Articulate Storyline – Accessible Learning Object Design Guide

This guide, created by Will Heikamp, was introduced at CTSI this week:

Accessible Learning Object Design Guide

It’s specifically meant to support those people using Articulate Storyline to design online learning objects in compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA Web Accessibility standards.

Thank you to Eveline Houtman for providing this resource.



[PDADC-L] #17, Provostial Guidelines on Digital Learning Materials

These guidelines result from a change in the Ministry’s approach to ancillary fees.

Page 3 points instructors to their liaison librarian to discuss alternatives to commercial online resources.  To support your work in this area, see the Libguide Learning Object Repositories and Open Coursewarewhich links to significant online sources of open educational resources.  I  update this guide annually with major directories, but if you see something missing, please let me know and I’ll do my best to add it.

If a faculty member has a specific question about the attached policy or whether a specific commercial resource would be acceptable under the Guidelines, you may want to refer instructors to staff members at CTSI, who are also able and willing to assist in this area.  And of course, if you’re not sure, feel free to ask me.

Rita Vine

From: Provost []
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2014 11:14 AM
Subject: [PDADC-L] #17, Provostial Guidelines on Digital Learning Materials

Memo attached in PDF format and also available on-line at

To:       PDAD&C

From:  Jill Matus, Vice-Provost, Students & First Entry Divisions; Sioban Nelson, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Interim Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life

Date:   September 8, 2014

Re:       Provostial Guidelines on Digital Learning Materials


In December 2013, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities revised the 2013-14 to 2016-17 Tuition Fee Framework and Ancillary Fee Guidelines for Publicly-Assisted Universities.  The revisions include changes regarding the charging of compulsory ancillary fees for digital learning materials required for assessment purposes.

The Ministry has signaled the need for each university to establish a policy regarding the use of digital learning materials for assessment purposes.

Attached are the Provostial Guidelines on the Use of Digital Learning Materials and well as a Frequently Asked Questions.  These Guidelines will be in effect for 2014-2015 and will be reviewed in early spring 2015.


Librarians at the 2013 Teaching & Learning Symposium

Every autumn, the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation hosts a Teaching & Learning Symposium to explore a variety of topics and issues involved in teaching and learning at the University of Toronto.

Librarians are always welcome to participate and attend, and this year the CTSI-seconded librarians deployed a survey to get feedback from the librarians in attendance about their experiences of the event and how it resonates with their work.

A common thread in the feedback was positive responses to a new type of session added to the program this year, the 15-minute “Nifty Assignment” session, in which presenters discussed the development and implementation of creative assignments. As one librarian noted, this session was useful because “[i]t showed how librarians and faculty worked together to design & deliver scaffolded assignments.”

Another important theme that appeared in the feedback was the challenges and rewards of librarians’ relationship to instructors and the classroom, as demonstrated by these quotations:

“[O]ne challenge is simply for librarians to find out about courses where the library could play a helpful role, to instructors and students – often the instructors aren’t aware that their students are dealing with something the library can help support.”

“Interaction and networking with faculty and staff is so often productive, whether they are your ‘home’ faculty or not – the more librarians we can get to faculty events like this the better, just in terms of networking and exposure for librarian services and roles.”

We look forward to next year’s Teaching & Learning symposium, and encourage librarians to submit and attend.


Notes from the first Practice Exchange – examples of successful teaching practices

Tuesday January 15 2013 brought with it the inaugural Practice Exchange, a meeting of U of T librarians interested in exchanging ideas and information about their teaching. The first session focused on examples of successful teaching experiences.   Below are a few of the things participants mentioned and chatted about as things that have worked for them:

Grading and/or assigning a weight to library/research assignments

Quite a few participants have found that that grading library/research assignments boosts student engagement and aids learning.  Some mentioned that even a weight of 1% can guarantee attendance at instruction sessions, and a weight of 2-5 % of final grade worked well for one library.

UTSC reports very positive results using a sort of ‘pre-assignment’  assignment. In this scenario, a smaller research assignment precedes a larger one, and serves as an introduction to the research task and gets students to think about and get some feedback on their research before the deadline for their larger assignment. The instructor(s) devised a short assignment requiring some article searching and an assessment of students’ own research. Instructor feedback reports much higher levels of student engagement with their research using this structure.  Anyone interested in finding out more about this can contact Sarah Fedko,

One method of grading that has worked well is to grade on a completed/not completed score, rather than pass/fail.

Medicine has found that a shared rubric/marking template for the markers helps ensure consistency when a number of people are grading. They have had success with a fairly a detailed template.

Timing assignments for early identification/self-identification of students who need some research instruction to  allow them time to get ‘non-last-minute help’  works well.

Leveraging the authority and social connections of students :

Making and displaying videos of upper year students speaking about ‘what I wish I had known about the library when I started’. Rewards like a Tim Hortons card for the interviewees helps with participation.

Using student ambassadors to provide peer to peer library instruction. Students first receive training and are expected to produce reports on their experience/learning.

Student societies have proved to be productive resources for marketing library messages.

Talking to student reps from course committees and attending course committee meetings provided great information for sessions that might be useful and interesting to students

Assigning subject areas to residence dons and encouraging other students to approach them for help has worked for UTSC, the idea being that students are more willing to approach other students for help.


Video and photo contests to promote engagement with the library have worked well for UTM and others. Contests also produce a lot of corollary benefits like providing library website content, supplying the winners (and perhaps all participants) with something for their resume, and just generally promoting library good will.

One contest for undergrads on St. George required students to obtain faculty support for their proposal. The library ran related sessions to like “how to write an abstract” and “how to do a conference presentation”.  Benefits include skills training, promotion of library-faculty contact, library-student engagement, and faculty–student contact.  Structuring the contest to let students use work they had already completed lowered the entry barriers and helped encourage participation.

Involving faculty in contests by asking them to judge or vote has been successful.

Possibility: bring others schools into the competition.

One contest required the top 3 contestants to present ‘dragons den’ style to determine winner.

Student societies may be a source for prize money for contests.

Collaboration/moving into non-traditional areas of instruction

Observed: Career advancement and job skills may not be areas we think we have expertise in, but nevertheless we have things to offer and things we can do that our users want in these realms.

Collaboration with other departments is often the linchpin of such sessions and it may be that much of the library effort for such sessions consists of outreach and organization more than instruction per-se. For instance a round robin resume workshop where participants broke up into groups and passed around their resumes to one another then had a group conversation about things they liked or thought worked well. The library’s input during the actual session was fairly light, most of the library’s work for the event was around organizing the event.

A class on “How to read a scholarly article” that proved very successful was another good example. A writing instructor was key to the session, and the library-writing center collaboration premised the session. Students read articles in class, and the library came up with questions for them to work on in groups of two or three. Most of the library input was on the organizing and preparation side as the session was led by a writing instructor.

Potential partners abound. Some examples include the career center, the writing centers, and student societies.


Moving Forward on the Librarians Teaching Program and Practice Exchanges

CTSI’s seconded librarians — John Bolan, Angela Hamilton, Joanna Szurmak,  and I — have been continuing the tasks of developing a program of professional development for librarians who teach at the U of T.

Development of this program commenced in 2010, when the first group of CTSI-seconded librarians (Patricia Bellamy, Sarah Fedko, and Sheril Hook) developed several long term goals, and conducted a needs assessment for professional development of librarians who teach.  (You can read about those goals and review their final report.)

The results of this assessment revealed a need for a varied program of professional development, integrating formal learning, reflective practice, observations, and especially opportunities to share and learn from colleagues through communities of practice, also known as practice exchanges.

With a new group of librarians in 2011-12 (Patricia Bellamy, Whitney Kemble,Joanna Szurmak, and Rita Vine) our work focused on development of the formal learning aspect.  In the 8- week Fundamentals of University Teaching program offered each Spring through CTSI, 6 of the 18 participants were U of T librarians.  The experience was meaningful for all participants. We will continue to integrate a small group of librarians into future offerings of this program, and involve previous participants in break-out sessions for new librarian participants.

We also embedded librarians in CTSI’s popular Course Design/Re-Design Institute, as part of our continuing goal of building connections and partnerships between librarians, teaching faculty, and CTSI learning specialists.  Librarians continue to partner with CTSI staff to embed issues of information literacy into CTSI faculty workshops and the Teaching Assistants Training Program (TATP), and we intend to extend our work in this area in 2012-13.

We’re now ready to take the next step, that of implementing and assessing regular practice exchanges among librarians who teach at the University.  Interest in regular opportunities to share and learn from colleagues came up in the 2010 needs assessment, was reiterated as important by Fundamentals participants,  and has been an area of interest among members of the Instruction in Library Use Committee.  John Bolan of the Law Library will be coordinating and assessing a pilot of two semi-structured sessions, which will take place in January and February.  More information will be sent soon on dates and topics, and we hope that this will become a continuing forum to support the development of practice excellence in our organization.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning a bit more about communities of practice, there is a good brief summary in the latest issue of UBC’s Teaching and Learning Centre blog.


PASS (Partnering for Academic Student Success) 2011-12 Annual Report now available

Read the report here:

Learn more about the history of the PASS project in the following LibGuide: A Partnership Between CTSI and Instructional Librarians, University of Toronto


During 2011-2012, Patricia Bellamy (St. George), Whitney Kemble (UTSC), Joanna Szurmak (UTM), and Rita Vine (St. George) were seconded to the Centre of Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI) for one day a week from August 1, 2011 to July 31, 2012.  These are the five goals of the partnership:

  1. Build partnerships amongst CTSI staff and instructional librarians.
  2. Collaboration regarding existing CTSI programmatic initiatives to focus on instructional practices that create optimal learning experiences.
  3. Identify and develop new initiatives to support instructor development and increase learning opportunities for students in classrooms.
  4. Identify best practices and challenges that influence collaboration between instructional liaison librarians and instructors.
  5. Develop instructional excellence and transfer of teaching expertise among librarians throughout the University community.

They welcome your feedback on this blog or via email:

Current members of this year’s secondees to CTSI are John Bolan (Law), Angela Hamilton (UTSC), Joanna Szurmak (UTM), and Rita Vine (St. George).

Since 2010, the University of Toronto Libraries and the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation have partnered to support instructor pedagogical development, including support in the integration of information literacy and use of library resources. The overall goal is to increase capacity for integrative learning and academic excellence within classrooms.