Creating and Sharing Online Library Instruction: A How-To-Do-It Manual For Librarians

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  • About the authors
  • Reviews

Designed to be reused and shared, learning objects are digital content and assessments centered on student learning outcomes. The promise of sharing online instruction across libraries, campuses, or a consortium holds time-saving appeal. An easy to follow tutorial for creating online library instruction with learning objects, this manual is written by three librarians with the New Literacies Alliance (NLA). Winner of the 2016 ACRL IS Innovation Award, NLA is an interinstitutional information literacy consortium that addresses the "new" literacies required for academic success and lifelong learning. This book

  • walks readers through creating and sharing outcome-based lessons that allow students to master skills at their own pace;
  • demonstrates how to use assessment to ensure that students learn foundational research and critical thinking skills rather than simply how to use a database or discovery platform;
  • sketches in the background and mission of NLA, sharing examples of successful collaboration across institutions;
  • includes an assortment of NLA's workflows, design processes, and style guides; and
  • offers project planning and implementation tools, including checklists, steps, and critical questions to consider.

Written for groups or individuals who want to collaborate to build learning objects, this book will also be useful to anyone with a desire to learn more about resource sharing, instructional design, and library instruction.


Chapter 1    The Case for Sharing Instruction


  • Learning Object Design in Libraries
  • Cooperative Library Instruction Projects
  • New Literacies Alliance
  • Why Collaborate

Chapter 2    Getting Started



  • Determining the Need for a Collaboration
  • Establishing a Collaboration
  • Getting Started in Practice

Chapter 3    Creating the Learning Experience



  • Teamwork
  • Backward Design
  • Online Lesson Planning in Practice

Chapter 4    The Design Process



  • Collaboration and Consistency
  • Choosing an Instructional Design Model
  • Rapid Prototyping in a Collaborative Environment
  • The Design Process in Practice

Chapter 5    Implementation



  • Laying the Groundwork
  • Soft Launch
  • Wider Implementation
  • Implementation in Practice

Chapter 6    Technical Parameters



  • Software Options
  • Hosting and Usage
  • Technical Constraints
  • Platform and Software Analysis
  • Technical Parameters in Practice

Chapter 7    Assessment



  • Assessing Student Learning
  • Assessing Online Learning Modules
  • Assessment in Practice

Chapter 8    Long-Term Planning



  • Content Maintenance
  • Technology Review
  • Funding
  • Administrative and Stakeholder Support
  • Project Leadership and Succession Planning
  • Project Capacity
  • Long-Term Planning in Practice

Chapter 9    Final Thoughts




Appendix A    NLA Self-Study (2012)
Appendix B    Steering Committee Responsibilities
Appendix C    Intent to Plan Document
Appendix D    Storyboard Template
Appendix E    Learning Object Rubric
Appendix F    NLA Talking Points
Appendix G    Rapid Prototyping Test Report
Appendix H    Rapid Prototyping Student Response Form
Appendix I    Checklists and Critical Questions

About the Authors


Joelle Pitts

Joelle Pitts is Instructional Design Librarian and Associate Professor at Kansas State University Libraries. She leads the award-winning New Literacies Alliance and is responsible for the creation of web-based learning objects and environments aimed at increasing information literacy. Her research interests include distance education and e-learning design, library user experience, academic collaboration, and the design and implementation of games-based learning environments. She has written extensively and presented at the local, national, and international levels.

Sara K. Kearns

Sara K. Kearns is Academic Services Librarian and Associate Professor at Kansas State University Libraries. While serving as department head for K-State Libraries' Undergraduate and Community Services Departments she became a founding member of the New Literacies Alliance. Kearns earned her PhD in student affairs in higher education, studying first-year college students' perceptions of technology in higher education. She currently serves on a multi-institutional research project to determine the impact of library instruction on the success and retention of first-year college students. She presents and publishes about student success and learning.

Heather Collins

Heather Collins leads the Research and Learning Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center Library. She has been a founding member of the New Literacies Alliance and continues to serve on the steering committee. As a Reynolds Interprofessional Faculty Scholars Fellow and a recent interprofessional NIH grant team member, her research and presentations focus on areas of intersection between disciplines such as metaliteracy, interprofessional education, and collaborative practice.

"The book is recommended for academic librarians seeking to work with other institutions on library instruction creation, or with multiple departments within their own institution. Pitfalls, problems, and guess work are largely avoided by following the roadmap to collaborative development in this book."

"Though the book as a whole focuses on multi-institutional collaborations, the chapters on instructional design, implementation, and assessment will also be useful for individual librarians undertaking smaller-scale projects ... Practical, concise, and thorough, this book is an excellent reference for academic librarians interested in creating online-learning objects for their communities."
— Booklist

"Timely and valuable ... a welcome addition to the How-to-Do-It series, enabling academic libraries to create, share, and assess online library instruction for their students. Highly recommended."
— Reference & User Services Quarterly