A common complaint from most students when asked to research a particular subject is either that they can’t find enough information or that there is too much available. Too often the first stop is a search engine or Wikipedia. With so much available it is often difficult to decide.
A search on Google using the keywords “environmental, data, mangroves, UAE” will result in over 1 million results, which is impressive but probably too much for a 4-page report assignment. A great deal of time is spent sifting through information that is relevant, which is a useful skill in itself, but not the main learning outcome.
As part of the creation of a seamless learning environment between Faculty staff, students and the wider environment at Fujairah Men’s College, Patty Matthews has been working hard to provide a channel that focuses on delivering the appropriate resources.
Within the Online Library Resource, the Guides section has existed for some time and has the potential to become a powerful electronic learning repository.
Fujairah Men’s College has been adding to this knowledge database. Already other HCT colleges are sharing information, allowing both students and staff to access this specific and learning-rich resource.
Teachers from the “Field Studies – Ecology of the East Coast” module initially approached Patty to provide assistance for their students in finding information for an Environmental Impact Assessment at Khor Kalba.
In direct contrast to the observation and experimentation skills of Field Studies, students needed to find secondary data about the mangrove area and the intended development. That is now much easier with the channeled approach.
The student researcher still has the opportunity to look for and determine which information is relevant to their assignment but the advantages of using the Guide are many: It has already been through an initial sorting stage by skilled staff and in addition it encourages students to value the library for its full worth.
The library should be one of the most frequented places on campus, both online and the one next to the Costa outlet. Let’s hope the Guides section will be seeing increased traffic by both students and teachers in the future.