Using a Blog to Engage Students in Literature Search Skills Sessions
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One of the main problems for librarians involved in engaging engineering students in literature search skills sessions is creating a list of customized, course-specific online resources that is easy for students to find and use. Such a list can include links to article databases (ie. IEEE Xplore), ebook packages (ie. Books 24x7), web resources, patent search engines and standards series. It can also be used to hold notes from the session, background information and links to useful tools such as citation management software. Given that blogs are becomming an increasingly popular item in the pedagogical toolbox, creating one to host these notes and links is an obvious possibility. Blogging tools such as Wordpress are simple and straightforward to use. Blog entries can be easily linked to on a course website or even Googled by students. During the classroom session itself, the blog is used both to engage the students' attention and as an outline of the content. Adding interactivity via Instant Messaging widgets such as Meebo also make the blog a good tool for engaging with students both during the session and after it is over. Analysis tools such as Google Analytics can be used to assess the usage of the blog. A sample web page, created for the Engineering 1000 course at York University, can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/yorkueng1000.
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