PRIMO Site of the Month Interview: October 2020

Avoiding Plagiarism and Citing Sources

Creators: Kian Ravaei, Taylor Harper, Jacy Black 

Beginning Your Research Journey

Creators: Giselle Burns, Kian Ravaei, Xinyi(Alex) Yan

Finding a Research Mentor or Project

Creators: Giselle Burns, Kian Ravaei, Xinyi(Alex) Yan

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles

Interviewees: Kian Ravaei, Jacy Black, Renee Romero, and Doug Worsham

Interviewer: Natalie Mahan

Description of Project (provided by creators):

UCLA WI+RE’s (Writing Instruction + Research Education) “Avoiding Plagiarism and Citing Sources” is an interactive workshop designed to help students identify three key steps for avoiding plagiarism: (1) knowing how to cite, (2) knowing when to cite, (3) knowing how to directly quote, paraphrase, and summarize. In addition, the workshop helps learners articulate potential consequences of plagiarism and identify instances of plagiarism. 

The “Beginning Your Research Journey” workshop prepares learners for research by helping them (1) articulate the nature of research, (2) explore activities involved in research, (3) define goals for research, and (4) brainstorm their own research interests. The workshop was created in collaboration with UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Centers and was adapted from their face-to-face workshops. “Beginning Your Research Journey” showcases the diverse researchers and research projects and features real narratives and profiles of student researchers.

The “Finding a Research Mentor or Project” workshop aims to help learners identify potential research mentors and projects related to their research interests. The workshop introduces three strategies for finding a research mentor or project: (1) browsing a university departmental website, (2) asking others about research opportunities, and (3) utilizing UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Portal. Although this workshop covers a few programs that are specific to UCLA, its main focus is on general strategies for finding research opportunities, which can apply to learners at any university.

These online workshops use the H5P course presentation platform, and contain interactive videos, multiple choice questions, and free response activities. These activities allow learners to engage with the content and assess their learning in real time.

Q: I’m intrigued by the setup the UCLA library has put in place for development of these resources. What was the impetus for creating WI+RE and how was this team put together?

A: Thank you for the kind words! A group of cross-campus collaborators that included staff and faculty from the Library, the Undergraduate Research Centers, Writing Programs, and the Center for Digital Humanities came together to envision and create WI+RE (Writing Instruction + Research Education) as a learner-led design team of undergraduate and graduate student employees hosted by the Library. Early feedback indicated that WI+RE’s grassroots media approach produced relatable open educational resources that were both engaging and pedagogically sound. As a continuation of the successful pilot project, the first cohort of WI+RE learner-designers were hired in the Fall of 2016 to create learner-centered information literacy workshops, tutorials, and handouts that address hidden challenges and barriers to success at academic institutions.

As WI+RE continues to expand, workshops and tutorials have grown to address various challenges and breakthroughs common to beginning students. Learner-designers from any discipline and any level of experience with pedagogy, design, and media production are encouraged to join WI+RE and bring their unique perspective and voice to the team. For a more in-depth overview of WI+RE, check out our forthcoming book chapter, More Than an Internship: A Student-led Learning Community for Instructional Design.

Q: What is the role of the learner-designers in resource development and how are these students recruited?

A: Learner-designers lead the development of WI+RE resources from start to finish. The WI+RE design process emphasizes the creative leadership role of the learner-designer, increases representation and relevance for our diverse campus student body, and centers learner voices and perspectives throughout.

Library staff, campus partners, and instructors are essential contributors as well, and provide key feedback on prototypes throughout the process. For example, the “Avoiding Plagiarism” workshop benefited from extensive feedback from the Library’s General Education Cluster team of librarians and student employees; and several staff from UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Centers provided critical insights and ideas for improvement for Beginning Your Research Journey and Finding a Research Mentor or Project. For each module, you can see the amazing group of learner-designers that led the authorship of the project, as well as the large team of students, staff, and instructor contributors by scrolling down to the “About” section at the bottom of each resource page (See Figure 1).

Figure 1: The “About” box at the bottom of each WI+RE resource contains detailed information on authors and contributors as well as learning outcomes and accessibility information.

Gathering and synthesizing all of this feedback is just one of many key project management and design skills that learner-designers develop while working with WI+RE. In terms of recruitment, we’re never looking for previous experience with these skills, or for any previous technical experience for that matter. As we share in our recruitment email:

You don’t need to start off with an extensive background in technology. Just bring lots of curiosity and a passion for helping others!

This inclusive recruitment process is focused on encouraging applications from students from all backgrounds and majors, regardless of their previous experience with technology and design.

If you’re interested in more information on our recruitment and training process for learner-designers, we have done our best to share as much as possible – including our philosophy and approach, our interview questions, and our technology toolbox. Check out the bibliography below to help you get started, and of course, we’re always willing to chat – just let us know!

Q: How does the WI+RE team choose tutorial topics?

A: There are a few different ways that WI+RE learner-designers choose topics. Sometimes, we come up with them on our own. They might be a result of reflection on our personal learning experiences, or a topic we’re especially passionate about. Occasionally, we host design jams with members of the greater WI+RE community (which includes stakeholders, other learners, and campus partners) to ask for learning challenges they frequently face. These ideas often become open educational resources, as well. In the case of these three workshops, the topics came about through interactions with our campus partners.

Q: One of my favorite aspects of these interactive tutorials is that students are given the opportunity to answer questions and assess their skills. Are these responses used for assessment in any way and, if so, how?

A: While there is an opportunity for instructors who use WI+RE resources in their courses to assess learning via the questions and prompts placed at strategic points in the workshops and tutorials, WI+RE’s philosophy is less about traditional assessment of learning outcomes and more about gaining insight into learner experiences.

One of WI+RE’s shared values is to “foster memorable, meaningful, and transformative learning through learner-led design,” and we try to intentionally live out this value both in what we create and in what we assess. At the end of each of our workshops, students are asked to take a quick survey where they respond to questions such as, “What were 1-3 things that were useful or helpful about this workshop?” Another question asks students to choose on a scale of 1-5 whether, “This workshop helped [them] improve [their] research or writing skills.” With the feedback from these questions, we hope to gain a better understanding of what is meaningful for students, and whether WI+RE resources helped to transform their experience as a researcher or writer.

Q: How did your team choose the platform for these tutorials? Were other technologies considered?

A: One of the most important steps in our process, called “4-Paths,” challenges our learner-designers to come up with 4 different ways to approach the learning outcomes for the challenge they are working on. These paths might include anything from handouts and exhibits, to videos, podcasts, and interactive multimedia. Part of the idea behind “4-Paths” is to avoid choosing a particular technology or solution in advance, and to stay open to multiple possible approaches for each challenge (see the Build Something Toolkit for a 4-Paths handout you can use to give it a try!).

For these projects, after doing a 4-Paths activity, we discussed the importance of interactivity for learners, integrated reflection and assessment, and compatibility with the campus Learning Management System (LMS). With these considerations in mind, we selected the “course presentation” content type in H5P (, which is an interactive tool supported by our campus LMS. H5P features prominently in much of WI+RE’s recent work, as it allows a mix of reflective learning, self-evaluations of comprehension, multimedia with embedded questions, and interactive feedback. We’ve found that H5P provides an interactive layer that can be used for a wide variety of multimedia, including animated sequences and videos we have been making for a while now, as well as forms of educational media that are new to us and really exciting to explore (see, e.g., the recently published “Breaking Down Academic Articles” which takes the form of an interactive web-comic built inside of H5P).

Q: What is the workflow for developing these tutorials? What is each WI+RE team member’s role? How are the content and structure of each tutorial determined?

A: There are many different ways in which WI+RE instructional resources are created – one way being through collaboration with our campus partners. For example, “Avoiding Plagiarism and Citing Sources” was a collaborative project with the Cluster Program, a series of interdisciplinary courses for first-year students. Cluster 73 Inquiry Specialist Jacy Black and Embedded Librarian Nisha Mody created a preliminary H5P to address instructor concerns after several students struggled with problems regarding plagiarism. From there, WI+RE expressed interest in expanding and improving upon the resource’s foundation. As part of the process, we also asked for feedback from the larger Cluster Inquiry Specialist team to utilize their experiences working with undergraduates. The result is a more comprehensive workshop for a broader audience of undergraduates.

“Beginning Your Research Journey” and “Finding a Research Mentor or Project” are also a result of a cross-campus collaboration. The Undergraduate Research Centers wanted to create a series of “Entering Research” workshops, inspired by CIMER resources, that guide students through the entire research process. When coming up with the content and structure of each tutorial or workshop, we are guided by the learning outcomes. We often spend just as much time generating helpful learning outcomes as we spend designing the resources!

For every project, WI+RE learner-designers take the lead, and have a supportive team of full time staff who make essential contributions. Team members are not in fixed roles but collaborate on every part of the process.

Q: How are these tutorials shared with the campus community? Do course instructors request them? Are they advertised in any way?

A: We share WI+RE resources in a variety of ways. They are available on relevant library research guides and shared on a variety of instructional resource databases such as PRIMO, MERLOT, and OER Commons. Librarians utilize our instructional materials during live instruction sessions, and campus partners, such as the Undergraduate Research Centers and Undergraduate Writing Centers, frequently share WI+RE workshops and tutorials with their students. We share our resources with instructors through events hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, as well as the campus TA Resource Fair. Instructors have requested to integrate our resources in courses ranging from first year experience to capstone level: University Studies, GE Clusters, History, English, English Composition, Society and Genetics, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Psychology, Scandinavian Studies, and more.

Our partners in the freshman Cluster Program regularly utilize our tutorials and workshops to promote first-year success. Several classes assign WI+RE workshops as homework, utilize tutorials during library instruction, or give WI+RE handouts as additional resources. Recently, the Cluster staff paired various student learning goals to particular WI+RE resources – while also providing suggestions and ideas for future instructional materials.

Q: How do you evaluate the efficacy and success of these tutorials? Do you have plans to revise existing tutorials based on feedback from students or instructors?

A: We try to follow a “continual improvement” model when it comes to evaluating the efficacy and success of our resources. For WI+RE, this begins early in the design process and extends for the full lifespan of the resource. One of the things we often say is that no resource is ever “done”; instead, we strive to keep improving our work and responding to feedback before and after we publish. We receive extensive feedback on our work during the prototyping process, and our interactions with library and campus partners are really helpful in ensuring our work benefits from diverse perspectives. We’d also like to give a shout-out to the many library student employees who review and really help us improve our work! This feedback makes a big difference. And another shout-out to our partners with the campus Disabilities and Computing Program: their insights and expertise have been essential to our ongoing commitment to universal design for learning and for our continuing efforts to improve accessibility. Most recently several members of the WI+RE team got together to put together a plan for a rolling review of WI+RE resources to make sure our resources are up to date and identify areas that need improvement.

In addition, at the course integration stage, we utilize both qualitative and quantitative feedback in a variety of forms. Many of our workshops, for example, have integrated pre-/post- surveys that help us get a sense of both learning improvements and learner impressions of and responses to our work. Faculty feedback, and feedback from the campus learning technology community is an additional source of input. For an example of a mixed methods analysis of WI+RE’s instructional materials, see this report from UCLA’s Center for Educational Assessment.

All of this is to say that our self-evaluation efforts are multifaceted, and we’re doing our best to both improve what we have already made, and at the same time, keep making new things!

Open Educational Resources Mentioned in this Interview

Ravaei, K., Harper, T., & Black, J. (2019, January 6). Avoiding Plagiarism and Citing Sources [Workshop]. WI+RE – Quick and Practical Research and Writing Tutorials, Collaboratively Designed by Students at UCLA. 

Burns, G., Ravaei, K., & Yan, X. (2019a, December 1). Beginning Your Research Journey [Workshop]. WI+RE – Quick and Practical Research and Writing Tutorials, Collaboratively Designed by Students at UCLA. 

Burns, G., Ravaei, K., & Yan, X. (2019b, December 2). Research Logistics [Workshop]. WI+RE – Quick and Practical Research and Writing Tutorials, Collaboratively Designed by Students at UCLA. 

Burns, G., Ravaei, K., & Yan, X. (2019c, December 3). Finding a Research Mentor or Project [Workshop]. WI+RE – Quick and Practical Research and Writing Tutorials, Collaboratively Designed by Students at UCLA. 

Lopez, C. (2020, May 20). Breaking down Academic Articles [Tutorial]. WI+RE – Quick and Practical Research and Writing Tutorials, Collaboratively Designed by Students at UCLA. 

Additional Resources and References

Brecher Cook, D., & Worsham, D. (2018, April 13). Let’s Build Something!: A Rapid-Prototyping Instructional Design Workshop [Pre-conference workshop]. 2018 CARL Conference, The Academic Library in Times of Change, Redwood City, CA. 

Pierre, J., Harper, T., Meyer, C., Ravaei, K., & Worsham, D. (2020). More Than an Internship: A Student-led Learning Community for Instructional Design. In Engaging Students Through Campus Libraries: High Impact Learning Models. Libraries Unlimited. 

Romero, R., Worsham, D., & Pho, A. (2019, May 11). Better Together: Student-Led Collaborative Media Creation [Presentation]. LOEX 2019, Minneapolis, MN.

Harper, T., Mody, N., Ravaei, K., Romero, R., & Worsham, D. (2020). The WI+RE Way: A manifesto and a process for learner-led design. The Journal of New Librarianship, 5(1). 

Worsham, D., & Roux, S. (2019). Foundations in Learner-Centered Design. 

Worsham, D. (2019, June 24). WI+RE: Creating a learner-led instructional design team in your library [Presentation]. American Library Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. (Handout:

UCLA WI+RE. (2019). Email template: Like Learning and Design? Join the WI+RE Team!

Worsham, D. (2019, June 23). WI+RE’s tech toolbox (a snapshot). WI+RE Sandbox.