During the past year many exciting things happening in
the Learning Centre.
Most of the clients, visiting the Learning Centre are
from the Net Generation. Prensky, in his book Don’t
bother me Mum, I’m learning states that the Net
Generation come from digitally rich worlds and that
their motto is usually “Engage me or enrage me!”. This
statement inspired us to create a 3D game for
information literacy training.
Game for experienced players
The game was used for the first time during the January
2008’s training sessions. Some remarks from the students
were “insanely cool!”, “a fun way to learn about the
library” and “quite helpful”. Each avatar (student)
received a library Passport after the training sessions.
Bettie de Kock assisted by Hilda Kriel, Ujala Satgoor
and Gerda Ehlers as well as input from several other
role players, created a Passport for the new citizens of
the library. This Passport contained important and
useful information on using the Library. Shotcodes of
Yahoo and Facebook were included in the passport and a
DVD, especially created for the purpose, transformed the
information literacy training sessions from boring to
cool. These initiatives also inspired the medical
library to create a game for their students with
assistance from Bettie de Kock. A lung , a theatre and
a x-ray room featured in the virtual world that was
created. Characters like Einspine (Einstein), Dr. Quack
and Mucus met the approval of the medical students. The
story line was funny and engaged the players.
with the slimy kiss!
The famous Einspine!
Sonja Delport also decided to take on the challenge to
create a game for the Educational library with the help
of Bettie de Kock.
While many exciting things were happing in our “first
life” we also started exploring Second Life. Second Life
is a virtual world where avatars from around the world
engage in whatever fancies them. Several libraries
deliver service in Second Life and students were invited
to join us, to explore this virtual environment. History
was made when the students dressed the librarian
“avatar” with brand new clothes and a new look! We are
new citizens in this world and are still exploring,
flying, teleporting and experiencing.
Hilda Kriel mentioned during a brainstorm session that
we should create a virtual learning environment. A VLE
website was created especially for the undergraduate
It was important to make the VLE as user-friendly and
practical as possible for the undergraduate students.
E-learning tools were used with our information products
and services. We hope this VLE will become a real One
Stop Assignment page for undergraduate students. A “chat
with a librarian”- tool and cell phone corner was
created on this page.
Qwidget "Chat with a librarian" and
Several other products were created with the Net
Generation in mind.
A Podcast and vidcast were created, and our first mobile
blog saw the light .
Bettie de Kock, Heila Pienaar and Christelle Steyn
created a Library Facebook.
Louisa Buys created a blog to promote all the DVD’s on
level 3. Have a look at
Movies@merensky on the VLE. Another first for
the library is the widget (applicator) on this page that
enables clients to search the library catalogue directly
from the blog.
Podcast vidcast, facebook
and skype helpdesk
Having two plasma screens in the Learning Centre created
new opportunities for marketing and training.
Presentations alert students about mind mapping, opera
mini, e-collections on the institutional repository etc.
Mari van Schalkwyk, one of our undergraduate information
specialists from Humanities, assists with this.
As Bettie de Kock is also the information specialist for
Education Innovation, she is in a unique position to
align library services and products with the
department’s initiatives to enhance learning and
teaching. Wednesdays she has office hours in the
Department and this arrangement proves to be very
Hilda Kriel, Bettie de Kock and Gerda Ehlers presented
“Teleporting from boring to cool” at the SAOUG
conference during May 2008 where it was selected as one
of the winners of the “Diamonds from Africa” award for
the best papers presented at the conference. Winners of
this award are invited to submit their papers to Emerald
for publication. The library at Nelson Mandela
Metropolitan University is using the DVD that was
created for this presentation, to initiate similar
activities at their library.
We believe that the library should meet the students
where they are, not only in the virtual environment but
also in the physical world. Although this has been a
dream for many years, we had to wait for wireless
technology to be rolled out on campus. Since August
Gerda Ehlers meets students with her laptop in the
coffee shops. She delivers service from Steers, every
day from 10:30 – 12:00. Enquiries vary from information
searches to more general enquiries, referencing and
assistance with email and password problems. An
additional benefit is that Steers is close to the
Engineering faculty and engineering students, who have
limited time to visit the library can get “express
service” between classes.
Teleporting and flying with the Nets can be hard work,
but it is a lot of fun!
Bettie de Kock & Hilda Kriel