Sarah Gallagher, Trish Leishman and Richard German - University of Otago Health Sciences Library
StudySmart is a self-paced online course originally designed for second year medical students at the University of Otago by the Health Sciences liaison librarians.(1) The course replaced in-class information skills labs and was piloted with this cohort in 2012.(3) In 2013, with support (2) from the Schools, StudySmart was rolled out to second year Dentistry, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy students. By the end of 2013 StudySmart was accepted as a Terms requirement within the Medical, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy curricula.
The content comprises learning objects developed in-house (4) as well as appropriate Open Educational Resources (OERs) from external sources. It comprises a series of topics, tasks and quizzes which are built within the extant Learning Management Systems (LMS) - Moodle and Blackboard. Academics are able to select topics that meet their students’ needs from a pool that is edited or added to as required.
We will report on qualitative and quantitative evaluation data which demonstrate the students’ level of knowledge and understanding after completing StudySmart, as well as reporting on what the students believed were the most valuable and least valuable aspects of the course. The majority of students who completed the course reported an increase in knowledge of, and understanding about, the topics covered and were positively disposed to the value of the online course.(5, 6) This paper will also report on some of the challenges that we faced and how the course has developed within the programmes for 2014.
This paper builds on a short talk given at Spotlight on Teaching & Learning at the University of Otago on 27th August 2013.
Subject Librarian supporting teaching, learning and research at University of Otago in health sciences: specifically in early learning in medicine & pharmacy
Category B Ethics approval from the University of Otago
I’d like to acknowledge my colleagues Trish Leishman, Sue Weddell, Judy Fisher and Richard German, and also staff we’ve worked closely with on this in the Faculty of Medicine, particularly Dr Phil Blyth, Brendon Rich and Dr Tony Barrett. Thanks also to Associate Professor Grant Butt, Associate Dean of Medical Education for his continued interest and support of our continued involvement in the curriculum.
15-20 mins (half for questions)
First discussed at CSC in 2011 –
Embedded in a LMS
orient students’ to resources and services available through the Health Sciences Library and to cf http://otago.libguides.com/content.php?pid=128157&sid=2549969
Students enter all professional Health Sciences programmes from Health Sciences First Year which is highly competitive.
There is a small amount of library instruction in Feb during prelim lectures, an extremely intensive part of the year. Until 2012 there was 20 mins of instruction at the end of February. Now there is about 10 mins introduction and access to a small collection of resources in Blackboard. (cf Physics Subject Guide http://otago.libguides.com/content.php?pid=128157&sid=2549969)
We have them all for their second and third years, before at 4th year the students split across the three Otago medical schools: CHCH, DUN and WGN.
For us, in the library, we have a small window of opportunity in which to access the whole cohort and for it to be meaningful to the students, it need to be timely and relevant.
University of Otago Teaching and Learning Plan Action Plan 2013-2020 http://hedc.otago.ac.nz/hedc/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Teaching-Learning-Plan-2013_2020.pdf
Lifelong learning Critical thinking Ethical use of information Information literacy Research
Need our students to be literate in many senses of the word including
See “So what …” – Selwyn (2013) Relevance to: Policy
Replaced a series of 4 x 2hr labs in ELM2 from 2012
Replaced a series of 4 x 2hr labs in PHCY & PHTY in 2013
DENT = new collaboration
Reasons for moving online: increase in student numbers Library teaching was asynchronous with curriculum
Presented to undergraduate committees for 2nd year students
Results of 2012 pilot provided evidential basis
Chose appropriate course topics in collaboration with the lecturers from a pool of resources we had developed
Discussed assessment and terms requirements
The course consists of four core topics (but we currently have 7 topics in our pool of resources.) Within each topic there’s a series of tasks, and a quiz at the end of the topic that relates to the task content. The number of topics and tasks are chosen in collaboration with the course convenor to tailor the content to best fit within their programme. We are able to create Topics and tasks depending on requirements.
Four core topics are: Topic 1:The Library and how it can help you Topic 2:The basics of finding information Topic 3: How to find quality sources of information Topic 4:Developing good search techniques and learning about databases
Also Endnote Note taking and essay writing
Each task comprises brief instructions, something to watch or interact with, and something to do to reinforce what has been observed
REUSING content in a new context! RLO OERs
At the end of each topic is a short quiz - you need to get at least 80% to pass You can resit the quiz as often as you like You must pass the quiz in order to access the next topic. Immediate feedback – need to work on this however
Topic 3: In this module, you’ll be looking at how to evaluate information. As part of this we’ll also be looking at how to use information in an ethical way by learning about plagiarism, copyright and referencing.
Task 1: The difference between databases and search engines Task 2: evaluating information Task 3: Copyright Task 4: Plagiarism Task 5: Citation styles
It was the qualitative feedback that has provided us with information that has enabled us to make improvements to the course.
Results of likert scale from end of course evaluation : question about perceived increase in knowledge and understanding of Topic 4
Topic 4: Asked students to construct a search strategy and to find out about the difference between keywords and subject headings, and how to search databases effectively.
Our results are fairly recent so we haven’t had a chance to analyse them in depth but….. We can see that the PHTY and PHCY students had a greater gain in knowledge and understanding that the Medical students. Possible reason for this is that the Medical students had a search strategy exercise earlier in the year in one of their integrated cases.
This graph shows an analysis of the qualitative feedback we received from all three cohorts.
We sorted the most valuable and least valuable comments into themes and then coded these themes from 1-8.
From the graph we can see that students identified the tasks about research skills as the most valuable 47% (121). This was followed by specific content (eg hierarchies of evidence or referencing) 30% (49), and Library resources and services 12% (31).
From the graph we can see that the least valuable aspects of the tasks were to do with specific content (eg where is the medical library), prior knowledge, and format of the course. Very few students found no value in the research skills, which is heartening!
The following slides show examples of some of the qualitative comments from students – both positive and negative.
We still need to compare most v least across cohorts too
Most valuable n-257, least valuable n=273
1 = Content 2 = Format 3 = Library resources & Services 4 = Research Skills 5 = Time 6 = prior knowledge 7 = no response 8 = positive / negative
Make adjustments to the course based on student and staff feedback Continue with current cohorts Alternate content types eg summary document More analysis!
PG v HSFY, cohort v cohort, pilot v ELM2 2012 v ELM 2013 v ELM 2014
Developing Health Sciences students’ information skills through online self-paced learning: an update
Sarah Gallagher | @sarahlibrarina
Trish Leishman & Richard German
University of Otago Health Sciences Library
Developing Health Sciences students’
information skills through online
self-paced learning : an update
What is it?
• StudySmart is an online course designed
by the Health Sciences Library staff
• It is designed to develop students
information literacy skills
Dunedin School of Medicine
Early Learning in Medicine (ELM)
2nd and 3rd year students
CHCH DUN WGN
Why this relevant to staff?
• Meets requirements of the University’s
• Integrated into the curriculum
• Terms requirement / grade
Why this relevant to students?
• Timed to help students develop skills
required for their assignments
• Designed to help students develop skills
for lifelong learning
4 x 2hr
4 x 2hr
4 x 2hr
= 24 hrs
How we did it
• Approached academic staff
• Presented idea at undergrad committees
• Results of the pilot provided evidential
• Chose appropriate topics with the
• Discussed assessment / terms
How does it work?
• Course is open for an agreed period of time
• Students do it in self-directed learning time
• (4-6) topics
• (4-6) quizzes
–Pass the quizzes by 80% to progress to
–Complete the evaluation
EXAMPLE: Task (Blackboard)
• Students were asked to complete an
online evaluation form
• Likert Scale measured perceived increase
in knowledge and understanding
• Qualitative feedback identified the most
valuable and least valuable aspects of the
Cohort Assessment N students
2013 MEDI Terms
n=285/286 n=273/286 95 n=86/286 30
2013 PHCY Workshop n=5/155 n=145/155 93 n=93/155 60
2013 PHTY Terms
n= 0/105 n=97/105 92 n=70/105 66
2014 MEDI Terms
2014 PHCY Terms
n=0/145 n=145/145 100 n=71/145 49
2014 PHTY Terms
n=105/116 n=95/116 91 n=61/116 53
Table: mode of assessment, numbers of students completion rate of the
course, and numbers of students completion of the evaluation
Graph: Students’ own perceived increase in knowledge and
understanding of the topic
1 2 3 4 5
"Scale: 1= no gain 5= great gain"
Combined responses across Topic 4
Content Format Library
Research skills Time Prior
No Theme Negative /
Thematic analysis of qualitative feedback 2013
Most valuable Least valuable
You can please some …
• The videos accompanying the verbal and
written descriptions were very useful.
• The video format of the tutorials was great,
very clear & easy to understand.
• Some of the videos were short, effective, and
a joy to watch
What did you find most valuable about StudySmart?
…but you can’t please them all
• Some of the videos were way to long and
• There were some videos that were pretty
long and confusing
• although the videos were really helpful with
good information, perhaps just having it
written would be better as we would be able
to look and find the information quicker if we
want to review
What did you find least valuable about StudySmart?
CC BY Tulane Public Relations http://www.flickr.com/photos/tulanesally/3231921034
Some thoughts about StudySmart
“Showing us how to use the
databases is a VERY good idea I
believe as this is an important
skill, especially for the lifelong
learning in medicine and being
able to access respected
Some thoughts about StudySmart
“Already had previous
experience using the
library so didn’t find that
this tool was useful for
myself however if I had
never used the library I
believe that it would be of
• Academic support for compulsory / terms
requirement to ensure student buy-in
• Cohorts need examples that are relevant to them
in the tasks
• Needs to be relevant and tied to in course
assessment to optimise learning (eg essay /
• Recognition that some students have prior
knowledge & the course may be a refresher only
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• Annie, Armstrong, and Georgas Helen. 2006. "Using interactive technology to teach
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• Brettle, Alison. 2003. "Information skills training: a systematic review of the literature*."
Health Information & Libraries Journal no. 20:3-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2532.20.s1.3.x.
• Harker, Emily. 2009. "Developing the Library Curriculum." Health Information & Libraries
Journal no. 26 (4):331-335. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00869.x.
• Romanov, K., and A. Nevgi. 2007. "Do medical students watch video clips in eLearning and do
these facilitate learning?" Medical Teacher no. 29 (5):490-494. doi:
• Newton Miller, Laura. 2014. "First Year Medical Students Use Library Resources Emphasized
During Instruction Sessions." Evidence Based Library and Informaiton Practice no. 9 (1).
• Weiner, Sharon A. 2014. "Who Teaches Information Literacy Competencies? Report of a
Study of Faculty." College Teaching no. 62 (1):5-12. doi: 10.1080/87567555.2013.803949.
Sarah Gallagher @sarahlibrarina
(Trish Leishman & Richard German)
We’d like to acknowledge our colleagues:
Mrs Sue Weddell | Mrs Judy Fisher
Dr Phil Blyth | Dr Tony Barrett | Associate Professor Grant Butt