Q: How many of you have distance learners? Q: How many of you would say your instruction services are equitable between your on campus and distance learners? Somewhat equitable? Q Anyone doing any live online instruction for distance learners? Photo via Flickr CC license by Newsbie Pix: http://www.flickr.com/photos/newsbiepix/4343270678/
Working adult learners: their time is precious & wide variety of research and tech skill levels Individualized studies = lots of independent studies & customized courses & educational plans Part-time & older = limited exposure to online resources & academic research processes Age & tech savvy always a consideration in decision to adopt any tech like Elluminate. We need to be sure we aren’t widening the digital divide but still provide scalable services. All major challenges in delivering library srvs to our students
Our students are self-motivated and thirsty for practical knowledge & skills and they are willing to poke their heads into a “tight” space like a 60-120 min online workshop to acquire these skills on their own initiative & time. Many students (probably the majority) can’t easily get to our regional Centers. Represents an un due burden to require that. Allows us, with successful promotion (which we are still working on), to deliver scalable instruction to many students at once. Two way delivery – they come to us via Elluminate and we at same time come into their homes. As we all know, instilling information literacy is a constant, uphill battle and given our student demographics and the barriers posed by distance learning, this is an especially large challenge for us.
Was worry from powers that be about a possible burden on our already overtaxed Tech helpdesk, even though they already support language faculty use of Elluminate and teach brief workshops to orient students to using Elluminate. I developed participation requirements and posted links to tutorials so that students would not contact Help Desk. With small staff, would this project be scalable if demand went up? Starting up a new program with direct access to students requires a lot of buy-in from various interests and goes against traditional view of the role of the library at ESC (we are more often than not viewed as tech support rather than educators). Would the tech & requirements be a barrier to participation? Would students sign up?
Appeal to students desire to save time and frustration when doing research and for getting better grades. Appeal to faculty to give skills to their students to produce better assignments and come to them with fewer questions. Encourage making it a requirement or integrate into assignment.
EventBrite: registration and communication with registrants (can pre-schedule email delivery of reminders, assessments, etc.) TinyURL: for easy communication of web addresses Scribd: storage of handouts for continued student access Survey Monkey: for design and storage of assessments and assessment data
Fish vs fishing rod = Practical how-to’s vs. more conceptual IL concepts (evaluation, etc.)
Back to the program evolution for a second: we also went from trying to fit 5 learning objectives, down to a more manageable 3, allowing us to have more hands-on & practice time, which, based on student feedback and our own observations, is essential for meeting the learning objectives. Hands-on: Icebreaker w/ drawing tools Open-ended questions Let them drive the bus Use text chat! Keeping interest, infused IL concepts: Ask questions! Needs evaluation Info evaluation First need: overcome the instinctual feelings of overload or anxiety associated with both libraries and with navigating scholarly information (library-phobia). Start by orienting students to the library website and the practical needs they have when they get a research assignment: where do I start? How do I search and get full-text? How do I cite my sources? Then have some hands-on and then scaffold one or two other things on top of that. Let students explore the resources we show them – lot’s of hands-on time. We still have some work to do to make these exploratory exercises more meaningful (i.e., have students come with their own research topic). While not the primary focus, we do try to infuse some basic info lit concepts into as many facets of the discussion and content as possible. First and foremost that there are absolutely no dumb questions and they should feel comfortable coming to us for help: the research process is a complex one. 2nd, we cover some basic ways to think about their information needs. What are the needs of the assignment? What kinds of information might be helpful? Also the most important idea, that all sources of information need to be critically ervaluated, even journal and other library sources. With the focus on practical needs, the focus so far has been around the middle steps of the research process: finding and manipulating information (i.e., searching and search results). I tried a workshop centered on choosing and narrowing a topic, but had a hard time making the sale to students; getting participants.
All of these assessment tools I am able to get to the students because I require them to register online beforehand using an email address. So I then send a reminder email with links as well as a follow up with others. I’m hoping to get the req’t for the quantitative eval removed, although the comments sections of the form can be informative. I use the instant polling tool a lot, both to keep students engaged and to get some feedback on if things are sinking in or if they’re ready to move on. I rely on the text chat a lot, and encourage students to use that at anytime to ask questions, which I strive to address as they come up (for which students are very appreciative). We have a lot of work to do on this, but at the moment I use the Angel Assessment tool in a publicly open LOR for a 5 question pre- and post- quiz consisting of a few multiple choice questions and one ordering questions (steps in the research process). My next step is to make that assessment more qualitative than quantitative. I will probably also use Angel to create a needs assessment.
Translation: “Future. Now. Soundtrack for imaginary science fiction. Expect electronica, more or less minimal, glitch pop and the likes.
Live, Hands-On, Online Library
Pipe Dream or Distance Learning Lifeline?
Dana Longley, SUNY Empire State College
• 20,000+ students
• Student ave. age: 36
• No “campus”
• 3 FT librarians, 2 PT evening
• No physical collection – fully
35 locations in NYS + overseas
@ Home Project Impetus
• Motivated adult students
w/ thirst for learning
• Equitable access
• Reach max # of students
• Information Management