Remote support from the Library
Photo courtesy of Meg Grotti April 10, 2020
E-resources from the Library, Museums and Press to support academic success
Students are logging into Zoom instead of walking across campus to their next class. Faculty have rapidly restructured their syllabi to adapt to an online teaching environment. Although it’s not exactly business as usual, the Library, Museums and Press (the Library) remains a hub of support for the University of Delaware community.
“Librarians have been working in online spaces to support faculty and students for decades, and so we are very well prepared to support UD's move to online teaching and learning,” said Meg Grotti, associate librarian and assistant head of Instructional Services.
As the community adapts to a virtual classroom environment, the Library remains committed to its mission to support and enhance the academic success of the University. Read on to discover how the Library has been working with faculty and students during this transition period, and how its resources can support your success throughout the semester.
Web-based resources are accessible from wherever students, faculty and staff are learning, teaching and working. With proxy access, one can use all web-based Library databases, e-books, and e-journals just as if one were on campus.
Requests for electronic copies of book chapters and journal articles are continuing to be fulfilled through Interlibrary Loan and the “Get This for Me” service. Since the University began operating remotely in mid-March, 575 requests from the UD community have been completed with electronic content from the Library’s collections, online sources, open access resources and PDFs from more than 140 different libraries, including institutions in Australia, Canada, the U.K., Singapore and Taiwan.
Similarly, Library staff have been working closely with faculty to find digital copies of print materials they had previously placed on Course Reserve for their entire course to access online. Library staff also continue to build on and purchase new digital resources.
Along with our existing collection and new online resource purchases, many publishers have made additional online resources temporarily available. More than 200,000 e-book titles have been added to the Library catalog, so that users can easily find them.
"We have been working diligently to add thousands of e-resources to DELCAT Discovery [the Library catalog], vet temporary access offers from publishers, respond to librarian and faculty requests for new e-resources, share new e-resources with faculty, and solve technical issues with e-resources to support our community,” said Susan Davi, associate librarian and head of the Collections and Electronic Resources Management Department. To learn more about these resources, use the Ask the Library online chat service.
As faculty transitioned their courses online, this included moving materials like DVDs from the Library’s Film and Video Collection that they planned on viewing in class into online media content through streaming video.
Since mid-March, the Library has fielded streaming video requests for more than 250 titles. With more than 70,000 streaming videos that can be used for instruction, the Library’s collection — searchable through the Library catalog — can support many faculty requests. If a title falls outside the collection, librarians research the means to license the title elsewhere, which staff have done for nearly 125 requested titles during the same period. For titles not easily accessible, librarians can suggest alternative titles within existing collections as well as copyright guidance when a specific title is necessary for a class to succeed.
“Because of the Library's pre-existing subscriptions and relationships with myriad educational media vendors, we have been able to respond positively to many of these requests, ensuring as seamless a viewing experience as possible given the current environment,” said Meghann Matwichuk, associate librarian and coordinator of the Film and Video Collection.
Teaching and Learning Support
Library staff and faculty already work closely together to foster opportunities that help students learn more about the resources they can use to support their research. Whether it’s by providing lessons via Zoom, developing asynchronous activities or creating discussion questions, they continue to collaborate now by reimagining how best to support students in learning research skills in a digital environment.
Librarians and curators, including Kaitlyn Tanis, are using their expertise to create engaging online substitutes. After thoughtful discussions with the professor of an English 110 course who had originally planned for their students to come into the Library for an instruction session, Tanis recorded a series of short videos for the students to view on their own time. (English 110 is the only course that must be taken by all UD undergraduates.) These videos introduce students to the Library’s resources, the difference between primary and secondary sources, the historical research process, and finding Library resources online. In a time of potential disconnect, these videos put a face to the Library and let students know an expert they can turn to for help while speaking to the faculty’s course goals.
In addition, the Library has several learning tools that can easily be embedded into Canvas. This includes tutorials and research guides, which help students quickly and conveniently access relevant research tools for their discipline, as well as the librarians themselves.
Librarian William Simpson is embedded in Canvas for a class on the history of mathematics. In addition to providing a course-specific research guide, creating a custom user guide for an assignment-specific e-resource, and speaking to the students during their class using Zoom, Simpson is available to students through Canvas discussion threads. There, students are asking Simpson questions directly, allowing him to recommend reliable, subject-specific e-resources as they need them and provide direct support and contact.
Virtual Reference and Consultation Services
As has always been the case, the Library’s best resource is its staff. To ensure the academic success of the University community, staff are available via chat, email and text message through the virtual reference service Ask the Library.
Turn to Library staff for questions related to your research as well as those pertaining to the use of digital materials, such as how to connect to Library resources off campus, how to download e-reader software or how copyright comes into play with digital material in the classroom. Recent hot topics within the UD community have included how to connect to specific resources, how to access specific journal titles and book chapters, how to use citation management software, and how to link materials in Canvas.
Librarians are also available for research consultations via Zoom to help students understand the research process and identify the best sources for their projects as they adapt to a digital landscape.
Whether UD community members are teaching, learning or researching remotely, the Library is here for support. The Library makes materials accessible online, works with faculty to identify effective digital substitutes and provides direct support to students through consultations. With these services, the Library ensures students have the content they need to work on their projects for the semester, researchers have what they need to keep working, and faculty have the necessary resources and support to teach in a digital environment. These efforts are well established Library practices that are playing a crucial role in the University’s mission to provide continuity to faculty, staff and students during this unprecedented time.
“Although the campus had to move quickly to an all-online environment, I am delighted that the staff of the Library, Museums and Press was able to so quickly move to making even more resources and assistance available in this way,” said Trevor A. Dawes, vice provost for libraries and museums and May Morris University Librarian. “I encourage the University community to continue reaching out to us for the support to which you are accustomed.”
For more information on resources available for faculty and students regarding teaching and learning remotely, visit the Library’s course continuity webpage.