The development and evaluation of an online tutorial to teach digitization and metadata indexing of library and archival resources.
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The aim of the study was to evaluate an online tutorial designed to teach digitization and metadata indexing of library and archival resources. The online tutorial was designed according to constructivist teaching principles to promote collaborative learning. The tutorial was hosted on the OLS (Open learning System) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). The research was concerned with answering three research questions: Is the online tutorial a teaching instrument capable of teaching metadata indexing and digitization skills? Is the online tutorial an effective teaching tool? Does the use of constructivist teaching elements in the tutorial design allow for a more effective communication of knowledge and skills? A total of 10 participants registered for and took part in the online tutorial. On completion of the tutorial a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the tutorial was done. In terms of the latter a self-administered questionnaire was used as the data collection technique. The qualitative evaluation was done via an analysis of discussions on the discussion forum and e-mail correspondence between learners and the researcher during the running of the tutorial. A more quantitative analysis was then conducted of the responses to the self-administered questionnaire. The qualitative and quantitative analysis identified significant issues that affected the running of the online tutorial. The main issues included problems relating to Internet access to the online tutorial, participation of learners on the tutorial and the functioning of the online learning environment. The analysis of the results of the evaluation provided answers for the three research questions. The analysis found that the online tutorial was able to teach metadata indexing and digitization skills. This was based on completed work that was submitted by participants and responses participants gave to questions on the postcourse questionnaire. However, the amount of work submitted by all participants for the metadata indexing and digitization exercises was generally low. The online tutorial was able to conduct effective teaching at certain times in the tutorial. However, there were a number of issues that disrupted the functioning of the online tutorial and this limited the effectiveness of teaching on the tutorial. The use of constructivist teaching elements in the tutorial design was unable to enable effective communication of knowledge and skills and the promotion of constructivist learning on the tutorial. This goal was hampered by various problems associated with the hosting of the online tutorial and Internet connectivity to the OLS site. Various suggestions for further research were made.
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