May 23, 2013

IRB: So many potential acronyms

This is my first time applying for IRB, and I'm also the P.I.. I'm not going to go into too much detail about plans for the study right now, but essentially, my colleague and I want to study the effect game mechanics, such as badges and points, have on student learning and success. This is being looked at with MOOCs more recently and adding game aspects to coursework isn't new, but this particular combination coupled with library instruction for a credit course is an area with a lot of potential. I wrote about using Purdue's Passport for integrating badges in library instruction recently for ACRL TechConnect.

So for those of you who have done IRB, I'm sure you're well aware of the stress and headaches it can cause. There is the human subjects training that must be completed (really glad I did this last summer so I didn't have to worry about it), a ton of forms to fill out, being able to address a million different requirements you might know nothing about (how long to store data? where? how is it protected? opt-in vs. opt-out, etc.). I'm lucky my co-researcher has done this before, and other people on my team can provide guidance, but it's definitely an overwhelming process.

Some things I am learning from the UA IRB process:

  • You can't begin any research if it's tied to a credit class until final grades are posted
  • Students need to opt-in to the study, not opt-out
  • You must store data for at least 6 years (not 5!)
  • There are a ton of different forms you have to submit along with the crazy-long, main course form that you probably weren't even aware of
  • That consent/disclosure form you submit (and you had better submit it) better be tight or you'll pretty much have to re-write the whole thing... luckily, we only have a couple small things to fix

We were initially hoping to send out the disclosure/consent form the first day of class, but since we can't even begin the research until grades are posted, I suppose we have more time and don't have to be as frantic about getting approval ASAP.

I'm almost finished with all instructional design for the badges, and then we will have some library student workers try them out to make sure everything is working ok and instructions are clear. Of course since this is not related to IRB, this data is just for our use in assessment and won't be distributed or published. I'm glad we'll have extra time though to work out any kinks and get students' perspectives.

Back to these revisions!

May 3, 2013

Joining the club: Library video contest to promote student awareness and library connections

At an Instructional Services Team meeting we had here awhile back, we were talking about revamping our orientation materials (virtual tours, videos, site info, etc.) and since information gets updated so often, we were discussing the sort of futility of making new videos every single year. Since other libraries had such great success doing student video contests (I particularly love this video from the University of Minnesota Duluth), I felt that we could both have our materials current each year, and also involve students in the process through teaching others about the UA Libraries; this would benefit everyone.

So, this was the first semester we opened up a contest for students to create 2-5 minute videos about The Libraries. We encouraged humor and creativity, with incentive prizes for first and second place. First place gets $500 to the UA Bookstores and second place gets passes to The Loft's (independent theater here) Cult Classics Series.

We wound up with four finalists after videos were vetted for accuracy and following the guidelines by those of us organizing the contest, and then opened it up to student voting. We have some seriously magical IT specialists here who were able to whip up a voting page based on student net ID qualifications essentially in a matter of minutes, and we wound up having over about 700 students vote.

There are a number of things we learned this year that we plan to adjust for next time around, but all around it was a great experience for us, and it seems students were really positive about it as well. From our meeting with student leadership, they were also very excited about it and helped get the word out, along with the tutoring center, and a number of other areas on campus. We also have a marketing department here who helped us with graphics and developed a campus-wide marketing plan for the entirety of the semester.

Here is our video page with links to the winning videos (and contest details), but I'm going to embed first and second place here (so excited about these)!

First place


Second place

University of Arizona Library from Library Promo on Vimeo.