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.


Exploring Blackboard Collaborate – Pilot Project

In December 2012 the University of Toronto acquired Blackboard Collaborate software as a webinar and webconferencing tool.  In May of this year we convened an informal library working group to look at Blackboard Collaborate (BbC) as a potential tool for information literacy. We have held two meetings to date and though we’re still in the early stages, we wanted to share what we’re up to!

Goals of the BbC pilot project
Our primary goal for the project is to explore BbC as a tool for information literacy delivery. Is this an effective tool for delivering IL? Is it easy for us to use? How much time does it take to learn and set up? How does it compare to in-person sessions? What do students think?

The test sessions
Based on our goals for the pilot, we aim to develop and deliver a 30-minute test session using BbC. It will most likely be a short orientation session, something like a “Top 10 things you need to know…”, aimed at first year students in the first couple weeks of the fall semester. We’ve just started working on the course design, including what content to cover, what interactive BbC components to use, how to assess student learning, how to analyze and evaluate the tool, etc.

At this point, we’re hoping to roll out several offerings of the session in BbC and in-person for the sake of comparison. Given our target audience and the goals of the pilot we will be doing a relatively limited test of BbC’s functions and potential applications. However, we hope it will be enough to get the ball rolling!

As a group we will evaluate the test sessions, document lessons learned, and make recommendations to the Faculty Liaison and Information Literacy Coordinator regarding next steps. We will consider the feasibility of using Bb Collaborate for IL, best practices, considerations for staff training, etc.

Our next meeting is on July 19th. We’ll keep you posted!

If you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions please get in touch with Jenaya Webb or Monique Flaccavento.


Educause Top 10 IT Issues in Higher Education 2013

… and they are:

1 Leveraging the wireless and device explosion on campus
2 Improving student outcomes through an approach that leverages technology
3 Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy to help the institution select the right sourcing and solution strategies
4 Developing a staffing and organizational model to accommodate the changing IT environment and facilitate openness and agility
5 Facilitating a better understanding of information security and finding appropriate balance between infrastructure openness and security
6 Funding information technology strategically
7 Determining the role of online learning and developing a sustainable strategy for that role
8 Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bringyour-own device
9 Transforming the institution’s business with information technology
10 Using analytics to support critical institutional outcomes

Read the full report Top-Ten IT Issues, 2013


RE-Read: Academic Libraries in a Digital Age (2000)

I just re-read John Lombardi’s 2000 article “Academic libraries in a digital age” and was struck by how so many of his observations on digitization issues in libraries continue to be true.  In 2000, Google was still a relatively new company.  Librarians were struggling with hardware, software and content that was hard to access and mostly inhospitable to end users.  The struggle between user rights and intellectual property protection of digital content had only started.

From the article, his “Rules for Digital Survival” still ring true:

1. The objects are not as important as the content. Collection development becomes access development. Access to content is the primary mantra of all library work. Geography becomes increasingly irrelevant.

2. Helping clients find resources in a digitally chaotic world is the first priority. Digitizing the rare book collection might be the second.

3. If a vendor promises you seamless access and modular compatibility with any future developments, expect expensive upgrades.

4. If others spend money on a similar project, let them finish before you start yours. Being first to invent large scale digital library projects is for those with money to lose, tolerant customers, and tenure. If it will take ten years to deliver value, let someone else invest in it.

5. If someone else has a service you need, buy it, do not invent it. If someone has 80% of the service you need, buy it; do not invent it.

6. Nothing currently defining the Internet will remain recognizable after 5 years.

7. There is safety in numbers; join consortia and urge others to take the lead.

8. Invest in unique products only when you have a comparative advantage and someone else pays for it.

9. For the next ten years, if it works well, is reliable, and you know how to use it, it is obsolete.

Lombardi, a professor of history who also served as President of Louisiana State University, is one of the most engaging writers on tell-it-like-it-is university administration.  He is a featured keynote speaker at the upcoming Library Assessment Conference in Charlottesville.  A complete list of his articles can be found at