Monday, June 15, 2009

From the New Engineering Librarians Perspective: Collaborations & Online Tutorials

Collaboration with faculty: What they don’t teach you in library school

Sarah Jane Dooley presented various strategies for connecting with faculty, from the perspective of a new librarian. Dooley suggests getting to know department faculty, familiarize yourself with subject area and specialties of faculty, as well as discipline specific resources and publishers. It’s important to consider varying interpersonal and communication strategies of the faculty you are working with. Don’t pass on any opportunity to attend social events on campus. This is great way to network with other faculty and meet future collaborators. Librarians must create their own opportunities to network by being visible on campus, taking every opportunity as it presents itself using both online and offline approaches.

Dooley recommends that the workplace should develop documentation for new librarians and be good role models. A mentoring program for new staff could help. Library School’s could include more education on best practices for networking outside the profession. In working with faculty, she suggests that technology presents interesting opportunities to collaborate, even allowing faculty to use libguides themselves and use of facebook for promotion. Contact Sara Jane Dooley at and for a copy of her handout which including the above strategies and more as well as a bibliography.

Continuing Library Instruction via Online Tutorials
Megan Tomeo, Arthur Lakes Library, Colorado School of Mines
Challenge: Librarians don’t get enough contact with students in order to help them develop their research skills.

Solution: Mini-grant from university to build online tutorials which are delivered through partnerships with a sophomore-level course (a continuation of their existing first year level instruction modules which CSM talked about at last year’s ASEE Annual Conference). Also, they collaborated with the senior level capstone sections.

Benefits: No space or face-time needed for virtual learning. Can be designed while at reference desk where they have installed Captivate to create the tutorials. CSM librarians created many modules with similar look and each incorporated at least one competency from CSM and integrated quizzes. In the future, they hope to enhance the tutorials with more interactivity.

Assessment: Tomeo administered a three-part survey, one portion was a self-assessment of student learning. The pre-survey was administered to help staff understand student recall from the first year research instruction. A post-survey later assessed learning within the sophomore/junior year. They used a control group and these students took the surveys but were not directed to use the online tutorials. Survey return rate was 52% but less than 30 pre- and post-pairs were ultimately useful for analyzing the pre- and post survey results.

Results: Test group improved scores by 13% but control group had a slight negative change. Tomeo feels the tutorials are impacting learning in a positive way. In 2007, at University of Washington, Whang, et al. study on evaluating student bibliographies could be another approach, but in the future she hopes to consider if given consent by students involved.
To view the tutorials connect to
After August 1, 2009: > Services > Library Instruction > Online Tutorials
Another point to ponder: students commented that they preferred the 50 minute session in-person with the librarians vs. the online tutorials.

Teaming with Possibilities: Working Together to Engage with Engineering Faculty and Students
Janet Fransen and Jon Jeffryes, Engineering Libraries, University of Minnesota
Fransen and Jeffryes both support hundreds of faculty in the school of engineering and more than 3000 students.

Overview of three engagement strategies:
1. Marketing

a. Have a web presence: they create a page for each librarian, news for each area (mechanical, biomedical) and uses flickr to find interesting photos/images to include.
b. Use social media: they created a twitter account (umsciref), they also suggest you search twitter for your library’s name to get the pulse, if any. They created a facebook page and import their twitter feed into fb, they have also used fb ads to promote their page.
c. Measure results: they use (cool and seemingly useful URL shortener) when they post URLs do they can collect data on number of clicks on the links you create (they created a spreadsheet using API to grab click stats)
d. Be present: visiting seminars on campus, etc.

2. Instruction
a. Course-based live: They work with senior level engineering courses and since there are more than 100 students they are looking into team teaching
b. Library workshop series: EndNote, Zotero, Engineering: find better information faster, etc. check their web site for more. They have also started recording and posting screen captures as a supplement. They are often team-taught and can create a dynamic atmosphere. They use Moodle pages for workshops and this can be a time saver for staff. Users can refer back to these pages for instruction and future self-help.
c. Course-based online: Jon built 90 unique course pages for each class (without asking first!) and this worked well for him.
d. Tutorials: they created one on patents

3. Scholarly Communication & Institutional Repository (UDC)
a. Posted professor’s papers and they provide the faculty member with statistics on downloads
b. IR gives librarians an opportunity to get out and talk with faculty and by viewing their publication listed they can determine whether or not they are a good candidate for including papers within their digital repository.
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