Growth / Pro
Kansas City, USA
University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) is the largest comprehensive, fully accredited university in the Kansas City area. Their faculty are leaders in their fields — and they're within reach. UMKC’s 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio means professors know their students' names and take mentorship seriously. UMKC’s students come from all 50 states and 85+ countries, enriching their community with diverse perspectives. With more than 125 academic areas, UMKC’s students have many opportunities to explore on their way to discovering and creating their perfect career.
UMKC is an urban university (or colloquially known as a commuter campus), therefore, they provide many online courses to suit their students.
Jess and Dani are passionate librarians at UMKC who are focused on providing assistance to students. Jess and Dani needed to create the instructional design for credit-bearing courses (otherwise known as bibliographic instruction or information literacy instruction). The instructional courses aim to teach students the mechanics of how to research – what are the best ways to search? Who is an authority? How do you evaluate research?
The university didn’t yet have a department that supported the faculty in developing the instructional design for online courses (however a few years later opened a support faculty). This left the librarians to rely on free screen captures to create short how-to courses that were posted on their website. The library website was difficult to navigate, and lead to many users facing difficulties in discovering the how-to page housing the instructional videos, and therefore was not readily used by students. The library staff tried to encourage students to use the resources they had created for the how-to page by approaching them in person and then emailing a link to them so that they could easily find the resources.
Blackboard was utilized as a learning management system university-wide, with every university course hosted here. In 2013, UMKC had one person on campus that knew how to use Adobe Captivate, and the university already had access to the platform, so they decided to use this option. At the same time, the librarians looked at Articulate Storyline, they were unable to find examples of similar content being created that was both beautiful and powerful.
Jess had an “incredibly infuriating” battle with Adobe Captivate to create a template that took 3 days to get to work correctly. Jess believed that “Adobe creates very powerful products” however they believe using Captivate required the skills of a graphic designer. The librarians had “no graphic design skills whatsoever” and relied upon YouTube videos and blogs to learn how to use Adobe Captivate, which was a time-consuming process and the university’s hardware proved to be inadequate, which increased the difficulty of using the platform.
For the first classes of Fall 2013, UMKC was set to have 12+ tutorials, however, ended up with 1. As their schedules began to fill up with teaching, they did not have enough time to dedicate to the time-consuming process with Adobe Captivate.
They decided to create Blackboard native tutorials coupled with self-built quizzes with SCORM objects they created in Adobe Captivate – this continued for a few years.
In 2015, the librarians at UMKC had time to review their courses and decided to look for a new solution. They decided to do what they did best – research and analyze in a methodical way to find an answer. They defined the criteria of requirements for their new solution and began researching possible options. UMKC quickly figured out that cloud-based products were now emerging and would mitigate several issues around collaboration amongst staff and inadequate hardware issues. They used secondary sources like eLearning blogs, user reviews, academic articles and queries in Google to create a short-list of platforms. Narrowing down to a final list of 3; Courselle, Elucidat, and Coassemble. They proceeded to trial each of the platforms.
As the UMKC library didn’t have a budget, they were very price sensitive. Elucidat was cut out of due to cost factors, Courselle was similarly cut for cost-related reasons, and lack of functionality around SCORM.
Jess had an “incredibly infuriating” battle with Adobe Captivate to create a template that took 3 days to get it to work correctly.
Coassemble stood out with it’s ‘no dramas’ personality and cost-effective plans. A compulsory security audit for UMKC was completed and passed with no issues. In 2016, Coassemble was chosen as the all-in-one authoring and LMS solution.
Coassemble allowed UMKC staff to create their content from a range of assets including video, audio, and imagery. As a cloud-based solution, it only required basic hardware to run.
The use of Coassemble led to increased collaboration amongst UMKC’s designers. The platform decreased the time and effort required to produce powerful content without specialist technical skills.
UMKC does not release content mid-semester. This allowed the team time between gaining access to Coassemble and the start of the new semester at the beginning of 2017. Jess and Dani were able to use this time to familiarise themselves with the platform. Additionally, they were able to successfully create the 11 tutorials required.
Towards the end of the semester, UMKC decided to undertake a major conversion project and transfer every single online resource that UMKC had to Coassemble.
As UMKC is part of a general education curriculum, Jess and Dani were able to convince the other instructors at UMKC to ensure their students attended the library one week per semester to participate in their instructional research courses.
Through the general education curriculum, Jess and Dani were able to educate 90% of Freshman and Sophomore students on their research courses. This translates to about 1800 students per year. They have had close to 100% participation rate since starting.
Because they are now providing quality training content, created with Coassemble, the team believes more instructors are willing to encourage their students to participate.
The quantitative results and research that UMKC has collected so far has shown a direct correlation between library instructional courses and increased positive student outcomes.
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