Authors: Heather Williams, Jeff Lacy, Jeff McAdams, and Joel Juarez
Institution: University of Texas San Antonio
Interviewee: Heather Williams, Instructional Designer
Interviewer: Maribeth Slebodnik
The Article Analysis module was first conceived to serve as an online resource for UTSA’s Academic Inquiry class but was created and released with all online audiences in mind. Students who complete this module will learn about scholarly articles and how they are arranged. First, students watch a 2-minute informational video, then they perform a 2-phase interactive activity reinforcing knowledge gained from the video, and finally they take a quiz to assess their knowledge. Upon completion of the quiz, students are presented with their grade on a printable certificate to turn into their professor. Academic Inquiry faculty provided input that assisted with innovative solutions within this module. The module includes three seamless options so that faculty are able to easily share, embed or integrate this module within Blackboard.
Q: What led you to develop this resource?
A: Professors developing the Academic Inquiry course here at UTSA approached the library to develop some online learning modules. Academic Inquiry is a course being developed for incoming freshmen that we designed using a flipped classroom model, and is currently in pilot phase (Fall 2013). The Article Analysis module is one of a suite of eight modules developed for the class. The course will probably be taught more widely (with up to 70 different professors) in Fall 2014, but that’s not confirmed yet.
Q: How did you develop the content/structure/organization?
A: We were given the task of developing an online module for incoming freshmen based on certain goals and outcomes with the challenge of allowing professors the option of providing access to their students via the open Internet or through their course in Blackboard. This gave us the parameters we needed to create our learning module. We also knew that it would be used by a wide variety of professors, so it had to be general enough for a variety of situations. To create the content, we knew that that we had to present the knowledge in a short, dynamic format. We chose a video because we knew it would get the information across to our learners in an interesting way. While we had already reached our visual and auditory learners through the video, we still needed to reach our kinesthetic learners, so we provided an interactive activity based on the information gathered in the video. This interactive activity allowed us to not only reach the kinesthetic learners but also to provide an additional step to let students to put into action their newly gained knowledge. Finally, in order to provide the professors and ourselves with a quantitative assessment, we provided a short quiz at the end.
Q: Who was involved in designing and implementing this resource? What roles did they play or skills/talents did they contribute to the process?
A: Heather Williams, Instructional Designer; Jeff Lacy and Jeff McAdams, Librarians and subject matter experts and Joel Juarez, Multimedia Specialist. In the instructional design work we do within the libraries, librarians work with faculty to specify the desired content for online delivery, and Joel and I (Heather) transform it into its online format. For the Article Analysis module, the finished product is basically the “flipped” version of basic library instruction and usable in many contexts. Sometimes our focus is more to help the librarians develop on demand instruction for a specific subject or course.
Q: Librarians don’t always have the luxury of working with an instructional designer. Can you tell us more about your background and job responsibilities?
A: The first part of my career was teaching computer skills at the middle school level, so my background is in education. I’ve been working in instructional design for about seven years, and I’ve been in the UTSA Libraries for over three years. The focus of my work is to take traditional classroom content and transform it into online tutorials that combine text, graphics, videos, animation and quizzes. I think online learning has limitless possibilities – I love doing it and I love talking about it!
Q: What technology did you use to produce the tutorial and the embedded video?
A: The module itself was designed and developed in Adobe Muse. The video was created using the Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection. The activity was created using Articulate Storyline as well as Adobe Photoshop to edit the images. We created two quizzes. One was created using SoftChalk so that we could embed the quiz in Blackboard Learn and the other quiz was created within the module using Articulate Storyline.
Q: Were faculty or students consulted as part of the process?
A: Yes, the faculty initially gave us the lesson’s goals and objectives, which steered us in the right direction. Upon completion of the learning module we consulted with faculty and students to test out the module as well as to provide constructive criticism.
Q: You made it easy for this tutorial to be shared, embedded or integrated into Blackboard Learn LMS. Can you tell us why you decided to do that?
A: We provided the additional links at the bottom of the learning module to make this lesson more accessible and useful to our diverse audience. Specifically, the quiz LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability) hyperlink provided faculty with the choice of inserting the quiz within their Blackboard Learn grade book. We believe that by providing the professors with choices or options allows for us to reach a broader audience. We provided the embed code to allow professors the choice of embedding this lesson anywhere online without having to look up any coding, much like you can do with a YouTube video.
Q: How is this tutorial being promoted and used at your institution? Is it integrated into classes, workshops, assignments, etc.?
A: The plan is for this module to be rolled out into our Academic Inquiry courses here at UTSA. This lesson will also be available on our web page for other professors and students to access. As noted above, it is currently being used in the pilot class so hasn’t been widely promoted or integrated yet into classes.
Q: Do you have any recommendations or advice for someone beginning to contemplate or plan a similar project?
A: Make sure to get all your ducks in a row at the beginning. Know where the module will live and who your audience is. Finally, make sure to personally meet with the faculty that are requesting the module and find out exactly what their needs are at the beginning so that you can make sure to map around any unforeseen barriers. One of the ongoing struggles is how to make the online resources short and specific, limiting them to what is essential to know and eliminating all the background and explanation that is tempting to include. I think it’s incredibly important to keep tutorials at 2-3 minutes or even less in length. No exceptions!
October 2013 PRIMO Site of the Month