157 paper

Real use research evaluation of an online essay writing module: Information literacy eLearning modules project

Dawn Coburn, Dave Keen, Wendy Ritson-Jones
Dunedin College of Education

Bronwyn Hegarty
Otago Polytechnic

Jenny McDonald
University of Otago

This paper reports on a work in progress. Evaluative research findings for one module from the New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funded project, Information Literacy e-Learning Modules are presented. Essay Writing with Readings is the first authentic task-based online information literacy module to be piloted and trialed with students and staff.  Evaluation of the usability and effectiveness of the module was conducted in 2006 in real use contexts as part of a class, and as a stand-alone resource. The aim of the project was to develop a range of on-line modules (11) over two years, predicated on the Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy (ANZIIL) standards of information literacy (Bundy, 2004), which are derived from standards developed by the American Library Association (2006). The modules are amenable to adaptation and use in a range of contexts, as well as accessible to diverse groups of learners. Broad findings from the evaluation of Essay Writings with Readings showed the module, in essence, as meeting the project aim. Participants strongly endorsed the module, which had relevance for users with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. The researchers also concluded that the module has potential for adaptation, development and customisation as a teaching tool. The research methodology which generated these findings was both quantitative and qualitative. The evaluation involved 23 participants, both staff and students, from university, polytechnic and college of education backgrounds. Refinements for the evaluation of additional modules are noted as the project proceeds into its second year.

Keywords: information literacy, online, essay writing, research evaluation