My name is Heather Lamond and I am Head of the Distance Library Service at Massey University. This presentation will showcase how the Library has gone about creating content for Massey’s Virtual Learning Environment, Stream – a Moodle installation.
While the project I am discussing had a broad focus on getting content into Massey’s Moodle, today I will focus specifically on the learning objects we created. So, these are short online demonstrations or tutorials (depending on content) that are created using Adobe Captivate or Presenter. They either explain an information searching concept, or demonstrate using a particular information tool. They are designed to be embedded into individual courses in Moodle or WebCT, and are therefore “stand alone’ complete packages.
And here’s an example of embedding into Massey’s Moodle in a specific paper.
While there is nothing new in libraries creating online tutorials to teach information literacy, this presentation is about an approach that is sustainable and strategic. Librarians have a tendency, in fact a reputation as being quite early adopters of technology in some cases. We had seen numerous occurences of obsolete, out of date online tutorials on various websites. My guess is that an “early adopter” creates these tutorials and they never get updated or monitored after being released into the wild, because there is no organisational support for the technology. They get loaded on the web and that is it. The person moves on, nobody else knows how to use the software, and before you know it there is a graveyard of out-of-date online tutorials on your website.
We couldn’t afford for this to happen with our implementation, and, because we hadn’t done any of these sort of tutorials before we were able to take a step back and look at it as a whole project. We wanted a system in place that was sustainable, strategic and useful.
The issue of sustainability was crucial. We wanted to avoid the situation of either, small amounts of content created for a particular paper, or content that is out of date and doesn’t get updated. So, for it to be sustainable, we needed a large group of staff capable of producing these objects, and a plan for just how many objects would be produced and how they would be managed. We needed creating online tutorials to become “business as usual” for our teaching librarians, but we also needed the support of our non-teaching library staff to assist with the storage and access to the objects. We actually had to get everybody on board!
So, the key challenges to sustainability were: - only a couple of people knew about, and could use the software. What happens when one of these leaves, is busy doing something else, or loses interest? We tend to like creating teaching ‘to order’, tailoring it specifically for that class, assignment or group of students. To create online learning objects in the same way was never going to be sustainable. Potentially there are thousands of courses that we would need to create tutorials for, but the content would be much the same.
So, we did what librarians are great at, we set up a committee! The Steering group was made up of heads of associated sections and the deputy university librarian. This was intentional to try and keep the focus of the group strategic, rather than too operational or allowing it to get bogged down in detail. The big breakthrough came when we were successful in a bid for FIET (Fund for Innovation and excellence in Teaching) from Massey that allowed for the release of my time from my role as Head of Distance to focus on the project for four months. During the four months we were able to: Investigate and decide on software options for creating tutorials Research and drawup best practice guidelines for library staff Train library staff in creating objects, but also in the wider philosophies of teaching and learning, learning outcomes and alignment. A lot of time was spent discussing the merits of reusability in terms of making the project sustainable. A key function of the group is also to inform and persuade other associated library staff – i.e. digital and technical services staff who are vital in terms of storage and access. The Steering Group plays a vital role in keeping an eye on the bigger picture – what opportunities are out in the University for us to be involved in? We are also well placed to spread the word with interested parties, for example Flexible teaching and learning consultants, Instructional Designers, academic staff and others that we work with in our usual roles.
That’s all very fine, but are these things actually working? To avoid low quality tutorials being available, we set some quality controls in place. Each object goes through a review process before we make it available for use. The first step is peer review by other librarians. This helps pick up quality issues and also get people on board with the project as a whole. Then, the object is evaluated by real students. This evaluation is a test of achievement of the learning outcomes. So, the student watches the object, and is then given a short exercise. The observer records their behaviour and any comment they care to make without providing assistance. This has really helped with working out whether the object teaches what we want it to, and provides us with formative feedback that is used to alter the object if necessary. We are generally very good at telling you what we think you need to know, but by doing this sort of evaluation we actually get student input into our teaching.
We would like to gather formal data, both qualitative and quantitative from courses where these objects have been embedded, to see if they work and/or how we could improve them. This could be done by citation analysis of student assignment over time, or pre and post testing but again we need to work collaboratively with academic staff to achieve this.
So, while it has taken some time to get all the ducks in a row it is our belief that the end product is sustainable, strategic and useful because of this process.
Deanz presentation 2010
Getting all the ducks in a row A sustainable and strategic approach to teaching Information Literacy in an online environment Heather Lamond Head, Distance Library Service Massey University Library
What are we talking about? <ul><li>Online tutorials and demonstrations to aid in teaching information literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to be embedded into the online course environment for the paper </li></ul><ul><li>Standalone learning objects </li></ul>
What’s new? <ul><li>The devil’s in the detail … </li></ul>
<ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Deliver on promises over a long period of time </li></ul><ul><li>Staff capability </li></ul><ul><li>One object for each concept - reusable </li></ul>
Challenges to sustainability <ul><li>One or two “experts” with the software </li></ul><ul><li>Our tendency to want to “create to order” </li></ul><ul><li>Potentially a huge number of papers to create for </li></ul>
Let’s get strategic <ul><li>Set up a steering group: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding Application for release time for this training and investigation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training for all teaching library staff in the software and the philosophy of reusability, and getting the buyin from other library staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oversight and quality control of the outcomes of the project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping an eye on the wider university picture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing our objects to designers and controllers </li></ul></ul>
Usefulness <ul><li>Do the objects actually teach what we set out to? </li></ul><ul><li>Every object is “peer reviewed” by librarians before going live </li></ul><ul><li>Every object is evaluated by a small set of students before going live – testing the learning outcomes </li></ul>