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Springshare is the Teacher's Pet   Tags: news  

February, 2013
Last Updated: Apr 17, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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In This Issue


A teacher’s work doesn’t begin or end when they step into the classroom. There’s much more than class time that goes into successful instruction. Professors at universities know that. So do K-12 teachers, corporate trainers, museum educators—anyone who teaches, including, of course, librarians.

Every teaching librarian knows that a single instruction session, let alone a robust instruction program, can require hours of planning, preparation, evaluation, administration, collaboration, and many other big and little things to make it work.

In this issue of Springy News we offer several ways Springshare products can help throughout the process: from scheduling sessions, to creating and using in-class presentations, to engaging students, to making data-driven decisions before and after you enter the classroom.

Take a look at 5 Tips for LibGuides in the Classroom, Scheduling Instruction Using LibCal, and Pre to Post: LibAnalytics Has It Covered (plus our latest LibAnswers Update) and go to the head of the class.

The Springshare Team 

5 Tips for LibGuides in the ClassroomBack to Top

A great tool for asynchronous online instruction—any time, any place—LibGuides can also be one of your most valuable allies in achieving successful classroom presentations. Here are some tips for making the most of LibGuides as a classroom companion.

OneAll Present(ed) and Accounted For

You’re standing in front of a class, all eyes (and ears) on you.  But you’re not alone.  You have databases, websites, videos, tutorials, books from the catalog, and more to share.

Use LibGuides as your presentation vehicle, and it’s easy to bring all of them together in one place: organized, attractively displayed, and readily accessible both in the classroom and after the session is done.

lightbulbCreate a course-specific LibGuide.

A LibGuide prepared for classroom presentation is simple to update, too. Is there a resource you need to add at the last minute?  Just like that, it’s done.  Did a student’s question during the session spur some changes afterward? No need to update a PowerPoint and send a new version to students.  Just change the guide and the new info will be there waiting for them.

Don't forget: a key benefit of any instruction session is letting the students know you’re there to support them.  What better way to help them connect than through your profile, there on the screen—before, during, and after—along with everything else you provide in your LibGuides-based classroom presentation.

Examples of Course Guides (from Best Of LibGuides)

TwoReuse, Recycle, Renew

Did You Know?

  • Reduce students' anxiety with relevant content in course-specific guides.
  • Building templates for reuse makes building course LibGuides faster & easier 
  • Interactive Polls promote active learning
  • Encourage students to Tweet, Facebook, Instagram your LibGuide

Every class is different, and librarians know how important it is to make their presentations relevant to the specific group of students they’re teaching.  But building a guide to present in every class can be time-consuming.


Let LibGuides templates and reusable content save you time.

Your LibGuides site may already have a guide or guides with reusable content—boxes and pages with frequently-needed information that serve as a template for new guides or pages. Add useful things like a catalog search box, stacks map, instructions for remote access, or citation help. You can then add these to new guides with a few clicks instead of reinventing the wheel. Tip: Don't create a copy when you add them to your guide, and yours will be updated automatically, whenever the originals are updated!

If you’re an academic librarian with one or more subject specialties or a school librarian working with particular grades or schools in a larger system, you can create your own reusable pages or boxes, too. Reusable content can be a specific set of databases or a set of research tips tailored to a specific discipline or age level. It can be an RSS feed from your own blog or a relevant website. It can be anything, really, that you think you’ll want to use over and over again.

Once you have your own reusable content to use as a template, you can update or change them anytime - and they’ll change in every course guide in which you’ve put them. Sound convenient? It is. It will save you time you can use to build new guides more quickly -- AND do all the other things you do.

Help IconReusable Content in LibGuides & LibGuides CMS

ThreeGoing to the Polls

Interactivity. It can be an elusive goal in the classroom, especially when you’re doing a one-shot instruction session with students who may never have met you before and don’t know what to expect.


Get things going with an Interactive Poll.

The Interactive Poll is a box type that you can embed in any LibGuide.  Have students access your poll on classroom computers—or on laptops, tablets, or smartphones—and they can enter their responses anonymously with the collective responses shown on the big screen.

It's an easy way for students to show what they think and know without being singled out, and it’s a great way to get a discussion going as students see what others thought and then justify their own response.

A poll is not a quiz. There’s no grade and there doesn’t even have to be a right answer.
It’s a great conversation starter.


  • Ask students to say how many books they think are in the library
  • Whether a particular passage in a paper is plagiarism
  • Which database they'd turn to for research on a particular topic

Creating an Interactive Poll in LibGuides is so easy, you can even create one on the fly in class in just minutes. Give Interactive Polls a try and see what they can do.

Video: Engaging Students with Interactive Polls

FourShare and Share Alike

If there’s one thing that students know how to do online, it's share. Facebook. Twitter. Tumblr. Instagram.  Students love sharing with others the things that amuse, provoke, anger, interest, or puzzle them.

How can you turn this desire to share into a learning experience? With the User Link Submission box in LibGuides, that’s how!

Add a User Link Submission box to your course guide and show it in class.  Tell them how it works.  Give them a topic—the topic of the course as a whole or something very specific that you and the faculty member devise.  Let them know they can add links to anything: websites, books in the catalog, articles found in databases, whatever they think will interest their fellow students and help them explore and learn.

Worried about mischief, malice, or mistakes? As guide author, you’ll be notified of all submissions and will have to approve them before they appear in the guide.

“If you build it, they will come,” as the old line says.  If they build it, they’ll not only come, they’ll be partners with you in discovering, evaluating, and sharing information and knowledge.

Help IconUser  Link Submission Box Type

fiveSpeaking of Partners...

. . .your most important partner in classroom instruction is the teacher or professor whose class you're coming to meet. If the faculty member isn't on board, the presentation isn't likely to happen at all. If they're not happy with the results, you may not get invited back.

There are several ways to get faculty input—and buy-in—as you're preparing for a classroom presentation using LibGuides.

First, you can get feedback on your guide before it’s made public by changing the status from Unpublished to Private and sending the URL to the faculty member. Private guides are visible only to those who know the address. Faculty can give input by using the Comment link available on every page and in every box of your guide—or by whatever communication channel they prefer.

Second, you can add faculty members as collaborators on the guide.  They won't have a full account in your LibGuides system, but they can log in and contribute in big or small ways to the creation of the guide you’re building for their class. If your library has LibGuides CMS, you can give faculty members—or students, for that matter—”Regular” accounts. Regular accounts have access beyond a single guide, but do not have all of the access that Librarian accounts do.

Different faculty members will be open to different levels of involvement.  Some will be more than happy to just leave it in your hands.  But give them the opportunity to participate and provide input, as much or as little as they want, and your course guide will be more likely to meet their needs and those of their students.

Scheduling Instruction Using LibCalBack to Top

Does this process sound familiar?

Scenario: You're at an academic library where an instruction coordinator schedules all sessions and rooms.

  1. A faculty member emails you to schedule an instruction session 
  2. You reply back with your room availability for the following week
  3. They reply back requesting a specific librarian - who is not available at all. <of course>
  4. Sigh. You respond, offering to move the session to another week to accommodate the requested librarian
  5. Finally, you've got a date & time nailed down
  6. You then email the instruction librarian 
  7. Post the schedule at the reference desk

Bottom-Line: Scheduling a session takes several back & forth emails AND lots of manual work on your part. 
Is there a better way?

Using LibCal for Faculty Requested Instruction Sessions

Use the room bookings component to take email out of the equation.
Create a schedule of availability and faculty can book appointments right through the LibCal system.

Worried about needing to move a booked session? You can require mediation on bookings so you can approve/deny each booking request on a case-by-case basis.

Setting Up Your Room for Booking:LibCal Group Settings

Navigate to Room Bookings within LibCal and create a group for your instruction classroom(s). You'll want to create a custom booking form for faculty to provide details on their instruction request such as what they'd like covered during the session. Give your group a friendly-URL to ensure easy findability.

If you want to moderate all incoming requests, be sure to enable Booking Mediation. If your faculty have a dedicated email domain like, you can even limit bookings to that domain. Once your group and group settings have been defined, time to add your rooms! Add room information like pictures, technology available and even seating.

Time to setup availability! When are librarians available, and for how long, to teach classes? Setup your bookings with that in mind and you're done!

What about Roving Instruction? Follow the same process but add a room titled 'Roving Librarian'.

Help IconRoom Bookings Help Guide

Scheduling a SessionLibcal Booking Form

How do faculty schedule an instruction session? Here's how:

  1. Advertise your new booking system via your friendly-URL (step #4 above)
  2. Faculty select a date & time > fill out the form > Done!
    They will receive a confirmation email that their booking has been received

Mediating a Booking Request

Once a booking request comes arrives, approve/deny that booking request:

  • Is there a time conflict? Change the time!
  • Does the date not work for the requested librarian? Change the date!
  • Need to send a note with the updated date & time? Use the email notes field!
  • Need to add internal information. Internal notes are for you!
  • Want to know how often Prof. Smith has requested a class? 
    Detailed statistics are available with user history!

LibCal LogoEverything happens inside LibCal. So approving/denying an instruction request automatically sends an email to the faculty member with your email notes.

Creating an Internal Instruction Calendar

So, you've got faculty using your self-service room bookings! Well done.

   Q. How do you let librarians know which classes they'll be teaching and when?

   A. Create an Internal Calendar!

LibCal Outlook

 Pre to Post: LibAnalytics Has It CoveredBack to Top

Cover the entire instruction cycle, from Pre-Assessment Surveys to gathering Instruction Statistics and even Post-Instruction Student and Faculty surveys, with LibAnalytics.

Setup as Fun as Kickball during Recess

If you're wondering, how do I know what data to collect? I don't know what I don't know!

Well, put that fear to rest with our ready-made templates.


  • Log into your LibAnalytics system
  • Create New Dataset
  • Copy Dataset from Springshare Template
  • A ready made template is copied over and you can edit the fields to custom tailor it to your institution's needs

LibAnalytics Copy Dataset

Feedback - Get Raised Hands Waving 'OOH OOH, Pick Me!'

Pre-Instruction Assessment is critical to the success of the instruction session.

  • LibAnalytics Pre-Instruction Assessment

    What do they need?

    Pre-Instruction Assessment Survey gets you valuable information before the instruction session so you'll know what they need to learn.

  • Instruction Statistics

    What took place?

    Instruction Statistics helps you answer questions like, how many classes did we teach, how much prep time on average and what was the overall success of our sessions?

  • LibAnalytics Post Instruction

    What did they learn?

    Post-Instruction Assessment helps to match up your information literacy outcomes with IL competency standards. You'll know if sessions address the standards and suss out any lost opportunities.

  • Are you teaching seasoned library users? Or novices?
  • Are they experts at navigating the catalog? Or would they get lost with a map, a tour-guide and two compasses?
  • Do they need help with citations? Or just narrowing down their thesis topic?

Answer these questions, and others, by creating a Pre-Instruction Assessment Survey and:

  • Email the link to their professor for in-class entry
  • Embed it in their Blackboard / Moodle / Sakai course
  • Down to the wire? Give them 5 minutes before the instruction class to fill it out and then run real-time reports minutes before you start teaching.

Biology 101 - Slice & Dice Your Frog, errrr Data!

So you've been collecting data, now what?! Well, now it's time for running some filtered reports and slicing your data down into manageable pieces. 

  • Mine out interesting trends. Who knew that 50% of students have already had at least one instruction session.
  • Make connections. Wow, 75% of students felt strongly confident about conducting research after being taught by Librarian Ginna.
  • Discover gaps. 66.6% of the time, when instruction sessions are scheduled over the phone a course-specific LibGuide is not created.

AP Credit - Making Data Driven Decisions

Now that your data has been dissected, it's time to make data-driven decisions. Use the power of your data to make changes in your library program!


  • Add more in-class time to evaluation of resources because in the Post-Instruction Assessment Survey, you've discovered that students aren't able to meet IL Standard Three.
  • Increase the librarian to student ratio by having two librarians lead an instruction session because you've noticed that 70% of your instruction sessions have at least 40 students in attendance.
  • Spend less time covering the catalog due to feedback in the Pre-Instruction Assessment Survey.

LibAnswers UpdateBack to Top

LibAnswers Notes

Scheduled Week of February 25th

Notes Makeover

Notes associated with individual questions got an upgrade:

  • Multiple Notes - Add multiple notes to questions to track the internal history of a question. Notes are now Rich-Text optimized, so feel free to add links, lists, keywords and even tag questions for later follow-up as a searchable way to retrieve past questions.
  • Share Notes outside LibAnswers - Ever felt the need to consult on an answer with someone outside of your LibAnswers system? You can now email new notes to accounts and best of all, replies to your notes are automatically added as a new note on that question.

SMS Threading & Updates

We're making it easier to keep track of discrete SMS interactions with:

  • Better "Previous Messages" Views - We've improved the info on the 'View Previous Messages' link so you'll get a more complete picture.
  • Edit SMS Transaction & Threads - By default, the system defines an SMS "thread" as all questions & replies from one user in a 24 hour period. If new replies are part of an older original thread, move the new conversation to the old thread.
  • SMS Notifications to multiple numbers - We've added more notification options to let you know when new questions come in to your system. Head to Admin Stuff System Settings SMS Notification Number and add multiple numbers separated with a space.

Secure / HTTPS module

We now offer HTTPS support in LibAnswers - both for full sites, and for widgets and APIs.

  • If you're loading LibAnswers content or embedding LibAnswers widgets into a separate https site (Blackboard / Moodle / Desire2Learn / etc...), our new HTTPS support will avoid those pesky 'unsecured content' error messages.
    • Email us at to set it up!
  • New API Security Features - We're adding new options for security-conscious sites to help keep API data secure. You can:
    • Turn off the API entirely
    • Add IP restrictions so only certain users can generate API calls
    • Force API calls to load over HTTPS

Keyword Overhaul

Admins, head to Admin Stuff Metadata Keywords Tab to see these new features:

  • Keyword Admin Screen - View all the keywords in your system and view questions assigned to a keyword. Need to add/edit keywords? You got it!
  • View Questions Without Keywords - View the questions that aren't assigned any keywords and add them with one click.

Bonus Updates

  • LibAnswers SPAMBlocking Options for Email & SMS - Has your system received a spam email or SMS message? Then SPAM it! You'll find a new 'Spam' icon in your Unanswered Queue.
    • Click to report suspicious spammy emails and we'll rollout a red-carpet SmackDown!
  • Improved Notifications in LibChat - We've upgraded the LibAnswers notifications on the LibChat screen:
    • Replies to existing questions will display
    • Preview new questions
    • Want to answer the question? Just click it to claim it you'll go straight to the answering page
  • New System Backup API - Grab a full feed of your public knowledge base!


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