Delivering research skills to all first-year students: The Temasek Polytechnic example

By Ruby Seng and Georgiana Glass

Starting from April 2018, all first-year Temasek Polytechnic students have to take a common subject, namely, Communication and Information Literacy. As librarians were involved in the curriculum development meetings with lecturers right from the beginning, they proposed to create a self-directed online tutorial which was integrated into the curriculum. The tutorial brought students through a four-step research process in an engaging and interactive manner, and was closely tied to their assignment requirements. This enabled the students to immediately practise their new-found skills while researching for their assignment topics. Students were also expected to complete a quiz that would contribute to their final grade for the subject. At the end of the first semester, the librarians collated and analysed the data captured within each Blackboard course site. This paper includes the development process of the online tutorial; challenges faced; feedback that we received from students and staff; and areas for future improvement. As other libraries may be exploring using online platforms for instruction instead of conducting face-to-face research skills workshops, the findings presented in this paper will contribute towards more informed decisions about the feasibility of online tutorials and possible best practices.