Web-Based Library Instruction for Promoting Information Skills

Article excerpt

The Internet has significantly increased the speed of library education activities. It also provides learners more interactive activities and greater exchange of information. This article addresses the issues regarding the implementation of the web-based library instruction from cognitive and instructional aspects. With an aim to educate college students to become information literate, a web-based library instruction was developed, implemented and evaluated. Students' responses toward the web-based instruction and the online interaction were analyzed.

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With the advent of World Wide Web (WWW), Web-based instruction (WBI) becomes not only a new way of learning library skills, but also a supplement to traditional mode of face-to-face classroom library instruction. WBI is an appropriate application of the Internet to support the delivery of learning, skills and knowledge in a holistic approach, which is not limited to any particular course, technology, or infrastructure (Henry, 2001). The initiatives of using Internet as a tool for learning have played an increasingly important role in colleges and universities in recent years, and the trend seems to continue. College students need to be information literate in order to navigate the wealth of information available online (Profeta & Kendrick, 2002). Information literacy course on the web becomes an emerging trend for providing a different mode in learning information skills.

Supported by the Internet, WBI allows the instructor or learners to have access at their own convenience. Therefore, electronically mediated human communication can be achieved easily (Huang, 2000). Several cases have been reported in employing different forms of web-based library instruction, ranging from offering fee-based and for-credit web-based courses (Kelley, Orr, Houck, & SchWeber, 2001), integrating a web-based library instruction into other courses (Kocour, 2001), to using a MOO service for web-based instruction (Smyth, 20011). This paper illustrates how a web-based library instruction is designed, implemented, and evaluated among college students. The issues that constitute the importance of the web-based learning are addressed, including information skills for supporting teaching and learning, policy for fostering course implementation, and cognitive as well as instructional design aspects of web-based library instruction.

Information Skills

As more advanced technology becomes available to educational institution's and users of the Internet continue to grow in number, it is clear that the use of technologies is becoming an intrinsic part of our education armory. As far as their specific educational applications are concerned, such technologies would appear to have only superficial claims as to their capacities for supporting learning and teaching. In order to use new technologies more effectively, learners need information literacy skills to explore a wide range of information and deep resources to conceive information as a "vest workspace" in which their own intepretive skills are being built (Charmbers 1999).

Information literacy is a fundamental component of the educational process, at the basic and advanced level, in which student learn how to learn actively and think critically about information rather than to passively receive prepackaged facts or materials (Dewald, Scholz-Crane, Booth, & Levine 2000). Although the history of WWW in learning is not very long, most schools have operated their Web sites on the Internet. The Web enables districts to connect easily with each other, creating unprecedented learning and sharing opportunities for teaching and administration (Sanchez, 1998). Likewise information literacy courses can be put on the web to provide students with a wide variety of learning content and learning experiences, including library instruction, electronic resources, online databases, and online reference materials (Beilie, 2002). …