Looking back on the fall semester – Instructional Design Intern

This semester as the Instructional Design Intern, I worked on developing educational material for students on the City Tech Library website. In particular, I focused on two major projects. The first was a research guide, built on Springshare’s LibGuide software, that provides students with basic information on how to conduct research in an academic setting. The guide was broken down into six parts: developing a research question; types of sources; finding books; finding articles; evaluating sources; and citations. These pages accommodate multiple learning styles, with text, visuals, search functions, quizzes, and games.

The second major project of this semester was a set of tutorials for the  library website. These tutorials focused on three topics: developing a research question; reading citations, and finding databases. The research question tutorial was fairly simple, consisting of a slideshow of the steps to take in order to develop a research question with a cartoon alongside of it. The cartoon depicted a knight following the steps being outlined to create a research question about dragons.
The second tutorial I developed was the Quest for the Citation Grail. This tutorial was built using Twine, a free non-linear storytelling platform, which allowed for multiple lines of inquiry for students that are all connected in one file. Students have the option from the beginning to start their quest for the grail or to learn more about citation styles. They have the option to explore MLA or APA, with a print book, online academic journal article, and a print newspaper article featured for each of them. Each type of citation is broken down step-by-step, including a highlighted real source example at the top of each page, a description of how each section is formatted, and an example of the section using descriptors rather than a real source. At the end of each citation type, students have the option to learn more about other types of citations or to go back to the quest.

The database tutorial is still a work in progress for next semester, but it will be a series of swiping games which will show students a short profile on each database that can help them make decisions about choosing one. This tutorial is based off of the idea of Tinder and other apps, where users can make rapid choices based on the brief information presented to them
Next semester I will be focusing on wrapping up the finding a database tutorial and on a user experience test of our tutorials. Updates on these projects will be available on the Library Buzz blog.

Swiping right on our databases – Instructional Design Intern

Academic Search Complete Profile
Good evening! Today, I had two main focuses. First was the database swiping game I have been working on. We have decided to change the profiles to have almost no text whatsoever. Students playing this game will not see a paragraph describing a given database, but will instead get a short list of types of materials in the database, the related subjects, full-text availability, and peer review availability. I also worked on fleshing out the text around the game so that students may better understand what it is they are looking at. This includes a link to a full list of databases in alphabetical order that are available at the City Tech library. Additionally, I included a shortened URL for each database (created on yourls.org) in the swiping game itself. This does not create a link for each database, but students can copy the URLinto their browser.
The second focus I had today was on the UX test for the spring. Nora and I are still developing a plan for this test, but I read up today on some of the thoughts behind incorporating user experience in instructional website design. In short, it is important to include user experience because students can more effectively learn the material that you are presenting. Hopefully Nora and I can get more details and will get the ball rolling on our IRB next week.
Have a great week!

Today was focused especially on the database tutorial. Like I mentioned last week, we’ve been focusing on a swiping game for students to use for finding the right database. I created a mock up of the game last week, and today I received feedback about the mock up. The biggest result was that we decided to go a little less text-heavy. This approach is not as informative, but will likely keep students’ interest longer and will hopefully grab their attention quickly. I used Glyphicons from Bootstrap as logos for different aspects of the databases, which should serve as visual clues for the students. I’ve also kept some text to very briefly explain each icon, but overall the design is very visual.
We are also thinking about next semester’s user test. Nora and I had a meeting with Junior Tidal about the possibilities for our method. Although we have not nailed down our exact methodology quite yet, we are thinking of having users complete the tutorial then try to act on the knowledge from the tutorial. For instance, we will have a user take the Citation Grail Quest, then identify parts of a more complicated citation. Another user would look at the LibGuide and try to identify parts of the same complicated citation. We hope to see which was more effective for teaching what we wanted to get across. We’ve set up a basic timeline for the coming user test, which will be carried out over the next few months. Hopefully by the end of this semester we’ll have a better sense of how we will approach our test.
Have a great evening!