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March 2016

Ken Liss @ BU Libraries Scopes Out LibWizard - And Loves It

I had been looking for ways to combine online instruction with live interaction in some of the tools and services the libraries provide. I didn’t have the time or the support to install, configure, and maintain a new system, and LibWizard seemed to promise the kind of out-of-the-box ease of use I needed.

It came along at just the right time, too. (Well, to tell the truth, a week earlier would have been really perfect.)
[ Editorial Note: We tried, we tried! :) ]

I had been working with faculty members in BU’s College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program on a pilot project looking at new ways of incorporating information literacy instruction in the curriculum.

Ken Liss

I produced a series of fairly simple flipped-classroom videos and, together with the faculty, developed learning activities and self-reflections for the students to do after viewing each of the videos.

The students had just completed these activities, some as homework and some in class, when our LibWizard beta became available.

I decided to see how easy it would be to combine it all — videos, hands-on activities with our discovery system and online databases, and a sequence of activities and self-reflections — in one on-screen experience.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with how well (and how quickly) it came together. The faculty liked it, too, and we’ll be using this integrated version in their classes —and others — next semester..

With that proof-of-concept example completed, I envision many more applications of LibWizard in our instruction program. The ease-of-use means there won’t be a steep learning curve — just some basic training — for our instruction staff. I expect we’ll see all kinds of tutorials, quizzes, and interactive learning activities produced for our users after we roll it out to staff.

LibWizard will be particularly helpful for producing, on a large scale, effective online instruction on some of the nitty-gritty techniques and methods of research that librarians spend a lot of time teaching.  Scaling this kind of library instruction is a significant challenge for us, as it is for many libraries.

But as the example shows, tutorials produced with LibWizard can also help us introduce broader concepts and “big picture” ideas in an engaging and interactive way. (The pilot project focused on “Searching as Strategic Exploration” — from the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education.)

We’ve only just begun with LibWizard and have barely scratched the surface of its capabilities.  As we roll it out, I’m sure it’s going to unleash the creativity of our librarians in ways neither they nor I have yet imagined.

Click the screenshot below to check out Ken's Tutorial.
It's just a demo, so don't worry about messing up real data.

Boston University LibWizard Tutorial