Summer Instruction Camp: LibGuides for Student Learning

Our in-house professional development workshop, Summer Instruction Camp, is now on its third year! Our first camp focused on backward design. Second camp was devoted to our new flipped instruction curriculum for college writing and research. This year we focused on designing LibGuides for Student Learning. This topic was timely because we switched from LibGuides v1 to v2 this summer and we’ve been continuing to expand our course and program reach by developing and integrating LibGuides into the LMS.

Our camp goal was to help campers create effective, user-centered libguides that facilitate student learning. We identified three learning outcomes necessary for campers to achieve the goal:

1. be able to design activities that connect student learning with guide content
2. identify content directly linked to student learning outcomes
3. communicate the value of the guide with course instructors

We planned for three days of camp and assumed that campers would be developing guides for courses. Many campers were developing non-course guides so our learning outcomes shifted somewhat to accommodate the specific end users.

Day 1: The Flip

Content and learning activities on day one centered on how a guide can be used to deliver content outside of class time in order to focus on troublesome concepts during class time. Campers worked on a mapping activity to help identify learning outcomes and a course/need that they could work on during camp. Campers went home and completed a feasibility checklist to further help them determine whether or not they were ready to tackle this course/need.

Day 2: Intentional Design

Designing for learning was the focus of day 2. Day 2 started with a fun challenge: Explain how to brush your teeth as simply as possible with paper, colored pencils, and markers. We had some great learning objects and it was clear that we had all been well educated on using small amount of toothpaste and brushing for two minutes! 

Simplified Instructions for Brushing Your Teeth

Mock-up of toothbrush with instructions on it.

The fun exercise was meant to get us thinking about communicating simply. One of the challenges when working in LibGuides is keeping focused on the content that matters. Since it is so easy to add content (and more content!) LibGuides often become a huge mess of content that users are intimidated to muddle through. Our work focused on winnowing content to the most essential to the user. We worked through the Wiggins and McTighe Understanding by Design Egg and web publishing design principles. Campers got to work using our LibGuide templates to mock up pages in the guides.

Wireframing Exercise

Day 3: Assessment

In the busy work life of librarians it is rare that we have time for our peers to evaluate our LibGuides. As one camper mentioned, guides are too often created the week or day before a class. That kind of work schedule does not allow for planned development or reflection. Therefore it was really nice to have a whole workshop devoted to peers evaluating and assessing the guides we developed. A review checklist was provided to guide evaluation. We paired up for this work and then shared back as a whole the key takeaways that we hoped to improve upon.

At the end of day 3 all campers received a LibGuides Design button badge! We also solicited feedback from campers to help inform next summer’s camp. 

It was another successful camp and I am hopefully that campers will be able to improve their guides using the ideas and principles they learned.

Campers with Badges

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