Freshman library tour goes virtual

Jamie Taylor

One requirement of the First Year Colloquium course, formerly New Student Orientation, is the library tour assignment. Once required to physically appear in the library, students are now able to complete this assignment without leaving their residence hall rooms.

Students can work at their own pace to explore Kent State’s University Library. The tour is a sequence of Web modules designed to educate students about the library and where to locate each department. This can be completed in one sitting or the student may choose to do it in multiple sessions. The estimated time of completion, according to the library’s Web site, is 30 to 40 minutes.

The online tour is available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lindsay Short, freshman family and consumer studies major, found the online tour to be convenient.

“With having that option, you didn’t have to worry about the dates and times and could just do the assignment from your home computer and during your own personal time,” Short said.

Ken Burhanna, First Year Experience Librarian, the online tour was created in 45 days with about 200 hours of work going into it. The ongoing library renovations necessitated the quick creation of the virtual tour.

The tour was built by the library’s educational technologists with assistance from the WebCT Vista support staff.

Short’s only complaint was that if she had any questions, there was no one to ask.

“I think that the library tours should have a facts section, a live chat, instant messaging, or set recordings on questions students might have,” she said.

But the online tour is not the only difference this year.

“Students must now take a quiz on WebCT,” Burhanna said. “They must get an 8 out of 10 to pass and may retake the quiz as often as needed.”

Alicia Weiss, junior middle childhood education major and student instructor for the First Year Colloquium course said she thinks the quizzes were a great idea.

“Students needed something to justify the tour and to gain retention of the information they learned,” she said.

Weiss said her students have not been putting off the library tour.

“At least 70 percent of my class has taken the library tour already and passed the quiz,” she said.

The library still offers the in-person library tour four times a week on a limited basis due to the renovations.

Tours will end Oct. 29. They are limited to only 10 students per tour. Students must register for these tours in advance online.

“We really recommend the students take the tour online,” Burhanna said.

Burhanna also said that they are working on a way to offer the library tour as a podcast to give students a third option.

Weiss thinks the podcasts would be a great option to offer freshmen.

“It would be really good to the visual learners and still allow students to do it in their free time,” she said.

Contact Library Services reporter Jamie Taylor at [email protected].