EMTS Session Recap — One World: Online Education

Today’s EMTS Program Session was entitled One World: Online Education, and highlighted various eLearning projects and initiatives. I’ve attempted to hit the main points from each of the presentations below.

Vasumathi Sriganesh presented “From Lectures and Workshops to E-Learning Initiatives to Teach Literature Searching and Referencing to Health Sciences Students and Teachers in India”. Vasumathi is the CEO of the QMED Knowledge Foundation, founded in 2007 in Mumbai India, and was selected as the winner of the International Clinical Librarian Conference Evidence into Practice Award for 2013. QMED has delivered more than 100 in-person lectures on topics such as PubMed, Cochrane Library, the Mendeley reference management tool and others, and is developing eLearning content through the Moodle CMS. She discussed challenges in creating eLearning content, including funding, finding time in a high-demand environment, and more. Her dream for MLA ’14 is to present on how eLearning has been used by India and other developing nations for research instruction.

Mark MacEachern and Whitney Townshend from the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the U of Michigan presented “Transforming Traditional Informatics Sessions into Curriculum-Integrated Online Learning Modules: Two Case Studies from an Academic Health Sciences Library”. They discussed two instances where in-person instruction (M1 Orientation and sessions for D1 Evidence Based Dentistry) was converted to an eLearning environment, the rationale for doing so, and preliminary results. Among other reasons, both efforts were driven by a push from the institution for student-led independent learning, to let students take control of their own learning process. Each case study provided course content details. The M1 Orientation included short video content and optional in-person sessions as well as mandatory assignments and self-evaluation. The D1 sessions, as part of a larger online course, provided in-depth coverage of research topics in Powerpoint (a required format for the course) as well as assignments and quizzes. The initial results of these efforts showed some positives as well as room for improvement.

Michele Malloy from Georgetown University presented “Going the Distance: Translating Library Support to a new Online Graduate Nursing Program”, which outlined how the library developed a support strategy for an online graduate nursing program. Various methods of support included reference through chat and Adobe connect, subject and research guides, online tutorials using Camtasia and video, a facebook group to provide an online service point, and more. Informal feedback has been positive and has resulted in increased usage of resources and services. Future plans include program growth, service development and formalized feedback.

Suzanne Shurtz, AHIP was joined by either Margaret Jane Foster or Catherine Pepper (my apologies for not catching the name… if someone can let me know, I’ll update the post) from Texas A&M University Medical Sciences Library in presenting “Evaluation of Best Practices in the Design of Online Evidence-Based Practice Instructional Modules”. The librarians were recruited to provide modules to support the University’s Critically Appraise Relevant Evidence (CARE) plan. They were tasked with developing evaluation criteria and evaluating existing research instruction modules by their content, design, interactivity and usability, and determining whether existing modules would suffice or, if not, develop a module that would. Although they did not find an existing module sufficient to the task, they were able to implement the best practices of the best modules in the development of their own. They discovered a surprising lack of coverage of critical thinking skills and instruction at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They also identified ways in which their evaluation process could be improved.

Although each of the presenters were severely pressed for time, making it difficult to present their material (as well as for me to absorb it), each was outstanding.

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About Keith_Engwall

Keith Engwall (@librariandad) is the Web and Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine Library in Rochester, MI. His interests are in finding better ways to communicate, collaborate, and access resources through technologies such as mobile platforms, social media, and open source software. He is still not entirely accustomed to writing about himself in the third person.