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Sarah Morehouse
Librarian, Empire State College
LIBRARY QUICK FIXES
FOR YOUR COURSES
What is this about?
• The course is already launched and the term is underway.
Something is not going so well
• … everybody is misunderstanding an assignment
• … the discussions are lifeless
• … the References Lists are somewhat lacking in either format or content
• ... you wish you were seeing more creativity and critical thinking
• … you keep getting the same questions over and over, or complaints that
it’s too confusing or demanding
•It might be too late to change the major
readings and assignments, but the Library can
still help!
What it’s not about
• This is not about Library support during the Dev/Rev Process
• Although we do that too! Please talk to us!
• Crafting library assignments
• Selecting readings/viewings/games/simulations
• Point of need library instructions
• Embedded library skills/concepts tutorials
• Course guides
• Plus copyright and OER consulting!
So if part of your course is going off-course…
• Contact Ask A Librarian! Tell me:
• The name of your course
• The course learning objectives
• A little about your students.
• How many? Are they relatively new to college, starting to delve into their
specialization, or close to graduation? Grad students?
• What particular part of the course are they having problems with? Link me
to the reading. Copy and paste the assignment.
• Describe the kind of problem.
• If you get permission from a student to show me an example, that is very helpful,
but please remove their name. Our technology is secure, and above and beyond
FERPA, Librarians have a code of ethics that mandates even stricter
confidentiality.
KINDS OF ISSUES WE
MIGHT DEAL WITH
Students are vanishing?
• Non-responsive, assignments late…
• If you determine that they are having a problem with library
research and that is making them avoidant, why not embed the
library FAQ and chat widget right there in the course?
• ESC librarians are there to talk with them 64 hours a week;
librarians from our consortium are there 24/7. We can only answer
library questions, but we can also direct students to the other
supports and services they need.
• Accessibility Services
• Directors of Academic Support and learning coaches
• Student Success Coordinators
• Tech Support and Bookstore
• It’s surprising how often we just have to say, “You know, you can email
your instructor!”
Discussions falling flat?
• PROBLEM: Students can get caught up in “proper” citing for hours
and then devote very little time to the higher order thinking.
SOLUTION: Embed citation instructions/tutorials/FAQ.
• PROBLEM: Students choose inappropriate or uninteresting sources
to talk about.
SOLUTION: Suggest databases/repositories, embed tutorials
explaining the whats and whys of primary sources or scholarly
sources…
• PROBLEM: Students choose sources and cite them just fine, but
their discussion does not get critical, creative, or engaged with one
another.
SOLUTION: Embed instruction on how to read a scholarly article,
academic writing, etc. (This is partly a DAS solution.)
Citation problems?
• PROBLEM: This bit of (admittedly important) academic formality is
taking up too much of their time and attention compared to the
learning objectives of the course/assignment!
SOLUTIONS:
• Embed the Citing Sources Guide
• Embed the Citing Your Sources chapter of the Research Skills Tutorial
• Embed a brief tutorial/instructions on a particular problem they’re having
(like Indirect Citations.)
This is the point of the assignment over here.
The students are way over there.
• PROBLEM: Students are turning in things that bear no resemblance
to the end product you had in mind. Wrong kinds of sources, wrong
kinds of thinking/analysis, wrong kinds of writing…
SOLUTIONS:
• Include one or two exemplars.
• Include the rubric you will use to grade the assignment.
• Embed information from the Writing Resources Center on that particular
kind of academic writing.
• Embed a library tutorial or FAQ entry that directs students through the kind
of research that is expected of them. (We may have to make one for this
specific purpose, and that is fine!)
Using too few/low quality sources?
• PROBLEM: Students are using non-scholarly sources, or even low-
quality sources from the web and commercial publishers.
SOLUTION: Embed library tutorials on scholarly sources and peer
review, on evaluating sources for quality and reliability.
ANOTHER SOLUTION: Require some or all students to set up a chat
research consultation with the librarian for the next
assignment/next stage of the assignment, and show you the
transcript.
ANOTHER SOLUTION: Work with us to get a webinar or self-paced
tutorial with a quiz/badging on evaluating information sources.
But we couldn’t find the reading!!
• PROBLEM: Students are not completing the reading, are
completing it late, or are complaining that they can’t find it at all.
SOLUTION: Talk with a librarian to make sure that the reading is
actually available through the web or Online Library. If so:
• Get a direct link from the librarian and embed it in the course.
• If not:
• Librarian can help you get a license to embed it in the course if it’s available
through the Copyright Clearance Center (you need to have money in your
budget for that)
• Librarian can help you find an alternative and give you the link to put in
your course.
It’s so complicated and confusing!!
• PROBLEM: Students are not using the library, or are complaining
that the library is too hard to use.
• SOLUTION: Embed the Virtual Tour of the Online Library, parts of
the Research Skills Tutorial, or specific How To Use tutorials.
But I can’t change the course master!
• Ideally, we connect with the person who “owns” the course to
make sure that the improvements become part of the Master that
gets poured next term.
A Very Helpful Thing you can do
• Remind your students about Ask A Librarian at every opportunity.
• Ask them that when they use Ask A Librarian for help with an
assignment or finding a reading, they introduce themselves with:
• What course
• Who’s the instructor
• What module they’re in
• If it’s an assignment, copy and paste it
DOING THIS AS A
FORMAL, OFFICIAL
THING IS A PILOT
PROJECT
Time expectations
• Sometimes I will have a quick solution.
• The rest of the time, we will talk about what could work, and I will
have to go out and find the resource, or even make the resource.
• This will take longer. But the point is quick solutions for emergent
problems, so the goal is “two or three business days.”
• The goal is to develop a repertoire of solutions that I can deploy
very quickly, so what I give you may not refer directly to your
course or your assignment, but it will fit well enough that it’ll be
easy to draw the connections.
• The more you use this service, the better and faster it will get!
Radical Honesty Moment
• There’s a good chance I could get overwhelmed by requests.
• I’m going to do it anyway and keep track.
• To establish a baseline
• To generate data to support a request for more Library personnel
• My promise: I will communicate openly and promptly about
what I am and am not able to do for your request. If I don’t say
anything, then I’m doing fine.

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Library Quick Fixes for Your Courses

  • 1. Sarah Morehouse Librarian, Empire State College LIBRARY QUICK FIXES FOR YOUR COURSES
  • 2. What is this about? • The course is already launched and the term is underway. Something is not going so well • … everybody is misunderstanding an assignment • … the discussions are lifeless • … the References Lists are somewhat lacking in either format or content • ... you wish you were seeing more creativity and critical thinking • … you keep getting the same questions over and over, or complaints that it’s too confusing or demanding •It might be too late to change the major readings and assignments, but the Library can still help!
  • 3. What it’s not about • This is not about Library support during the Dev/Rev Process • Although we do that too! Please talk to us! • Crafting library assignments • Selecting readings/viewings/games/simulations • Point of need library instructions • Embedded library skills/concepts tutorials • Course guides • Plus copyright and OER consulting!
  • 4. So if part of your course is going off-course… • Contact Ask A Librarian! Tell me: • The name of your course • The course learning objectives • A little about your students. • How many? Are they relatively new to college, starting to delve into their specialization, or close to graduation? Grad students? • What particular part of the course are they having problems with? Link me to the reading. Copy and paste the assignment. • Describe the kind of problem. • If you get permission from a student to show me an example, that is very helpful, but please remove their name. Our technology is secure, and above and beyond FERPA, Librarians have a code of ethics that mandates even stricter confidentiality.
  • 5. KINDS OF ISSUES WE MIGHT DEAL WITH
  • 6. Students are vanishing? • Non-responsive, assignments late… • If you determine that they are having a problem with library research and that is making them avoidant, why not embed the library FAQ and chat widget right there in the course? • ESC librarians are there to talk with them 64 hours a week; librarians from our consortium are there 24/7. We can only answer library questions, but we can also direct students to the other supports and services they need. • Accessibility Services • Directors of Academic Support and learning coaches • Student Success Coordinators • Tech Support and Bookstore • It’s surprising how often we just have to say, “You know, you can email your instructor!”
  • 7. Discussions falling flat? • PROBLEM: Students can get caught up in “proper” citing for hours and then devote very little time to the higher order thinking. SOLUTION: Embed citation instructions/tutorials/FAQ. • PROBLEM: Students choose inappropriate or uninteresting sources to talk about. SOLUTION: Suggest databases/repositories, embed tutorials explaining the whats and whys of primary sources or scholarly sources… • PROBLEM: Students choose sources and cite them just fine, but their discussion does not get critical, creative, or engaged with one another. SOLUTION: Embed instruction on how to read a scholarly article, academic writing, etc. (This is partly a DAS solution.)
  • 8. Citation problems? • PROBLEM: This bit of (admittedly important) academic formality is taking up too much of their time and attention compared to the learning objectives of the course/assignment! SOLUTIONS: • Embed the Citing Sources Guide • Embed the Citing Your Sources chapter of the Research Skills Tutorial • Embed a brief tutorial/instructions on a particular problem they’re having (like Indirect Citations.)
  • 9. This is the point of the assignment over here. The students are way over there. • PROBLEM: Students are turning in things that bear no resemblance to the end product you had in mind. Wrong kinds of sources, wrong kinds of thinking/analysis, wrong kinds of writing… SOLUTIONS: • Include one or two exemplars. • Include the rubric you will use to grade the assignment. • Embed information from the Writing Resources Center on that particular kind of academic writing. • Embed a library tutorial or FAQ entry that directs students through the kind of research that is expected of them. (We may have to make one for this specific purpose, and that is fine!)
  • 10. Using too few/low quality sources? • PROBLEM: Students are using non-scholarly sources, or even low- quality sources from the web and commercial publishers. SOLUTION: Embed library tutorials on scholarly sources and peer review, on evaluating sources for quality and reliability. ANOTHER SOLUTION: Require some or all students to set up a chat research consultation with the librarian for the next assignment/next stage of the assignment, and show you the transcript. ANOTHER SOLUTION: Work with us to get a webinar or self-paced tutorial with a quiz/badging on evaluating information sources.
  • 11. But we couldn’t find the reading!! • PROBLEM: Students are not completing the reading, are completing it late, or are complaining that they can’t find it at all. SOLUTION: Talk with a librarian to make sure that the reading is actually available through the web or Online Library. If so: • Get a direct link from the librarian and embed it in the course. • If not: • Librarian can help you get a license to embed it in the course if it’s available through the Copyright Clearance Center (you need to have money in your budget for that) • Librarian can help you find an alternative and give you the link to put in your course.
  • 12. It’s so complicated and confusing!! • PROBLEM: Students are not using the library, or are complaining that the library is too hard to use. • SOLUTION: Embed the Virtual Tour of the Online Library, parts of the Research Skills Tutorial, or specific How To Use tutorials.
  • 13. But I can’t change the course master! • Ideally, we connect with the person who “owns” the course to make sure that the improvements become part of the Master that gets poured next term.
  • 14. A Very Helpful Thing you can do • Remind your students about Ask A Librarian at every opportunity. • Ask them that when they use Ask A Librarian for help with an assignment or finding a reading, they introduce themselves with: • What course • Who’s the instructor • What module they’re in • If it’s an assignment, copy and paste it
  • 15. DOING THIS AS A FORMAL, OFFICIAL THING IS A PILOT PROJECT
  • 16. Time expectations • Sometimes I will have a quick solution. • The rest of the time, we will talk about what could work, and I will have to go out and find the resource, or even make the resource. • This will take longer. But the point is quick solutions for emergent problems, so the goal is “two or three business days.”
  • 17. • The goal is to develop a repertoire of solutions that I can deploy very quickly, so what I give you may not refer directly to your course or your assignment, but it will fit well enough that it’ll be easy to draw the connections. • The more you use this service, the better and faster it will get!
  • 18. Radical Honesty Moment • There’s a good chance I could get overwhelmed by requests. • I’m going to do it anyway and keep track. • To establish a baseline • To generate data to support a request for more Library personnel • My promise: I will communicate openly and promptly about what I am and am not able to do for your request. If I don’t say anything, then I’m doing fine.