USING TOOLBOOK TO AUTHOR A WEB-BASED LIBRARY ASSIGNMENT
A group of faculty members at Daytona Beach Community College were presented with the task of learning and utilizing the Asymetrix product, ToolBook. Last year, a group of faculty and staff were trained for a week by a professional from the company. The Dean of Educational Technology, along with the Coordinator of Faculty Development, then created a ToolBook User group consisting of several faculty members from various departments. This group's charge was to create a course outline, chapter assignment, lab exercise, etc. in their respective areas of study using ToolBook and format it with HTML tags for eventual placement onto the Internet. My position as Reference Librarian requires the teaching of several library courses each semester. Hence, my project consisted of authoring a web-based quiz/questionnaire for use in the introductory level library courses.
ToolBook Instructor was one of the eventual products from the company Asymetrix which began as a research firm in 1984. Authoring tools and learning management systems were developed that could take advantage of the Internet as a technology-based delivery device. ToolBook allows one to build a complete course. This includes: multimedia learning, text, graphics, animation, audio, and video components. An instructor can write electronic 'books' that contain navigational buttons, immediate feedback, scoring and course management features. ToolBook allows the instructor to register students, organize a class roster and maintain grades and assignments on a separate password protected level. These courses may be prepared for immediate placement onto the Internet with very little effort by constructing the object with HTML tags in the initial development phase.
The introductory level assignment for library students involved answering a series of statements concerning bibliographic citations, journal and magazine entries, and aspects of the Internet. Our goal for beginning students is to familiarize them with the layout, procedures, and functions of the library. The virtual assignment requires a student to understand an initial search strategy, where to find information in a book, the citation components, the difference between a journal and a magazine, journal citations, reference tools, deciphering a book citation and a journal citation, and understanding the initial aspects of an Internet domain and URL/address.
The developmental assignment was designed as a non-graded assignment. It was our hope that an initial quiz should attract the student's interest without adding the stress of a graded component. Providing information with immediate feedback seemed the most promising approach. The quiz/questionnaire had 15 statements. ToolBook provides quiz buttons in the form of multiple choice, true and false, etc. These statements required a student to hazard a guess but also provided feedback on correct and incorrect choices. Each question could have more than one correct answer depending on the instructor's setting of the question. For instance, in the virtual library quiz, the second question asks If you want to make sure that the book you retrieved from the shelves has the information that you are looking for, what two places in the book do you check first? The answer buttons were set to reflect the correct answers as the table of contents and the index. Again, the student was given immediate feedback regardless of his/her choices. Multiple choice questions were utilized through most of the introductory assignment with a few true and false questions added for variety. ToolBook contains the HTML import button so that the whole document can be constructed and then imported to the Internet. The initial screen of the quiz contained a Welcome message and an imported bitmap image and the final page contained a Congratulationsmessage and bitmap image. These features prompted the students at the beginning to continue and congratulated their efforts for completing the questionnaire. To view and participate in the virtual assignment, direct your browser to:
ToolBook prepares a document as separate books. Working through these books allows one to place information on a background or a page. Pages are considered foreground material and will appear only on that page. Information placed on a background will appear on every page of your book. A color and navigational buttons were selected as background information for the library assignment and therefore showed up on every page. Text for the questions and answer buttons are both part of a field and were placed on the foreground of each page. Most of this work requires one to be in the author mode. Here, text and answers can be manipulated, scoring can be established, and feedback can be placed in accordance with each answer. The student will view the document in the reader mode and can only interact with it as much as the compiler has set the various parameters to do so. Each of the fields has an array of properties that can be set by the compiler. Moving from author mode to reader mode and back again is very quick and easy to accomplish by either clicking an icon or by hitting the F3 key.
The virtual library assignment offered a chance for testing and developing skills in compiling a web-based document with interactive capabilities. Similar to a web page design, the structure of the library assignment was based on a story boarding approach. First, the questions had to be built and then placed in an order that would enhance the student's learning as he/she proceeded through the document. Next, the physical characteristics had to be organized in order for all the material to fit onto each page without the effect of visual overcrowding and had to fit structurally so that each designated area did not overlap. One of the problems that was encountered as the book was being exported to HTML was not understood until a discussion with a technical support person from Asymetrix stated that the physical attributes of each designated area or property may not overlap. This causes the HTML process to abandon that particular page and report an error message. As the learning process for developing and exporting this document progressed, items within the property areas were able to be re-aligned, reworded, or eliminated for the benefit of the whole. Once the concept of background and foreground are firmly established, the various elements of the story boarding could be placed correctly. Since the background holds elements that are to be seen on every page, only color and navigation buttons were placed here. These did not need to change with each page. Hence, placing them once on the background and saving them produced the same color and forward, backward, first screen, last screen buttons for every screen. These are part of the time saving devices that ToolBook offers. On the foreground, each page had to have specific text, specific answer buttons, and immediate feedback for each answer. With the initial development of the questions and the background being set, constructing each page of information went very quickly. Once the document is completed, a simple click of Export to HTML under the File menu completes the task.
The quiz/assignment was developed to give a brief introduction of the library to students via the Internet. Our goal was to guide a student through the array of questions or statements in order to address certain functions and structures within the library. The focus of the questions was to familiarize the student with bibliographic citations, journal citations, Internet citations, and specific call number information to Daytona Beach Community College Library. Hence, the assignment was not scored. However, each answer contained immediate feedback. Therefore, the student could find the correct answer by way of a correct initial choice or by prompting through the information delivered in the immediate feedback window. This method does not put as much pressure on the introductory level student to succeed, but does imbue the correct information in one way or another. Future, scored library assignments using ToolBook will coincide with the Freshman English/Expository Writing courses.
ToolBook II is a product with great potential and current upgrades. Although not utilized for this assignment, ToolBook is also a server-based course management system (CMS) which is interactive with two-way communication via the Internet. Instructors can make sure their materials are received and understood with these current applications. Rosters can be organized, courses and exams can be password protected, exams can be scored with immediate feedback and set so that students cannot answer the same question more than once, and a continuous account of scoring for each student can be managed in the instructor area of ToolBook. Novice course developers can create web applications without any knowledge of HTML or Java, while more sophisticated users can use ToolBook II OpenScript for specific customization. 
Online Trends and Issues blanket more and more regions of academia. Technological vision in the community colleges is hindered only by funding and expertise. Expectations from parents, students, board members, and the community are high when the concept of technology is mentioned. However, the pressure of maintaining standards while at the same time progressing to the next level of technology-based learning presents a double-edged educational sword. ToolBook II Instructor appears to be applicable to the current trends of technology in the realm of instruction and course management. Complete courseware is easily created with drag-and-drop HTML frames which export to any Web browser without the use of plug-ins.  This platform independent courseware offers efficiency and organization for the instructor, and interactive content for the student. Hence, a course can be delivered to virtually thousands of students with a single application. Librarians have become intermediaries with the advent of technology. Online catalogs were followed by searchable databases on CD-ROM, which were followed by Internet search capabilities. Now, an advanced form of online instruction, ToolBook, performs the duties of an assignment in the classroom, a quiz, an exam, or even a laboratory exercise. Along with the interactive aspects, the instructor may register the course, track a student's progress, and maintain grades throughout the duration of the course.
Community colleges find themselves being swept up into the technology wave that is swelling and moving across the country and the world. However, there are not many institutions that have found the necessary funding or training that is required for such a movement. We all know that we must keep plugging along, learning the latest version or format for each new piece of technology that is supposed to provide expert assistance and powerful training to the student population. Each year seems to bring forth the next revolution in technology while we tighten our economic belts and maintain current levels. ToolBook may hold some answers to many of the questions of online instruction, course management, and student interaction. An example brought to light in a ToolBook training session was the concept of creating truly multimedia applications. For instance, an instructor can create a hybrid application that combines ToolBook on the Internet with the capabilities and storage capacity of a CD-ROM by way of FTP functionality.  Hence, one could place large data files like audio and video on a CD-ROM and generic information in HTML and link the two formats. The web-based library assignment provided an initial opportunity to challenge the standards of instruction, look beyond the physical classroom, and test the waters of the anticipated trends in technology in community college instruction.
2. "Using Asymetrix ToolBook 3.0," Using ToolBook, online, Internet, Http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/handouts/toolbook/index.html, 30 Jan. 1998.
3. Ibid., Http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/handouts/toolbook/index.html, 30 Jan. 1998.
4. "Asymetrix's ToolBook II Writes Book on Internet Learning," CD-ROM Professional 9.7 (1996): 11.
5. Ibid., CD-ROM Professional 9.7 (1996): 11.
6. "ToolBook II Instructor Product Overview," Asymetrix Learning Systems, online, Internet, Http://www.asymetrix.com/products/toolbook2/instructor/, 3 Feb. 1998.
7. Ibid., Asymetrix Learning Systems, online, Internet, Http://asymetrix.com/products/toolbook2/instructor/, 3 Feb. 1998.
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