Need to provide quick, task-based instruction? Do it with GIFs!

We know that our library users greatly appreciate the Library’s video tutorials. Tutorials allow users to learn research skills on demand, independent of time or geography. These tutorials can also be used to shorten a librarian’s instruction time in the classroom, leaving time for more active learning activities. However, designing, creating, and publishing tutorials can be very time-and-labor intensive. GIFs are an easy-to-create, low-maintenance alternative to video tutorials while still providing visually dynamic instructional content.

What is a GIF?

“GIF” stands for “graphics interchange format.” Released 29 years ago, the GIF provided a way for content developers to share compressed color animations that slow modems could load easily. Early website developers used GIFs to break up content-heavy websites or illustrate that their site was still in progress.

Early GIFs letting users know websites were still being developed

As the internet evolved, so did GIFs. Now, GIFs permeate many forms of digital communication. From text messages to email to social media, GIFs provide a (mostly humorous) way for people to express themselves.

Trudeau awkward handshake GIF
When everyone wants to shake your hand at once

GIFs as Library Instruction

Librarians have started to explore how GIFs might be an alternative instructional media. Using GIFs to display short, task-based activities can communicate step-based instruction more succinctly than images or text. Additionally GIFs can loop repeatedly, allowing users to continuously reference instruction.

Take for example, Sarah’s library guide for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She wanted a way to communicate how scholars can limit their searches by region in Factiva. Narrowing by region is a seemingly quick process for librarians, but explaining the multiple steps and Factiva’s interface to first-time users can be difficult and confusing. Using a GIF, Sarah could show to process of limiting newspaper searches by region while keeping her LibGuide clean.

Factiva GIF
Limit by region in Factiva

Creating GIFs

GIF creators often fall into two categories: software and web apps. For high-quality GIF options, using software will be the most effective solution. Sarah’s GIF was created by making a screencast in Screenflow, and then producing the GIF in Adobe Photoshop.

However, if you don’t have this software and still want to make a quick GIF, try recording your screen with Screencast-o-Matic and uploading/editing the GIF in GIPHY. This is how I made the GIF embedded in the library news story “Unrequired Reading at the Library.”

FInding Class of 2000 Books GIF
Searching for leisure reading in the library

Notice that Screencast-o-matic automatically highlights your mouse cursor, which can be hard to find in smaller images.

Other GIF maker options are a Chrome extension or MakeaGIf.com.

If you have any questions or need help making GIFs, please ask Julie or Kaitlin.

Resources

Aleman, Karla and Porter, Toccara (2016, April 21). 10-Second Demos: Boiling Asynchronous Online Instruction Down to the Essentials with GIF Graphics. Retrieved from: http://research.moreheadstate.edu/c.php?g=242750&p=1614356.

Suhr, K. (2014, October 22). Using animated GIF images for library instruction. Retrieved from: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2014/using-animated-gif-images-for-library-instruction/

Creating Accessible and Inclusive Handouts

Jennifer Turner and Jessica Schomberg have written an interested article regarding how to create readable, inclusive, and usable documents for library instruction. Using theories from Universal Design for Learning and Gestalt and plain language principles, the authors provide clear suggestions on how to make the most out of your handout. Check it on on In the Library with the Lead Pipe, or review the TL;DR version on the Chronicle for Higher Education’s Prof Hacker blog.

CR&L forum on its special issue “Assessment in Action”

Live Thursday, March 24, 2016 – 2pm Central

Length: 60 minutes

Register to receive reminders and information and/or view the forum live on YouTube.

Join us for an author panel discussion on Action Research with authors of articles in the March 2016 College & Research Libraries special issue on the ACRL Assessment in Action (AiA) program.

AiA lead co-facilitator and issue co-editor Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe will introduce the Forum. Brandy Whitlock and Nassim Ebrahimi will speak about their study: “Beyond the Library: Using Multiple, Mixed Measures Simultaneously in a College-Wide Assessment of Information Literacy,” and Phil Jones, Julia Bauder, and Kevin Engel will speak about their research: “Mixed or Complementary Messages: Making the Most of Unexpected Assessment Results.”

Hashtag: #crlassess

Panelists:

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe: Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction, University of Illinois
Julia Bauder: Interim Librarian of the College, Grinnell College
Nassim Ebrahimi: Associate Vice President of Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Planning, Baltimore City Community College
Kevin Engel: Science Librarian, Grinnell College
Phil Jones:  Humanities Librarian and Coordinator of Research Services, Grinnell College
Brandy Whitlock: Professor and Instruction Librarian, Andrew G. Truxal Library, Anne Arundel Community College

How do we do assessment here?

In looking for information about assessment to post to Instructionally Speaking, I found a lot of articles that described assessment in environments that didn’t quite seem to apply to ours.  Would we be able to review and score students’ papers using AAC&U’s Information Literacy VALUE rubric like Wendy Holliday et al. in “An Information Literacy Snapshot: Authentic Assessment across the Curriculum”?  Can we participate in curriculum mapping when, in many cases, we don’t have course outcomes or objectives in which to map?

I then read this statement in Kuh’s report Knowing What Students Know and Can Do: The Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment in US Colleges and Universities.

In general, institutional selectivity is negatively related to assessment activity.  For  almost every category of assessment activity, the more selective an institution’s admissions standards, the less likely it is to employ various assessment approaches, or use the results.

Why is this?  Does it apply here?  If so, what does this mean for us?

References:

Wendy Holliday, Betty Dance, Erin Davis, Britt Fagerheim, Anne Hedrich, Kacy Lundstrom, and Pamela Martin. “An Information Literacy Snapshot: Authentic Assessment across the Curriculum.” Coll. Res. Libr. March, 2015. 76:170-187; doi:10.5860/crl.76.2.170

Kuh, G. D., Jankowski, N., Ikenberry, S. O., & Kinzie, J. (2014). Knowing What Students Know and Can Do: The Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment in US Colleges and Universities. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

 

Advice on bringing the ACRL Framework into your teaching

An Indiana library network, PALNI, has published a LibGuide on ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.  The guide has a page for each of the six ‘frames,’ defining the frames and mapping them to ACRL’s IL standards.  Additionally, the guides include possible learning objectives as well as suggested activities to incorporate the concepts into the classroom.

Not familiar with the Framework?  Read all about it here.