Feili tu -aserl aal-presentation

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Feili tu -aserl aal-presentation

  1. 1. Can Master's-level Students in LIS Programs Provide Effective Professional Virtual Reference Services? A Report of an LIS Education Program and ASERL Collaborative Initiative Feili Tu, Ph.D., M.L.I.S. School of Library and Information Science The University of South Carolina feilitu@sc.edu Andrea Wright, M.L.I.S. Science Reference Librarian Thomas Cooper Library The University of South Carolina wright46@mailbox.sc.edu
  2. 2. Outline • Background • Project • Goals • Project Design • Evaluations and Feedback • Questions
  3. 3. USC SLIS • Offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees • Utilizes combination of in-person, satellite, and web technologies for instruction and extracurricular activities
  4. 4. Background • SLIS/USC: ALA accreditation – Over 30 Master’s level courses, mostly DE – For example, in the Spring 2008 semester: • Spring 2008: – Total=32 courses: » 25 DE courses: 688 students accessing DE technology/week » 7 on-campus courses: 44 students in classroom/week Total SLIS/USC students=484
  5. 5. Project: Fall 2007-Spring 2008
  6. 6. Our Vision • Foster excellence in LIS education and scholarship: – training students in information services – evaluating their performance in • applying technology • accessing appropriate information resources • forming professional collaborations
  7. 7. Purposes • Produce qualified graduates who can perform both face-to-face and VRS • Help practicing librarians obtain a professional level of expertise in VRS • Utilize the SLIS resources to support real- world academic library services • Evaluate the SLIS students’ competencies through user and project administration feedback
  8. 8. ASERL Ask-A-Librarian • Participating Institutions – College of William & Mary – Mississippi State University – University of Alabama – University of Central Florida – University of Memphis – University of Mississippi – University of North Carolina at Charlotte – Virginia Commonwealth University
  9. 9. ASERL Ask-A-Librarian: Standard Service Model • Live chat and email reference through DocuTek VRLplus • Collaborative coverage of virtual desk Day of the Week Coverage Times Monday – Thursday 9 am – 9 pm Friday 9 am – 6 pm Saturday 1 pm – 5 pm Sunday None
  10. 10. ASERL’s “Ask-A-Librarian” Online Chat Reference Service with Extended Hours Nearly 100 hours of service per week – an increase of 33%
  11. 11. Project Design: Utilization of the SLIS Resources • Primary Investigator (PI): Dr. Feili Tu • Project Coordinator: Andrea Wright, MLIS Candidate (in 2007) • Administrative Central: SLIS Director’s Office • Service Personnel: Master’s level students or recent graduates • Features: – Paid internship or practicum – Competitive application process – Internships overseen by Primary Investigator – Day-to-day operational control provided by Project Coordinator
  12. 12. Training and Services • Live Webinar with trainer from SirsiDynix • Live introduction session with librarian from ASERL_AAL institution • Hands-on practice with DocuTek system • ASERL Institutional Policy Pages • ASERL/SLIS del.icio.us account • Blackboard
  13. 13. Project Evaluation: The Research Component • Effectiveness of the provision of VRS by the SLIS student staff 1. how effectively students provide VRS 2. training provided by ASERL_AAL and its effectiveness 3. whether availability of a real-world internship/practicum experience facilitates qualitative changes in students’ learning • Interviews – Student Staff – ASERL_AAL Management • Documentation analysis – Communication – Reference interview skills – Searching and information-seeking skills – Technology access
  14. 14. “ … We had experience working with other library schools. Students did not know how to conduct reference interviews and ended up sending patrons to Google and Wikipedia. … No problems with your students. …” “ … [The SLIS/USC] Students have done an excellent job answering questions, using the tools that we [ASERL_AAL Consortium] provide. Questions are not easy to answer; tools are not easy to use … Sometimes, they did better than our [ASERL_AAL Consortium’s] librarians. …” From ASERL_AAL Management:
  15. 15. Facts and Figures
  16. 16. Interviews with ASERL_AAL Management • Evaluation of SLIS- Provided Services = 7 (Totally Satisfied) • Should ASERL Ask-a- Librarian continue to partner with USC/SLIS? Yes • Overall Rating = 7 (Excellent) • Being comfortable with using technology • Knowing how to conduct reference interviews and use authoritative sources, and answering reference questions appropriately • Knowing how to provide proper referrals • Picking up questions efficiently • Following policies well • Handling problematic users appropriately • Not requiring additional training
  17. 17. Interviews with ASERL_AAL Management (Cont.) Strengths of ASERL_AAL Extended Hours Program: • More hours of coverage but frees up librarians • Student workers get hands-on experience • Extended high-quality services with reasonable cost Weakness of ASERL_AAL Extended Hours Program: • Students are not on campus; some questions cannot be easily answered. • Website handled through outside group; therefore, it is difficult to update. • Students have to check the web sites from different campuses to monitor the changes of procedures and services.
  18. 18. Interviews with SLIS Student Staff • SLIS curriculum – Most useful course: • Introduction to Information Services & Sources Course (basic reference course) – Most useful skill: • Reference Interview – Most useful knowledge: – Knowledge of reference sources • Training – Most useful: • Hands-on practice – Not covered: • Dealing with problem patrons Most Useful SLIS courses: 1. Introduction to Information Services & Sources Course 2. Online Information Services
  19. 19. Interviews with SLIS Student Staff (Cont.) Benefits to Students: • Experience with live reference with real patrons • Helpful for career development Strengths of AAL Model: • Easy to use interface Weakness of AAL Model: • Co-browsing • Lack of access to databases • Lack of access to databasesOverall Experience Rating:
  20. 20. Documentation Analysis 26% 39% 7% 8% 39% 27% 1 1% 2 2% 3 6% 4 15% 5 11% 6 16% 7 49% Overall rating of session average = 5.78 Highest = 7
  21. 21. Issues Related to Analysis of Transaction Transcripts • The instrument used for documentation analyses was developed by the PI based on the ALA _RUSA Guidelines for behavioral performance of reference and information service providers. • It was difficult to determine students’ performance in the following items: – Effective information retrieval, including formulating search strategies, online searching, and using indexes in print and electronic formats – Conducting online user instruction – Technology troubleshooting
  22. 22. Reflections • From Andrea: • What do I think? • From the SLIS Director, Dr. Samantha K. Hastings: – “In these days of emphasis on evidence-based learning, it is critical that we provide our students with hands-on learning opportunities. We are proud of our students’ abilities, and this project has demonstrated that our pride is quite justified.”
  23. 23. Contact Us: Feili Tu, Ph.D., M.L.I.S. feilitu@sc.edu Andrea Wright, M.L.I.S. wright46@mailbox.sc.ed

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