Getting Library Badges and eLearning Off the Ground

So – since 2014 I’ve been the Instructional Design Librarian and now Instruction Coordinator at Cal State Fullerton. I’ve been interested in badges and scaling up library instruction with eLearning for a while. I pitched badges last year to our interim university librarian, and he’s super excited about them, but we’re a ways off yet from implementing them in a way that makes them meaningful as micro-credentials to future employers.

However, both the uni librarian and our Provost want us to scale up our Info Lit instruction in response to WASC deeming IL as a core competency, so the Provost directed the library to develop an Info Lit tutorial that all freshmen will be required to complete.

To do this, a group of us first wrote out a basic library research/info lit curriculum that is targeted at the bottom two levels of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, which we’re going to develop into a suite of online tutorials that faculty can mix and match for their classes as appropriate (because of course there’s no way that a single tutorial for freshmen would cover enough/anything meaningful). While we started from the ground up with our curriculum, we are considering it a living, to-be-continued document with themes and threads that point to eventual mastery of the ACRL IL Framework. The curriculum is licensed CC and available here on Pollak Library eLearning.

This spring and summer, we’re developing this curriculum into online tutorials. Since the curriculum we have so far is at the bottom two Bloom’s levels, I feel A-OK about making the resulting tutorials automatically graded, through quizzes/drag n drops/whatever other graded activities Storyline has. We’ll provide lesson plans for faculty directing them how to implement the tutorials into their courses so that the tutorials are scaffolded and hopefully more learning sticks. Also, if we’re able to implement our tutorials into our LMS (Moodle) and IT is wiling to turn the badges feature on, we’ll be able to track tutorial completion and all faculty will be able to see which tutorials their students have already completed.

I don’t think we’ll be able to get the badges set up yet in a way that makes them truly valuable as micro-credentials for employers in the real world, but I think it’s a good start.

The goal is to scale up our instruction in a sustainable way (no increase in one-shots, big increase in students learning info lit). I’m really impressed by the other libraries that are dumping one-shots all together – my institution isn’t there yet, and maybe that’s not right for us. BUT at least if we have tutorials on hand that address lower-level learning, I hope that our time spent doing one-shots focuses on the higher levels of Bloom’s, so our time spent instructing is more meaningful.

Right now I’m diving into tutorial design/development, so we’ll start finding out this fall if any of this is a Go, but fingers crossed. The timeline I sketched out for development is exceedingly ambitious!