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Beyond Library Guides: Libguides as a Platform for Student Research Projects Assistant Professor Phyllis Conn Institute for Core Studies, St. John’s University.

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Presentation on theme: "Beyond Library Guides: Libguides as a Platform for Student Research Projects Assistant Professor Phyllis Conn Institute for Core Studies, St. John’s University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beyond Library Guides: Libguides as a Platform for Student Research Projects Assistant Professor Phyllis Conn Institute for Core Studies, St. John’s University Assistant Professor Benjamin Turner Instructional Services, St. John’s University

2 Overview

3 Genesis of Project Online Text-book to be used for first year “Discover New York” class. Inspired by the Seventeen Moments in Soviet History Web site. Would serve as as a repository for student research in history of New York City and Long Island Course. We chose Libguides because it is easy to use, and is well-suited to collaborative work.

4 Libguides: A Primer Libguides is a hosted Web publishing service provided by Springshare. Originally developed as a means for subject librarians to easily maintain their own subject pages. Scope of Libguides has grown, and is now used by non- library faculty as a means of sharing Web content with students. Flexible, wiki-like nature of Libguides makes them well- suited to collaborative work.

5 Pedagogical Value of Wikis Positive correlation between group learning and learning effectiveness. (Janz 1999; Lou, Abramin and d’Appolonia 2001) Facilitates ongoing feedback by instructor. Allow students to informally publish their work and reach a broader audience, including classmates and possibly others. This is a motivating factor. (Wheeler and Wheeler 2009) Like other forms of writing, Wikis are conducive to “constructivist” learning, in which students create their own knowledge. (Hazari, Moreland, and North 2009) Open nature of Wikis allows users to revise and improve the work of others, promoting the development of critical thinking skills.

6 Challenges of Wikis Learning curve associated with software. (Smith, Mills and Myers 2009) Students may be reluctant to edit each other’s work. (Kelsey and Lin 2009) Grading may be more challenging than for individual writing assignments. (Monk-Turner, Payne, Smith and Sumter 2006) Students are sometimes disinclined to group work. Group work may complicate issues like academic dishonesty.

7 Libguides as Wiki Advantages: Technical Support. No advertising. University Branding. Easily incorporates other Libguide content, such as pertinent library resources. Can be backed up. Allows “collaborators,” who only have editing privileges for specific guides. Disadvantages: Does not track edits and save older versions of wikis. (No version control.) Does not indicate which collaborator is responsible for which content.

8 Sample Libguides Page:

9 Free Wiki Software: Wikispaces, PbWorks, and Mediawiki Advantages: Free. Provides recent iterations, allowing users to track changes. (Version Control.) Indicates which collaborator is responsible for which content. Disadvantages: Potential data loss. No contractual agreement. Advertising (on free versions.)

10 Sample Wikispaces Page

11 Use of Libguides in History of NYC and Long Island Course Used as a platform for student research in the Spring, 2009 and Spring 2010. Included three components: Biographies of famous New Yorkers. (written individually.) Overviews of Different Eras in NY History. (written collaboratively.) Entries on specific events in NY History. (written individually.) Assignments were the same for the Spring, 2010 class, but also required students to revise existing entries from the previous year.

12 Best Practices: The Sweet Sixteen

13 1. Learning Goals Decide what you want students to learn from the project. Their work should focus on the learning goals – not necessarily the technology.

14 Learning Goals: Sample Demonstrate critical and analytical skills required for effective reading and interpretation of the documents and texts used in historical analysis Conduct sound ethical research, demonstrating proficiency in information literacy and the basic tools of historical research Demonstrate effective written communication in the style appropriate to the discipline of history Demonstrate recognition, understanding and respect for the complexity of diverse socio-cultural and historical traditions

15 2. Platform Decide what platform you want to use and understand its advantages and disadvantages.

16 3. Evaluation Decide how students will be evaluated and how often.

17 Our Basic Grade Rubric 1. Analyze 2. Integrate information 3. Addresses Assignment 4. Organization 5. Grammar, Usage and Style 6. Follows instructions

18 4. Interim Feedback? Decide whether you’ll provide interim feedback on their work (and when and how). Sample: Generally well done. The biographies are factually detailed, and you address why these individuals are significant to New York City history. However, the entry on Santiago is missing, and your entries were submitted a week after the deadline….

19 5. Basic Ground Rules Establish basic ground rules about editing others’ work; about style of writing; fonts, etc. Sample ground rules: Ensure that a simple, factual identification exists in each entry, preferably near its beginning. Include footnotes in the body of the entries from credible, scholarly sources. These citations can be taken from those already listed under “Further Reading,” or can be taken from other sources. For the footnotes, use Chicago Style….

20 6. Plagiarism Especially important: establish ground rules about plagiarism and provide training about how to avoid it.

21 From the SJU Library: Why is proper citation important? References alert your reader to the resources that helped shape your work - the words, ideas, pictures, opinions, data and even methodologies of others. To incorporate sources properly, one needs to keep track of the facts and expert opinions gathered during the research process, and then use both in-text- citations and bibliographic citations to alert readers where they can find the resource….

22 7. Individual or group projects? Decide whether students will work together, individually, or some combination. If group assignments will be used, understand and communicate with students about your expectations of the group and individuals and the benefits of group work. Our experience: a blend of individual and group projects.

23 8. Architecture Plan the architecture as thoroughly as possible before working with students. Our experience: We set up the basic architecture for the Libguide, including tabs for specific pages, before introducing the project to students.


25 9. But be flexible -New ideas come up -New resources or new platforms become available -Original architecture develops problems -Students have difficulty with concepts or practical issues

26 10. Audience Understand the audience for your Libguide or wiki. Sample: The audience for our Libguide is students in a first-year required course at St. John’s University.

27 11. Model, model, model Expect to model writing style, use of resources, and technology on a regular basis. Our experience: We modeled what we expected and the technology involved when each assignment was made; again before they were due; and on request from students.

28 12. Technical issues: students Expect students to have technical issues, especially at the last minute. Our experience: Students who wait until the evening before to post their work and can’t log in; students who lose their work just before it’s due.

29 13. General technical problems Expect technical problems in general, especially just before a deadline. Decide how you’ll deal with that.

30 14. Backup, backup, backup Back up your Libguide or wiki regularly – preferably on a different server or hard drive. Part B: and tell students to save their work in case of major data loss Our experience: data loss will occur at some point

31 15. Partner up For faculty and academic librarians: Work with a partner if possible. Our experience: Partners help with the work involved; increase accessibility to students; offer different perspectives; help maintain accountability on projects.

32 16. Patience, patience, patience Understand that things might not work well the first time – be patient with yourself, the students, and the technology. Our experience: First semester worked well; second semester had problems; now it’s time to re-work and re-plan.

33 Works Cited Hazari, Sunil, Alexa North, and Deborah Moreland. "Investigating Pedagogical Value of Wiki Technology." Journal of Information Systems Education 20.2 (2009): 187-98. Janz, Brian D. "Self-Directed Teams in IS: Correlates for Improved Systems Development Work Outcomes." Information & Management 35.3 (1999): 171-92. Lin, Hong, and Kathleen D. Kelsey. "Building a Networked Environment in Wikis: The Evolving Phases of Collaborative Learning in a Wikibook Project." Journal of Educational Computing Research 40.2 (2009): 145-69. Lou, Yiping, Philip C. Abrami, and Sylvia d'Apollonia. "Small Group and Individual Learning with Technology: A Meta- Analysis." Review of Educational Research 71.3 (2001): 449. Smith, Elizabeth Joy, Julie Evelyn Mills, and Baden Myers. "Using Wikis and Blogs for Assessment in First-Year Engineering." Campus-Wide Information Systems 26.5 (2009): 424-32. Web. Wheeler, Steve, and Dawn Wheeler. "Using Wikis to Promote Quality Learning in Teacher Training." Learning, Media and Technology 34.1 (2009): 1-10. Web.

34 Further Resources Libguides. Provides information on Libguides, and instructions for obtaining a free trial. PBWorks. Free or paid accounts, the latter of which provide enhanced features. Wikispaces. Allows you to set up a basic (free) account, or paid accounts, which provide enhanced features.

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