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L595: High Tech Learning

Final Project: High Tech Learning Experience Plan

Page Contents:
Audience | Need | Plan: WebQuest . Scavenger Hunt . Scanner . Wiki | Discussion | Bibliography


This project will focus on new users of the SHSL: new students, new faculty, newly hired SHSL student employees, etc.


The Science-Health Science Library (SHSL) at Ball State has served as a branch to the main library for over 25 years. It functions as an in-house location for resources for science researchers of all kinds.

A study published in the July 2003 issue of College and Research Libraries revealed what most of us knew intuitively: library users, college students in particular, have changed the way they use libraries (Kuh, 257). Due mainly to technology issues such as online databases and expectations of information at the fingertips fostered by the likes of Google, this has also led to a widening gap between traditional library instruction practices and teaching library users what they need to know now. The power of filtering reliable and valid knowledge from the background noise of available information has begun to shift from the "knowledge gatekeepers" (ie librarians, publishers, literary editors, etc.) to that of the individual information consumer (Kuh, 256).

Because information literacy- The National Forum on Information Literacy defines information literacy as "the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand."- helps create success not only in academic, career, and personal spheres but self-confidence and independence as well, it becomes an important role in libraries to promote it. The Association of College and Research Libraries also published a report from a 1989 Presidential Committee on Information Literacy pointed out that "cultural and educational opportunities available in an average community, for example, are often missed by people who lack the ability to keep informed of such activities." Information literacy can give people not only the skills to succeed academically but to become lifelong learners and more independent in their own lives.

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While the SHSL does seek to promote information literacy in various ways to various types of users, the plan described here focuses on one of the most basic issues: introducing the SHSL to new users. This introduction will take the form of a webquest (ie a "tour" or "scavenger hunt") of library resources using resources both online and in-room and involving a small amount of critical thinking.

  1. The librarian will prepare an expanded webquest using QuestGarden 1.1.
  2. The webquest will provide an overview of the SHSL and information literacy as well as a physical scavenger hunt in the SHSL itself.
  3. Outline of user tasks:
    1. Read introductory statements of webquest.
    2. Print and complete scavenger hunt form
    3. Use scanner to scan in completed scavenger hunt form
    4. Use software to create a PDF file (eg Adobe Acrobat or Apple Preview).
    5. Add PDF to wiki page on

This will introduce users to the SHSL and its resources and services as well as teach them to use the scanner, scanning software, PDF-creating software (ie Adobe Acrobat or Apple Preview), and a wiki at While scavenger hunts are not considered the best educational device, the scavenger hunt described here deviates from the traditional format in that it also asks the user to participate in the production of certain items (ie a PDF file) and interact with library staff. A note from the Tenth Southeastern Conference on the Teaching of Psychology at the University of North Caroline in 1998 called attention to studies that recommended conducting preliminary library instruction prior to implementing a scavenger hunt in order for it to be most effective.

Setting up a webquest is very easy now with the advent of a new online application called QuestGarden 1.1. A free registration is required to create a webquest but questers do not need one to view it.

Simply follow the instructions from your QuestGarden home page. You can decide on several kinds or types of webquest. Click here to see an example of a webquest.

In the webquest for this assignment, several photos of the SHSL itself and the resources being explored should be added to the webquest. For example, this panoramic shot of the SHSL's entrance (you will need QuickTime to view) would be a very nice item to have on the introduction page as would this sign

black and white sign saying Science-Health Science Library

in the hallway outside the SHSL. Other photos and links of various SHSL resources, online and in the stacks, could be added as well.

--Scavenger Hunt
Once the webquest is set up, a PDF of the scavenger hunt should be added to the task and process sections. It will be clearly explained that this is a PDF file and it is to be printed out and completed. Make sure to protect the PDF from users altering it in any way other than printing it. This is crucial if the user is to scan the completed document back in near the end of the process. Here is an example of the finished scavenger hunt document.

--Using the Scanner & Creating a PDF
Explain how to use the scanner to scan in the completed document. One of the most frequently asked questions in the SHSL consists of users wanting to know how to use the scanner. By making this part of the process in this webquest, it ensures that new users not only know that the SHSL has a scanner but that they know how to use it. Part of this process also involves the user creating a PDF of their scanned document. The software users will be using in the SHSL is Adobe Acrobat and documents can be scanned directly into Acrobat. This is the process outlined in the scanning instructions. Click here to actually see the instructions.

--Wiki Instructions
Set up a wiki at It requires a free registration but it's painless and you only have to do it once. For example, look at the SHSL's wikispace for this activity.

Here are the instructions for uploading the PDF file to the wikispace:

  1. Open a web browser and go to
  2. Register (for free) with
  3. Click the "edit this page" button
  4. Type in your name at the bottom of the page
  5. Click on the "add image" icon image of the add image icon on the wikispaces edit page
  6. Click on the "browse" button to find your file on the desktop
  7. Click "upload." A thumnail of the file should appear in the window.
  8. Double click on it to insert it into the page.
  9. Click the "save" in the upper right hand corner of the page
  10. Log out

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This does not represent a typical webquest. It basically utilizes the resources of the webquest format at the QuestGarden website but come away from the internet and computer in requiring the participation of the user in physically visiting the SHSL. Webquests that involve critical thinking skills tend to have more of an effect than those that do nothing but outline a traditional scavenger hunt (see Need section). However, the one outlined here has more to do with becoming familiar with library resources (ie basic library literacy) than actually teaching critical thinking.

The wiki portion represents a different set of issues altogether. Many feel that wikis are simply unreliable, inaccurate, and inconsistent (McPherson, 67). Others feel they can be used effectively and see the open editing allowed in wikis as a strength rather than a weakness. By allowing many editors/authors, the information can be better refined much like the open-source computer operating system Unix- perhaps THE most stable platform in computers today. If anything, however, it seems that wikis may increase an individual's level of responsibility in evaluating information and thus increase their literacy and critical thinking skills. Interestingly, studies have found the same amount and type of errors in Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica (McPherson, 68). Wikis certainly make collaborative work easier and more effective but, as with any open-ended system, more care must be taken to insure accuracy of information.

The use of the wiki format in this project is simply to introduce students to the wiki format and the issues associated with it. Moreover, it allows them to post their scavenger hunts to a central location for their class and thus show that they completed the task. Also, this allows both the instructor and librarian to review all of the completed hunts from one location which can be used for feedback purposes.

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Kuh, G.D., Gonyea, R.M. 2003. The role of the academic library in promoting student engagement in learning. College and Research Libraries, July, 64(4): 256-282.

McPherson, K. 2006. Wikis and literacy development. Teacher Librarian 34(0): 67-69.

Peterson, C., Caverly, D.C., MacDonald, L. 2003. Techtalk: Developing academic literacy through webquests. Journal of Developmental Education, Spring, 26(3): 38-39.

Tuñon, J. 2003. The impact of accreditation and distance education on information literacy. Florida Libraries, Fall, 46(2): 11-14.

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website created by: kevin e. brooks | email kevin at: | updated: 08 December 2006