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Monthly Archives: November 2014


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ACRL DLS Chair: Natalie Haber
Vice-Chair: Amanda Ziegler
Secretary: Stephanie Espinoza Villamor
Archivist: Andrea Hebert
Webmasters: Katie Stewart and Matthew Stevons (dlswebcontact@gmail.com)

Only 17 Days Left for the Routledge Distance Learning Librarianship Conference Sponsorship Award!

Dear colleagues,

There are only two weeks left to submit your nomination or apply for the Routledge Distance Learning Librarianship Conference Sponsorship Award!

This prestigious award honors an ACRL member who has made valuable contributions to the field of distance librarianship.

Award, Sponsored by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group: A plaque to honor the winner’s achievements and $1,200 to attend the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. The award will be presented to the winner at a special ceremony during the conference.

Submissions must be received by December 5, 2014. Self-nominations are welcome! For complete information about this award and the application form, please visit: http://acrl.ala.org/DLS/awards/

The applicant should demonstrate achievement in one or more of the following areas:

  • Support for distance learning librarianship and library services, e.g., service to students and faculty, innovation and/or leadership
  • Training of faculty/staff who support library services for distance students
  • Significant research and publication in areas of distance learning librarianship
  • Advocacy at decision-making levels, especially in funding and policy development as related to distance learning librarianship
  • Work with outside agencies in support of students learning at a distance
  • Consultation services in support of higher education distance students and programs beyond the traditional library boundaries
  • Planning and implementation of distance learning library programs of such exemplary quality that they serve as a model for others.

Check out a list of previous recipients here: http://acrl.ala.org/DLS/previousrecipientsdlsaward/

Questions? Contact Jennifer Hill, DLS Awards Committee Chair: Jennifer.hill@jhu.edu, 410-516-8823

Ad Hoc Committee Would Like Your In-put

The DLS Ad Hoc committee is looking at ways for you, the DLS members, to connect professionally, and we would like to know your thoughts. What type of connections do you benefit from the most? What has worked for you in the past? And, what type of program or format would you like DLS to provide?  Please respond with your comments and suggestions by 11/9/2014.

If you would like more information on this committee, you may see the committee description at: http://acrl.ala.org/DLS/2014/09/03/ad-hoc-committee-volunteers-needed/

Thank you,

Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen and the Ad Hoc committee.

Please feel free to comment on this post or send feedback to Sandy Hawes at:
1.352.588.8262 (phone)

Tools for Distance Learning Librarians

Each month the Instruction Committee will offer a brief review of 2-3 tools in different categories that can help you in your instruction, communication, and the creation of tutorials and guides, among others. This month, we’re looking at Learning Management Systems. Our reviewers looked at 2 very popular LMSs: Canvas and Blackboard. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments about these or other LMSs you have used. Tell us what you liked or didn’t like and how you have used the tool successfully in your work.


Access/Storage: Cloud
Cost: Institutional Licensing
Learning Curve: Medium
Evaluation: The Blackboard company offers several products for online learning including:

As a learning management system, Blackboard Learn allows instructors to build content, quizzes, assignments, and discussion areas. Additionally instructors can track student progress and send announcements.

Reviewer: Michelle Keba


Access/Storage: Cloud
Cost: Institutional Licensing/Open Source, Commercial/AGPL
Learning Curve: Medium
Evaluation: Company’s self-stated goal is to create products for online learning that are simple and that include “intuitive and easy-to-use features.” The Canvas learning management system allows instructors to build content in the form of text pages, discussions, quizzes, assignments and video/audio recording. It also includes a built in chat feature, collaborative documents option (with a choice between EtherPad and Google Docs) and a web conferencing tool. Canvas also has or will soon have several additional features (many of which are not available in other learning management systems) including: course and grading apps for iOS and Android platforms, a mobile polling app, global support, integrated learning outcomes, 1 click LTI integration and open source status.

Reviewer: Rebecca Bliquez


Access/Storage: Cloud
Cost: Institutional Licensing/Open Source, Commercial/AGPL
Learning Curve: Medium
Evaluation: Sakai is a community of educators with the goal of “providing a robust and truly community-driven alternative to proprietary learning systems.” The open source LMS is used for course delivery and collaborative projects. The source code is free and allows for customization, but the software suite requires adequate institutional support to install and maintain; commercial affiliates can provide a full range of services with a full range of prices. There is strong Sakai community support for technical help and collaborative development.

Course sites tie in with campus registration systems and project sites provide tools for non-instructional uses such as collaborative research or committee work. Instructors can choose appropriate tools for communication, active learning, and assessment. Core tools include Syllabus, Assignments, Discussion Board, Quiz, Gradebook, Chat, and Lesson Builder. Sakai can be used for delivery of asynchronous and blended courses or as a supplement to F2F classes.

To try out the LMS, faculty can request sandbox accounts at one of the commercial affiliates and developers and system administrators can download the software.

Reviewer: Jim Kinnie

Next month; Screen casting tools!

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