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Beyond the Avatar: Best Practices as Librarians Embedded in Online Classes


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Best practices for embedded librarians, based on personal experience as well as research on the experiences of other embedded librarians. Co-presented with Lilly Ramin of UNT Libraries.

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Beyond the Avatar: Best Practices as Librarians Embedded in Online Classes

  1. 1. Texas Library Association Annual Conference San Antonio, TX April 15, 2010Lilly Ramin Starr HoffmanInstructional Technologies Librarian Librarian for Digital CollectionsResearch & Instructional Services Government Documents Dept.University of North Texas Libraries University of North Texas Libraries
  2. 2.  we’ve both been online students shared research interest in distance learning Starr:  research study: ▪ data on embedded librarians at six institutions ▪ activities they performed, their feelings about the experience Lilly:  has been an embedded librarian at UNT  learning pros/cons along the way saw a need for practical advice & best practices for embedded librarians
  3. 3.  often for about an hour (similar to one-shot embedding) very specific topic or area expertise
  4. 4.  utilize chat, discussion boards, or other tools for a short period of time best practice tips:  upload screenshots  share links  share answers to all questions
  5. 5.  similar to teaching assistant role  answer a variety of student questions as they come up work with faculty for course access clarify faculty & librarian expectations/roles graded project  incentive for students to attend librarian lectures virtual instruction sessions (Wimba)  1 - 2 hours long  sessions were archived checked discussion board daily
  6. 6. Course Management Software (CMS) Choice Subjects of Online Courses Embedded In Types of Questions Received Discussion Board Use assignment- general library-specific related discussion discussion discussion board board board institution X X X A Institution X X X B Institution X C Institution X X D Institution X X E Institution X X F
  7. 7.  Involve other librarians from the beginning Get buy-in from library administration Market the service to online instructors Clearly negotiate librarian’s role with the instructor Get information about the class ahead of time Follow-up with the instructor Be prepared to go outside your subject specialty
  8. 8.  Plot course assignment deadlines & plan ahead for busy periods Monitor discussion board using email notification or RSS Check courses at set times throughout the day/week Save email messages & discussion board posts for future use
  9. 9.  Create a library module open to every online student Post librarian’s contact information in the course Post in a single library-specific discussion board Post information proactively Include visuals in discussion board posts
  10. 10.  Test software & run system check ahead of time Post Trouble-Shooting Tips Be prepared with a "Plan B" & have alternatives in place
  11. 11. article to be published in the June 2010issue of Public Services Quarterly as: “Best Practices for Librarians Questions/Comments? Embedded in Online Courses” Feel free to contact us!  email:  email: