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Technology reforms research methods

Donna Bentley, reference-access services librarian and professor, delivers the lecture, “Designing Web-Based Tutorials to Enhance Students’ Research Skills” on Monday in the President’s Dining Room. Bentley discussed new ways to assist students in research.

Donna Bentley, reference-access services librarian and professor, delivers the lecture, “Designing Web-Based Tutorials to Enhance Students’ Research Skills” on Monday in the President’s Dining Room. Bentley discussed new ways to assist students in research./photo by Stephanie Arellanes

Jose Hernandez
Staff Writer

Donna Bentley presented the essence of her new research in a lecture for students and faculty, concerning the implementation of tutorials for students’ research on Monday in the Presidents Dining Room.

Given the nature of her lecture, titled “Designing Web-Based Tutorials to Enhance Students’ Research Skills,” Bentley engaged with the audience during her lecture, creating an interactive environment between her and the audience.

“I was on sabbatical last spring and this is the research project I chose to do,” said Bentley, reference-access services librarian and professor.

Bentley spoke about the creation of learning objects and embedding the objects on Web sites or other technological media, then creating screencasts – digital recordings of computer screen output – to guide students through the research process in a new way.

“This method would be a lot more helpful than just searching through the Web sites, especially if you’re more of a visual learner,” Justin Olin, sophomore computer science major, said.

Bentley’s research project, which began in February 2009 and ended in the summer, strived to find ways to meet the specific researching needs of all students, which helps enhance her job as a librarian.

“I work with students in Organizational Leadership, but creating things on how to do research can help psychology students, those in master’s programs and even new freshmen,” Bentley said. The lecture touched on the future of education, with technology becoming more integral in our daily lives and the rise of electronically-based student resources.

“Scholarly information has been based on published books and texts, but that physical form is, in fact, moving away,” Bentley said. “You can distribute it faster electronically and it can be freely accessible rather than going through expensive publishing fees.”

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Al Clark is excited about this approach.

“Few of us can keep up with the advances because we’re moving so quickly. The exciting part is that the students, know better how to use it, yet I’m supposed to teach you,” Clark said.

“I know people who have trouble looking for articles for research and some faculty members don’t know how to explain either, so now they would just look at the tutorials and learn off of the Web site,” Olin said.

With information steadily available at all times, especially through mobile devices, Bentley believes that students need to become more sophisticated when they obtain their information.

“The important thing is for students to know who is a credible, authoritative source. We need to become information and media literate,” Bentley said.

Jose Hernandez can be reached at jose.hernandez3@laverne.edu.

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