Welcome to our Community of Learners!

SCRLC—D4L-logo-white reverse on orange-circle(ƒ)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.

read more . . .

Call for Pilot Students

We need students for our D4L participants’ Capstone projects!

a part of an airplane wing up in the clouds, with the text "call for PILOT STUDENTS"

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 ardenkirkland@gmail.com to sign up!

Headed to ALA

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.


New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference, 2016

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.

Distance Library Services Conference

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.

Some background

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

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.

LOEX 2016

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

·        Screencasting

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!

Digital Immigrant at DPLAfest 2016

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.

PLA Public Library Conference 2016

This is a guest post from Peg Elliott, a member of Cohort 2 of the Design for Learning program, reporting back from the conference she attended as one of our scholarship recipients.

A view from the audience at the Bellco Theater at the 2016 Public Library Conference in Devnver CO

A view from the audience at the Bellco Theater at the 2016 Public Library Conference in Denver CO

In early April, I attended the 2016 Public Library Conference in Denver CO. This conference is held every two years.  More than 8,500 librarians from the US and Canada attended the event.   Workshops, lunchtime presentations and the Dine-Around-Denver event provided lots of opportunities for great networking.

Anderson Cooper was the opening session speaker in the spectacular Bellco Theater.

In fact, of the many conferences I have attended, the Denver Convention Center is by far one of the most attractive and best laid out. The huge Exhibit Hall is on the top floor.

A view of the entry to the exhibit hall for the 2016 Public Library Conference in Denver CO

A view of the entry to the exhibit hall for the 2016 Public Library Conference in Denver CO

I attended a small focus group session hosted by WebJunction and InfoPeople. In the context of library staff training and development we talked about ways to build an effective learning culture. Three priority training topics were identified: Overcoming Barriers to Workplace Learning, Supporting Learning through Resources and Activities to Foster Staff Development and Staff Learning to Drive Transformative Strategic Change. A key takeaway was the importance of including an accountability piece in the training program.  This allows staff to share what they learned with peers and creates the learning culture throughout.  Pasadena Public Library has scheduled lunchtime tabletalks for staff to share what they have learned at workshops and webinars. Denver Public Library implements an Employee Learning & Growth (ELG) program that all library staff are required to participate in. The Greenwich Public Library has a drop-in lab that any staff can volunteer to cover.  This fosters a culture where staff at all levels can get involved in learning and instructing both staff and patrons.

A view inside the exhibit hall at the 2016 Public Library Conference in Denver CO

A view inside the exhibit hall at the 2016 Public Library Conference in Denver CO

One workshop I attended was titled ‘Play Your Way to An Engaged Staff’ presented by librarians from ImagineIF libraries. Clear articulation of a shared vision and establishing clear expectations for library staff helps to foster staff engagement. The speakers noted that “play makes learning irresistible” helping to set the stage for engagement. As adults it is easy to forget how children learn by playing and interacting with others.

I visited several exhibits of vendors with online learning products. DigitalLearn.org, provides short video tutorials useful for some library staff and their patrons. Niche Academy makes it easier for libraries to provide online tutorials for their purchased subscriptions as well as providing a platform to add custom designed learning pieces to the library website.  BrainHQ has more than two exercises in six categories: attention, memory, brain speed, people skills, intelligence and navigation.

Scholarship Recipients

As a part of our IMLS funding, we have been able to offer 14 scholarships for current participants to attend conferences related to their library work and their work in the D4L program. The scholarships range from $250-$1000, and were awarded to participants in both Cohort 1 and Cohort 2. We’re very pleased to announce our scholarship recipients! The list of recipients follows, followed by the name of the conference they will attend. All recipients will be reporting back, providing guest posts for this blog to share their experiences so everyone in the program (and beyond) can benefit from their experience. Congratulations to all!

  • Amy Bessin (LOEX)
  • Ashley Middleton (Distance Teaching & Learning Conference)
  • Bethany McGowan (2016 Women, Information, and Libraries SIG UnConference)
  • Jennifer DeVito (2016 Connecticut Information Literacy Conference (Connecticut Library Association))
  • Jennifer Shimada (ALA Annual)
  • Jessica Hadley (New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference)
  • Julie M. Niederhauser (American Library Association)
  • Kathy Smith (American Library Association)
  • Kelly Durkin (Library Instruction West)
  • Lori Special (DPLAfest)
  • Mia Breitkopf (17th Distance Library Services Conference)
  • Ophelia Morey (Distance Teaching & Learning Conference)
  • Peg Elliott (PLA)
  • Tara Malone  (Medical Library Association, South Central Chapter)

Scholarships Available

The D4L Leadership Team is pleased to announce that we are able to offer 14 scholarships for current participants to attend conferences related to their library work and their work in the D4L program. The scholarships range from $250-$1000. Please take a look at the more detailed call for applications at http://d4l.syr.edu/about/scholarships/ and fill out the form to apply at http://goo.gl/forms/FGfdcWnADL.

The deadline for applications is Monday, March 21, 2016, and scholarship recipients will be notified by Friday, April 1.

One of several criteria for choosing scholarship recipients is your active participation in the D4L course modules up to now. We hope this will inspire some of you to get caught up by the scholarship application deadline! Please contact Diane, Arden, or any of the instructors for help getting caught up.

Please contact Arden at akirklan@syr.edu with any questions about the scholarships. We hope this will be a valuable opportunity for you – good luck with your applications!

Cohort 2 Beginning February 1st

The Design for Learning Team is busy getting ready for our Spring 2016 classes! Our program teaches library workers how to design instruction and teach online, with opportunities to practice teaching online.  Our first cohort began working September 1, 2015 and has completed the first 3 modules: Orientation, Foundations, and Technologies. The second cohort will begin their first module February 1, 2016.  Meanwhile, Cohort 1 will be back to start their 4th module, on Diversity, to be followed by the Community and Social modules. All six modules lead up to a capstone project in which participants will each get practice teaching online to their own students. Both cohorts include participants from all types of libraries, subject specializations, and library experience levels.

Design for Learning: 21st Century Online Teaching and Learning Skills for Library Workers (D4L) is a three-year continuing education project. It is developed as a partnership among the South Central Regional Library Council, Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, and the Empire State Library Network. It is funded as a three-year grant, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). After these two cohorts complete the series of modules, we will make our course content available to the public for self-paced learning (in early 2017 if not earlier).