended learning experience for students.

The librarians involved undertook this project with students from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences during March/April 2005, teaching two groups in parallel--one group using Blackboard and another using the traditional teaching method. Both groups were given a diagnostic evaluation to gauge their confidence levels with both information skills and using Blackboard, and to obtain their perceptions of their experiences. Both groups underwent a formal summative assessment with one group using Blackboard and the control group having a paper-based assignment.

The Blackboard sessions were very popular with students and this method of teaching has subsequently been extended to other modules within the university. Students appeared to be more motivated and appreciated the constant availability of the learning materials. This project was the first example within the university of students undertaking a formal online assessment using Blackboard, and the librarians received a Curriculum Development and Innovation Award. The work was subsequently disseminated within the university, where it was well received.

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