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.



Liaison Librarians Update Forum March 1 2016

The March 1 Liaison Update Forum featured a presentation from Professor Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, on trends in undergraduate education that have impact on her portfolio at the U of T.  The forum also  showcased 3 additional lightning round presentations.  Each presentation was followed by small group discussion and an open Q&A session.  Presenters kept track of the questions  and have kindly recorded and shared their responses for this post.

  1. Professor Susan McCahan, on Trends in Undergraduate Education Watch the video (best in IE – volume is a little low in the beginning)
  2. Laure Perrier, Gerstein Science Information Centre, on Research Data Management: UToronto Libraries Update Powerpoint || Q&A
  3. Erica Lenton, Gerstein Science Information Centre, on Creating a service through community & collaboration  (Evidence Synthesis Service) Powerpoint || Q&A
  4. Courtney Lundigan, Graham Library, Trinity College, on Re-imagining Liaison at UTL (update on progress of the Liaison Future Directions Working GroupPowerpoint || Q&A


One Tech to Teach Them All: Introducing a tool for choosing the right type of online IL delivery

Are you gearing up for the fall teaching season? Pondering ways to expand the reach of your IL initiatives? Having trouble deciding between creating or updating your interactive tutorials, libguides, or videos?

You’re invited to try out a new tool for selecting digital/online learning objects:

While many of us would like to create digital learning objects (aka DLOs)* that are effective in teaching information literacy skills beyond classroom walls, it can be hard to figure out which type best suits our specific – and often many – needs and requirements. If you’ve ever felt unsure if you should create a handy screenshot, or dedicate time to making a more formal screencast, you’re not alone. While some of you might want to create a just-in-time DLO quickly and easily, others may prefer DLOs with a longer shelf life. No one wants to reinvent the wheel. Here are just a few DLO types that librarians find themselves choosing between:

Recently, our small subgroup of librarians (Judith Logan, Jesse Carliner, Erica Lenton, and Vincci Lui from the Instruction in Library Use Committee’s Learning Object Interest Group), began working on a tool aimed at helping librarians choose the right type of DLO. The most commonly used DLO types were selected for inclusion. Based on librarians’ practical considerations, several key criteria were identified, and each DLO type was evaluated against these criteria.

During an interactive, collaborative session at the recent TRY conference, our subgroup also crowdsourced the tacit knowledge of fellow librarians from U of T, Ryerson, and York. The results of the TRY session were incorporated as we further developed this tool. As the image below illustrates, each DLO type is evaluated against several criteria (such as learning outcomes, learning styles, learning curve, resource intensiveness, reusability, software, etc.). Each DLO type also links to helpful examples for inspiration:

Screenshot of formal screencast section

Screenshot of the section on formal screencasts, one of several DLO types that this tool explores

This is an ongoing collaborative project, and we welcome your expertise and input:

Further reading – for more about the user preferences and usage of DLOs:

*DLOs = used to describe a describe a reusable digital instructional resource that is developed to support learning. DLOs are a sustainable, scalable, and potentially accessible way to deliver information literacy (IL) instruction. They can be standalone objects, or act as a complement to our in-class teaching. They also allow us to reach students whenever/wherever they are, and can be repurposed for different contexts.


Materials from the Articulate Storyline 3-Part Workshop

A post to hold materials circulated during the 3-part workshop series to plan, storyboard, and build learning objects using Articulate Storyline.

Monday, February 2
Monday, February 9: Storyline Extra FYI, including instructions for creating a glossary, and adding notes and resources.



ILU PD Day: Online Tutorial Design Using ULI and DI – Lori Mestre

On December 9 2014, almost 50 library staff (and a sprinkling of CTSI staff) participated in the 2014 PD Day sponsored by the Instruction in Library Use (ILU) Committee.  This year’s guest facilitator was Lori Mestre of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, who led participants through a series of presentations and exercises on how to more creatively and effectively reach students through online tutorials and learning objects.

Results of hope-to-gain exercise

Results of “Hope-to-Gain” exercise (click to enlarge)

Links to workshop materials:

  1. Mestre ILU PD Day 2014 (slide deck, PDF)
  2. Your Turn_rubric
  3. Suggestions for multimedia inclusion
  4. Resources for Pack your Toolbox
  5. Action Plan for Learning Object Development

The workshop will be followed in January and February by a series of follow-up learning sessions, coordinated by 3  librarians seconded to CTSI (Monique Flaccavento, Heather Buchansky and Mindy Thuna), to expand on the ideas and insights generated during the workshop.


[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.


The future of MOOC platforms? Money money money

I always enjoy reading Alex Usher’s “One Thought to Start Your Day” which uses a dollars-and-cents lense to look at important issues in higher education.  In his post The Future of MOOCs: Coursera and EdX, Usher ponders the likelihood (high, in his view) that venture capital fueling Coursera may dry up soon unless Coursera finds a way to make its investors money, fast.  “…Unless [Coursera’s] Signature Track enrolments jump 20-fold, or [venture capital] burn rates fall significantly, or unicorns arrive with magic revenue streams,  …Coursera has got maybe 15 months before the VCs pull the plug.”

Should that happen, this will open the door for EdX, Coursera’s main remaining competitor in higher-ed (and not funded by venture capital) to pick up the pieces.  Usher see the benefits: “Once we clear the VCs out of the MOOC discussion, we can ask clearer questions about the uses of MOOCs, without getting tied up in ideological debates about whether they are neo-liberal whatsit, and yadda yadda.  And that’s important, because the potential benefits of these tools are worth examining.”


Measure online learning against real learning outcomes, rather than F2F models

Making a compelling case for examining the effectiveness of online or blended learning against empirical benchmarks, Edward Renner rejects the measurement of online learning against a conventional “sage-on-the-stage” classroom setting.  In “The Difference Between Theory and Practice,” Renner cites a number of studies that make comparisons between online and actual expectations of learning, rather than comparing online against equivalent F2F models:

“… the chorus of critics is that online and virtual is a shoddy imitation of the real thing. Such declarations miss the point. They are assertions that the ideal traditional classroom is the real criterion against which online should be compared, rather than simply serving as a reference point for comparison with other alternatives.

The issue of whether the new technologies are consistent with a hypothetical ideal appropriate for the specific circumstance of lecturing to a captive audience at a fixed time and place is a meaningless theoretical exercise. The essential exercise is to compare this particular circumstance with other circumstances using an objective external standard.

The objective standard at one extreme is a situation in which hardly anyone learns anything. At the other extreme is one in which almost everyone learns everything. These two limiting distributions can be plotted on a graph in which the X-Axis is the proportion of the material learned and Y-Axis is the proportion of the class.”