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Reflection: Creating an online lesson in Moodle: Searching PubMed

July 10, 2013

Lesson: Searching PubMed

I created an online lesson in Moodle for EdTech522: Online Teaching for Adult Learners. The topic I chose was Searching PubMed. This is a timely assignment because we are starting a MSN program at the institution where I am the liaison librarian for nursing. Students will be online except for a short on-campus orientation period. Therefore most of my interaction and instruction will be online and through the course management system.

Designing the online lesson itself was fairly simple. I had already done a lot of thinking about this type of lesson this past year as I worked with undergraduate students and looked ahead to our new MSN program. Therefore I knew that I wanted to create a tutorial and worksheet for students to actually do the search in relation to a research project. I decided to add the discussion at the end to allow students to reflect on the process and think about how it might impact future research projects. I hope that this will lead to changes in student research behavior, I am currently frustrated with the lack of change in search behaviors after PubMed instruction with undergraduate students right now.

One challenge when creating the lesson was to think of it holistically. I added the tutorial and worksheet and then realized that it would also connect to the Gradebook so I needed to stop and create the rubric and points at that time. I think this process would improve as I created more online lessons and learned more about the system and administration.

I had some difficulty with small administrative tasks such as removing weeks and sections not in use. I couldn’t figure out how to enter the Moodle Help section, but a quick Google search and I was able to answer my own question through other help documents. Once I figured out the editing buttons and icons, I found the system fairly intuitive.

For me, the most rewarding part of this lesson was the real-life application. I was able to think through an entire lesson from initial welcome to tutorial to worksheet and reflection. I will try to incorporate this into my instruction sessions for the MSN program. I will need to work with faculty to determine if they will allow a worksheet or reflection to be a required assignment. However, I feel that it would lead to much better searching strategies in the future so I am hopeful it can be implemented.

Description of Moodle Lesson: Searching PubMed

My welcome message describes what students will learn and lists the steps of the assignment that they need to complete. Students will watch a tutorial, complete a worksheet as they search PubMed after the tutorial, and reflect on the search experience.



I decided to create a tutorial in screencast-o-matic to walk students through searching PubMed in a systematic way using MeSH, subheadings, and filters. I briefly discuss accessing articles as well.

The tutorial is embedded in Moodle, and also available on Youtube.

The worksheet is also embedded in Moodle. The worksheet walks students through a basic search for comparison, and then helps them to search through the MeSH database using subheadings. The worksheet asks them to apply filters. It addresses how to access full-text, which is not covered as well in the tutorial. This will be covered in a subsequent tutorial. The worksheet concludes by requesting students to add a page to the worksheet and then create a bibliography (APA) of five relevant and recent journal articles found through the search process. The worksheet is worth 40 points.

Worksheet online through Dropbox:

The final assignment requires students to reflect on their search process. They describe their search strategy and results. They conclude the reflection by stating whether this will change their future research strategies and why or why not. The reflection is worth 10 points.


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