Using SCIS Leaves More Time for Student-centred Services

By Nola Smolders

At John Paul College we are finding that the use of SCISWeb and SCISCO in conjunction with our Bibliotech software enables us to save time with cataloguing duties and concentrate our efforts in the teaching domain. Some of our initiatives were outlined recently at a forum on information literacy as part of the 'Leading the Way' Conference held at Methodist Ladies' College. Following is a summary of our input.

  • We have been responsible for the management of class sets of notebook computers, which, in effect, bring the virtual library to the point of learning. At John Paul College we have a wireless local area network (Radio Lan) which enables our notebooks to access the network anywhere on campus without cabling or power cords. Managing this process has given us the opportunity to promote the need for research facilities within the classroom using either the Internet, computer program or a networked CD-ROM.
  • Our year 11 Information Skills short course is timetabled formally for all beginning VCE students. This course recognises the need for sophisticated skills in senior students and covers the use of electronic databases for newspaper and periodical articles; learning styles; note taking and note making; authentication, copyright and plagiarism; and guidelines for referencing. Completion of associated work requirements is acknowledged by a Student Research Profile as part of semester reports.
  • 'Headstart' is a program devised to help year 1O students at risk of not completing their VCE course. Selected students may volunteer to attend a three day course undertaking an intensive research assignment with detailed support throughout. Headstart is conducted at the end of the year when no other students are on campus. In this way these students become confident users of the Resource Centre empowered by experiencing success in a non-stressful situation.
  • Our year 7 Orientation Program has been developed in consultation with LOTE staff. Students have a booklet of activities to complete on either French or Italian culture. These activities incorporate use of electronic databases, newspapers, CD-ROMs, periodicals, websites, vertical files and reference items. It is designed to be busy work -finding, locating and accessing resources to familiarise students with many aspects of our service. This exercise becomes a preparation for the more serious task of research undertaken in a separate unit of work that emphasises the discerning use of resources for appropriate information.
  • Guidelines for Referencing and Bibliographies was published specifically to assist our students reference their sources. This guide has been vital in achieving a level of awareness and consistent approach across the curriculum. The contents have now been included in the College diary so as to be readily available at the point of need.
  • Our multimedia room (a class size area set up with data show projector) becomes a powerful demonstration point for both staff and students. Departments are encouraged to try new CD-ROMs or explore a website as part of regular meetings. Students are able to present work via PowerPoint, which blends technological expertise into the learning process providing class stimulation and student empowerment.
  • Guided use of the Internet is progressing via our home page design and development. With library management and regular staff input this electronic collection is inviting, user friendly, and specific to our curriculum. We aim to have users searching rather than surfing.
  • Staff professional development is essential for progress and we have been encouraged to undertake a Certificate in Learning Technologies for Teachers-an on line, self-paced course paid for by the College. All library staff are participating in order to become better at troubleshooting the myriad technical hitches which continually occur when working with networks and computers.
  • Networking has become a strategic part of our work. Through liaison with public, special and school librarians, library technicians and student librarians, ALIA, SLAV and Nepean Network, we keep in touch with all aspects of library and information development. This liaison helps to keep us professionally informed at all times.

In each of these ways library staff at John Paul College are endeavouring to aspire to their mission statement that the Resource Centre exists to provide a positive learning environment, enabling students to become effective learners with access to the latest technology.

Nola Smolders

Head of Library Services

John Paul College