Posts filed under ‘information literacy’
I have created a new tutorial as part of an online class on Evaluating Web Resources. I used Captivate to create it, and was inspired to include some scenario-based interactions where students get some real practice, and learn by doing.
The students are given a situation and are presented with a website – they must decide whether or not they would use the website. I also included some examples where they need to compare websites on similar topics and select the better resource. This is my first try at using branching in Captivate (very simple branching, but branching nonetheless).
I’d appreciate any feedback!
I recently presented at a Progressive Librarians Guild – UA Chapter sponsored Skillshare event. Titled, “Instruction in Academic Libraries,” I discussed how to capture your audience in 30 seconds as well as the ADDIE instructional design model. The audio from the presentation was recorded, so I used Articulate to create an electronic version:
I’d love to hear anyone’s feedback!
Last Friday, I presented at the LOEX Annual Conference with colleagues Leslie Sult and Yvonne Mery. The title of our talk was, “Developing an Online Credit-bearing Information Fluency Course: Lessons Learned.” We reviewed how we developed, implemented, and evaluated the undergraduate Skillful Researcher (UNVR195a) course. To get some backgound, you can take a look at my post from last April when the class was first approved.
We had a good turnout, and the audience actively participated by asking questions and sharing their own experiences. It seemed like a very timely topic, as many other instruction librarians are going towards both online teaching and credit-bearing courses.
Here is our powerpoint to give you an idea of what we talked about, I hope others find this helpful and share any comments:
We also had a handout with a list of things to Try and to Avoid in online instruction, which I’ll share here:
|Try It||Avoid It|
|Establishing and following course objectives||Designing as you go|
|Keeping tutorials short||Trying to put everything in one tutorial|
|Keeping text to a minimum||Overusing text|
|Using smart graphics||Using images that are purely decorative|
|Including audio||Overusing PowerPoint|
|Using provocative discussion questions||Making assignments the discussion questions|
|Including self-assessments||Depending only on quizzes for students’ assessment|
|Participating in discussions||Assuming students will participate in discussions on their own|
|Grading discussions||Having optional discussions|
|Writing clear directions||Assuming students will know what to do|
|Paying close attention to course navigation||Over-depending on the navigation in the CMS|
|Responding to students promptly||Assuming that students do not need immediate feedback|
|Listening to feedback||Ever thinking you’re “done”|
|Preparing for a significant time commitment||Assuming teaching will be less work because it’s online|
Last week I attended the E-Learning Guild Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. It was something a colleague had run across a couple of months ago and thought would be appropriate to attend, as we are in the process of creating another online course.
It was absolutely enlightening! There is a whole world of E-Learning professionals out there that I didn’t even know existed. Primarily those that attended the conference were instructional designers (IDs) that either work for a corporation or non-profit or are consultants. They receive content from subject matter experts (SMEs) that they are then to make into an online learning object, and distributed across the country (or world) to the company’s employees. It’s for training purposes, mostly.
These E-Learning professionals have been doing this sort of thing for years, becoming experts in the fields of displaying online content, designing for online learners, and assessment through online mechanisms.
I can’t possibly share everything that I learned, but I will share some key points that are important to us as librarians.
- Rapid e-learning tools are fantastic, and there are plenty of them out there. You don’t need to learn Flash or XML. At my library we already have Articulate, which is a big one, but I learned about other options such as Adobe Presenter, FlyPaper, Raptivity, and Lectora. There’ s also programs like CodeBaby where you can create animated characters who speak to each other. Very cool. They can be expensive, but these companies often offer academic discounts, and you can usually get a trial to test it out and see if it’s worth the money. Why is this a big deal? By taking advantage of these tools, librarians will no longer have to go to their software programmers or try to learn programming skills to create this stuff. These tools can usually be self-taught and require little technology-savviness. And they have great help forums.
- Designing instruction for online learning is far different than designing it for face-to-face sessions. But fortunately, there is a lot of research and a ton of books out there on how to design effective online instruction. Check out Empowering Online Learning, Making Sense of Online Learning, the Online Learning Idea Book, and the E-Learning Handbook (which are all now on my Goodreads “to read” list). Here are some tips I picked up:
- Don’t make them read. Construct your use of text very carefully. Use tables and graphics and images where appropriate. Always set a context for the learner. Always make the experience a conversation between teacher (or computer) and learner. Read Letting Go of the Words (the author, Ginny Redish, was a conference speaker on this topic and was fantastic).
- Take a lesson or two from infomercials. Find ways to draw your student in by telling them what this will do for them, and why it’s worth their time. Keep it simple, but incorporate stories, and use testimonials and quotes from experts to further convince them that this instructional tutorial is worth their time.
- Aesthetics matter, so remember a few simple rules. Use just one font type in one section, reserving any alternate font for important messages you want to get the students attention. Use different font sizes to distinguish headers from main points from supporting points. Don’t use decorative fonts, ever. And be consistent. Use good color schemes – Adobe Kuler is a great resource for selecting attractive color schemes.
I believe as instructional librarians are getting more pressure to produce online tutorials, classes, and other content – we should reach out to those that are experts in exactly that.
If you are involved in building online instruction or tutorials, I highly recommend attending a conference geared towards e-learning professionals. In addition to the E-Learning Guild conference, there is DevCon and DevLearn both happening this year. I have to say it’s possibly the most worthwhile and practical conference I’ve been to since becoming a librarian!
I presented this to the library on Friday so thought I’d share it here:
I’ve just finished revamping the second module of the new online info lit class, “The Skillful Researcher,” a collaboration between the library and University College. The module is on “Narrowing Your Topic.” The students are writing a hypothetical research paper; they are doing all the research and creating an annotating bibliography as their final project. The second module is very important, since it’s where they pick their topic for research, and create a few potential research questions.
The students have already selected one of 5 broad topics we give them – education, food, human rights, music, or sports. For the assignment and discussion posting, they have to come up with 2-3 research questions that are appropriate for writing a hypothetical 8-12 page research paper.
Here are the techniques we’re teaching them:
1) Brainstorming. We have them complete a worksheet where they can talk about what they already know about a topic, what interests them about it, and what they would like to know more about.
2) Concept Mapping. I found this really cool YouTube video demonstrating how to do this:
3) Reviewing What’s Out There. We have them select an article from a list on various aspects of their broad topics. All the articles are from CQ Researcher, which is great for topic overviews and includes nice bibliographies. I created a Camtasia video on how to use CQ Researcher, and directions are presented in an Articulate template.
4) Defining Certain Aspects. A tutorial created using Articulate demonstrates how they can narrow a broad topic by looking at thing such as certain time frames, geographical locations, types of people, and/or aspects (sociological, economical, legal, etc.).
Since it’s only a one-credit class, and this module only lasts one week, we can’t teach much more than this. Another technique that I would like to teach (possibly if we create a “Skillful Researcher 2″) is how to review what’s out there by looking in library catalogs and databases. This gets a little more complicated but is a great skill for students to learn.
If anyone has other methods they teach students, I’d be interested to hear what they are! I’m hoping these 4 will be a good foundation for them, but any feedback would be appreciated as well.
This week the course I’ve been helping develop was officially approved to pilot this summer! It will be open to the entire undergrad campus, but aimed at first-year students in University College (undecided majors), and based in that department (UNVR 195a). It’s called “The Skillful Researcher” and is a one-credit, web-based course, that will run for 5 weeks, one module per week.
We based the course on the ACRL standards, and the development of the content has been a collaboration between a number of us within the library’s Undergraduate Services Team and one of the academic advisors & instructors in University College. It will introduce students to library resources and how to define a research topic, and teach them about searching strategies, evaluation methods, and the ethics of information use. Initially this summer, we will probably have 50-100 students in 2 different sections of the course. The goal is to end up with about 500 students per semester – and ideally to make this course required for all undecided university freshman (or perhaps all freshman, period).
Experienced instructional design librarian, Leslie, will be teaching this summer, along with Keith from University College. In the fall I will probably teach a section or two, and we’re hoping down the line that we can have SIRLS grad students teaching the course as part of a graduate assistantship. We’re designing the course in such a way that it will require minimal amounts of time & grading on the part of the instructor, and we are using interactive tutorials and quizzes, videos & virtual lectures, etc. to keep the course engaging while making it scalable for use across a variety of library instruction initiatives. We’ve been using Articulate a lot recently to develop the modules and it’s been working very well.
It was very exciting to get the approval this week, and by the end of the month we hope to have the course completely developed and ready to go!
Generally in a 50-minute information literacy session for undergraduates, you’re going to remind them that they can’t trust everything on the internet. That Google can be great for some things, but you should always be cautious of what you find. Then the students will nod their heads because this is something they’ve heard many times before and understand. Most of these students are smart & many really do understand this concept; and they think they have good judgment about these things (i.e. what to trust and what not to trust). And perhaps for the most part they do. But do they really?
I think showing the students real examples of this concept in action can be an effective way to reach them so they actually “get it.” Showing them search results that you wouldn’t trust. Websites that look alright at first but when you dig a little deeper you see they are completely unreliable. Below are some examples I’ve found – all they require is searching Google:
- Search “martin luther king” in Google. The fifth result down is called “Martin Luther King Jr. – A True Historical Examination.” It’s a website hosted by Stormfront, a white nationalist organization.
- Search “gatt” (short for “general agreement on tarrifs & trade”). The first result is www.gatt.org, which at first appears to be the World Trade Organization website; clearly it’s not.
- Search “facts about women and aids,” and click the first result (if the students pay attention they’ll see “contains fictitious information” in the site description).
- Search “solar system Mars facts;” about the fifth one down is called Solar System Information: MARS. The URL might be enough to tip people off, but if they don’t notice they might be halfway through the article before realizing this is a hoax. Or they might not realize at all.
- Search “find chuck norris,” selecting “I’m feeling lucky.” (OK, this is more just for fun).
I recently became a “librarian” on Goodreads, which means I have rights to edit and update content, which is fantastic. There are a lot of volunteer “librarians,” 777 as of today, which is great because that means 1554 eyes are constantly checking out the Goodreads catalog fixing errors and updating content, hopefully correctly. There is also a discussion board, which I subscribe to daily to see what the latest is. An interesting posting came up a couple days ago about a book cover that was incorrect. Here is how the discussion went (edited down for simplicity’s sake):
Discussion poster 1: The cover showing for Paul Thomas’ Dirty Laundry is actually the cover for some edition of Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay.
Discussion poster 2: Amazon’s cover image was automatically added. They have the wrong cover attached to this book. I uploaded, what I believe to be, the correct cover.
Discussion poster 3: I’m impressed! Every site I looked at has the same incorrect cover as Amazon (talk about misinformation spreading faster than good information!) — where did you get the right one?
Discussion poster 2: Wow – I couldn’t remember where I found it and when I tried to find it again, I had a hard time.
I got it here:
Discussion poster 3: I’m going to have to add that site to my list. Too many sites get theirs from Amazon, so when theirs is wrong or missing . . .
And it’s true! There are probably hundreds of book distribution and information sites that upload their content directly from Amazon. In this case, here is Amazon’s record – clearly not the right cover. OCLC’s WorldCat doesn’t have the right cover; (granted, this is really a link to Amazon’s record). And ABEBooks. Who knows where else.
You know in most information literacy classes, students are taught how to evaluate websites by verifying a given fact with multiple sources. The example above is an easy error to spot since it’s clearly not the right book cover, but what other facts could be lingering online, conferred by multiple sources simply because all those sources got their information from one inaccurate source?
As the final assignment for my Designing Instruction course, we were asked to create a presentation outlining best practices in instruction specifically garnered to diverse learners. This includes learners with disabilities, second-language learners, those with cultural differences and those with different learning styles. In the spirit of sharing knowledge I have attached my slide show presentation here: