Special guest speakers, Mikala Narlock and Abby Shelton, discussed a University of Notre Dame project on virtual usability testing using LibWizard. The Hesburgh Libraries and the Snite Museum of Art celebrated Usability Day 2020 by collaborating on a virtual user experience testing activity: participants had the chance to offer feedback on Marble, a collaborative digital collections platform, or CurateND, the institutional repository. Mikala Narlock, Digital Collections Librarian at Hesburgh Libraries, and Abby Shelton, former Outreach Specialist at the Snite Museum, discuss their approach to virtual user testing and how they improved the user experience of both platforms as a result.
Feedback was helpful for redesigning the CurateND website, improving navigability, adding geographic metadata for Marble and improving jargon’y metadata.
Run through your own testing modules first! It helps to see where the roadblocks are.
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.
Have a facilitator on deck and send a follow-up email to participants.
Creating Your Own Local Co-Op with LibChat 1:00pm – 2:20pm Wednesday, March 24, 2021 Did you know you can create your own local Co-Op? Join us for a Learning Lab where will be joined by Caitlin Kenney of the Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC) who will share her experience running two local Co-Ops and Virginia Cole and Leah Dodd, from Cornell University as they share what it’s like being a member library.
It’s still, definitely, winter, and our thoughts are with those in Texas and the rest of the United States dealing with the aftermath of last week’s extreme weather. We could all use a little laughter or a message of empathy right now to get us hopefully into a brighter spring/summer. And as we approach the one-year mark of when everything on our calendars went from “confirmed” to “canceled,” we would love to hear stories about #librarylife or classic or unexpected working from home (WFH) moments.
To that end, we came up with the “My Library Life Reality” video series as a fun activity to hear from the library community and provide an opportunity to share work-life stories! And just generally feel a little closer to one another.
This week, we’re looking for 30-second videos that capture truly human moments people have experienced in their library work-life this past year. It could be:
A funny WFH fail, “My child ran into the Zoom camera meeting with no diaper on.”
A heartwarming experience, “I helped a patron going through a difficult time.”
A learning moment, “This WFH hack saved me from going insane….”
And in the spirit of being there for each other and recognizing the importance of Black lives and Black History Month, we’re going to make a donation to Black Girls CODE for the first 25 video submissions.
How This Works:
Create a 30-second video using a smartphone or video camera. You, your pet “coworker”, or your home workplace can be the star. Have fun with it!
The dynamics experienced in a live instruction session are truly unique, so much so, that even when you’re teaching a course that you’ve taught for many years, you can still feel nervous or excited. You never know what can happen in a classroom. The interaction between the teacher and the students, the questions that spark more interesting questions, and the new perspectives, often result in everyone learning something. This is why live instruction is such a benefit.
And, it’s precisely why doors closing in libraries all over the world is so jarring. Fortunately, those libraries are filled with librarians who are the best at finding answers. We interviewed Louise Cowan and Emily Dott who are members of the Library Liaison Team at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom about the work they’ve done in their libraries to pivot to online teaching.
Q: What were you trying to solve in 2019 when you added LibWizard to your library?
We undertook the trial with the intention of fulfilling a need to provide self-directed training materials for staff working across the Library, and in particular to provide staff development opportunities for colleagues employed to work outside of core hours (evenings and weekends). At that time, the focus was more internal facing, as a solution to meet training needs around the Library Management System and internal University processes. We were also interested in centralising the management of forms, which were being generated across multiple platforms.
During the trial, it was recognised that LibWizard could also be a solution to difficulties surrounding the use of free third-party tools to create Information Literacy based quizzes, which we have embedded across LibGuides. The Library increasingly faced challenges where a platform we commonly used had introduced copious amounts of adverts between questions, rendering many of our active elements unusable.
At the time of introducing LibWizard, the University was transitioning between VLE providers, so it was also anticipated that the LibWizard Tutorials function would be used for student-facing tutorials focusing on:
Developing a search strategy
Advanced use of the discovery system, Library Search
Such interactive elements were unavailable in the current software and at the time, we were unsure of the functionality available in the new VLE.
Seamlessly Shifting Gears
Q:When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, libraries all over the world shut their doors and scrambled to quickly pivot to provide services online. What were your immediate priorities and what were your strategies for making the transition as efficient and smooth as possible?
A: Our immediate priority was to ensure that students and staff were aware of and able to access our online resources and support quickly and easily. With increased use of resources off campus, and the potential for students to rely on non-library resources of mixed quality, encouraging the critical use of information and promoting evaluation skills was also vital.
Our strategy focused on promotion of our e-resources and online one-to-one appointments, via blogs, social media, and news items on the Library website. Alongside this we concentrated on the production of new supporting material, such as video guides to finding eBooks and off-campus access to other electronic resources, new webpages focused on online learning, and the creation of short instructive tutorials in LibWizard that would help students find the information they needed and develop the skills to think critically about what they had found.
Online Learning: The Evolution of LibWizard Use
Q: Please share how you’re using LibWizard as part of your move toward Online Learning and talk about which features are being utilized most.
A: LibWizard Tutorials have been a useful tool in the development of our online learning materials and support. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic we had already begun to explore the potential of online tutorials for the initial training of students who had volunteered to become Peer Mentors to new students starting University. As the training had to take place prior to the start of term, an online approach was necessary. The tutorial focused on providing the Peer Mentors with an understanding of their role and the knowledge of key services and support that they would need, in order to advise their mentees.
Developing this tutorial gave us a good grounding in what was possible with the tutorial tool and how we could use it to fully engage students. It also helped us to set some guiding principles for the creation of effective online tutorials, such as:
Setting achievable learning outcomes
Creating a plan for the structure of the tutorial
Identifying ways to embed checks for progress and encourage active learning via quizzes, reflective points, or independent tasks
This understanding and experience of LibWizard standalone tutorials proved particularly useful during the early months of the pandemic, as it enabled the Library to provide packages of online training for potential students, as part of the University Partners Programme.
Focusing on searching for and accessing resources via Library Search and Reading Lists, the tutorials guided students through the steps required to access and use resources and highlighted expectations of reading at University level. Quiz elements were used within the tutorial to assess students’ understanding and formed a core element of the academic skills element of the Programme.
Further, a strategic priority within Newcastle University Library Service is working alongside local schools and further education colleges to provide resources and workshops and collaborate on projects that explore our Special Collections and Archives. Our Education Outreach team has made extensive use of LibWizard, along with other online resources, to continue their work for the community during the pandemic. As we are currently unable to invite external students into our Library buildings, LibWizard tutorials have been created to provide an online alternative to in-person workshops. The Education Outreach Team have been able to make full use of the ability to embed videos and media within the tutorial, and the use of the Library website as a live slide within the tutorial to create engaging and informative content.
The key advantage of LibWizard tutorials in this case was the ability to make resources that are openly available without the barrier of institutional log-in, as the audience are not members of the University community.
New Approaches Bring New Challenges
Q: What sorts of considerations had to be made as you tried to make the transitions? What surprise challenges did you discover as you built content in LibWizard with teaching in mind?
A: Projects in recent years have moved the Library’s information skills development offer towards a blended model, and as a result, we were well prepared as a team to move to a fully online model. Our development of online materials was led by the same outcomes-based approach to design we use in face-to-face sessions, which uses constructive alignment to ensure that the focus is on active learning tasks designed to achieve learning outcomes, rather than activities being driven by the functionality of the tools and software available to us.
When planning open resources, or materials for specific cohorts of students, we have used LibWizard alongside other University tools (including those embedded within the VLE, Canvas) to emulate teaching which would have taken place in small group workshop settings or text-based workbooks. An element of this that has proved difficult to replicate is training on specialist databases and subject resources which require institutional authentication. While standalone tutorials offer the opportunity to guide students step-by-step through these resources, the authentication step takes them outside of the embedded slide window, which has led to some confusion.
Additional notes and prompts have been required to support students in these activities.
In general, the level of signposting and written instruction needed when teaching online is greater to ensure students fully understand what is expected of them and how they can achieve it.
The Response Matters
Q: Which are the most popular content items? What kind of response have you gotten from the faculty and from the students?
A: The LibWizard Tutorials have been well received.
Those included in our Education Outreach programme have received positive early feedback from teachers on their effectiveness and usefulness in supporting school and college students undertaking independent project qualifications.
One of our most popular LibWizard tutorials has been the online escape game, developed to provide a more ‘fun’ element for Library Induction. During the Welcome period, alongside formal induction sessions introducing Library resources, the Library normally engage in on-site activities, with freebies and opportunities to chat with students informally. As this was not possible during the September 2020 Welcome period, induction moved online and was delivered via the University VLE (Canvas). As part of the programme of online activities, we embedded the LibWizard tutorial, and invited students to participate in the online escape game, with those who completed the game being entered into a prize draw.
The tutorials used for internal training purposes have also been very popular with colleagues, ensuring more equitable development opportunities.
We have embedded feedback forms at the end of each tutorial using LibWizard Surveys and colleagues have been keen to engage with us around ways to develop these materials further.
The most used tutorial, relating to the Reading List system received 60 submissions since February 2020.
Learning Along The Way
Q: What do you wish you knew or wish you had thought of before you started?
A: The move to using LibWizard and developing online learning materials was so rapid that there have been issues around managing version control and maintenance. Within the Library, LibWizard is open to all staff who wish to create a tutorial, quiz, or form and as staff have been keen to engage and experiment, we now have several sandbox versions, tests or copies.
The amount of material can be difficult to manage and keep organised or up-to-date
There have been some issues around duplication of effort, where colleagues have not spotted the existence of a tutorial on the same topic before creating a new one.
We are putting in place some strategies to manage this problem now but having a way to organise or categorise tutorials or assign them to teams for maintenance would be immensely helpful and would have been a useful practice to establish before work began.
Here To Stay
Q: If the challenge of being forced online by this pandemic actually becomes a call for creativity and problem solving, what sorts of principles guide you and what has become so solid to you that you will continue with it even when this pandemic is over?
A: As a team, the move to online has cemented our approach to planning for learning and this is now firmly embedded in our practice.
The need to plan online learning in the same way as you plan for face-to-face teaching opportunities is essential. Focusing on active learning and engaging students with opportunities to put their skills into practice is central to our approach and having tools such as LibWizard at our disposal allows us to build resources to facilitate this.
We are also mindful of the importance of choosing the right tool for the learning. It can be tempting to embed new technologies into learning because they are fun to explore as teachers, or because it is the simplest way to create quick content from the teacher perspective. However, such tools may not necessarily be the best for enabling student learning or may not be well suited to the student journey. In our use of Technology Enhanced Learning we emphasise the learning over the technology and will continue to do so.
Moving into the next academic year, we expect to carry a Flipped Classroom approach into our Information Literacy teaching as standard.
We are so grateful that Louise and Emily found some time to share their experiences with us as they transition their library, like so many are, to the online learning approach. In-person instruction is a hard thing to replicate because you can’t capture the energy of a classroom. But, with creativity and outside-the-halls thinking, collaboration, and good solutions, you can still teach and they can still learn. Throw in some much-needed lightness like the online escape game from the Newscastle University librarians, and it can be fun for everyone.
In addition to improvements on the E-Reserves Request form, we are implementing a bunch of Accessibility improvements on the A-Z Databases page and the Search page.
E-Reserves Request Form
We’ve made the E-Reserves request form more user-friendly by getting rid of the accordion collapsible sections, indicating required fields with a red asterisk, and changing how the “Type” choices work.
In addition, you can indicate whether these fields should be required or hidden through the E-Reserves > Settings > Request Form > Request Form Field Options.
And Coming Soon…
Support for LTI 1.3 in Canvas (with support for additional Learning Management Systems coming after that)
Our current LibAnswers release is chock full of performance improvements to help bring you a faster and more performant reference management platform! In this release, we’re introducing many under-the-hood updates, including a refreshed Reference Analytics module, improved connectivity for LibChat on mobile devices, and so much more. For the full breakdown of everything rolling out in this release, head to the Springshare Lounge to view the full release notes.
Reference Analytics Update
We’ve spruced things up under the hood to bring you a fresher, faster version of Reference Analytics. We’ve refreshed the entire code base, with a goal of updating code and improving response times. While most folks using the Add or View/Edit Transactions screens won’t notice many UI changes, Admins can see this refresh reflected in the edit Reference Analytics dataset screen. We’ve updated the functions around editing datasets, and added the ability to reorder responses in a field without impacting past recorded data (yay!). To see this in action, Admins can head to Admin > Ref. Analytics > Edit Dataset button.
Mobile Chat Improvements
In this release, we’re updating the behavior of chat widgets on mobile devices. Now, most chat widgets (everything except for embedded chat widgets) will pop open in a new tab/window when viewed and accessed on handheld mobile devices. This will essentially replicate the behavior of the patron choosing to pop the ongoing chat into a new window, which we’ve seen can help prevent patrons from inadvertently disconnecting from a chat, especially on handheld mobile devices, where wide-finger issues are still alive and well! The resulting chat window is mobile-optimized and ready to assist your patrons. To see this in action, head to any slide-out, floating, or button chat widget and start a chat!
And Coming Soon…
We’re hard at work revamping several of our back-end search features, in an effort to bring you a faster and more intuitive search interface! Our first order of business is updating the chat transcript search page; in our next release, we’ll be overhauling our underlying search engine to bring you even more powerful chat transcript searching.
While we are hard at work to bring you (teaser alert!) interactive mapping functionality for seat/space bookings in the very near future and improvements to streamline and improve admin management aspects of Appointments, we have a few exciting updates for you! This release includes lots of accessibility modifications, small improvements, and performance improvements that can be read about in the Springy lounge release notes.
Booking limits for Appointments have arrived! We’ve added the ability to set daily, weekly, monthly, and/or yearly limits on the number of appointments that can be booked by each patron/student. These limits are available to set on the system level, as well as by individual users who can either use the system limits or define their own set if needed. Head to Admin > Appointments > Booking Limits> System Defaults to set this for your entire LibCal system, or click the Edit button in the User Limits Overview section to set for one user at a time.
Also now available is the ability to list Appointment locations on your LibCal homepage, Hours page, and event pages. Your public locations will show as a drop-down menu where Appointments are displayed:
Seats / Spaces / Equipment
We’ve also added API support to return availability for period-based locations when retrieving seat / space booking information.
We’ve added a warning on the admin side “Booking Grid & Availability” tab when hours for a Location, Category, Space, or Item will expire soon. Admin users will see a warning like the one below when availability is set to expire within 7 days. A warning will also be displayed if a Location, Category, Space, or Item has no hours assigned.
We have added a much-requested feature for creating folders for your LibWizard items! Anyone (Admin and Regular level users) can create new folders by clicking on the “+ Create New Folder” button on top.
Admins will have access to create, delete, or rename all folders. Regular users will be able to create new folders, but will only be able to rename and delete their own folders.
Deleting a folder will not delete the folder contents and will move any existing contents outside of the folder to the main level list.
Finally, users will be able to move existing items to different folders or create a form directly within the folder. Please note that folders cannot be nested at this time.
Changes to the Actions Column
We’ve updated the Actions column for Forms, Surveys, Quizzes, and Tutorials pages and the Question Bank page with a dropdown to make the column less cluttered.
We’ve converted the “New Account” and “Import LibApps Accounts” to their own pages for easier use.
Dataset Upload Format Change
As a processing and performance improvement, we have updated a few dataset types to allow only .csv format (Comma-Separated Values) for data uploads:
To save any Excel file as a .csv file, go to File > Save As.. and choose Comma-Delimited file. For the tech-minded out there who might use a text editor, we are looking for a UTF-8 file with CRLF line breaks. 🙂
That’s it for this round of updates from Springy HQ. We would like to thank you, our user community, for sharing all your great ideas with us! We love making them a reality and look forward to bringing you many more improvements in 2021. We are always here for you if have any suggestions or questions.
Gwen covers how the Univ. of Liverpool switched from being non-contributing (receiving backup chat support only) to contributing (giving and receiving chat support) in the Springshare 24/7 Global Chat community.
Gwen shares how they prepped and trained to get ready for answering chats from patrons from around the world including watching helpful videos on training.springshare.com and practicing with each other. She also shares helpful tips like:
Avoiding geographical lingo – ‘Banging’ in England has a totally different meaning in the U.S.
Learn how other libraries call things – One library’s Interlibrary Loan is another library’s ‘Get It For Me’.
Being the ‘student’ for once – When trying to help a patron from another library, you’re digging around that library’s website, FAQs, and Policy Page… much like a student. This experience helps you to better understand what your own patrons are going through.
What makes a good Policy FAQ – Looking at other library’s policy FAQs when you’re trying to answer their patron’s questions helps to make sure your FAQs are helpful, clear, and concise.
Helps with Professional Growth (no really!): – Gwen stated that the librarians love answering global chats so much, that if it was taken away the staff might revolt! Answering chats from other libraries around the world is exciting and helps staff hone their skills – which they can then take ‘home’ to their own patrons.
This week we are excited to launch a new addition to the Springshare newsletter lineup: The Roundup. It’s just like it sounds – a monthly email digest that rounds up recent product updates and announcements, client stories, webinars, and timely Springy resources.
It landed in subscribers’ inboxes yesterday. And from here on out, SpringyNews readers can expect a digestoredition email the first week of every month!
Here’s a preview of the types of content readers will discover in The Roundup:
Last month’s release features, recent client stories, and newly published Buzz guides
Upcoming Springshare Learning Labs and webinars
Newly relevant resources from the Springshare archives
A sneak peek at the month ahead, including not yet announced webinars, product features, and more!
In case you missed it, you can view this month’s issue of The Roundup in your browser.
Not a subscriber? Sign up below and indicate which types of Springshare emails you’d like to receive!
Are you a current subscriber looking to adjust your email preferences?
At the bottom of your most recent Springshare newsletter or product announcement (sent from news[at]springshare.com), click on the “Update Preferences” link.
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