The Design for Learning Team is teaching participants how to design instruction and teach online, with opportunities to practice teaching online. Our learners are working in 2 cohorts. The first cohort began working September 1, 2015 and the second cohort began working February 1, 2016. We have selected participants from all types of libraries, subject specializations, and library experience levels. Our next phase is the development of a “MOOC” version that will allow self-selected, self-paced experience in the program.
This is a guest post from Julie Marie Niederhauser, a member of Cohort 1 of the Design for Learning program, who participated in our presentation at this year’s annual ALA conference and attended as one of our scholarship recipients.
The American Library Association Conference in Orlando, Florida had a terrific slate of sessions focusing on improving library instruction, fostering staff development and encouraging professional development. As the public library coordinator for Alaska, responsible for developing and presenting continuing education workshops for public librarians around the State, I knew these sessions on instructional design and library instruction would introduce me to new instructional techniques and methodologies while reinforcing knowledge I have learned as a D4L Cohort 1 participant.
While I was eager to attend the ALA Conference in Orlando, the associated costs were beyond my financial means. Just when I was about to give up any hope of attending the conference, I received an email mentioning the D4L scholarship opportunity. I was thrilled when I received notification that I was a D4L Scholarship recipient.
The ALA Conference initially overwhelmed me. Held in the Orange County Convention center, which ranks as the 2nd largest convention center in the United States, the conference was immense and it wasn’t unusual to see conference participants using a Segway to get around. The ALA conference program and exhibit directory had over 325 pages; it was the size of a Sears and Roebucks Christmas Wish Book. I watched some conference goers rip out the program pages they needed rather than lug the entire program through the convention center.
ALA reinforced my passion for librarianship and the good that we do. The first session I attended was Exploring Learning Through Making. During this session Trent Miller and Jesse Vieau and members from the Madison Public Library gave a brief presentation on the Bubbler and their artist-in-residence program. I found the Madison Public Library’s commitment to serving teens where they are, whether in a homeless shelter, a detention center or the library, inspiring. Jesse Vieau shared a story about a teen sewing program which meets in a juvenile detention center. The Madison Public Library had an artist-in-residence who wanted to teach teens some basic sewing skills. She thought it would be useful if the teens could re-sew buttons, hem pants or fix clothing tears. When one of the teens in the program finished before everyone else, she suggested he use some of the extra fabric she brought to sew a pillow. Suddenly the rest of the teens in the program stopped what they were doing. They wanted to sew a pillow as well. The sewing program has become one of the Madison Public Library’s most successful programs. Teens in the detention center want to sew a pillow so they have something to hug and they also want to create pillows so they have something they can give to others.
Participating in the D4L ALA Conversation Starter: Teaching Online About How to Teach Online: The Design for Learning Program was exciting and nerve wracking. After conversing online for over a year, it was wonderful to finally meet D4L instructors Arden Kirkland and Mary-Carol Lindbloom and my amazing fellow student Kathy Smith in-person. Standing up in an auditorium full of library land’s best and brightest and sharing how D4L has provided me with the knowledge, skills and courage to offer library instruction online to Alaska librarians was challenging. Fortunately, the audience was supportive, interested and kind. Members of the audience asked thoughtful questions and were keen to learn more about the D4L project. Sitting beside the other members of the D4L panel, I knew we were helping to transform libraries and online library instruction in the United States.
This is a guest post from Jennifer Shimada, a member of Cohort 1 of the Design for Learning program, who participated in our presentation at this year’s annual ALA conference and attended as one of our scholarship recipients.
Thanks to a D4L scholarship, I was able to attend my first ALA Annual conference this year, in Orlando. I’d attended Midwinter once as a student a couple years ago, but this was quite a different experience!
One of the main reasons it was different is that the first time, I didn’t know anyone, and that was a little intimidating at such a big conference. This time the conference was even bigger, but I was able to meet people in person that I had previously met online! I got to meet, present with (more on that in a bit!), and have dinner with other instructors and students from D4L, which was a great experience. I also used Facebook to find people to room and meet up with. Being able to recognize people (even just by name from meeting them online) helped me feel like I belonged and helped me make closer connections to people I hope to keep in touch with in the future.
Two other reasons I felt like more than a spectator this time was because I joined a couple of ALA committees for the first time last year (and so was able to participate at committee-related events at the conference) and because I got to do my first ever conference presentation. That presentation was on D4L! A group of instructors and students, including myself, presented about our experiences with D4L. I talked about my capstone project, and how it’s changed throughout the various modules that we’ve participated in.
Aside from presenting, participating in committees, and networking, I also learned a lot from attending sessions! One of the sessions relevant to my capstone was “Authority is Constructed and Contextual,” based on the frame in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy with the same title. There were a lot of good points brought up in that session, but a few that are relevant to information literacy instruction (if not solely online instruction):
- We shouldn’t just tell students what they don’t know, but acknowledge what they do know. One way to do this is through having less lecture and more discussion in the classroom. (Relevant to our community module!)
- Academic librarians should collaborate with faculty to help students come to a better understanding of credible sources. Peer reviewed is not always the same thing as credible. Move away from “grocery list assignments” where we simply ask students to find three scholarly sources and a primary sources. Instead, have students think about what different types of sources (whether scholarly or popular) are good for, and what criteria they would use to evaluate each. Avoid absolutes (e.g., “Peer-reviewed sources are always better).
- Get students to create something and put it out into the world (can you have them post things in a place that is publicly visible online?). Encourage them to be authorities.
You can see a lot more points by looking up the #AuthorityIS hashtag on Twitter. A side note that is relevant to our Social Module: I appreciated sessions with session-specific hashtags! Those are less important for smaller conferences, but for a big conference like ALA Annual, following the main conference hashtag (in this case, #ALAAC16) can be overwhelming, and it’s harder to find conversation specifically about a single session. Translating this to a course, think about the size of your audience. If it’s a course with just 20 people, using just one hashtag throughout the course probably would work. If it’s a MOOC with thousands of people, you might want to consider having both a hashtag for the overall MOOC and also one for any special events or chats you’re hosting or about each specific topic.
ALA Annual was a great experience, and I’m very grateful for the scholarship that allowed me to go!
This is a guest post from Jennifer DeVito, a member of Cohort 2 of the Design for Learning program, reporting back from the conference she attended as one of our scholarship recipients.
Accompanying pictures on Storify
On Friday, June 17, 2016, with the generous support of the D4L Leadership Team scholarship, I attended the 2016 Connecticut Information Literacy Conference. Held at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT, this day-long conference is a terrific opportunity to learn about new approaches to information literacy in academic libraries.
The conference theme – “Maintaining Focus in a Changing IL Landscape” – was reflected in the keynote as well as the morning and afternoon breakout sessions and led to some interesting discussions about the changes in librarianship and information literacy.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Lana W. Jackman, a passionate advocate of information literacy and the former president of the National Forum on Information Literacy. Dr. Jackman advised us that to be effective facilitators of change, librarians must get out of the library and advocate for ourselves in other circles – educational, political and national arenas. She entreated those in attendance to familiarize themselves with educational standards for accreditation and, yes, Common Core, to identify the “hooks” that will allow librarians to demonstrate the value of libraries and information literacy and gain entree into the curriculum.
Read the standards thoroughly and look for those hooks, such as NEASC 2016 standards 4, 6 and 7 through which a knowledgeable librarian will be able tie information literacy to the outcomes in the standards. Using the standards helps librarians communicate with deans, provosts and other administrators who may not be as familiar with information literacy standards.
Dr. Jackman also talked about the importance of branding for libraries and librarians and of using that marketing approach to promote the services that will support student learning outcomes. She encouraged us to have that elevator speech ready to go and seek out networking opportunities like conferences and other educational forums to promote your brand and the value of libraries. Look for partnership opportunities with school and public libraries to reach students sooner and integrate information literacy skills.
After the keynote, attendees selected one of three morning breakout sessions. I attended Dear Diary: Adapting the SEA-change model to assess and improve library instruction by Briana McGuckin of Central Connecticut State College. This engaging presentation was based on the SEA-change model covered in the paper by Sen and Ford. This model uses reflective writing in a situation-evidence-action format as a method of assessment. Ms. McGuckin’s presentation examined how reflective writing can be used by librarians who do information literacy instruction. Who among us hasn’t led a class that just isn’t going the way it was intended? Maybe the students aren’t paying attention or you anticipated that the class would have more knowledge and skill than they do and you are left floundering for a 60-90 session. With practice, reflective writing can be a form of a self-assessment for librarian instructors and lead to modifications that make instruction more effective.
During the breakout session, attendees were asked to think about a situation that presented a difficulty for us. It could be professional or personal; preferably, it was fairly recent. We then spent some time writing about it using the SEA-change model. Describe the situation; evidence will build from the situation, which will lead to the action.
First, describe the situation and include details. This is self-assessment so no one has to see it. What is/was the problem; when and where did it happen; who was involved; how did it evolve? Next, explain your evidence. How did you know it was a problem? Finally, what action will you take to correct or change the situation? Don’t focus on finding the “right answer;” sometimes different is good enough.
Getting in the habit of this type of self-reflection and assessment can be beneficial in one’s professional and personal life. Writing should take place immediately or very soon after the event so the details are fresh and the evidence and action ideas are authentic. Consider multiple perspectives and be clear about what actions you will take to make a change. Reflective writing does not have to take a long time – 10-15 minutes is sufficient.
After the morning breakout session, lunch was served and we had time to walk the campus and tour the libraries on campus. Then it was time for one of the three afternoon breakout sessions. I chose Lecturing: Not Always an Abomination by Jason B. Jones who is the Director of Educational Technology at Trinity College. In this session, Mr. Jones talked about the value of lectures in education and how the lecture can be an effective and entertaining educational tool. Lectures are an important component in education, especially in the humanities, because they are exercises in mindfulness and attention-building and they help teach comprehension and reasoning. In lectures, students learn how to identify important concepts and link them. Students can take notes, sketch or doodle – anything that will help them connect with the information.
As a group, we thought of the characteristics of some of the best and the worst lectures we’ve attended. For the best lectures, some of the descriptions were: funny, lively, good pace, stories involved. Vocal variance is also an important element of a good lecture.
Other suggestions to make a lecture effective include being dynamic in your presentation. After 15 minutes, move. Change sides, talk about or do something different. Also, be mindful of the time of day. If you are lecturing after lunch, you may want to adjust your lecture to keep your audience engaged. Don’t be a slow talker! Keep things moving. Use changes in tone and pace to add some interest to your lecture.
Also, keep in mind the attention span of the average audience member. Get your important points in early. Break your lecture into chunks so your audience can regroup and get at the information. Think of the lecture as academic theater. Ultimately, a lecture should inspire students to do something for themselves.
Even though this session was geared for face-to-face lecturers, those of us who are involved in online instruction can benefit from much of this advice as we prepare for online classes.
The day ended with a wrap-up and a raffle. It was an informative conference and I highly recommend it. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend. Many thanks to the D4L Leadership Team!
This is a guest post from Kelly Durkin, a member of Cohort 2 of the Design for Learning program, reporting back from the conference she attended as one of our scholarship recipients.
From June 8-10 I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Library Instruction West (formerly LOEX of the West) conference in lovely (and hot!) Salt Lake City. This year’s conference was themed “Learning Elevated” and I had the chance to meet with and learn from innovative librarians from around the country who are thinking about online and in-person instruction. The University of Utah has most of the presentations in its repository here: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/liw16/Libraryinstructionwest2016/.
Donna Lanclos from UNC Charlotte gave a thoughtful keynote on Teaching, Learning, and Vulnerability in Digital Places. She raised the idea of building trust with students by being professionally vulnerable in our instruction practice – showing students the seams of academia and scholarly communication as a window into the process of scholarship. This can also be applied to our collaborative process with colleagues, as being open with our works in progress and rough drafts allow us to continue learning from each other. We are certainly doing that in our modules – our draft instructional plans have been a great example of learning from each other through the drafting process.
Amanda Roth and Dominique Turnbow of UC San Diego hosted two excellent sessions related to online learning. They presented first on creating an instructional design team and shared how they built their workflows, documentation, and processes. The biggest takeaways from this session were that a combination of pedagogy and technical skills are critical for success, communication with stakeholders is important, and documenting processes and time spent on projects is helpful for showing outcomes to stakeholders and administration. Building an instruction team can mean having two people with instructional design as their full-time jobs or piecing together skills from a larger group who have instruction duties as a smaller part of their duties. In the second session, Roth and Turnbow presented a case study on building an online plagiarism tutorial and walked through how they combined pedagogy (Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction and the ARCS Model) with best practices for interactive tutorial design and evaluation tools.
Lindsay O’Neill from Cal State Fullerton presented on using WordPress as a learning object repository to share resources with other librarians, making it easier for colleagues to find learning objects and scale up the instruction offerings at her institution. You can find the site here: http://lib-learning.fullerton.edu/elearning. She took us through her design and implementation of the WordPress site, how she organized content, and how she promoted the site with her colleagues.
Erica DeFrain, Julia Glassman, Nicole Pagowsky and Doug Worsham led an active learning session on learning theories and approaches to instruction with a focus on social constructivism and critical pedagogy. We shared instances of memorable, meaningful and transformative learning and evaluated short case studies to incorporate those types of learning opportunities within them.
One of my big takeaways from this conference was that Articulate Storyline seems to be the tool of choice for academic librarians building interactive online tutorials! This conference reminded me to be thoughtful in my practice and in my interactions with colleagues and the library community as we have many opportunities to teach and learn from each other. One of the last sessions was on failure and resilience in the library, and it was a good reminder that failure and mistakes go hand in hand with learning and improving.
Library Instruction West is held every other year and alternating with ACRL years. The next conference will be held in 2018 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado from July 18-20. Hope to see you there!
We need students for our D4L participants’ Capstone projects!
Please contact us to be a pilot student for one of their instructional units.
Each of our participants has been working throughout the program toward implementing their own unit of online instruction, for their Capstone project. Before they share this instruction with their own library community, they need to test it out. This is a great learning opportunity – our students are creating library instruction on a wide variety of topics. Plus, you get the chance to offer them valuable feedback to improve their instruction.
Please take a look at the comments below for specific topics/days/times for which our students need their own pilot students, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
Several of us from the D4L program are on our way to Orlando, Florida for the annual conference of the American Library Association (ALA). We’ll be presenting about the program at a “Conversation Starter” session on Saturday morning from 10:30-11:15 am, titled “Teaching Online About How to Teach Online: The Design for Learning Program.” You can read our abstract for the talk at http://connect.ala.org/node/252014. If you’re coming to the conference we hope you’ll attend!
Even if you can’t make it to that session, you can also find us presenting a poster at the Diversity and Outreach Fair later in the afternoon, from 3-5pm, in the Special Events area of the Exhibit Hall (http://www.eventscribe.com/2016/ala-annual/fsPopup.asp?Mode=presInfo&PresentationID=143359).
At both events (or if you run into us at other events over the weekend) we’ll have cards to hand out to promote our new domain name:
where we’ll be developing a self-guided online version of the program,
available to the public in 2017!
Also, if you’re a participant in the program, find Arden Kirkland to get a D4L sticker for your badge!
If you’re not attending ALA, stay tuned – we’ll report back afterwards and share our handouts and slides.
This is a guest post from Jessica Hadley, a member of Cohort 2 of the Design for Learning program, reporting back from the conference she attended as one of our scholarship recipients.
On May 17-18, 2016, I had the privilege of attending the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) Annual Conference in Atlantic City, NJ. NJLA is the largest library organization in the state and supports public, school and college/university libraries. I have been active with the organization since library school and always love meeting with other librarians to get new ideas and network. The event always has many workshops, poster presentations and round tables about various library topics. This year’s theme was “All Together Now” and focused on collaboration.
I was able to scope out many presentations and workshops that are relevant to online learning and our work with D4L. I am going to highlight two of them in this article. An interesting presentation that I attended was by Dan O’Connor and GuOn Kim of Rutgers University titled Will Librarians be Ready When Professors and Students Move from Print Research Papers to Multimedia Presentations? The biggest takeaway of the presentation is the new trend in research at colleges and universities: colleges are moving away from research papers and more towards digital research presentations using embedded multimedia. I know most students would LOVE to do a presentation over a paper, but it’s more than just slapping together pictures and text on slides. Students need to know how to embed links, videos, sound clips etc. They also need to know how to determine the credibility of online sources, like YouTube videos, as well as how to cite these sources. Students will now be evaluated on their instructional design skills as well as their online research skills, and as librarians we need to teach them both!
Kaitlyn Curtis and Susan Wengler from Felician University presented their research on an Online Information Literacy Course and Creating an Instructional Video. The presentation completely overlapped with our current D4L assignment on creating tutorials as well as our advocacy for online learning. Some suggestions that they have to ease any fears about online learning are to have a student thread with concerns about online learning and to offer the opportunity to meet face to face with any questions. They also recommend having weekly discussions to ensure that students do not procrastinate- which we know from our discussion in D4L can be an issue with online coursework.
They also provide suggestions for creating instructional videos. For example, they recommend preparing by creating objectives, writing a script and selecting software first. They recommend recording audio and visual separately, which I found interesting, as I plan on doing both simultaneously. Some excellent suggestions they had were to monitor bandwidth and track video views.
As a School Library Media Specialist at a high school, I am very interested in learning about the trends in colleges. I know that online learning is a huge part of the shift in education and I now know that online instruction will be the key to preparing students for when they reach that step. I feel enlightened to have had the opportunity to listen to multiple colleges speak about their online instruction and research.
This is a guest post from Mia Breitkopf, a member of Cohort 2 of the Design for Learning program, reporting back from the conference she attended as one of our scholarship recipients.
With the amazing funding support from D4L, I was able to attend the 17th Annual Distance Library Services Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, April 20–22. First of all, it was the best conference I’d ever attended. (Well-run, great location, interesting people, good sessions.) More importantly, though, my experience there helped me set goals for my new job, and helped me understand some of the current issues critical to providing distance library services.
I’m new to my job. At the end of October 2015, I joined the faculty at The State University of New York’s College at Brockport, near Rochester, NY, as the library’s first-ever Online and Hybrid Learning Librarian. Though I’ve spent the last four years thinking about online learning in higher education and for adults, I am new to librarianship—this is my first library job, and I finished my MLIS degree in 2013. My college is just starting to delve into the world of distance learning.
The conference attracted a few hundred people, mostly librarians, who are involved with library services for students who study at a distance. I attended several sessions, and a workshop.
My pre-conference workshop with Amanda Albert, Finding the Missing Piece: Communicating Library Value to Complete the Assessment Puzzle was a great way to kick off my learning for the conference. It focused me on how important it is to understand the stakeholders in my library’s support of online learners. It also helped me start thinking about how I should be figuring out and communicating the value of our library’s support for online learners. Amanda took some exercises from Megan Oakleaf’s Academic Library Value: The Impact Starter Kit, which is now sitting on my desk, ready for summer reading.
My big takeaways
Being new to distance librarianship, one of my biggest takeaways included the essential idea that services for distance students will sometimes differ from services for online students—in important ways. These days, many students are taking online courses even when they are enrolled in a fully or partially face-to-face, campus-based program. Students who are taking online courses and never come to campus ever, or during the duration of a particular semester, are distance students.
These students have unique needs for availing themselves of interlibrary loan, borrowing physical media, and understanding how to access the library services available to them. Because they are essentially invisible, and the library is essentially invisible to them, the library has to be strategic about supporting these students. Another takeaway from this conference is that communicating with and targeting marketing directly towards these populations should be an essential part of my job.
My next steps
I got back from the conference ready to set some goals based on what I learned.
My long-term plans for the next year or so include :
- doing a needs assessment of online learners at my college. Understanding their needs will allow me to communicate them internally at the library, and ensure we are providing the services they need, as well as services for the instructors who teach them. It will also allow me to…
- develop a communications and marketing plan to make sure students and instructors know about these services.
In the shorter term,
- I want to use the ACRL standards for distance learning library services as a guide, and educate my colleagues at the library the essentials—what our library needs to be doing for distance students.
- I want to send direct communications (probably emails) to online students in the fall, pointing them to library services designed especially for them.
- I also plan to send direct communications (again, probably emails) to instructors of online students this fall, letting them know about the library services for distance and online students. In order to do this, I’ll need to have some productive conversations with my fellow librarians. I’ll need to make sure I understand the full array of services available to our online students, and get my librarian colleagues’ support and help in crafting the messages.
I’m hoping to be able to look back at the end of the summer and see how attending this conference kickstarted a bunch of valuable projects, and made a real difference in the lives of the students and faculty I support.
This is a guest post from Amy Bessin, a member of Cohort 1 of the Design for Learning program, reporting back from the conference she attended as one of our scholarship recipients.
Just when I’m starting to run out of steam at the end of the semester, the LOEX (Library Orientation Exchange) conference is a great way to re-energize! With the generosity of a D4L scholarship, I was able to attend the LOEX conference this year in Pittsburgh on May 5-7. If you are unfamiliar with LOEX, their conference is a national event held each year in May that focuses on library instruction and information literacy. You can check out the 2016 conference website at http://www.loexconference.org/. Next year the conference will be coming to my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky!
This was my second time attending a LOEX conference, and I will happily plan to go again whenever possible in the future. I attended breakout sessions on engaging diverse learners, revamping one-shot sessions, collaborating with different campus groups, creating high quality screencasts, and crafting online workshops, just to name a few. One of my biggest takeaways from the conference is the importance of flexibility in instruction, whether that means being willing to trash an obsolete tutorial or change your workshop design. The bottom line is that we want our students to learn, and we can’t cling to the familiar at the expense of being effective.
There are few conferences out there that are more relevant to my work with D4L than LOEX. My reason for being excited about each is the same: I want to become a better instructor in whatever environment makes sense for my students. My project in D4L is a virtual unit for a class discussing the idea of scholarship as a conversation. Several of the conference sessions addressed issues related to my project including (but not limited to):
· Universal design
Session title: Engaging Diverse Learners: Creating Accessible IL Instruction with Universal Design for Instruction
· Flipped classroom model
Session title: Recycling the First-Year One-Shot Workshop: Using Interactive Technology to Flip the Classroom
Session title: Built to Trash, Built to Last: Creating High-Impact Screencasts When Time is Scarce and Change is Constant
One of the wonderful things about LOEX is that they offer a limited number of the conference sessions as virtual sessions after the conference is completed. So if you any of the topics I’ve mentioned are of interest to you, check the conference website to see if they will be available for virtual sessions. If you have any questions about the conference I’d be happy to chat with you. I hope to see many of you at LOEX 2017!
This is a guest post from Lori Special, a member of Cohort 2 of the Design for Learning program, reporting back from the conference she attended as one of our scholarship recipients.
The 2016 Digital Public Library of America conference (DPLAfest) was enlightening. The work I do makes it increasingly imperative that I understand what and how information is accessed via the “interwebs” and how it can be fully utilized everyone, not just digital natives. As a digital immigrant, I often felt out of my depth and as if I was listening to a language only those who were born there knew. I often feel this way in this course, too.
I also felt that my needs as an immigrant user were overlooked. There was a disconnect between those born in First World Techland (middle- to upper-middle class whites) and those in Developing Techlands (older, less educated, lower income, rural, and people of color) who often have very great barriers to access of all kinds. This really resonated with me as I attempt to learn how to provide better web-based learning to those I serve.
All public libraries and public library staff are not equal. How accessible are digital collections to those without or with limited internet access or bandwidth? Is what I am serving up really what they are equipped to use in their communities? Are the examples I am using relatable to those on the other end of the training? Am I training to their needs or what I think they need or is privilege blinding me to those who are not like me?
Online training is a great and powerful tool, but we have to make sure that we are using this tool in a manner that fosters equity and does not exacerbate barriers.
Check out the DPLAfest recap.