Sunday, July 12, 2015

Creating an Accessibility Checklist for Videos

It's been awhile since I've updated this blog, but many exciting things have happened since my last post. Jamie Segno, Michael Schofield and I were selected as recipients of the  2015 ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award for our work on LibraryLearn, a mobile-first platform for hosting and displaying instructional library videos.

While creating LibraryLearn, I took a course from ACRL about making accessible videos. Based on what I learned in the class. I created an accessibility checklist for our librarians to review when creating videos for LibraryLearn. If anyone has any suggestions for additions to the checklist, please post them in the comment section below.

Accessibility Checklist for Videos

  •  My video has captions.
  •  If someone is watching my video without sound, they would they still be able to understand the content based on the captions.
  •  If someone is listening to my video, they would still be able to understand the content without any visuals.
  • I name or describe any links, buttons, or check boxes that should be selected and avoid using phrases like “click here” or “check the box.”
  •  If I start my video on a certain webpage, I name the URL I am starting from.
  • I use additional such as cues underling, change of shape, or text labels to provide information rather than color alone.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Metaliteracy MOOC Topic 1 #metaliteracy

When I first heard about the Metaliteracy MOOC I was a bit hesitant about signing up (this semester is especially busy, and I had only made it halfway through the last MOOC I signed up for), but I'm happy to say that one of my coworker's enthusiasm about the course convinced me to give it a try.

So far, I'm enjoying the way the course has been designed including its connectivist format. I've been able to catch up thanks to the pace of the course, and the amount of suggested readings still allow enough time to read many of the blog posts being written by the course participants.

The course focuses on the idea of metaliteracy which according to Mackey and Jacobson (2011), "expands the scope of information literacy as more than a set of discrete skills, challenging us to rethink information literacy as active knowledge production and distribution in collaborative online environments" (p. 64).

I really like the idea of having students be active participants in knowledge creation through web 2.0 technologies rather than passive consumers, but as with most things I'm still struggling with how I can incorporate these sorts of activities into 45 minute one-shot instruction sessions. This might be a good time to finally try out a flipped classroom structure so that I have more time for activities during my sessions or since I teach education students who will eventually have to teach metaliteracy/information literacy skills to their own students, perhaps I could host an optional workshop about metaliteracy for them.

Just some reflections as I work through topic 1 : )

Resources for Topic 1 included two articles and a welcome plenary:

Mackey, T. P., and T. E. Jacobson. (2011). Reframing information literacy as a metaliteracy. College & Research Libraries, 72(1), 62-78. Retrieved from

Mackey, T. P. (2011). Transparency as a catalyst for interaction and participation in open learning environments. First Monday, 16(10). Retrieved from

Prezi for Welcome Plenary

Additionally, professor Tor Loney shared the syllabus that will be used by the students taking UUNL 205x.


Update:  Some interesting blog posts have come up in the Metaliteracy Newsletter from other students participating in the course.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Voting for Conversation Starter and Ignite Sessions at ALA Annual

Voting is now open for Conversation Starter and Ignite Sessions at ALA Annual.  I'm so excited for all of the interesting program proposals!

If you're interested in voting you can do so at the following link:

If you're interested in Digital Learning Objects please consider voting for Digital Learning Objects: Creating, Coordinating and Circulating which is being proposed by Anna Fidgeon.  Anna is a great librarian, and I think she's covering a very timely topic.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

ACRL in Second Life MOOC Program

I recently presented as part of the ACRL Virtual World Interest Group panel on MOOCs (massively open online courses). 

If you'd like to view slides from the presentation, they are available at
The Panelists Included:
Valerie Hill, PhD - (Valibrarian Gregg in SL) LISD Library Media
Specialist, Adjunct Instructor, TWU School of Library and Information Studies

Ilene- Frank, MLS (Ilene Pratt in SL) Adjunct Associate Professor,
University of Maryland University College

Michelle Keba, MS in Information Science- (librarianatadistance in SL) Distance and Instructional Services Librarian, Nova Southeastern University

George Djorgovski, (Curious George in SL) Professor of Astonomy, CaltechGeorge Djorgovski, (Curious George in SL) Professor of Astonomy, Caltech


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Building Relationships with Faculty

As the liaison to the Undergraduate Education Program, I try to reach students during their upper level education classes which require a research component.  Because I just started my position in June, my biggest goal has been to build relationships with and garner support from faculty members.    I'm hoping to reach more students by first investing their professors in the value of  information literacy training, and by getting to know the professors I gain a deeper understanding of their courses and teaching styles.

I’ve been lucky to be able to attend the department's monthly curriculum meetings where I give a 5 minute talk and a handout featuring a library database.  I've chosen databases that have instructional videos that can be used in their courses, lesson plans that their students can use, and  databases that can help them with their own research.  I got the idea of having a database of the month handout from Salena Coller, a librarian at the Sanford-Brown Institute in Ft. Lauderdale, who presented a poster at the Florida ACRL Conference.

The professors have seemed excited about the information and have followed up with me about using the resources, so I believe it’s been going well.  As professors have gotten to know me better, they have agreed to have me teach a session in their classes, and hopefully their positive feedback at the curriculum meetings will encourage more professors to include library training sessions in their classes as well.  I hope to eventually move away from giving one shot sessions to becoming embedded within the department.

So far I have created handouts for Education in Video, World Book Classroom, and Google Scholar.

Has anyone else been trying to build relationships with faculty or with key stakeholders where they work?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Real Time Assessment in Online Classes

As a Distance and Instructional Services Librarian, I teach students both online and face to face.  For my online classes, I usually have about 45 minutes to give a PowerPoint presentation through Blackboard Elluminate.  It’s a lot of information to cover in a short amount of time, so I often feel like I am trying to cram in as much information as possible which doesn’t often lead to the best learning environment.

I’m also a firm believer in the idea that I am not really teaching if no one is learning.  As a grade school teacher, I would give weekly quizzes aligned to the standards and objectives I taught that week.  Students would graph their mastery of each standard to track their process, and I would know if I needed to reteach something I had covered. 

In the way I’m currently teaching my online classes, I’ve been struggling with the fact that I have no way of knowing if the students are learning.  I ask them to use the smiley face emoticon periodically to make sure that they are engaged and understanding the content, but if a student overestimates his or her ability or is too shy to ask a question, I won’t know. The students also take a standard survey after the class, but it is focused more on their perception of the class rather than their understanding of the material.

I wasn’t sure how to integrate assessment of student learning into an online class, so I was very excited to read Shannon R. Simpson’s article “Google Spreadsheets and real-time assessment: Instant feedback for library instruction” in the October issue of College & Research Library News.  I’ve linked to the article, as I definitely recommend reading it.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, Simpson explains how she is able to receive instant feedback about her students’ understanding of what she is teaching.  For example, after demonstrating a search strategy she has students recreate her strategy for their own topic and record the search results in a Google Spreadsheet.  She includes a very helpful example spreadsheet in her article.  Based on the example Simpson included in the article, I've started brainstorming which categories I might want to include in my own spreadsheet.  I will most likely have to cut down the number of columns, but as I am just brainstorming for now I'm including quite a few.  You are welcome to view and make comments on the spread sheet here.

As Simpson mentions in her article, one of the best outcomes of using this method is receiving feedback in real time. This is most likely the only time I will work with a student, so it’s important that I address any misconceptions right away.  By viewing the Google Spreadsheet as students are filling it out, I hope that I will be able to identify any breakdowns in understanding and clarify as needed.

Another benefit of having the students fill out a Google Spreadsheet is that it can be used as a part of active learning.  I’ve also been struggling with ways I can integrate active learning into online classes, so  I’m hoping that the Google Spreadsheet will offer a way to monitor and guide the students during active learning time, even when I’m not there physically. Additionally, the students will hopefully have an end product from the class which they can refer back to and use for their project.

I’m very excited to try real time assessment in the coming semester.  My biggest concern is timing.  I believe I will need to streamline my presentation or get creative about the way I explain things in order to make sure the students have enough time to search for a source and enter it in the spreadsheet.

I will update you all on how it goes next semester.  Has anyone tried using this method for receiving instant feedback in a class?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creating an Internal Knowledge Base

After watching a Webinar hosted by Ellyssa Kroski, blogger at iLibrarian, I was inspired to set up an example knowledge base for my department.  I was intrigued by the way wikis could be used for project management and the sharing of information. My department is moving towards more collaboration, but we don't currently have a centralized way to disseminate and share information for departmental and group projects.

In this Webinar, Ellyssa mentioned several wiki platforms and demonstrated PBworks. I am not personally a fan of the PBworks layout, so I decided to take a look at some of the other platforms. I looked into Wet Paint, but the parent company seems to have changed into a gossip Web site. I liked PmWiki (the library I worked at in grad school used that platform), but as far as I could tell the platform needed to be uploaded to the library server.  At this point, I just wanted to create an example wiki, so I wasn't ready to ask our systems department to add a wiki platform.

In the end I settled on Google Sites, as I could easily create something and have it hosted for free. I chose a simple template with a left navigation bar (I prefer clean simple Web sites) and customized the background photo. I thought about what I wanted included in the wiki and how to organize information into a small number of categories. For my top level of categories, I chose Courses, Projects, Resources, and Training.

Under the Courses heading, I listed all of the departments that we provide instruction for, with the idea that each instruction librarian could include a short summary of the instruction he or she provides for that department. I didn't want the information to be a repeat of what we already have on our Web site or in our LibGuides, but rather a centralization and summarization so that information can easily be found in one place. For example, I summarized which classes I provide instruction for and included a link to our SACs LibGuide that provides a more detailed account of what I do semester by semester as well as links to course LibGuides which include PowerPoints and materials.

Under the Projects heading, I created pages for department, shared, and individual projects.  On these pages, we can update our progress on our projects and also see what others are working on in order to collaborate and share ideas if we are working on similar projects. There's also an ability to add comments, which I found useful. I saw that the PRIMO site of the month focuses on Endnote, so I added the link as a comment on our Endnote Update project page, so I would remember and so that my coworker could see the link too.

Under the Resources heading, so far I've included links for interesting articles and travel tips. My coworkers often e-mail interesting articles, but I find that they get lost in my e-mail if I don't add them to Endnote or another program. I thought that if someone had an article to share with the department, he or she could add a link to it on the wiki. I'm currently categorizing the articles by subject, but I imagine this could become cumbersome if many articles are added. I included travel tips as my department travels to satellite locations to teach. Right now, this page contains tips like when teaching in Seoul, you can take the KAL Limousine bus from Incheon Airport into the city.  Finally, I included a training page in case we want to move our training materials online.

Overall, I felt that Google sites was easy to use and somewhat customizable. One thing I didn't like, however, is that each page did not immediately include a "last updated" time.  While you can add a recent activity link to your site's side bar, you must manually type in when the page was last updated .

What do you all think? Have you set up wikis/knowledge bases for your library or your self? Which platform did you use? What kind of categories did you use to divide your information?