“Gloriously straightforward”:
Removing barriers to resource
discovery
Suzanne Tatham, Academic Services Manager
Chris Keen...
Background
• Push from students
• Complaints from academics
• NSS - “not enough copies of
core texts”
Issues: students use other systems
• Students and academics saw Reading lists as a
separate system
• Students use Study Di...
Study direct
• Moodle
• Small team in IT Services
• Very strong focus on student/tutor feedback and
needs.
• Regular user ...
Study Direct
• Led to the removal of blocks, boxes and Moodle
modules down the side of the screen. Students
found them con...
Process
• Sat round table with e-learning team. Set context,
explain reasons.
• Made it clear it was something students an...
Process
After much discussion…
• …core code developed quickly by e-learning team.
• Some tricky bits to think about around...
Workflow: tutors add a resource
Workflow: pick a section
Workflow:
give it a title
Behind the scenes
Study Direct Aspire
Study direct asks for the html
for the list (just like a web
browser)
Aspire sends h...
Student feedback
• Interviews held with History, Philosophy, Psychology
and Sociology undergraduate students
• Asked about...
How have you found the integrated
online reading list?
Do you think having your list integrated within the
VLE has made it easier to access the items on the
list?
How useful do you find it being able to link
through directly to the item on the list, including
print books in the Librar...
What influences your decision on which item you
choose to read?
Do you use ebooks often?
Do you feel that having an online reading list
makes any difference to you to how you approach
your reading?
How are we measuring success?
• Interviews with
academics and
students
• Google analytics to
get page views –
adding stude...
Increased use of resources
• So far, only 7% of reading lists have been integrated
into the VLE but 35% of the top 100 ite...
Item Title Pageviews Integrated?
Av item
views per
student
Student
numbers Format
No. of
items
on list
Copies
history
The ...
Average views per item
(top 100 items)
0.00
0.50
1.00
1.50
2.00
2.50
3.00
3.50
4.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Items on integr...
Feedback from academics
Learning Technologist, Dr Anne Hole, carried out a series of
interviews with academics.
• Benefits...
“Some colleagues are a little apprehensive that
providing clickable links to readings is making it too easy
for students a...
Student engagement
• If lists are used and
updated in a dynamic
way, do students get
an insight into
scholarly
communicati...
Spoon-feeding?
• Do you agree with the
argument that
locating items on a
reading list is an
academic skill that
students s...
"Gloriously straightforward": removing barriers to resource discovery by Suzanne Tatham and Chris Keene, University of Sussex
"Gloriously straightforward": removing barriers to resource discovery by Suzanne Tatham and Chris Keene, University of Sussex
"Gloriously straightforward": removing barriers to resource discovery by Suzanne Tatham and Chris Keene, University of Sussex
"Gloriously straightforward": removing barriers to resource discovery by Suzanne Tatham and Chris Keene, University of Sussex
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"Gloriously straightforward": removing barriers to resource discovery by Suzanne Tatham and Chris Keene, University of Sussex

  1. 1. “Gloriously straightforward”: Removing barriers to resource discovery Suzanne Tatham, Academic Services Manager Chris Keene, Technical Development Manager
  2. 2. Background • Push from students • Complaints from academics • NSS - “not enough copies of core texts”
  3. 3. Issues: students use other systems • Students and academics saw Reading lists as a separate system • Students use Study Direct (Moodle) and Module Handbooks for information • Needed a fully integrated approach (at least for students) to hide separate system
  4. 4. Study direct • Moodle • Small team in IT Services • Very strong focus on student/tutor feedback and needs. • Regular user testing and monitoring to discovery pain points and confusion. • http://blogs.sussex.ac.uk/elearningteam/
  5. 5. Study Direct • Led to the removal of blocks, boxes and Moodle modules down the side of the screen. Students found them confusing. Found no one was using them. • This included previous library block which included a basic link to the reading list.
  6. 6. Process • Sat round table with e-learning team. Set context, explain reasons. • Made it clear it was something students and staff had raised, not a library pet project. Plus other benefits of increased use of reading list system such as acquisition of relevant materials.
  7. 7. Process After much discussion… • …core code developed quickly by e-learning team. • Some tricky bits to think about around the roll over of both Moodle modules and Aspire lists, and allowing users to access historical information. • Testing, and then live summer 2013. • http://vimeo.com/61188252
  8. 8. Workflow: tutors add a resource
  9. 9. Workflow: pick a section
  10. 10. Workflow: give it a title
  11. 11. Behind the scenes Study Direct Aspire Study direct asks for the html for the list (just like a web browser) Aspire sends html back No APIs used (didn’t provide information required) Use Aspires ‘nice urls’ which include the module code and year.
  12. 12. Student feedback • Interviews held with History, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology undergraduate students • Asked about their use of their online reading lists and the choices they make about what to read
  13. 13. How have you found the integrated online reading list?
  14. 14. Do you think having your list integrated within the VLE has made it easier to access the items on the list?
  15. 15. How useful do you find it being able to link through directly to the item on the list, including print books in the Library?
  16. 16. What influences your decision on which item you choose to read?
  17. 17. Do you use ebooks often?
  18. 18. Do you feel that having an online reading list makes any difference to you to how you approach your reading?
  19. 19. How are we measuring success? • Interviews with academics and students • Google analytics to get page views – adding student numbers • Looking for knock-on effect on print use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MeasuringSpoons.jpg
  20. 20. Increased use of resources • So far, only 7% of reading lists have been integrated into the VLE but 35% of the top 100 items viewed are on an integrated list
  21. 21. Item Title Pageviews Integrated? Av item views per student Student numbers Format No. of items on list Copies history The economics of money, banking and financial markets 186 5.03 37 Book 4 198 Letters from an American Farmer - Jean de Crèvecœur: Letter III 'What is American?' 447 4.56 98 Webpage 60 Algeria: France's undeclared war 219 Yes 3.65 60 47 Killing as Punishment 61 Yes 3.59 17 Book 101 12 The first modern society: essays in English history in honour of Lawrence Stone 58 Yes 3.41 17 Digitised extract 101 2 The Cultural Lives of Capital Punishment 57 Yes 3.35 17 Book 101 44 Business and its environment 110 Yes 3.24 34 Book 175 30 Family therapy: first steps towards a systemic approach 56 2.24 25 Book 1 17 The handbook of global companies 75 Yes 2.21 34 Book 175 37 Business, politics, and society: an Anglo-American 74 2.18 34 Book 175 6 The making of economic society 70 Yes 2.06 34 Book 175 Nation, Society and Culture in North Africa 104 Yes 1.73 60 Book 167 27 How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis 58 1.71 34 Article 86 1 Men in wonderland: the lost girlhood of the Victorian gentleman 675 1.68 402 Book 189 9 Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the present 308 1.47 209 Book 82 40 Philosophy of Perception: A Contemporary Introduction 62 Yes 1.44 43 Digitised extract 122 32 Contemporary security studies 86 1.43 60 Book 166 25 Laughter out of place: race, class, violence, and sexuality in a Rio shantytown 85 1.42 60 Book 166 33 The Israel/Palestine question: a reader 80 Yes 1.33 60 Book 167 28 Security beyond the state: private security in international politics 79 1.32 60 Book 166 0 American Identities 76 1.27 60 Book 89 1 The Arab state 73 Yes 1.22 60 Book 167 Towards a new American nation?: redefinitions and 87 1.21 72 Book 272 21 Tracks 261 1.19 220 Digitised extract 60 5 An introduction to the anthropology of Melanesia: culture and tradition 69 Yes 1.15 60 Digitised extract 40 57
  22. 22. Average views per item (top 100 items) 0.00 0.50 1.00 1.50 2.00 2.50 3.00 3.50 4.00 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Items on integrated lists Items on non-integrated lists
  23. 23. Feedback from academics Learning Technologist, Dr Anne Hole, carried out a series of interviews with academics. • Benefits of integration from academics’ points of view: ▫ Very easy to embed sections of the reading list into the VLE ▫ Section-by-section integration increases students’ engagement with the reading ▫ It keeps all resources for the module in one place ▫ Increased accessibility of online resources ▫ Requires time investment but off-set by student benefit – they’re likely to do more reading
  24. 24. “Some colleagues are a little apprehensive that providing clickable links to readings is making it too easy for students and risks failing to develop their research and library skills. On the other hand, removing obstacles to finding readings for increasingly time-poor students has the potential to increase the amount of reading that they can do.” https://rustleblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/putting-reading-at-the-heart-of-study-direct/
  25. 25. Student engagement • If lists are used and updated in a dynamic way, do students get an insight into scholarly communication? “He’s bothered to engage with you and you feel you’re more part of an academic dialogue. He’s building the course and it’s still an area that’s of interest to him.”
  26. 26. Spoon-feeding? • Do you agree with the argument that locating items on a reading list is an academic skill that students should learn?

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