Rapid Prototyping in the Wild

This April, while I was celebrating my birthday in Sonoma, my instruction colleagues and supervisor attended the CARL Conference. My supervisor also attended the pre-conference, “Let’s Build Something! A Rapid Prototyping Instructional Design Workshop,” which was presented by UC colleagues Dani Brecher Cook (UC Riverside) and Doug Worsham (UCLA). Adapted from Stanford’s d.school’s Design Thinking Bootcamp Bootleg and Brown and Macanufo’s (2010) Gamestorming, the series of worksheets they have created  have been extremely helpful planning tools for designing learning objects. The worksheets include:

  • Empathy Map
  • Learning Journey Map
  • 4 Paths Prototype
  • I like, I Wish, What If?

Find the entire toolkit at: https://ucla.app.box.com/v/build-something-toolkit

I hope others find these worksheets as helpful as I’ve found them to be. We’ve been using the materials to help us plan and design learning objects for our newest general education course at UC Merced, the Spark Seminar, which begins this fall. What’s truly exciting about SPRK 001 is its focus on research as inquiry, which affords us the opportunity to engage with the Research as Inquiry frame of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education head-on. It’s not that we don’t teach this, but this course spells it out for us a bit more readily. The idea is that instructors will be able to launch the learning objects we’re working on independently via Canvas, giving us the time to teach about how to approach the research process and how to begin developing research questions in person. The learning objects we’re making aren’t full-fledged modules, but they will assignments with embedded activities.

I’m very excited about this project. Some of the instructors teaching SPRK 001 are also those that we haven’t necessarily worked with before, so it gives us another opportunity to show what we can do to a new set of folks. I also think this could have a greater impact on the university since other faculty will also be able to use these activities.

The objects I’m working on focus on databases–what they are, why students should use them, and how to select a relevant one (we have 700+). I’ll be building these in Canvas next week.

Thing 22: Online Teaching

On Friday, my colleagues and I shared what we learned from the Things in the Pedagogy track of the 23 Framework Things. I was assigned Thing 22: Online Teaching. I selected to complete Option 3, though I didn’t do the activity:

Post a brief comment below describing the outline for an online learning object (lesson) using the steps in the book to guide you. What part of the Framework will you focus on? Create an outcome statement, and select one of the common instructional design program activities (p.29) to assess the student’s competency.

However, I do think that I’d be interested in developing something that helps students learn how to approach selecting a database. I imagine including research problem scenarios in which students would need to match up the problem to an appropriate database based on the description. In the notes I posted to my colleagues (see below), I refer to this briefly as we are working on developing content for a new GE course.

Here are my notes.

This module was presented by the steering committee of the New Literacies Alliance, which is a group of librarians from a variety of institutions working to design a common research instruction curriculum based on the ACRL Framework. The lessons they have created tie to particular knowledge practices and dispositions and are licensed under Creative Commons. Many appear in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox. If you have looked at the Sandbox, many of the SoftChalk online modules, such as the Citations tutorial, were designed by librarians involved with the NLA.

For this module, I read Chapter 3 and Appendix E of Creating and Sharing Online Library Instruction: A How to Do it Manual for Librarians (2017) written by three NLA librarians, Joelle Pitts, Sara K. Kearns, and Heather Collins. The chapter outlines how to create learning objects using McTighe’s and Wiggins’ backward design curriculum planning model.

  1. Identify desired results.
    • What should students be able to do at the end of the instruction?
      • Select components of the Framework to teach.
  2. Determine assessment evidence.
    • How will we know if students have achieved the desired result?
      • Choose a Bloom’s Taxonomy level and verb
      • Outline an activity the students will complete to demonstrate desired results
      • Write a learning outcome.
  3. Plan learning experiences and instruction.
    • How can we support learners as they come to understand important ideas and processes?
      • Create redundant digital learning objects to support the learning outcome.
      • Create assessment activity.

Identify Desired Results

  • Learning objects should be kept to 8-15 minutes.
  • The knowledge dispositions or practices you select will need to be modified because many of them are “too big” to cover in one object.
  • Highlight one major frame in the outcome, even though there may be practices from different though related frames at play.
  • Choose a level of expertise [novice, beginner, competent, proficient, expert (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1980)].

Determine Assessment Evidence

  • Choose a Bloom’s Taxonomy level and verb
    • “The higher the Bloom’s Taxonomy level, the more difficult it is to design online learning objects and activities, especially if automated grading is desired” (p. 26).
      • This makes me feel a lot better about what can be achieved for modules we develop that are intended for instructors to assign to their students (WRI 01); these would be good for more concrete skills, such as selecting an appropriate/relevant database, etc. It does make me think about the SPRK courses, as well, mostly because two out of my three areas involve databases.
    • Write an outcome
      • The student will + Bloom’s Taxonomy verb + evidence + in order to + desired results = outcome
      • Bloom’s Taxonomy list on p. 27
      • Learning outcome formula checklist on p. 28
      • Common types of instructional design program activities on p. 29

 Plan Learning Experiences

  • NLA has a storyboard template to serve as a guide for developing online learning objects (see Appendix D in the book as this was not included in the PDFs)
    • Introduction, background info
    • Relevancy to students’ lives
    • State the problem and possible solutions
    • Lesson climax activity
    • Assessment
  • Have a peer review your learning object (see the Learning Object Rubric, Appendix E, p. 119)

Yosemite Research Library

Yosemite National Park is 2.5-3 hours from where I live. I know, I’m pretty lucky, but I don’t go very often. Before this past Friday, the last time I went was in 2009!

UC Merced is the closest university to Yosemite National Park. The university does some research at the park and also has a partnership with the park for the Yosemite Leadership Program. In the spring, before I actually began working at the UC Merced Library, the park’s librarian, Virginia Sanchez, visited the library for input on modernizing the park’s library. It was a reciprocal visit, so we got to visit the Yosemite Research Library last Friday!

We toured the library and museum at the park, and we also visited the archives, which are located off-site. I had no idea how varied the collections are in Yosemite–baskets, dry and wet specimen, photographs, books, paintings and other artwork, etc. I was also glad to learn that the park works with the seven federally recognized native groups from the area, as well as some of the unrecognized native groups.

The library is at the very top of the park’s museum. It’s a small space that is in need of modernization in order to make the collections more accessible. The library is currently working on moving to the Library of Congress Classification system. There are some cabinets that need to be cleaned out, some items that need to be stored properly,  and there are some things that would make great candidates to be digitized and put online. There is actually a campaign going on right now to raise money to modernize the library.

This year, the national park system turned 100, and Yosemite celebrated 90 years as a park. There is a treasure trove of materials waiting to be discovered by a wider audience. I think this is definitely a worthy cause.

yosemite

LibraryGo

Well, oops! I discovered a ton of draft posts. I meant to post this during new student orientations this summer. But if your academic library participates in preview days, this could also be helpful. Here’s what I meant to post:

PokémonGo is everywhere, including libraries! Although summer is a little slower for those of us in college and university libraries, fall semester is almost here, and academic libraries are preparing welcome back events and orientations. Erin Washington, the library director of the Marie Blair Burgess Library at Spartanburg Methodist College in Spartanburg, South Carolina has designed her own version of the game. She shared her idea in the ili listserv.

Washington was already working on an augmented reality game using Aurasma, so she decided to rename it LibraryGo since everyone “know[s] what PokémonGo is even if they haven’t played it” (personal communication, July 13, 2016).

If you haven’t used Aurasma before, it is basically a way to link online content to an object in the real world (I used signs, a statue, a student ID card, and a screenshot, for example). If you’ve used QR codes for scavenger hunts before, it’s basically the same idea but is just more fun. When you walk around and use the Aurasma app, it feels like you are pulling images and videos out of the air when you find a “trigger.”

It is free to set up an account in Aurasma and fairly easy to create Auras. (My suggestion is to check the “lock” feature when you create an aura so that the students don’t have to keep their phone hovering over the trigger to make the content play.) If you would like to see my auras, download the Aurasma app and follow “eirini52105”.

The attached doc is the sheet I will give students to begin their search for “LibStops” (rather than PokeStops). Feel free to adapt this however you like, and borrow/edit my “LibraryGo” logo. The students will also receive one of our library iPads that will have the Aurasma app pre-downloaded for them. If you don’t have iPads to hand out, you could easily do this with phones as long as one student per group was willing to download the Aurasma app. This activity *I think* will take about 30 minutes, and I was considering doing a Kahoot Quiz as their “Pokémon Gym” battle for the remainder of class time, or perhaps the usual database demo.

Here is Washington’s second email about the Kahoot quiz mentioned in her July message.

Now that we are closer to the semester starting, I have had the time to create a simple Kahoot Quiz to go with LibraryGo. It’s got the Pokémon Go theme song at the beginning and Pokémon images that go with the questions. I’m hoping to use it as assessment to see if they learned anything, and/or learned it better than last year’s more traditional class. If you would like to use it or transform it for your purposes, do the following:

1) Sign in/Sign up with Kahoot at getkahoot.com.

2) Click Public Kahoots (up at the top)

3) Use hashtag #librarygo to find my quiz (author = eirini52105)

3) Click “Duplicate” to put this Kahoot into your “My Kahoots” area.

4) Click on MyKahoots (also up top) and then edit to change the questions to be your own. (Erin Washington, personal communication, August 4, 2016).

For more information, or to share other PokémonGo ideas, you can contact Washington at washingtone@smcsc.edu. A special thank you to Erin for allowing me to share her ideas on here.

LibGuides CMS Webinar

I  haven’t been posting since I started my new job on June 1. I have been busy and thoroughly enjoying every moment. It’s Saturday, and I’m actually at the library now. Most of our new student orientations are during the week, but there are a few on Saturdays. After some morning presentations, I got the opportunity to welcome and speak with students and their families ¡en español! at the information fair. I really enjoyed it, and I think I helped people feel welcome. I have a couple more presentations this afternoon.

Coming in early today gave me a chance to watch a recording of a LibGuides CMS webinar that my manager sent me. She and the library’s technology manager attended the webinar on June 19th. I came from an institution where it took several years just to get a link to the library on Blackboard, so the features introduced by Springshare’s courseware integration tool are a bit amazing. Here is the rundown of the webinar.

Instead of being compatible with specific course management systems (CMSs), it is Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) compliant, so as long as your campus’ CMS is also LTI compliant, the LibGuides CMS will work with it.

With LibGuides CMS, not only can you display a LibGuide directly in your campus’ CMS (when you click on the link in the CMS, it opens directly in it), you can also add other things, such as a chat window, your library’s hours through LibCal, a list of the specific subject librarians, LibAnswers, and an A-Z list of subject-specific databases.

The webinar instructor did a great job explaining and showing step-by-step how you, at the CMS course shell level, can add a subject LibGuide to a slew of subject-specific courses though the automagic tool. You can also do this with class-specific guides. Changing between a subject and class-specific guide and vice versa is very easy. You can also add a single guide to a single course though manual mode. If you are wondering about usage statistics, those are also readily available.

The webinar also covered an upcoming update to the A-Z list in LibGuides. The A-Z list will be on its own page in both LibGuides and LibGuides CMS. There is also a place for internal notes and a way to mark certain databases as popular or be able to hide, say, a trial database. There is also going to be a keyword feature to increase discoverability. Only LibGuides CMS will have access to community analysis, which will allow you to see how many people in the system have a certain database, etc.

Citation Tools

A while back, one of my friends from college who now teaches writing where we went to school together sent me a message about a little debate in a writing instruction-related listserv about how university libraries always seem to market citation tools to students, making students become dependent on machines to do the work for them. This is an advertising tactic, but the workshop the library is putting on might actually show students how these tools aren’t 100 percent accurate. This was pretty much what he thought was likely but wanted to see what I thought. I do support these tools when used appropriately. The reality is that a lot of our students do find and use these tools on their own; I might as well give them some pointers.

In instruction sessions, I point out citation tool features in databases, but I always comment that the citations aren’t to be taken at face value. I usually do an example and ask students to point out what is incorrect in hopes that they remember that it isn’t always right. I do support using the tools in order to save time —students can copy-paste and correct by looking at their writer’s guides, which often have sections on citing in APA and MLA; the APA or MLA handbooks; Library handouts; Library LibGuides on APA and MLA; or even by googling Purdue OWL’s APA or MLA Formatting Guides. I even have Purdue OWL linked on my LibGuides for APA and MLA. I also have other citation tools listed in those online guides with a note indicating that these tools are not perfect.

I went on to tell my friend, “Ain’t no one just telling them to use the tools point blank.”

Well, I was wrong. Recently, someone in an academic library listserv was complaining that EBSCOhost needs to get its act together to fix the problems in their citation tool feature because the “nice librarian is telling students to use the feature, and students are getting points marked off.”

I’m just going to say it. You are not doing your job if you are simply telling students to use these tools. That was the gist of the feeling among the people who did a reply-all response. No tool is going to be perfect, but it’s not difficult to live in the happy place I’ve described above. There is so much help available to double-check citations, and if points off is what is going to motivate students to learn or at least take the time to check, so be it. The other challenge is that students, who do seem to understand why we cite, at least when I’ve asked students in class, don’t seem know why there are different styles or why they must be so precise when using a particular format. There needs to be a much deeper conversation, and I am sure this does happen in research instruction and writing instruction courses. It’s just part of getting students familiar with academic culture.

With that said, librarians, what are your favorite tools to help students cite or keep track of citations? While I only list links on my LibGuides to free tools (again, with a word of caution), here are some free and fee-based tools that I know about, though the only one I personally use is Zotero. Diigo does look really interesting, so it may be one I try out for myself. The last citation builder I played with is North Carolina State University Libraries’ Citation Builder.

BibMe

Citation Builder

Cite This for Me

Diigo

EasyBib

KnightCite

Mendeley

NoodleTools

Perrla

RefMe

RefWorks

Son of Citation Machine

Zotero

 

Tablets Pt. 2

An update on that tablet project I mentioned back in the fall.

Back in September, I found out I had one week to submit paperwork for a grant offered through student equity funding. I had planned to do a survey about our students’ technology usage in order to make some mobile technology recommendations to my dean, but I had to scrap the whole plan with the unexpected deadline and opportunity.We initially received 33 percent of the funds for 36 Microsoft Surface Pro 3s (at the time, this was the college approved tablet) and a charge cart. However, a little later, the Library received funding for all 36 tablets. The tablets are mostly for library instruction since we don’t have an instructional space, but we decided to circulate 5-10 for in-house use when not being used in the classroom.

We finally got everything delivered at the very end of 2015/beginning of 2016, but, long story short, we just started checking out a few this last week. I am bummed I wasn’t able to use them for instruction. I am also sad that I won’t be seeing this project through since I am heading to a new job in June.

With all the delays and my exit timeline, I forgot all about apps. One of the part-time librarians recently reminded me about apps after I sent her a Storify summary of a Twitter chat about tablets by ACRL’s Instruction Section’s Instructional Technologies Committee. Here’s the accompanying Winter 2016 edition of the Instructional Technologies’ Tips and Trends newsletter. Back when I used to do butcher paper posters in the hallway outside the Library doors with questions for students to respond to on Post-It notes, one of the questions I asked was about apps students use to help them with their work. I didn’t get much of a response, though. After this email conversation, I remembered that I had saved a really cool idea that could be modified a bit to figure out what sorts of free apps might be added to the Surface Pros. It really needs to be guided by our students (we really need a student advisory committee!). In 2014, there was a message in the collib-l listserv from a librarian named Beth Johns about a drop-in workshop she and a colleague did about apps.

One of my colleagues and I experimented with a drop in workshop for students last February. It was called “Sips, Snacks and Apps” and was designed as a “sharing” workshop–the plan was to share information on mobile apps that have an academic purpose (such as library database apps) with students and find out what they use in their academic life.

We didn’t get a huge turnout, but some students were coaxed into attending and thanks to one of our student workers who also wrote for the student newspaper, we had a short article published on the event. Snacks included coffee, tea and lemonade to drink and cookies to eat. We held it in a group study room, but when we do it again (planning for the fall!) we want to hold it in a more public place. This room was not a good location–kind of hidden in the library. I think we will hold it near the library entrance next time. The few who attended, including one faculty member, seemed to enjoy it. It was more about building relationships than the topic of mobile apps. I’ve attached a pdf of one of the flyers.

With this particular topic, it seems that students at our school are not yet using library or academic apps (unless they are just not telling us what they use), but we did find out that those with iPhones sometimes use Siri to figure out alternative keywords when they are researching something, so that was helpful and interesting!

I mentioned to our part-time librarian that what we could do is come up with our own list of apps that work with Windows, and then see what students want from that master list, as well as look into others that are suggested. If were going to stay, I would set up a student advisory committee that includes our student workers and other students. With less than a month left until I leave my job, I do plan to add this tidbit to the notes I’m leaving for the new librarian.