Genesis of Project - American Library Association

Beyond Library Guides:
Libguides as a Platform for Student Research Projects
Assistant Professor Phyllis Conn
Institute for Core Studies, St. John’s University
[email protected]
Assistant Professor Benjamin Turner
Instructional Services, St. John’s University
[email protected]
Genesis of Project
• Online Text-book to be used for first year “Discover New
York” class.
• Inspired by the Seventeen Moments in Soviet History
Web site.
• Would serve as as a repository for student research in
history of New York City and Long Island Course.
• We chose Libguides because it is easy to use, and is
well-suited to collaborative work.
Libguides: A Primer
• Libguides is a hosted Web publishing service provided
by Springshare.
• Originally developed as a means for subject librarians to
easily maintain their own subject pages.
• Scope of Libguides has grown, and is now used by nonlibrary faculty as a means of sharing Web content with
• Flexible, wiki-like nature of Libguides makes them wellsuited to collaborative work.
Pedagogical Value of Wikis
• Positive correlation between group learning and learning
effectiveness. (Janz 1999; Lou, Abramin and d’Appolonia 2001)
• Facilitates ongoing feedback by instructor.
• Allow students to informally publish their work and reach a broader
audience, including classmates and possibly others. This is a
motivating factor. (Wheeler and Wheeler 2009)
• Like other forms of writing, Wikis are conducive to “constructivist”
learning, in which students create their own knowledge. (Hazari,
Moreland, and North 2009)
• Open nature of Wikis allows users to revise and improve the work of
others, promoting the development of critical thinking skills.
Challenges of Wikis
• Learning curve associated with software. (Smith, Mills
and Myers 2009)
• Students may be reluctant to edit each other’s work.
(Kelsey and Lin 2009)
• Grading may be more challenging than for individual
writing assignments. (Monk-Turner, Payne, Smith and
Sumter 2006)
• Students are sometimes disinclined to group work.
• Group work may complicate issues like academic
Libguides as Wiki
• Technical Support.
No advertising.
University Branding.
Easily incorporates other Libguide content, such as pertinent library
Can be backed up.
Allows “collaborators,” who only have editing privileges for specific guides.
• Does not track edits and save older versions of wikis. (No version control.)
Does not indicate which collaborator is responsible for which content.
Sample Libguides Page:
Free Wiki Software:
Wikispaces, PbWorks, and Mediawiki
• Free.
• Provides recent iterations, allowing users to track
changes. (Version Control.)
• Indicates which collaborator is responsible for which
• Potential data loss.
• No contractual agreement.
• Advertising (on free versions.)
Sample Wikispaces Page
Use of Libguides in
History of NYC and Long Island Course
Used as a platform for student research in the Spring, 2009 and Spring
2010. Included three components:
• Biographies of famous New Yorkers. (written individually.)
• Overviews of Different Eras in NY History. (written collaboratively.)
• Entries on specific events in NY History. (written individually.)
Assignments were the same for the Spring, 2010 class, but
also required students to revise existing entries from the
previous year.
Best Practices:
The Sweet Sixteen
1. Learning Goals
Decide what you want students to learn from
the project. Their work should focus on
the learning goals – not necessarily the
Learning Goals: Sample
• Demonstrate critical and analytical skills required for
effective reading and interpretation of the
documents and texts used in historical analysis
• Conduct sound ethical research, demonstrating
proficiency in information literacy and the basic tools
of historical research
• Demonstrate effective written communication in the
style appropriate to the discipline of history
• Demonstrate recognition, understanding and
respect for the complexity of diverse socio-cultural
and historical traditions
2. Platform
Decide what platform you want to use and
understand its advantages and
3. Evaluation
Decide how students will be evaluated and
how often.
Our Basic Grade Rubric
1. Analyze
2. Integrate information
3. Addresses Assignment
4. Organization
5. Grammar, Usage and Style
6. Follows instructions
4. Interim Feedback?
Decide whether you’ll provide interim
feedback on their work (and when and
• Sample: Generally well done. The biographies are
factually detailed, and you address why these individuals
are significant to New York City history. However, the
entry on Santiago is missing, and your entries were
submitted a week after the deadline….
5. Basic Ground Rules
Establish basic ground rules about editing
others’ work; about style of writing; fonts, etc.
Sample ground rules:
• Ensure that a simple, factual identification exists in each
entry, preferably near its beginning.
• Include footnotes in the body of the entries from credible,
scholarly sources. These citations can be taken from those
already listed under “Further Reading,” or can be taken from
other sources. For the footnotes, use Chicago Style….
6. Plagiarism
Especially important: establish ground rules
about plagiarism and provide training
about how to avoid it.
From the SJU Library: Why is proper
citation important?
References alert your reader to the resources
that helped shape your work - the words, ideas,
pictures, opinions, data and even
methodologies of others. To incorporate
sources properly, one needs to keep track of
the facts and expert opinions gathered during
the research process, and then use both in-textcitations and bibliographic citations to alert
readers where they can find the resource….
7. Individual or group projects?
Decide whether students will work together,
individually, or some combination. If group
assignments will be used, understand and
communicate with students about your
expectations of the group and individuals
and the benefits of group work.
Our experience: a blend of individual and
group projects.
8. Architecture
Plan the architecture as thoroughly as
possible before working with students.
Our experience: We set up the basic
architecture for the Libguide, including
tabs for specific pages, before introducing
the project to students.
9. But be flexible
- New ideas come up
- New resources or new platforms
become available
- Original architecture develops
- Students have difficulty with concepts
or practical issues
10. Audience
Understand the audience for your Libguide
or wiki.
Sample: The audience for our Libguide is
students in a first-year required course at
St. John’s University.
11. Model, model, model
Expect to model writing style, use of
resources, and technology on a regular
Our experience: We modeled what we
expected and the technology involved
when each assignment was made; again
before they were due; and on request from
12. Technical issues: students
Expect students to have technical issues,
especially at the last minute.
Our experience: Students who wait until the
evening before to post their work and can’t
log in; students who lose their work just
before it’s due.
13. General technical problems
Expect technical problems in general,
especially just before a deadline. Decide
how you’ll deal with that.
14. Backup, backup, backup
Back up your Libguide or wiki regularly –
preferably on a different server or hard
Part B: and tell students to save their work
in case of major data loss
Our experience: data loss will occur at
some point
15. Partner up
For faculty and academic librarians: Work
with a partner if possible.
Our experience: Partners help with the work
involved; increase accessibility to
students; offer different perspectives; help
maintain accountability on projects.
16. Patience, patience,
Understand that things might not work well
the first time – be patient with yourself, the
students, and the technology.
Our experience: First semester worked well;
second semester had problems; now it’s
time to re-work and re-plan.
Works Cited
Hazari, Sunil, Alexa North, and Deborah Moreland. "Investigating Pedagogical Value of Wiki Technology." Journal of
Information Systems Education 20.2 (2009): 187-98.
Janz, Brian D. "Self-Directed Teams in IS: Correlates for Improved Systems Development Work Outcomes."
Information & Management 35.3 (1999): 171-92.
Lin, Hong, and Kathleen D. Kelsey. "Building a Networked Environment in Wikis: The Evolving Phases of Collaborative
Learning in a Wikibook Project." Journal of Educational Computing Research 40.2 (2009): 145-69.
Lou, Yiping, Philip C. Abrami, and Sylvia d'Apollonia. "Small Group and Individual Learning with Technology: A MetaAnalysis." Review of Educational Research 71.3 (2001): 449.
Smith, Elizabeth Joy, Julie Evelyn Mills, and Baden Myers. "Using Wikis and Blogs for Assessment in First-Year
Engineering." Campus-Wide Information Systems 26.5 (2009): 424-32. Web.
Wheeler, Steve, and Dawn Wheeler. "Using Wikis to Promote Quality Learning in Teacher Training." Learning, Media
and Technology 34.1 (2009): 1-10. Web.
Further Resources
Libguides. Provides information on Libguides, and
instructions for obtaining a free trial.
PBWorks. Free or paid accounts, the latter of which
provide enhanced features.
Wikispaces. Allows you to set up a basic (free) account, or
paid accounts, which provide enhanced features.

similar documents