Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Colorado visit for the 16th Distance Library Services Conference

Got in some hiking too :)
I just got back from one of my favorite states of Colorado from attending the  16th Distance Library Service conference, a small conference in one hotel with about 230 attendees. Really good conference for new librarians getting into distance and online learning. It is well organized, good presenters with friendly people from all over even internationally. I found many of the session content not so relevant to me as we have implemented many of these ideas already at UNCG over recent years! But I have a few takeaways to share. I recommend the conference to those on fringe of distance, or instruction librarians trying to learn how to reach online students.

One session I did enjoy and glean some ideas was from Nova Southeastern, a large primary graduate school in. Florida, with a presentation of their library video repository. Check it out at http://sherman.library.nova.edu/sites/learn  Their slides are here and they talked us through the process of getting to this video repository site. I like how they created an actual map of where all their students were virtually coming in from. This helped determine how to host their videos (ex: YouTube not accessible to their students in china so not an option). They noted a key article to read for advice "Best practices for online video tutorials in academic libraries - a study of student performances  and understanding" by Bowels-Terry, Hensley and Hinchliffe. And gave us a few key things to keep in mind when creating tutorials (with my comments in parenthesis)
  • Most important content first in case student do not listen to it all (great point, but also just make them short with limited info so they will watch it all)
  • Brand the start of each video (*note - a poster session I went to later on had done a year long usability test of their tutorials with feedback from students saying "we hate the opening brand, as well as don't "start at library homepage - we want you to jump right into where we have issues/need help")
  • Not overly flashy but clean and straightforward
  • Captioning and transcripts a must (now switching .srt captioning file standard   - a summer project for me!)
  • Shorter the better, make them in chunks, modular
  • Central file storage, link from there with consisting naming (been doing this and it makes it so much easier to update, replace file w/o replacing it every place it's linked)

Other conference takeaways: 
  • One library tracks students in their LMS courses as to who looked at the libguide and videos embedded there, and how that impacted their grades and final assignments. Not easy to correlate but they are trying!
  • Another library is creating a digital badges program in Blackboard for information literacy skills/outcomes. They wanted to use for extrinsic motivators - for tracking learning outcome. In BB these are called "achievement"
  • a great way to travel with a poster, try getting it printed on fabric! easy to travel with (poster session takeaway - she used SpoonFlowers :)(
  • Also the conference organizers offered this cool Learning Forward session to wrap up the conference; choose a general topic and room, and attendees gather to discuss what they learned, found interesting, other ideas,  etc. A great way to starting applying what you learned and connect with others before you get back home to work and think to yourself "hmmm what did I learn there...?"!

Keynote Steven Bell (handout) was the most interesting to me, though he gave a lot of info + ideas in a short amount of time: 
  • " Alt-higher ed " --(article on it)  idea of how it's changing with online learning via MOOC like situations. Higher ed expensive, huge student debt, lots can be learned on your own online. Predictions of students going for a few years only enough to get some sort of a job (like an AA degree) but then use moocs for the key learning you need, at multiple institution,  3-7 years, non linear and unpredictable. Also companies are rising up to help train students in real world needs of employers by adding value to higher ed. Ex- Koru is a bootcamp for college grads from liberal arts institutions to learn key skills has already signed agreements w 13 institutions to get their grads into this bootcamp post graduation (costs extra though)
  • Virtual Gate Opening --  Next he talked about changing the online user experience. Focus on people not content as we are not gate keepers. One great example was the Enterprise Rental Car recent commercials  - "We all have the power to make it right" -  they redesigned their customer service instead of focusing on cars to people, as they discovered dealing w/ people's problems is always the biggest issue and provide s best customer service. They went from bottom in rental car company customer service to almost the top in 2 years. Can we do this in libraries?  Another example is the  Seattle  Pikes Fish Market. Joseph Michelli is the visionary behind this change from the fish market going under to where it is today. Called a "Way we serve statement" or an  "experiential brand statement" NOT marketing but empowering statement and way of changing behaviors. (For Pikes is was "treat people as if they are world famous")  Should be an easy to remember phrase that employees live not a marketing gimmick/mission statement. Michelli has a Way We Serve development tool you can use in your library! (pdf)    Check out the book - The new Gold Standard, about the Ritz Carleton hotels experience to a amazing customer service motel. Their service credo "we pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guest" w/ steps of service -  intro self, make eye contact, ask if you met their need. Why this is so impt- everyone is responsible and can't push it off on someone else! Also check out the Zappos Experience for a more online UX. Lots to read!
  • Customer journey mapping -- To change the experience, need to study the customers journey, map it out and find a better process. Carneige in Pittsburgh did this design process they mapped every customers potential journey.  Do this as a staff, virtual journey mapping,  even small processes such as ereserves, what are all the step for a customer and how many different processes are there!
  • 5 C's of distance library UX
    • Convenient - must be easy for them
    • Consistent  - things similar online so students can find what they need every time
    • Competent  - have everyone everywhere be ready to help in all areas
    • Connected - harder area to reach to make them feel connected
    • Community - this is the hardest!

photo courtesy of Tina Adams
Lastly my panel presentation -  Librarians as partners: Strategies for systematically embedding in online course development -  seemed like a positive learning experience for people too. Our goal was to tell our stories from three different libraries at various stages of embedding in online course development process  - one at early stages, one embedding in faculty environment, and one in a fully online program, fully integrated. My part was discussing how I collaborated and partnered with FTLC to create Power Up - a bootcamp for faculty development of online courses.  Surprisingly one of the popular takeaways from our last poll everywhere poll "what did you learn today that you can apply at your library" indicated most people gleaned Jenn's idea of spreadsheet of elearning objects for maintenance timetable. Actually all three of us do this sort of maintained and perhaps indicates a great idea for future presentation on how build a scalable, sustainable manageable elearning repository. 

1 comment:

Steve Cramer said...

Beth, thank you for all your interesting and thoughtful prof dev posts.