Canva + ThingLink = Awesome

Earlier this week I led a Tech Sandbox on these two tools for everyone in our library. The session went pretty well despite some running into issues with the computers in the labs. Everyone seemed to really latch onto the usefulness of ThingLink in their work. Here is an instructional example I created using both tools to explain what to look for in database results.

Canva was a little more difficult for some to connect to their work, which I’m not totally surprised by. Prticipants seem to think that others are better at taking care of graphic design and they don’t think that they produce much graphic content. In the future I will try to find ways to highlight some of the graphic work that they are already doing. Maybe I can even find examples for each participant from their LibGuides and other materials. If I knew who was going to participate in advance. Then we could focus on revising these works with Canva. My session plan included directions for working on work-related graphics for the activity, but most were playing without much direction. I’d like to harness that playfulness, but find authentic ways to give it some direction.

With that in mind, my emerging thought is to put together post-session activities that require participants to apply their skills to a graphic project that actually could be used in their work. I will also offer digital badges for completion of these activities. There is some rising interest in badges on our campus and in our library, but badges are still a bit mysterious to many. This will let us see them in action. Plus the Tech Sandboxes will be a low stakes way for me to work out the kinks of badging for professional development and workshops. I hope this will lead to build out a badging ecosystem offered through the library and our Learning Commons partners for students, faculty and staff.

Templates for Research Source Analysis

posted in: Instruction | 0
Photo of a pencil on top of papers
Photo by Philip Taylor: PT Money CC BY 2.0 flickr

I created some documents for my newest version of Western Libraries’s Introduction to Research Strategies class and I have shared them as Google Doc Templates. These templates are designed to help students analyze sources used for research projects.

They include fields for source details, evaluation, and notes. Although they were created for a college-level research course, but they could easily be adapted for other audiences. This Doc can help create annotated bibliographies too. There may be a little too much on the source details for some uses, but you can easily delete sections that aren’t relevant for you.

There are two versions – Doc version and Form version.The Form version is better for adding analysis details all at once and creating a database from the data in associated Spreadsheet.The Doc version is better for adding analysis details incrementally.

At Western Libraries we have been using a template for annotated bibliographies that has done a decent job, but I wanted to improve it so that students could have more guidance through the evaluation and note taking process. With the old template students were typically not really doing much in-depth analysis. Hopefully this will improve their source analysis. I’ll see how it goes with my group this summer and make adjustments when I learn more about how they are using it.

Hope these templates help you and your students analyze sources. What can I do to make them better? How are you using source analysis templates?