thing 22: Online Learning

We are happy to welcome Heather Collins (University of Kansas Medical Center), Joelle Pitts (Kansas State University), & Matt Upson (Oklahoma State University) from the steering committee of the New Literacies Alliance! They will be our guest facilitators for this “online thing.”

~Amy Mars, Trent Brager, & Kim Pittman (Co-creators of 23 Framework Things)


“As you consider what students should be able to do, remember that the Framework expanded what is expected of students. They are required to be both consumers and creators of information within digital environments (ACRL, 2016). By placing Framework content in online learning objects, students are learning and demonstrating their abilities in the ‘natural environment’” (Pitts, Kearns & Collins, 2017 emphasis added).

Creating learning experiences that focus on the knowledge practices and dispositions in the Framework poses a much bigger challenge than doing so for the skills in the ACRL Standards for Information Literacy in Higher Education. The skills were more straight-forward-  much better suited to ‘matching’ and simpler instructional design techniques. Teaching Framework areas online can require more strategy and finesse.

The New Literacies Alliance (NLA) is a consortium of librarians from across the nation that have been creating meta-literacy-based online objects for over 5 years. They were early adopters of Framework elements in online objects as they strove to address the  ‘new literacies’ required for academic success and lifelong learning.

The New Literacies Alliance Steering Committee is the guest host for this ‘Thing’ and is eager to share our experience and passion for this work with you!

Choose your own adventure:

Option 1:

Read about the process for creating online learning objects using the Framework on the New Literacies Alliance webpage and/or in chapter 4 of their book:

Pitts, J., Kearns, S., & Collins, H. (2017). Creating and Sharing Online Library Instruction: A How-to-do-it Manual for Librarians. Chicago: Neal-Schuman an imprint of the American Library Association.

How would you transfer one of your face-to-face teaching concepts to an online environment? How would you begin? What advantages would you have to joining the NLA or a group like the NLA?

Option 2:

Pick a Framework-based online learning object from one of the information literacy repositories below and review it. How would you remix one of these online learning objects to fit into your teaching? Do you think it is easier to teach Framework concepts in person or online? Why?  

Option 3:

Read chapter 3 and appendix D from this book on creating learning objects:

Pitts, J., Kearns, S., & Collins, H. (2017). Creating and Sharing Online Library Instruction: A How-to-do-it Manual for Librarians. Chicago: Neal-Schuman an imprint of the American Library Association.

What brand new object would you like to create? Post a brief comment below describing the outline for an online learning object (lesson) using the steps in the book to guide you. What part of the Framework will you focus on? Create an outcome statement, and select one of the common instructional design program activities (p.29) to assess the student’s competency. (You may choose to preview examples of completed lessons from the New Literacies Alliance here) Are you interested in working with someone on your project? Pitch your idea and see if you can partner with someone here!


  1. I’ve been thinking about bringing more aspects of my teaching online, especially since the classes that have shown the most interest in my help have been online classes with no formal library instruction embedded in the course. Ultimately, I work with the instructors to give them resources and have met with students quite a bit for one-on-one sessions.

    However, based on what I hear from instructors, I think they’d really appreciate being able to direct their students towards modules introducing them to some of the basics of appropriately finding and using research to inform their final capstone projects. I’d like to be able to direct instructors to modules crafted specifically for their courses, similar to the way the NLA is set up, so they could assign the library modules they feel would be the most appropriate for their classes at any particular time.

    The benefits to being part of NLA would be the opportunity to help inspire new modules but the collaborative work would also help ensure that important details aren’t left out the way they might if only one or two people were working on it.


  2. Learning object:
    The way I would use this in my teaching would depend on what technology is available and how much initiative the class’s instructor is willing to take. Ideally, the students would go through this tutorial before our time together and prepare questions for the session, then we would review these concepts, go into more detail of their required citation style, then do some activities. If this would not work, I would use some of the concepts from this tutorial in my teaching session, such as using Star Wars as an example for paraphrasing and summarizing. Finally, if I only was able to reach the class through a research guide, this would be a perfect link to include.
    I don’t think teaching Framework concepts is easier either online or in person; it depends on how many concepts you need to get through, how much time you have, how engaged the students are, what resources are available, etc. Ideally, having one class per frame would work perfectly; however, realistically this never works out. Combining in-person (for those really important aspects) with virtual (for skills and concepts that may be less important for a particular course) is the most realistic option.


  3. Developing a good research question is crucial for my Senior Seminar students, who have only one semester for their capstone papers. The Ask the Right Questions tutorial (in the ACRL Sandbox and also tagged as New Literacies Alliance) might prove useful to these learners.

    Since the tutorial is brief (It could even stand to have extra pages instead of some pages with material below the fold.), it won’t prove taxing. It uses the example of flu vaccines, a topic which would interest many of my students. The interactive quiz is an important feature in that it gives students some practice. The video is closed captioned, and the captioning contains relatively few errors.

    I wouldn’t remix this item in the sense of changing anything in it, though I’d include other tutorials with varied examples. Then learners would have additional practice with different topics.

    I could use it in the online sections of the course, or to supplement face-to face or blended sections. I’ve worked with this course in all formats. I wouldn’t say that one format is easier for teaching these concepts than another: Each has its strengths and challenges. I’ve had more extended contact with students in the online sections, yet the online asynchronous format is harder in terms of scaling feedback. Also, a lot would depend on the instructor, the students, and the desired outcomes.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s