It’s Fall Again!

It’s my second fall! I’ve been working here a whole year. As CSUF’s first ever Instructional Design Librarian, I’ve had my work cut out for me. Work that I’ve assigned myself, and work that is now being assigned to me! It’s been a while since I blogged, so I thought I’d organize my thoughts and get myself in gear for fall.

Second Year RTP Portfolio

First things first – I’m turning in my first full RTP portfolio in a couple of weeks. I finished a first draft yesterday, and wow, was it a beast. I knew that it would take a lot of time, but it took so much more time and energy than I thought, and half of that energy is just picking and packaging evidence. I’ll upload the whole thing to a special RTP Sharepoint site when I turn it in. Speaking of tenure-track, I still need to finish my research for my scholarly article so I can get it submitted to a journal. Meanwhile, I’ve launched a research study as part of the ACRL Assessment in Action program (we’re examining the impact of an embedded librarian on online student success!). Hopefully I can get another publication out of that.

How I feel after finishing my RTP draft.
How I feel after finishing my RTP draft.

In-person instruction

I’ve already got anxiety about how much time I’ll have this semester because my in-person instruction load is going way up! As in, more than doubling. We’ve had a couple of librarians leave, and another is retiring, and the instruction requests keep rolling in. I was spoiled last year with the free time I had to develop eLearning! Soon we should have more librarians starting, so that’s good.

To do this year: Assignments from up top

A major assignment I need to complete this year, per our UL, is to transform the FIRe tutorial that a colleague and I designed for our FYE community into a university-wide freshman info lit tutorial, customized for each college. That’s a big job! To get this done, I’m also assigned to co-chair a Task Force comprised of our instructional librarians to decide on the info lit competencies that freshmen should master in their first year. So basically, we have to break down/scaffold the new ACRL Framework into learning objectives for freshmen, and then come up with interactive eLearning to facilitate their mastery.

I’m also currently embedded into four online courses – we’re running a small pilot of the same FIRe tutorial in three FYE courses as part of a flipped library instruction test, plus I’m embedded into a Human Services course for our AiA project, and I’ve got a FIRe for Human Services tutorial in that one.

eLearning development

These are projects for myself! Projects that will benefit the library, of course. I intend to lay a foundation for info lit badges, which our UL is very excited for, by creating smaller digital learning objects from things like the FIRe tutorial that I developed. I’ll have one for evaluating sources, one for generating keywords, one for Boolean operators, etc. Instructors can assign these to their students, and students will earn “badges” upon completion of each. I like to imagine consulting with instructors to create custom mini-courses comprised of mini-DLOs packaged together. The UL also wants me to assist our staff that supervise students develop info-lit-related instruction for their students – because we’re also tasked with rolling out more High Impact Practices at the library.

I was glad that we had Guide on the Side – but it hasn’t yet been set up all the way. It drives me buggy that you can’t just duplicate a guide so that you can have multiple English 101 guides, for example, one for each section. You have to redo each from scratch. So I have this crazy idea that I’m going to develop a Guide on the Side look-a-like with Articulate Storyline. You can embed webpages into Storyline tutorials, and I could also include bits of other Storyline tutorials to make nice little interactive lessons. And I can duplicate and customize my lookalike for classes!

I had the bright idea to teach a couple of library-related sessions through our Faculty Development Center (FDC) for this fall. I’m doing one on making your classes more affordable with OER/library resources, and one on library resources for faculty. It turns out another librarian is teaching four half-hour library orientations for faculty, and I wonder if we can just turn this into an online orientation. Heck, even if it’s just a video, though I would prefer something interactive or self-guided. I would also like to do an online course for OA/OER. The former head of the FDC told me last spring that she might have funds to pay me to develop something on OA over summer, but I never heard more about it, and ended up not having time anyway!

Subject liaison responsibilities

I’m the subject liaison for Geography, Environmental Studies, and the Master of Instructional Design and Technology (MSIDT) program. I’ve done total revamps of the MSIDT LibGuide twice already since I started here, but I really need to put more time into Geo and ES. I get a little frustrated by the LibGuides platform. Our library still has the “tabs” navigation, when I would really prefer the vertical side-menu to be activated. I’ve been “faking” this side menu by creating my own. The WYSIWYG editor is also really fussy and glitchy. I spend more time trying to fix formatting than entering/organizing content.

What’s next?

I’m in my second year, but I’m still figuring out the boundaries and expectations of my job. True “instructional design” is just content design – not eLearning development. But I’ve been doing a ton of eLearning development (I LOVE Storyline!) and I’m now embedded into online courses. In my first year, it was suggested that I was here to “help” librarians improve their LibGuides and their instruction – but I honestly really don’t know how to do that other than just being available. I’ve been told by a few librarians that they really like some of my LibGuides, so perhaps I’ll do an IDEAL Workshop Part Two on practical tips for learning object development.

I also heard about the new info lit tutorial developed by ARLIS! I’ve been intending to review it since CSUF has a subscription. (I LOVE!).

I’m a tenure-track librarian with research, publishing, and service responsibilities – but my pile of work keeps growing. I’ve worked the last few weekends (I had a glorious three weeks off in summer to hike the JMT  and now I’m paying for it!) so I think I want to set a goal for myself this semester to not work outside of M-F. I’m only one person, and I have a lot to do, but I’m trying not to burn out getting it all done!

And meanwhile, I’m thinking about freelancing/consulting on the side. I really like instructional design and eLearning development, and I think it would be gratifying to assist other libraries that don’t have an ID/eLearning Librarian to get their online learning on-track, whether by consulting or developing learning solutions. To be continued!