Staff CPD: Online Resources supporting staff and students

Last week I ran a session called Online Resources: Supporting staff and students.

Turn out was reasonable with staff attending coming mainly from the Humanities and Arts (includes dramatic arts) colleges. The format was that I gave a brief demonstration of each of the resources and this was followed by 5 minutes for them to explore themselves.

I started with an introduction to Oliver (our LMS – Library Management System) which is on the MRC VLE homepage.

I showed them how they and their students could use Oliver to:-

  • create a reading list that includes both books and websites, and which can easily be emailed to students or turned into a link which can be placed elsewhere on the VLE, or in powerpoints for example.
  • check their own loans and set up their interests for automatic notification of new resources.
  • save time by using alternative provider which repeats the same search in a number of different databases such as Clipbank.

Next I returned to the Oliver Homepage which is split into 4 columns.

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

In the first column I highlighted the MRC blog (what you are reading now); links to both Peterborough and the British Library for tracking down copies of out-of-print titles that can be borrowed; the link to Dawsonera (e -books); and demonstrated the link to the Blekko Search Engine where you can search 3 search engines at the same time and compare the difference in results.

The second column took much more time as this contains quick links to our online databases. So I demonstrated and the staff explored four of these …. Britannica Encyclopedia; NewsBank; InfoTrac and KnowUK. All incredibly useful when encouraging students to use sources other than relying on Wikipedia and Google alone.

 

The third column contains links based around books and reading. With video book trailers; Book of the Week; a quick link to the MRC DEAR page; as well as “Books for Keeps” and “Read Plus”.

The fourth column contains useful things for research and critical thinking skills. Such as Plato (which looks at plagiarism); Internet Detective (critical thinking for KS4 &5); Welcome to the Web (critical thinking for KS3); Easy Peasy Bibliography creator, as well as links to Guides and bibliography templates.

The hour flew by and everyone found something useful for themselves or sharing with their students. Resulting from this I have been asked to do further work with Year 12 students on avoiding plagiarism, and…. I was walking by a classroom the day after my session and there on the white board was one of the databases – the teacher gave me the thumbs up as I walked on by!

Bibliography Creator

Accurate refencing is a key part of research, and Bibliography Creator is one example of web tools availbale to you to help you create a bibliography. It uses the Harvard style of referencing.

Simply choose a type of reference from the list below and then add all the data into the boxes. Once completed you can copy and paste the refernce into your bibliography – remembering to list these alphabetically.

Referencing a Bookdata entry form                                                                       

Referencing a Chapter of a Book

Referencing a Journal Article

Referencing a Website

Referencing an e-mail

 

Remember you can use the MRC Resources Found Guide to help you record what you use as you use it – and this guide can be filled in on your computer or printed out for you to use.

 

Yr 9 BTEC Science

I’m popping into Year 9 BTEC Science lessons this week to advise them how to research more quickly and find the best, most reliable sources of information. Freeing them up to do the things they want to do!

We’ve been looking at the pitfalls of relying on Wikipedia (unreliable, who created the information and having to check the information in more reliable sources).

The inefficiencies of Search Engines like Google – which roughly only searches 3% of the information available on the web – and still brings you a hit list of thousands of articles, that no one has the time or the willpower to read through.

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Instead I reminded the students about the Oliver Homepage, Searching for keywords to find the best books and websites on our database, and showing them some of the online databases they can use courtesy of the MRC. I gave quick demonstrations of Britannica Online; NewsBank; InfoTrac and Clipbank; plus I pointed out the guides to referencing and bibliographies.

They spent the rest of the lesson researching topics like electromagnetic spectrum and BP Oil Spills and were able to find videos and newspaper articles as well as books and websites. Cool.

Let’s hope they remember the next time they are set some research based work.