Document Type

Technology and Innovation

Publication Date



How can 6,000 new Ohio State University students and their families become familiar with a major research library system before they begin their first day of classes? Simple. They play the Libraries’ interactive multimedia games distributed to all incoming freshmen.

The Libraries’ Instruction Office, in collaboration with the University Office of First Year Experience, created an innovative series of casual, interactive online games to orient the thousands of incoming freshmen to the University Libraries, resources, people, and basic library skills. A survey of first-quarter freshmen perceptions helped to determine what new students want to know about the Libraries.

By completing interactive crossword, multiple guess, jigsaw puzzles, and drag-and-drop matching games, students become familiar with library terminology, library locations, unique services, study spaces, available databases, borrowing options, and call numbers. They also can view short movies from librarians, VIPs, and students who describe their experiences with the Libraries. The games use Flash, Captivate, and other software to create this casual introduction and positive welcome to the University Libraries.

A demonstration of the final library orientation product will be given. Additionally, the presentation will address why the game format was chosen, share baseline data from the 2006 library perceptions survey of new freshmen, and discuss the design and development process. Presenters will relate how consultation with faculty experts, the University’s First Year Experience Office, and user testing influenced the project, as well as the pedagogical implications of using casual games to facilitate learning.