Archive for the ‘VTS news’ Category

Is there a Virtual Training Suite author near you?

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Last week the Virtual Training Suite launched 30 new Internet research skills tutorials covering a range of subjects from Architecture to Women’s Studies and from Allied Health to Petroleum Engineering.

The Virtual Training Suite tutorials are written by subject experts from universities and colleges around the UK.

A Google Map is available that shows you where our authors are based, the tutorials they have written and you can even see what a few of them look like!

Screenshots from the tutorials are available on Flickr and updates about them will appear on the Virtual Training Suite Twitter channel.

New Virtual Training Suite Tutorials

Friday, June 11th, 2010

30 new Internet tutorials for university students have just been released as part of the Virtual Training Suite.

The tutorials teach Internet research skills for degree subjects, and are ideal for students looking for advice and guidance on using the Web for their studies, especially those who:

  • struggle to find the right information for university work.
  • get marked down for citing inappropriate sources in their assignments.
  • rely too heavily on Google, Wikipedia and the open Web, because they are unaware of key academic and library sources.

All the tutorials have been written and reviewed by lecturers and librarians from UK universities, who are experienced Internet researchers.

What’s new?

This year we have completely overhauled the content and design of 50% of our tutorials, as well as introducing some new titles. The new and updated tutorials are:

Why change?

The tutorial content and design have now been completely overhauled in light of Internet developments, in particular the impact of Web 2.0 technologies in higher education (HE); academic Web trends (changes in online academic publishing); and extensive user feedback.

Changes to tutorial content

User feedback indicated a growing recognition of the need to help students develop Internet research skills. It also suggested that helping students to understand peer-review was more important than ever in a Web 2.0 world of user generated content.

We have re-written the tutorial content to reflect this, so the coverage of the four main sections of each tutorial is now as follows:

  1. Tour – focuses on the academic information landscape on the Internet and aims to create a mental map for students of the key scholarly sources for their subject.
  2. Discover – offers updated guidance on how to find scholarly information online; choosing the right search tool and looks at the importance of developing a search strategy.
  3. Judge – discusses how critical thinking can improve the quality of online research and provides guidance on how to judge which Internet resources are appropriate for University work.
  4. Success – provides practical examples of students using the Internet for research – successfully and unsuccessfully, so that students can learn from the mistakes of others, as well as by example.

Changes to tutorial design

We have now made all our tutorials shorter, easier to read online, with more graphics and exercises. Interactive features of each tutorial include quizzes, practical exercises, and a ‘links basket’ functionality which allows the user to keep a record of all website URLs mentioned in the tutorial.

The Virtual Training Suite is continually updated, but these changes reflect a major overhaul, which we hope that you will like.

How can the tutorials be used?

Each tutorial takes around one hour to complete, allowing the user to work through the material in their own time and at their own pace.

Feedback from university staff suggests that they find it useful to point students to the tutorials from course handbooks, VLEs and library web pages. There is also evidence that they are being used to support courses in research methods, study skills and information literacy.

The tutorials are freely available from:

http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk

What’s next for the Virtual Training Suite?

Following on from previous announcements about our future:

  • We can confirm that we have received 12 months maintenance funding from August 2010 to assist in moving towards a self-sustaining business model
  • This enables the maintenance of the current suite of over 60 subject based Internet research skills tutorials, keeping them freely available
  • During 2010/11 we will be looking to develop and implement a licensing model to sustain the Virtual Training Suite beyond August 2011

Look out for further developments in the coming months by getting in touch by email at vts-tutorials@bristol.ac.uk or by following us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/VTStutorials

Virtual Training Suite – funding news

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Over the past few months, we have received a lot of feedback asking us about the future of the Virtual Training Suite (VTS).

We are pleased to be able tell you that we now have some good news about future funding for this service.

JISC have confirmed that they will provide a year’s maintenance funding from August 2010 to assist the Virtual Training Suite in moving towards a self-sustaining business model. During the next year, we will therefore be:

  • maintaining the current suite of over 60 subject based Internet research skills tutorials
  • developing a new toolkit to allow the community to adapt existing tutorials and/or create their own tutorials using their own content
  • to develop and implement a licensing model to sustain the Virtual Training Suite beyond August 2011

The project team are currently in the process of updating the remaining tutorials to be brought into the new design, to be launched in early Summer 2010, and are also starting work on planning our new tutorial toolkit. Very soon we will start some market research and requirements gathering work to find out what our users want most from the new Virtual Training Suite, so watch this space to get involved.

More information about the project will be posted on the Virtual Training Suite website soon. In the meantime, please address any queries to paul.smith@bristol.ac.uk

New Virtual Training Suite Tutorials

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

31 new Internet tutorials for university students have just been released over at the Virtual Training Suite.

The tutorials teach Internet research skills for degree subjects, and are ideal for students looking for advice and guidance on using the Web for their studies, especially those who:

  • struggle to find the right information for university work.
  • get marked down for citing inappropriate sources in their assignments.
  • rely too heavily on Google, Wikipedia and the open Web, because they are unaware of key academic and library sources.

All the tutorials have been written and reviewed by lecturers and librarians from UK universities, who are experienced Internet researchers.

What’s new?

This year we have completely overhauled the content and design of 50% of our 62 tutorials. The new tutorials are:

  • Internet for aeronautical engineering
  • Internet for agriculture
  • Internet for American studies
  • Internet for archaeology
  • Internet for biodiversity
  • Internet for business and management
  • Internet for chemical engineering
  • Internet for chemistry
  • Internet for civil engineering
  • Internet for computer science and informatics
  • Internet for economics
  • Internet for education
  • Internet for environment
  • Internet for government and politics
  • Internet for health and social care
  • Internet for history
  • Internet for law
  • Internet for medicine
  • Internet for microbiology
  • Internet for midwifery
  • Internet for modern languages
  • Internet for nursing
  • Internet for performing arts
  • Internet for philosophy
  • Internet for photography
  • Internet for physics
  • Internet for psychology
  • Internet for religious studies
  • Internet for social research methods
  • Internet for social work
  • Internet for veterinary medicine

Why change?

We have been producing and updating Internet tutorials since 2000, and so last year we decided it was time to take stock and review the direction we were taking. The tutorial content and design have now been completely overhauled in light of Internet developments, in particular the impact of Web 2.0 technologies in higher education (HE); academic Web trends (changes in online academic publishing); and extensive user feedback (via market research, and analysis of over 5,000 online-feedback forms and an online survey).

Changes to tutorial content

The feedback received indicated a growing recognition of the need to help students develop Internet research skills. It also suggested that helping students to understand peer-review was more important than ever in a Web 2.0 world of user-created content. We have re-written the tutorial content to reflect this, so the coverage of the four main sections of each tutorial is now as follows:

  1. Tour – focuses on the academic information landscape on the Internet and aims to create a mental map for students of the key scholarly sources for their subject.
  2. Discover – offers updated guidance on how to find scholarly information online; choosing the right search tool and looks at the importance of developing a search strategy.
  3. Judge – discusses how critical thinking can improve the quality of online research and provides guidance on how to judge which Internet resources are appropriate for University work.
  4. Success – provides practical examples of students using the Internet for research – successfully and unsuccessfully, so that students can learn from the mistakes of others, as well as by example.

Changes to tutorial design

The format of our online tutorials continued to be popular, with high levels of uptake and use in university courses, but we have now introduced a brand new Web design to make tutorials shorter, easier to read online, with more graphics and exercises. Interactive features of each tutorial include quizzes, practical exercises, and a ‘links basket’ functionality which allows the user to keep a record of all website URLs mentioned in the tutorial. These features have proven popular with students. Each tutorial takes around one hour to complete, allowing the user to work through the material in their own time and at their own pace.

The Virtual Training Suite is continually updated, but these changes reflect a major overhaul, which we hope to apply to the rest of our tutorials in the coming year.

Feedback from university staff suggests that they find it useful to point students to the tutorials from course handbooks, VLEs and library web pages. There is also evidence that they are being used to support courses in research methods, study skills and information literacy.

These tutorials are freely available from:

http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk

Text by Emma Place.

New image search tutorial from VTS and TASI

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Internet for Image Searching” is a new, free online tutorial to help staff and students in universities and colleges to find digital images for their learning and teaching:

http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/tutorial/imagesearching/

This tutorial has been created by TASI – the JISC Advisory Service for digital media and the Virtual Training Suite, with funding from the Higher Education Academy/JISC Collaboration Initiative.

The emphasis of the tutorial is on finding copyright cleared images which are available free; facilitating quick, hassle-free access to a vast range of online photographs and other visual resources.

Mindful of the minefield that is copyright law, Sharon Waller from the Higher Education Academy commented on the new tutorial saying:

“This tutorial is an excellent resource for anyone needing to know more about where and how to find images online. The fact that it concentrates on copyright cleared images will make it even more valuable for busy learning and teaching professionals, researchers and students alike. It will also serve to inspire confidence in those needing to use images from the web in their work.”

Professor Sol Picciotto of the Lancaster Law School provided some early feedback:

“Congratulations on this tutorial. It’s really excellent, very well set out, and the information on copyright is presented clearly and accurately. It really fills a gap, and does so extremely well.”

For further information please contact Dave Kilbey (d.kilbey@bristol.ac.uk) of TASI.