Creating a Library Orientation Video for Distance, Regional, and Online Students

Creating a Library Orientation Video for Distance, Regional, and Online Students

CHAPTER 23 Creating a Library Orientation Video for Distance, Regional, and Online Students Leah Townsend NorQuest College, Edmonton, AB, Canada Cha...

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Creating a Library Orientation Video for Distance, Regional, and Online Students Leah Townsend NorQuest College, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Chapter Themes: Assessment; Marketing & Promotion; Targeting Specific Audiences; Technology.

An orientation to library services is a common part of any new student orientation experience. However, for students studying online or at regional campuses (referred to in this chapter as “distance learners”), a library tour or class visit is not a practical reality. For these students, an introduction to the library and its services can be provided as an online, interactive video. Offering an online orientation is an essential part of introducing these students to the library and ensuring that distance students are set up for success. This chapter will describe our process of creating, promoting, and evaluating an online orientation for distance learners.

CONTEXT NorQuest College is a community college based in Edmonton, Canada. As of January 2017, the College serves 10,439 full-time and part-time credit students per year. NorQuest offers 23 postsecondary career credentials, and 7 foundational programs, including the government-sponsored program Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada. The population of NorQuest College is very diverse; more than half of our students are born outside of Canada, and 549 self-identify as indigenous (First Nations, Metis, or Inuit ancestry). Almost two-thirds of our students are female, and the majority of them are over the age of 25. Although the main NorQuest campus is located in Edmonton, there are several regional campuses located in smaller towns in North and Central Alberta, which often use blended instruction (both face-to-face and online courses). Additionally, some programs are available as fully online programs. As of January 2017, there were 1.015 students enrolled in distance, regional, or online programs. Although some local online students may Copyright © 2018 Kylie Bailin, Benjamin Jahre and Planning Academic Library Orientations Sarah Morris. Published by Elsevier Limited. ISBN 978-0-08-102171-2 All rights reserved.



Planning Academic Library Orientations

travel to the central Edmonton location to access library services, most of the distance learners will never set foot in the library during the course of their program. The NorQuest College Library employs a staff consisting of three librarians, seven library technician paraprofessionals, one page, and a head librarian. The librarians are responsible for in-class library instruction, one-on-one research appointments with students, reference desk duties, and creation of online learning objects (such as subject guides and online tutorials). We do not currently have a dedicated distance learning librarian. I am an instruction librarian and have been serving in an unofficial capacity as the distance librarian as well since I started working at NorQuest in 2014.

THE CHALLENGE OF REACHING DISTANCE LEARNERS For many students, starting a new program at a university or college often means a tour of the library and/or an orientation to library services. However, many distance learners will not be able to visit the library in person to receive a face-to-face orientation; thus it is necessary for these distance learners to receive a library orientation to become accustomed to the Library’s online spaces and digital resources (Ingalls, 2015). As such, we decided to develop an online library orientation video tutorial to meet the needs of these students. In researching how to orient our distance learners to library services, we noticed several common themes. One problem was noted by Fisk and Pedersen Summey (2004), who commented that many distance learners are completely unaware of library services, and NorQuest library staff found this was often the case in interactions with our distance learners. Communication with distance learners was sporadic, and the ones who did contact us were often unsure how to access library resources. To address these types of issues, Dalal and Lackie (2014) discussed how the Rider University Library created and marketed online videos, which highlighted library resources to increase awareness. In this case, they used videos with student actors and screen-casted content. Cannady, Fagerheim, Filar Williams, and Steiner (2013) also suggested a personal welcome and orientation video be created for distance students to help them make connections to the Library. As our librarians were already actively using Adobe Captivate software to create online tutorials, it was possible for us to create an interactive orientation video to highlight the resources and services most applicable to

Creating a Library Orientation Video for Distance, Regional, and Online Students


distance learners. We chose to forgo the use of actors and other live-action sequences because of time and budget restrictions.

CREATING AN ORIENTATION VIDEO Before developing the distance learner online orientation in 2015, we had already started developing online tutorials for the library website. The tutorials covered topics in basic information literacy skills. To manage the creation of these tutorials, a set of best practices were established. The best practices helped to ensure the resulting tutorials would be clear, accessible, and uniform in appearance. Many of the best practice guidelines were informed by Clark and Mayer’s (2011) book e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. Some of the guidelines include the following: • Using relevant, rather than decorative graphics • Allowing for white space • Writing the script using conversational language • Considering accessibility aspects (such as closed captioning, untimed tasks, avoiding sound effects, etc.) Having already established these best practices and a standard procedure for creating tutorials allowed us to easily apply these processes to the creation of an online orientation.

Plan The first step in creating the online orientation was to draft a storyboard and script. This essential document lays out the objective of the tutorial or video, images to be used, concepts covered, spoken script, and any interactions that occur for a given section of video. Our storyboard template borrowed heavily from the storyboards being used for tutorial development at MacEwan University, another postsecondary institution located in Edmonton (MacEwan University Library, 2012). See Appendix for a copy of the storyboard and script for the NorQuest Library distance learners library orientation. For the online orientation, the content of the script was created using material adapted from preexisting library orientations and tours, which had been used with face-to-face classes. Information from the orientations was divided into three categories: resources that online students could get from the library, tools that they could use online, and help services that were available. Keeping in mind our desire to use a conversational tone in our


Planning Academic Library Orientations

videos, as well as the language abilities of our English as an Additional Language learners, we simplified these categories for the orientation as Get, Use, and Help (see Fig. 23.1). Content that would only apply to students using the physical library space, such as instructions for reserving a group study room, was omitted from the online orientation script. The script also included a welcome message, instructions on how to navigate the orientation, and library contact information.

Build The librarians selected Adobe Captivate for use on the distance orientation project because of our preexisting familiarity with the software, which can be used to create interactive videos. Possible interactive components available in this software include drag-and-drop items, type-in textboxes, multiple-choice questions, or buttons that reveal information when they are clicked. Using interactive components takes the students from being passive recipients of information to being active learners who participate with the information. However, it is important to be aware of accessibility and technology limitations when designing these interactions. Some interactive components (such as drag-and-drop) do not work as well on touchscreen devices. As such, we limited our interactions for the online orientation to simple clicks or taps. Within the three sections of the video, students are given the option to click on a set of icons (see Fig. 23.2). As they click, corresponding

Figure 23.1 A screenshot from the online video orientation, outlining the content of the video (NorQuest College Library, 2015).

Creating a Library Orientation Video for Distance, Regional, and Online Students


Figure 23.2 A screenshot from the online orientation (NorQuest College Library, 2015).

information for each icon appears, along with links to access the resource or service via the Library website. The video is self-paced, and students are able to move through the icons on each slide in whichever order they see fit. Importantly, when students click on a link the video pauses. This allows students to explore the information outside the video on the library website and then return to the video and continue at their convenience.

Publish The orientation was published as HTML 5, a publishing format that enabled it to be a clickable, interactive video (NorQuest College Library, 2015). Captivate also allows for publishing in Flash and other noninteractive formats such as MP4. Another reason for selecting HTML 5 was the ability to have responsive Web design, a necessary aspect of compatibility with mobile devices. The NorQuest Library has its own media server, which we were able to use to host the online orientation video. We included the video in the tutorials section of the library website and featured it prominently on the homepage at the beginning of term.

Promotion As discussed in the section on reaching distance learners, it can be challenging to help distance students become aware of library services. As such, it was not surprising that promotion was the most difficult part of the


Planning Academic Library Orientations

online orientation project. Creating awareness of the orientation video required communication with distance students through multiple mediums. In addition to posting the video in a prominent position on the library website, distance learners were also emailed an invitation to watch the video, via a direct link. The orientation video was advertised on the Library’s various social media accounts. Instructors were also made aware of the new orientation through emails and staff meeting presentations and encouraged to embed the orientation in a prominent location in their course management system.

Evaluation At the end of winter term 2016, 824 distance learners were sent a survey regarding the online orientation. Students were asked if they remembered receiving an email about the online orientation. If they answered “yes,” students were then asked to rate the helpfulness of the orientation using a Likert scale. Of the 74 (9%) distance students who completed the survey in April 2016, 38 (52%) remembered receiving the email. Of those students, 27 (70%) found the video to be helpful or very helpful, 1 (3%) found it not very helpful, and 10 (27%) did not look at the video. In addition, page views were also used as a metric to determine if students were watching the video. There were 224 views of the online orientation during this time. Although these numbers were an improvement over previous distance learner-focused initiatives, there was still a great deal of room for further outreach programs. Fall term 2016 saw the launch of a personal librarian program focused on distance learners. A personal librarian program is a type of liaison program designed to establish long-term relationships with a specific group of library users by cultivating personal connections (Moniz & Moats, 2014). Our version of the program makes use of the video orientation, weekly email newsletters to distance students, and heavy promotion of library services with faculty teaching distance learners. We broadened our scope in this project: rather than surveying students strictly about the distance orientation video, we surveyed students about the usefulness of the email newsletters they received throughout the term. The first of these newsletters featured the distance orientation video. Other topics included information about plagiarism and citing, the research process, identifying scholarly sources, evaluating information, and tips for studying. Over the course of the 2016e17 academic year, 1,566 distance learners were contacted by via email by the personal librarian program. Eleven percent of these students responded to our end-of-term survey. When asked about which communication topics they found to be the most

Creating a Library Orientation Video for Distance, Regional, and Online Students


useful, the introductory newsletter highlighting the online orientation was rated the highest, with 73% of respondents rating it as the most useful information they received. With increased library communication and the more personal touch that accompanies a personal librarian program, library staff have made anecdotal comments that more distance learners are contacting the library and using the services highlighted in the orientation video.

ADAPTING FOR OTHER INSTITUTIONS An online orientation could be useful for college and university libraries of any size. Before investing time and training in a video creation software package, check with your institution for any existing software subscriptions and in-house technical support. For institutions where budget is a concern, consider some of the free software that is available for creating online videos. One example is Adobe Spark, which lets users easily build videos for online release. An online orientation would be ideal for institutions where there are large numbers of students as well. At a small college such as NorQuest, almost all of the classes will come to the library for a tour or have a librarian visit the class for orientation. In institutions where this is not feasible, an online orientation could be the next best thing to having a librarian visit the class. For institutions offering in-person orientations, an online orientation could serve as a supplement or ongoing reference tool for students.

CONCLUSION Distance learners are an example of just one group that can benefit from an online library orientation. At the busy start of term, having an online orientation available for “just-in-time” access is a highly useful tool for introducing students to library services and resources. Currently, our plan is to continue using the distance learners library orientation video in conjunction with the other resources highlighted in the personal librarian newsletters. Minor edits to the orientation video are made as necessary, to reflect additional services as they are made available. In the future, we are looking to develop additional online resources tailored specifically to distance learners, including a webinar version of our workshop on APA format and citation. Looking further ahead, one long-term goal is to develop a full suite of information literacy activities and videos on the College’s learning management system, which instructors could then embed directly into online courses.


Planning Academic Library Orientations





Branded welcome slide with title Get, Use, Help headings


Library URL Text of spoken instructions Example of a link

(Welcome music intro) Welcome to the NorQuest College Library. As a distance, regional, or online student, you have access to a wide variety of resources, tools, and services through the NorQuest Library. In this interactive video, you will learn about how to access library resources from home, via the library website. As you watch the video, you will be able to click on links that take you to the website for more information. When you visit the website, this video will pause. To continue watching the video, return to this window, and click or tap the play button. If you are using the Library’s online resources at home, you will be prompted to log in. Use your seven-digit student ID number and last name to log in, and use library resources when you are off campus. You can get many different kinds of resources from the Library. This includes e-books, online articles, as well as delivery of physical books to off-campus locations. Click on each of the resource icons to learn more.

Logging in

Log-in screen images


Get! Title Icons of each of the three resource types

Clicking on an icon brings up detailed written info for each one and external website links.

Creating a Library Orientation Video for Distance, Regional, and Online Students






Use! Title

The Library website also has online videos, and research guides on a wide variety of subjects. These tools are very useful for helping you with your studies. Click on each to learn more. If you get stuck while working on an assignment, don’t worry! The Library has many helpful resources and services to assist you. Get started with the library basics, watch an informational video tutorial, or make an online appointment with a tutor or librarian for writing and assignment help. Click on each icon to learn more. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us! You can reach us by phone, text, email, or online chat. You can also connect with the Library on social media. The friendly library staff will be glad to answer your questions and direct you to services and resources to help you with your courses. (Ending music)

Functions in same way as previous slide. Help!



Click Play Again button

REFERENCES Cannady, R. E., Fagerheim, B., Filar Williams, B., & Steiner, H. (2013). Diving into distance learning librarianship: Tips and advice for new and seasoned professionals. College and Research Libraries News, 74(5), 254e261. Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Pfeiffer. Dalal, H. A., & Lackie, R. J. (2014). What if you build it and they still won’t come? Addressing student awareness of resources and services with promotional videos. Journal of Library and Information Services in Distance Learning, 8, 225e241.


Planning Academic Library Orientations

Fisk, J., & Pedersen Summey, T. (2004). Got distance services? Marketing remote library services to distance learners. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 9(1), 77e91. Ingalls, D. (2015). Virtual tours, videos, and zombies: The changing face of academic library orientation. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Sciences, 39(1), 79e90. MacEwan University Library. (2012). Tutorial outline and storyboard. Edmonton: MacEwan University. Moniz, R., & Moats, J. (2014). The personal librarian: Enhancing the student experience. Chicago: American Library Association. NorQuest College Library. (2015). Distance learners library orientation, online tutorial. NorQuest College.