Funded Project: Vicki Bloom


Award Recipient, Vicki Bloom

“Putting the MAGIC back in the MAGician Tutorial”(Abstract)

University grant funding had been received previously to develop the sophisticated and interactive web tutorial MAGician. It was initially developed to provide students enrolled in the College Success course with a self-paced, remotely accessible, and more engaging method of learning how to search the telnet Melvyl MAGs database and to find periodicals in the library. It includes practice searches and quizzes as well as “tips” if responses given are incorrect. A scoring mechanism immediately tells users how well they are doing. Students login and record their name and session number; when they are finished, their results are tallied and sent to one of the reference librarians who can forward the information to appropriate instructors.

During the past year, librarians in the Rivera Reference Department revised the MAGician tutorial to include four separate modules:

1. Planning Your Research
2. Using MAGS to Find Periodical Articles
3. Displaying and Evaluating Results
4. Library Holdings and Call Numbers

The tutorial was promoted to English 1 instructors in Fall 1998 and consequently assigned in several classes. Several inconsistencies were encountered with the user login and scoring due to minor problems with the Javascript programming. Given the large number of English 1B classes being offered in the Winter 1999 quarter, as well as the fact that other UC Libraries find our tutorial of great use and link to it from their home pages, we were quite anxious to make the MAGician tutorial bug-free.

In addition to other UC Libraries using and linking to this tutorial, MAGician has also generated interest nationwide and serves as an excellent springboard for future web-based instruction development. One of the librarians involved with this project has presented a poster session at a national conference and was invited to speak in Spring 1999 at a statewide library forum. To ensure its continual effectiveness, refining (or debugging) the MAGician tutorial was critical.