Flipping the Script with Instructional Videos

Redesigning a library web site is a major undertaking, with specific considerations for librarians and library users. This is not an article about delivery, access or usability but about content and embedding learning outcomes in our digital assets. With a redesign, any old content, whether it be a screencast, videos or captured images of the previous web page, needs to be replaced.

This was the dilemma with the redesign at Stevens Institute of Technologya��s Samuel C. Williams Library. All of our video content needed to be revamped to fit the new design of the webpage. But instead of doing a�?screen capturea�? demonstrations of how to search for resources, we wanted a solution beyond simply creating online content because it could and should be used by online users as well as students on-campus.

screenThe best solution was to try to integrate these videos into a flipped classroom experience in which students, at their own pace, watch videos that would give them an overview of what was going to be taught in the classroom. Then when the students did arrive to their information literacy sessions, librarians could assign a project and facilitate discussion and learning without having to cover the basics explained in the videos. Fortunately, the instruction librarians had previously established a great relationship with professors in the College of Arts & Letters, so that they could try to integrate these videos into sessions in a required first-year writing and communication course, CAL 103.

Professors were very excited by the prospect because, as many an Academic librarian understands, library sessions tend to be too short to cover the range of topics necessary to equip students to be good information researchers and creators. Like many other college libraries, the Williams library staff is very small; to accomplish this video project we needed the help of some library students, namely from Pratt Institutea��s School of Information and Library Science. With an instructional technology class led by Professor Jessica Hochman, we developed a project for library students to make videos for not just our library but any library at which they might someday work. Several students took on the challenge of working with librarians at Stevens to develop a video that would be used in a flipped classroom model.
In the end, a group of three students converted much of what was lectured into a video that was under 4 minutes long. Afterwards, student Ellie Horowitz took on the role of Web Services Intern at Stevens to refine the video in terms of:

1. Content
2. To ensure ACRL learning outcomes would be guaranteed in the videos; and
3. Time: The one video needed to be shortened to three modules in under 2 minutes each for better student digestion.

After several refinements, the videos were ready to go by the start of this Fall semester. The videos have been well received by the students and have allowed all of us to concentrate on active-learning exercises in the class: brainstorming a topic, developing a research topic, evaluating resources, and so forth.

We are developing methods of assessing the learning from this flipped experience and hope to report back soon. The 3 part a�?Getting Started with Your Researcha�? can be found on our web page (www.stevens.edu/library) or YouTube page:A� http://www.youtube.com/stevenslibrary

-Romel Espinel, Web Services Librarian, Stevens Institute of Technology

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