April 2020 Site of the Month


Library Research Tutorials


Creators: Marley Killgore, Nate Beyerink, Anthony Rodgers, Jess Williams, Dani Wellemeyer, Courtney Strimel, Julie Hartwell, Sean McCue

Institution: University of Missouri, Kansas City – University Libraries

Interviewee: Julie Hartwell
Interviewer: Rebecca Greer

Description of Project (provided by creators): The Library Research Tutorials is a designated space on the UMKC Libraries’ website that serves as a directory for the online learning materials developed in-house. The modules listed are “Bonus Material” for the Research Essentials information literacy instruction program’s learning modules and cover the following:

All the great topics we wish we could include in our Research Essentials materials but don’t want the modules to take hours to complete!

Q: What inspired the creation of the Library Research Tutorials?

A: Several years ago, we switched eLearning platforms and then later, learning management systems. All of our Captivate and Blackboard native information literacy modules needed to be recreated using a new eLearning tool called Coassemble. After the Research Essentials Online learning modules were created in Coassemble, the bonus material modules were next on the list. Our Academic Library Fellows (Library Science graduate students) were assigned to convert the bonus material into Coassemble lessons. Since the bonus materials are not assigned in courses, the idea to build a space on the library’s website to serve as a directory for online tutorials grew out of a need for a place for the modules to live and be publicly accessible. The team was also inspired by other academic libraries which have similar websites.

Q: Explain your design process for these tutorials. What do you think worked well in this process? What would you do differently if you had the chance to do it all over again?

A: We followed the same creation process used for the Research Essentials learning modules. We managed the entire process in Trello. Each lesson moved from content creation, review and testing, module compilation, and then to final review. We didn’t change a thing from the initial conversion project. Each module includes a learning outcome, a cover image, description, a variety of presentation tiles and media, and assessment check points. A reviewer is assigned to each module to ensure all elements are working and present. Checklists in Trello include all the necessary steps for creating a lesson. The one exception is the Using UMKC Libraries module, as this content serves as a playlist of library YouTube videos.

The main difference with this project, compared to the earlier Research Essentials Online project, is that a lot of the bonus lessons were converted to Coassemble, and then a long silence followed. Project priorities changed, people left or changed positions, so the bonus materials sat on the production side for almost two years. The 2019 summer session provided us some margin to resume this work.

Q: How did you select Coassemble as the platform to construct these tutorials? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this tool?

A: Before I started, the general education team did a thorough job of piloting and trialing many authoring tools. Coassemble (formerly eCoach) was the clear winner as the librarians loved the experience. Coassemble, a cloud-based e-learning authoring tool with rapid release, allows for updates to the deployed learning objects at any time. Another perk is that Coassemble’s URL sharing feature gives us the opportunity to embed the modules on our website.

When we first started with Coassemble, the company was brand new. Since those early days, the product’s name has changed, features have been modified, and plans offered have shifted. We have experienced every hill and valley possible with a start up! Fortunately, this last academic year we had a very positive experience.

Q: How did you decide what content to include/exclude from the tutorials?

A: As a starting point, this site contains all the content that was excluded from the Research Essentials learning modules. The tutorials contain all of the great topics that librarians love and think students need to know, but do not map to the Research Essentials learning outcomes. We also excluded content in the tutorials that made the module too long or unrelated to the lesson’s objective.

Q: The tutorial includes assessment exercises. Do you collect data from assessments, and, if so, what have they shown you?

A: If students are completing the modules via the directory page, data is not collected, and all questions would simply be a self-assessment. If faculty are interested in student assessment data for these modules, we can embed any of these modules in Canvas to record scores. Faculty can contact us about a particular topic module, and we can assist in embedding the lesson into their Canvas course. We need to promote this capability to faculty to garner more usage.

Q: Tell us more about the team of people who helped create the Library Research Tutorials.
A: This project has evolved and adapted with the technology and staff changes at the library. The team includes instruction librarians and Academic Library Fellows who have all worked to migrate and update the modules as needs and programs change. A graphic designer designed and created the landing page for the online directory.

 Q: You are an Instructional Design Librarian in the Teaching & Learning Department at UMKC Libraries. How does this department use these tutorials, and what feedback have you received thus far from the students?

A: I see these online modules as a way to enhance our instruction sessions and reference interactions. They can be so easily shared over chat, embedded in Canvas, or emailed to instructors and students. These modules are linked as answers in our Frequently Asked Questions. As for feedback, we need to keep sharing them and hope students respond with gusto!

Q: What’s next? Do you have any plans to expand or modify these tutorials, or other instructional materials like this?

A: Faculty have expressed interest in an online module focused on APA 7th edition. We are currently in the early stages of development for that. Once created, reviewed, and revised, the newest module will be listed on the Library Research Tutorials site!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about the Library Research Tutorials?

A: This project is only possible because of our awesome, hard-working, creative, super smart team! The Academic Library Fellows change every year as they go on to do more great things somewhere else. I am sad every time one of them leaves, thinking we will never find someone as good. I continue to prove myself wrong as we keep recruiting and hiring extremely talented fellows!