Casting a Wide Net: Using Screencasts to Reach and Teach Library Users

Speakers: Stephanie RosenblattEric FriersonCarmen Kazakoff ,Mick Jacobsen

Moderated by: Anne Houston

Date time place: Saturday July 11, 2009 from 10:30am – 12:00pm at McCormick Place South, S105 a-d

Sponsor: Reference User Services Association, Machine Assisted Reference Section   (RUSA MARS)

The first speaker was Stephanie Rosenblatt Education Librarian, California State University, Fullerton.

  • once she had created her screencast (i.e. video) tutorials she began to wonder if her students were really learning. In the classroom she is interactive and uses various techniques to get her point across and yet it seemed like it was supposed to be okay that she only used one technique to get her point across in the video tutorial. She is looking for better pedagogical approaches to incorporate into the tutorials. She is still not sure how much learning they can support due to the medium.

Eric Frierson, Education and Political Science Librarian, University of Texas at Arlington

  • His focus was creating a sense of community through screencasts.
  • His University is using LibGuides for their subject Guides and although they find them very useful they are still very wordy. He has created a You Tube video that he places prominently in the top left hand corner of the LibGuides that is a basic hello and encouragement to contact if they still have questions. He wants them to know there is a human being behind all of those links.
  • He is more interested in the placement of the screencasts than there construction.

Carmen Kazakoff-Lane, Head – Extension and Inter-Library Loans, Brandon University

  • She was representing the Animated Tutorial Sharing (ANTS) project and talking about their collaborative uses.
  • ANTS wants to collaborate across institutions by syndicating screencasts
  • They disseminate their information through a wiki
  • For better syndication they are now using blip.tv with a channel called LION: Library Information Literacy Online Network “Participants in this project agree to make these episodes openly available for others to link to, embed, share, download, or edit, provided the appropriate credit is assigned to the author”
  • They are using blip.tv because it has better resolution than You Tube
  • From the LION site you can share to FaceBook, embed videos into your blog, course management system or LibGuide. Basically they want you to be able to put them anywhere you think your users will be. You get the code and you can put it where you’d like.
  • She recommended using embedr with this service you can take videos from any site such as You Tube, Vimeo or Daily Motion and embed them into a playlist that streams from their site into another for example a course management system.
  • She mentioned that in 2009 You Tube will be doing HD videos which may make them a more viable service for the videos that need better definition

Mick JacobsenSkokie Public Library

  • He had tips for better screencasts
  • Patrons only want to know about resources when they know it will answer their question. With that in mind you may want to put their question into the name of the screencast for example “how to get an A on your next research paper” or “how to answer your medical questions”.
  • Additionally he warns not to put jargon in your screencasts or titles. You want to answer their question in their language.
  • Make your screencasts more interesting by telling a story instead of just giving information, take them on a journey.
  • Understand that your screencast is not forever, our site and databases change and so will your videos.
  • Try to put screencasts at a patrons point of need for example, adding them into subject guides.
  • Two free screencasting tools he mentioned were: Jing which takes loading onto your computer and Screenjelly which does not need to be loaded on your computer but you do need a Twitter account.
  • Keep your screencasts short. Anything that is unnecessary should be out of the video.
  • Give the audience one way to get their answer not three. It is like giving directions to your house. If you need to convey three different ways then you need to make three different videos.
  • He noted to look up the screencasts at Westlake Porter Public Library, Orange County Library System, Nashville Public Library , Enoch Pratt Free Library, Pierce County Library System .

Q&A Portion of the presentation

  • One presenter mentioned that in MERLOT there are screencasts that have learning objects added to them where people can for example manipulate things on a screen for citation correction or other ways to practice what they have learned.
  • One presenter brought out the JUST DO IT philosophy. Just get something made and put it out there. Look at what others have done to help you but go ahead and make the world’s worst screen cast. That is better then nothing just get to learning.  Making = learning.
  • Evaluation of screencasts should not be forgotten. Can put a link at the end of the screencast that goes to a survey that allows you to find out what works and what doesn’t work.