Internet Librarian: day two

2.0 Learning and 1.8 Users: Bridging the Gap
presented by Rudy Leon (SUNY Potsdam) and Colleen Harris (Univ. of Tennessee, Chattanooga)

The speakers began this session by talking about myths of the millenial generation.

  • They are skilled online searchers
  • Are at ease with new gadgets
  • Are always connected
  • Are effective multitaskers

But as recent news reports and studies have shown, these are not true. Millennials do use the technology, but in a simplified way. In general they are unaware of how powerful the tools they are using can be.

The digital divide has not gone away either. Even though 99% of schools have computers, the education students get on the computers varies widely depending on the school, as well as quality of their internet access. Students coming to college from areas with limited computer training and access can be intimidated by all the online coursework and research they are required to do.

Faculty’s general attitude toward students are they’ll either do it, or fail. With technology they assume students will figure it out. This is not true, students need training and guidance. We need to get faculty to think about technology as educational tools and train them to use the tech in terms of their teaching.

Points for Getting Faculty on Board

  • Owning our own expertise (librarians traditionally have been shy about this)
  • Offer workshop/seminar on how faculty can revamp their courses to include information literacy components
  • Get out there, make connections with faculty
  • Require that faculty attend class instructions (it shouldn’t be their hour off)
  • Leverage the accreditation processes ? get them to think about the library as part of the curriculum, instead of a just a side component

As opposed to working with faculty, the library is a “safe learning space” for students. At the library they have the opportunity to fail (not true in the classroom), and that’s a great way for them to learn. Strategies to engage students and faculty include workshops, making equipment available, encourage faculty to develop actionable assignments, and creating partnerships on campus (don’t forget partnership outside of faculty, like learning support services staff, information technology, etc.).

Moving Forward – Building the Bridge

  • Techology is fun, libraries are for learning and free from disciplinary structure.
  • The technology shouldn’t be emphasized, it’s should be about the learning.
  • Create services to build skills.
  • Remember that gadgets support learning.
  • Provide space and structure for play (which leads to learning).
  • Be skeptical of generalizations about Millenials.

During the question period, someone in the audience asked if the presenters advocated freshmen orientation. One of the speakers mentioned that many colleges focus on freshmen orientation, but said they’ve often wondered if we can get further by focusing on juniors, who’s research needs are much different (they’re doing more heavy duty research). Freshman don’t need to do as much scholarly research as the upperclassmen do. If we teach them advanced techniques as freshmen, and they don’t use those techniques for a few years, they’ll forget it by the time they actually need those skills. I thought that was an interesting point, although I would advocate that both groups would benefit from such instruction.

Video Tutorials: Designing, Creating, and Making Them Work
presented by Emily Alford and Heidi Schroeder (Michigan State University)

This session focused on creating videos using screen capture software.

Why Videos as opposed to web page tutorials or printouts? People generally remember more of what they read and see as opposed to just what they read.

Tips for Video Instruction

  • Break things up into sections/modules
  • Keep it short
  • Use icons, colors, arrows, different fonts and sizes
  • Interaction is key, active learning

Promote the videos on the library website, research guide pages and other points of need. Don’t forget other places you know your patrons will be (YouTube, Facebook, course management software, etc.)

Software Options

There are many free and for-cost options, with a wide range of features, usability and costs. Try different options to see what works for you (there are often free trials available of the for-cost software).

The presenters have a nice chart of screen recording software options (PDF), which includes appropriate links the software.

Of the free options, one of the speakers thinks Jing is the easiest to use. Other options include Wink and CamStudio.

Of the for-cost software, the presenters are most familiar with Camtasia (it’s what they use). Other options include Captivate and BB FlashBack.

One of the presenters then ran a demo of Camtasia and created a short screencast on the spot. During the demo they mentioned that not all microphones give the same quality of audio. Testing microphones before buying can be very beneficial.

Streaming Media & Re-Tooling Library Services for Online Learners
presented by Barbara Stillwell and Robin Lockerby (National University)

National University now has 60% of their student body online. As that figure has increased, they’ve retooled the library, centralized services, and created a multi-media department. As far as reference services go library staff does mostly email reference with their online students, and some VOIP consultations.

For library instruction they do in-class sessions (which are recorded), VOIP sessions, and general tutorials. They do archive all of their older sessions, and make them available online.

Strengths of their approach: wide reach, sessions are easily recorded, great for outreach.
Weaknesses: quality isn’t always the best, some of their tutorials can be long (studies show shorter is better).

Even with a dedicated multimedia department, goals and objectives, and written style guides, it can take time to get this type of program going. Many of their tutorials tend to be works-in-progress, and are constantly evolving. Starting a program like this can definitely be a learning process, sometimes many revisions were needed after they discovered shortcomings, better ways to produce the tutorials, etc.

It’s important to remember, not everything needs to be a screencast. Sometimes a print pieces are better. Think about what things should be in multiple formats.

They’ve just recently began new series of tutorials called “Short Cuts” which are two minutes or less.

When creating videos or screencasts, they found modularizing things work well. Once you have modules done, you can insert them into other tutorials.

Even though they found the process was trying and difficult at times, the presenters said the rewards were well worth it.

Blending Technologies for Library Promotion and Instruction
presented by May Chang (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

This was a project that was implemented by students. The idea came at a staff picnic. The proposal was to create a video clip about the library. Students wanted to have a story based video and not boring, talking heads. They wanted to show students and users, not bookshelves. The students brainstormed a script and storyboard, and the librarian organized the equipment and scheduling.

Problems came up the first time they tried it. They ended up with a student “diva” who wanted to be a star. They also had difficulties with the student who said they knew photography but really didn’t. The second attempt at the project was sweet, and everything fell into place. The project did take much more time than they originally thought however.

Outakes and Lessons

Choose a camera that is easy to use (they had one which can take both stills and video).
Software used: Vegas Movie Studio, Camtasia Studio and Snagit.
Have a checklist:

  • Talent release form
  • Location planning
  • Camera friendly clothing
  • Interview questions
  • Shooting schedule
  • Script

The Storyline was a day in the life of the library. Students visit and study, meet librarians and student assistants.

The UMBC Library Orientation video is available on YouTube. It’s also posted on the library website. I thought they did a great job.

Additional Benefits

Because of this project, there are now high-end multimedia work stations at the library for students and staff to use.

There have also been new video and multimedia projects started because of this project’s success.