The August Core e-Forum focused on instructional technologies and the effects of COVID-19 on library instruction. Attendees were asked how they changed their teaching styles during COVID-19 and responses varied from asynchronous modules and recordings in the LMS to synchronous online instruction sessions. Tools mentioned included Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Kaltura, Camtasia, BlueJeans, Canvas modules, slides, LibAnswers, LibWizard, Google Forms, and Qualtrics. During COVID-19, some libraries were fully closed, while others offered online instruction.
Next we discussed how to engender a sense of community during online teaching. Some methods discussed include chat and breakout rooms in Zoom, Kahoot, Padlet, and discussion boards for asynchronous credit-courses. Many students did not want to show themselves via cameras, which made it difficult to assess engagement. Some recommendations included having students read from the slides and ask targeted questions that could lead to discussions.
We also discussed how to keep morale up. Humor was recommended, as well as being approachable and asking how everyone is doing. For credit courses, librarians offered extra credit opportunities and provided choice and autonomy for students over assignments. For librarian morale, taking mental breaks and mental health days when needed and spending time with fur babies and family. For library directors, checking in with staff and sharing resources for preventing burnout and encouraging wellness.
The next question regarded techniques for fostering interactivity. The new tools shared were Mentimeter, Poll Everywhere, and Google Docs. Some tools are better for the online environment, while others are better in person. Librarians’ favorite instructional technologies varied between Zoom, LibWizard, Mentimeter, Poll Everywhere, and Padlet. Zoom was mentioned by several people despite Zoom fatigue because of its adaptable use for individual meetings with students and for instruction sessions. For asynchronous instructional videos, Captivate and PowToon were mentioned. Library instruction planned for this year include virtual asynchronous or synchronous sessions, or a mixture.
Potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on library instruction were discussed and several librarians planned on using Zoom as a consultation or meeting tool for the foreseeable future. Calendly was mentioned as a scheduling tool. Other librarians plan to continue recording workshops for asynchronous viewing or using tutorials rather than synchronous instruction sessions.
Several recommendations and resources were shared. Librarians should first consider instructional goals and then decide on technology to use to meet those goals. Several other recommended tools include LibWizard, PowToon, and Nearpod. Two websites recommended for updates on instructional technologies include: Richard Byrne’s Free Tech 4 Teachers website and EdTech Teacher. Two recommended books include the LITA Guide to No- or Low-Cost Technology Tools for Libraries and The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way.
– Breanne Kirsch & Melissa Johnson, e-Forum Moderators