Selection of Resources
A simple flow chart of the seven stages of the decision-making process for the selection of FAILTE resources has been created for ease of reference. When selecting resources for description in the FAILTE database, the following questions must be asked:
1) Is the resource web based?
If this is not the case, then a web presence may be sufficient. Substantial and potentially very useful resources may have records created for them, if there is a web presence that would provide the compulsory URL. In this instance, however, it is not the material on the web that is to be described, but the resource itself.
For resources that have a web presence that in itself could also be useful to some extent, then two records may be created: one to describe the material available on the web and another to describe the actual resource. The relationship between the resources should then be described in the Relationship field of the record.
2) Is the resource a collection of pointers to third party resources?
Large, web based collections of resources are not suitable for the FAILTE database, since they do not constitute learning and teaching resources in themselves. Consider that they may be useful as potential sources of individual resources, which can be included.
Small collections, when based around a theme, may be a resource in their own right, since their material might constitute a course or a module. Records may be created for both them and the resources they consist of, the relationship between them being described by the Relationship field.
3) Can the resource be classified as an Engineering resource?
If the resource can be classified under the subject headings used by the EEVL Internet Hub, then it is suitable for FAILTE. The list of EEVL Browse Headings should be used to help in the allocation of the subject headings. If none of the terms listed as EEVL Subject Headings can be used to describe the content of the resource, then it cannot be classified as an Engineering resource and it should therefore not be included.
4) Does the resource contain only advice on aspects of learning and teaching?
It is important that the resource itself can be used in learning and teaching activities and does not simply consist of advice. Resources containing advice in addition to material that can be used in learning and teaching may be selected for FAILTE. Advice-only resources are not to be included in the database, although details of them can be passed on to LTSN Engineering.
5) Is the resource material of a suitable level to be taught to higher education students?
This is important, since it is intended that the FAILTE database will be used primarily by members of the higher education sector. Only material which is relevant to this level of engineering education should be included in the FAILTE database. This can often be ascertained when reading about the resource, since the intended users of resources are sometimes described, but if so be careful: FAILTE intends to offer independent descriptions, so check whatever the web site claims, if possible.. The amount and level of prior knowledge assumed by a resource are also a good indicator of its educational level.
6) Is the resource only specific to the needs of the creators?
Some resources meet all the criteria listed above but are unlikely to be useful to the FAILTE end user because the material has been created for a specific need or audience, thus limiting its usefulness to others.
A resource which has been created for a particular purpose but which contains material that can be adapted for use by others may be selected for FAILTE. However, the creator may not be prepared to allow others to use the material in this way, so it would be advisable to contact the creator in the first instance, before time and effort are invested in creating a record for such a resource. Such contact is at the discretion of the cataloguer.
7) Is the resource intended to accompany/act as a taught course?
FAILTE records are intended to provide detailed information about the educational aspects of resources that have a clear pedagogic intent behind their creation. If the pedagogic intent is not apparent, then the resource may be better suited for inclusion in EEVL's wider ranging collection.
Pedagogic intent is a difficult concept to describe and to assess. If the resource constitutes a complete course, or a unit of a course (e.g. a lesson), or if it can easily be used as part of a taught course or unit of a course, then it can be said to have pedagogic intent. However, if the resource is intended to provide information, lacks a structure that facilitates learning and understanding, and cannot be easily used as an integral part of a course, then the pedagogic intent is limited and the resource should not be selected.
Examples of information resources without these structures are: technical and product specifications; tables of physical properties; news items and research papers.
Signs of pedagogic intent that you might look for are: statements of pre-requisite knowledge and learning objectives; assessments; exercises and activities designed to promote reflection on the information provided; worked examples showing how the material might be applied in contexts that the student would understand (given pre-requisite knowledge).