Tag Archives: technology

Accessibility and Inclusion Issues in Library Acquisitions: A Guideline to Evaluating and Marketing the Accessibility of Library E-Resources

Reviewed By: Jeana Clampitt, Javier Morales, Jennifer Nguyen

Link to article: http://publish.lib.umd.edu/IJIDI/article/view/314

SYNOPSIS
In this article, Kerry Falloon (2016) examines how academic libraries can ensure that their digital collections comply with federal regulations while meeting the needs of all users. She suggests a specific workflow that includes evaluation and marketing of digital materials. Falloon begins the article with a review of applicable regulations, including legal cases that have arisen when universities have failed to comply. Falloon then points to several existing guides which aim to assist librarians with making purchasing decisions. She discusses existing technologies, including specific products, and the benefit for all users of providing adaptable materials and technology. Then she presents a workflow model and discusses how it has been implemented at the City University of New York (CUNY), and specifically the College of Staten Island (CSI) Library. Finally, she discusses marketing, including the importance of signage and the use of LibGuides as a method of promotion.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Falloon states, “The purpose of this study is to educate acquisition librarians attempting to integrate best practices in evaluating the accessibility of acquired products and services into current workflows” (p. 2). In addition, the study aims to “provide a workflow model on how to ensure that a digital resource is evaluated and marketed for accessibility compliance” (p. 14).

These goals can be reframed as the following research questions:
RQ1: How can acquisitions librarians ensure that digital collections comply with accessibility regulations and are practical for all users?
RQ2: What are best practices for evaluating and marketing digital materials?
RQ3: What workflow model do librarians at the CSI Library use to ensure these goals are met?

METHODS
Falloon evaluates electronic resources in regards to the implementation of new workflows. She states that “traditional workflows need to be broken down and redesigned into new workflows, with patron services as its goal” (p. 6). According to Falloon, doing so will allow libraries to be better able to keep the accessibility and universal design needs of patrons with disabilities at the forefront in all electronic resource decision-making processes.

To help with the facilitation of these new workflows, the CUNY-CSI Library used the Techniques for Electronic Resource Management (TERMS) as a model to help in the evaluation of product and service accessibility. If properly adopted by library staff, TERMS would help create new workflows that would better allow them to evaluate whether electronic resources are “accessible, adaptable, supportive, and can be used by patrons of all abilities.” (p. 6).

In the course of this wider study of the accessibility needs of patrons, the CUNY-CSI Library has made a concerted effort to prioritize new policies and procedures. Several resources are highlighted, including the ALA’s “Purchasing of Accessible Electronic Resources Resolution” policy and the ASCLA’s “Think Accessible Before You Buy” toolkit. These guides along with other resources can help librarians create more accessible content. They can then apply those skills to better evaluate the accessibility of other resources. The author also makes a point to note that accessibility isn’t limited to online resources. For example, library acquisitions staff often also handle the purchasing of hardware and software. This can include specialized equipment, such as screens that magnify text, large-print keyboards, or assistive programs that enable patrons to interact with electronic resources.

Falloon makes several recommendations, such as Zoom Text, a screen reader that serves several purposes. It can enlarge or enhance text and images on the screen, or even read aloud. Other recommendations include Kurzweil 3000, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and even built-in accessibility features found in Microsoft Office Suites. She argues that though several of these options would certainly require a significant investment on the part of the library, it would ultimately be worthwhile, if it better allows the library to assist a wider array of patrons.

FINDINGS & CONCLUSION
Falloon finds that though about 75% of resources acquired by the CUNY-CSI Library are electronic, they are not necessarily accessible. Acquisition and electronic resource librarians are not always mindful that new materials must adhere to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, or the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). “Acquisition and electronic resource librarians need to acquire knowledge of disability law compliance as it relates to product evaluations, purchasing decisions, marketing, and reviews” (p. 14). The article was written to enlighten said librarians of these issues and provide inclusive and accessible TERM steps, signage, and many electronic programs to check whether materials are accessible to those with disabilities.

FURTHER QUESTIONS
Falloon provides an excellent overview of the current situation regarding accessibility of digital collections as well as suggestions for implementing a workflow that emphasizes evaluation and marketing of such materials. Suggestions for future studies include how other academic libraries are approaching the topic, as well as advancements in other types of tech tools.

There have been several advances in technology since this article was published, including the rising popularity of intelligent virtual assistants. These have the potential to increase accessibility for users with disabilities. One further question is whether they are being designed to meet accessibility regulations. Companies including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have incorporated accessibility settings into these products. They are similar to the settings Falloon discusses for the Windows desktop environment. Other new technologies that are starting to see adoption in libraries are virtual reality (e.g. Google Expeditions) and augmented reality (e.g. librARi). While Falloon focuses on resources for users, there have also been advancements in library management software and repositories (e.g. LIBERO, Alexandria, and ePrints). It remains to be seen which of these different types of technologies will become mainstream and how libraries will work to make them accessible to users and staff.

As technology continues to evolve, accessibility regulations will likely need to be revised to include new formats. Falloon writes that librarians need to be aware of these changes, but does not discuss how to best keep staff aware of updates. One solution would be to assign one or more staff members to track these changes. This could be done by periodically reviewing the ADA website (https://www.ada.gov/), subscribing to email updates from the United States Department of Justice (https://www.justice.gov/news), or following the DoJ (@TheJusticeDept) and organizations such as the Southeast ADA Center (@adasoutheast) on social media.

Reference
Falloon, K. A. (2016). Accessibility and inclusion issues in library acquisitions: A guideline to evaluating and marketing the accessibility of library e-resources. The International Journal of Information, Diversity, and Inclusion, 1, 1-16. Retrieved from http://publish.lib.umd.edu/IJIDI

Student engagement across cultures – Investigating lecture software.

Reviewed By: Whitney McCoy, Lea Ann McDonald, Amina McGensy, Mariah Sparks, Saidy Valdez, Brittany Vernon

Link to article: http://jotlt.indiana.edu/article/view/19996

In recent decades, the use of technology has grown exponentially and has contributed to rapidly increasing globalization. In education, instructional technologies have been incorporated from preschool through graduate school. Technology has the potential to increase learner engagement in the classroom and lead to better instructional outcomes. To work toward improving access to instructional technology for learners across the globe, it is important for educators and information professionals to consider whether culture has an effect on perceptions of technology in the classroom, and to incorporate instructional technologies using culturally-competent methods.

Synopsis
In 2014, Green, Sammons, and Swift conducted a study to see how learning software affects college students in different countries, and consequently, across cultures. The authors note that modern educators have found that the application of learning software in the classroom has produced more engaged students and better instructional outcomes. In order for student engagement to reach its peak, it must have behavioral, cognitive, and emotional dimensions. Student engagement coupled with active learning, which occurs when students are engaged with course content and new knowledge is added to existing knowledge, is what leads to the ideal classroom environment (Green, et. al., 2017, pp. 19).
The authors were interested in determining if the use of instructional technology results in different effects across cultures. Despite noting that the word “culture” has been difficult to define in the world of education (pp. 17), the authors elected to use 337 students from the United States and Singapore as subjects, to see if the potential differences in learning styles across cultures have any effect on the use of learning software in the classroom. The study found that location and culture play a significant role in student perceptions of classroom technology. The study results demonstrate that Singaporean students found that the lecture software stimulated their involvement in the class, which is a result that may be explained by the traditional teaching style found in Singapore’s classrooms. The authors ultimately conclude that the use of lecture software in the classroom is most beneficial when integrated properly into a specifically-designed classroom instructional strategy.

Core Research Questions

The authors posed the following central research questions in their study design:

Does use of lecture technology inspire deeper knowledge and engagement in course material?

Are there any differences in student engagement using technology between students in the U.S. and Singapore (pp. 19)?

Are there any differences between U.S. and Singaporean students when introduced to technology (e.g., lecture software) with regards to active learning, knowledge, involvement, and enjoyment of the instructional technology (pp. 19)?

What is the current best practice for integrating technology into the design of a lecture?

What are the differences that educators need to take into account when designing a technology-facilitated lecture that will be delivered across multiple cultures?

Methods

The study was conducted in 2014 at undergraduate hospitality colleges in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Singapore, with data collected in five U.S.-based and four Singapore-based classes. Of the 337 participants, slightly over half were from the United States, and over half of all the subjects were females between the ages of 18 and 24. There was no additional data collected regarding students’ cultures or ethnicities beyond their location of U.S. or Singapore. Of the six instructors, only one was based in Singapore, and the rest taught in the U.S. The classroom sizes varied between 30 and 60 students, and the instructors were required to have prior knowledge in applying technology to postsecondary curricula (pp. 19).
Teachers were trained in the lecture software before they used it in their classrooms (pp. 19). Instructors either taught their classes in computer labs, or students were able to bring their own laptops, and they “used the lecture software tool for presentations, polling questions, question slides, and attendance” (pp. 20). Teachers also uploaded PowerPoint presentations into the software, allowing them to incorporate interactive elements into the lecture. Students were instructed via email to download the software in order to view the content on their own computers. The study utilized the Student Engagement Survey (SES) instrument, which consists of 20 questions intended to measure the overall satisfaction regarding the technology used in the course. The survey focused on four constructs for evaluating the differences in technology-assisted learning styles in the U.S. and Singapore, including active learning, involvement, knowledge, and enjoyment. Students completed the SES after the final course lecture (pp. 20).

Results

While there were “a few questions on the survey that showed no significant difference with regards to location” (pp. 21), the majority of the questions found significant evidence that “the culture in the location did matter” (pp. 22). For example, students in Singapore were more receptive to, engaged in, and appreciative of the lecture software than were the U.S. students, perhaps as a pushback to traditional hierarchical teacher/student cultural norms in Singapore. Furthermore, the study found that both groups of students appreciated the use of technology to facilitate interaction with their peers, but the Singaporean students particularly appreciated the anonymity of the polling tools, and were more likely to participate in the lecture knowing that their responses would be anonymous (pp. 22). The instructors offered their perspective of strengths and weaknesses of the instructional software in class, and although they did identify areas in need of improvement, they found that the design worked for their students. Green, Sammons, and Swift found that instructional design with assistive technology was generally beneficial to student learning, because their engagement improved and the students enjoyed using the technology. This was especially apparent among the Singaporean students.

Areas for Future Research

The overarching question addressed by this study asks if the use of learning technologies leads to a deeper and more enjoyable level of engagement for students across cultures, and the researchers were able to draw some general conclusions using the student survey data. The study could have been more evenly designed to compare the same classes offered with a similar number of students across both cultures. The two cultures that were compared frequently gave similar feedback, yet it is hard to fairly assess when more classes were studied in the U.S. than Singapore, and the classes covered different subject matter. Additionally, increasing the number of Singaporean instructors involved in the study would result in a more equitable research design. It is also worth noting that there may be a significant impact on a similar study’s outcome if the complex cultural backgrounds of U.S. students are considered, and/or the role that economic status has on student perceptions of technology; neither of these factors were included in Green, Sammons, and Swift’s research.
Some questions for future study on how technology enhances and engages students might include the following:

How does using interactive learning technology with varying cultures and genders affect student confidence, academic performance, and learning outcomes?

What current or emerging technologies can be employed to further engage students, allowing them to deepen their knowledge and gain skills that are relevant to their coursework and future careers?

How can educators and information professionals best design interactive and relevant coursework for multicultural students in which the technology offers an opportunity for both engagement and inclusion?

Some of the feedback from questions asked of the participants answered specific aspects of what made the enhanced learning more or less enjoyable. Many of the cons involved the technology feeling “clunky”, “stifl[ing] conversation”, or not working instantaneously (pp. 26). Conversely, the pros addressed the various ways in which students were able to interact and express themselves during a lecture which might otherwise become uninteresting, while creating opportunities for instructors to add relevant talking points (pp. 26). Technology is constantly changing, and the challenge is to design user-friendly software that does not intimidate new users or feel awkward to instructors or students, but rather adds to the experience through enriching the lecture experience and better connecting the students with one another, and with their instructor.

Conclusion

While the data gathered in this study revealed similar perceptions between U.S. and Singaporean students, there were significant differences that were strongly influenced by location and culture. Green, Sammons, and Swift point to a history in Southeast Asian cultures of a traditional student/teacher dynamic, where the teacher delivers information, and the student receives the information, his or her silence indicating respect (pp. 18). The authors postulate that these cultural norms had a multifaceted influence on the Singaporean students’ perceptions of the instructional technology. While the traditional lack of classroom interaction led to an appreciation for the anonymous aspects of the polling tools, the students also found that an interactive lecture was more interesting and enjoyable (pp. 22). This data suggests that cultural challenges and differences should be taken into account when designing classroom technology, in order to increase student adoption of technology, ensure comfort in the classroom, and improve learning outcomes through exposure to different instructional styles.

Reference
Green, A. J., Sammons, G., & Swift, A. (2017). “Student engagement
across cultures – Investigating lecture software.” Journal of
Teaching and Learning with Technology, 6(1), 15-30. Retrieved
from http://jotlt.indiana.edu/article/view/19996

Transforming Knowledge Creation: An Action Framework for Library Technology Diversity

Transforming Knowledge Creation: An Action Framework for Library Technology Diversity

Synopsis

The article focuses on forming an action framework, or plan, to increase diversity in library technology. The action framework developed consists of five dimensions, people, content and pedagogy, embeddedness and global perspective, leadership, and weaving it all together. The action framework is to be developed through knowledge creation. According to Dewey (2015), “the process of knowledge creation needs be inclusive and expansive if its purpose is to advance understanding, solve global problems, and advance the human condition” (p. 1).

Core Research Questions

Each dimension of the action framework has a diversity issue it was designed to improve. Dimension one, people, is designed to improve the lack of diversity and gender equity in computer and information students. Dimension two, content and pedagogy, is intended to improve the gaps in the content of academic libraries’ collection. Dimension three, embeddedness and global perspective, is designed to improve integration and understanding of other groups. Dimension four, leadership, is designed to have librarians play a leadership role by embracing people and their ideas. The fifth dimension, bringing everything together, is an approach to advance knowledge creation through thought, practice, and diverse cultural perspectives.

Methods Used to Answer the Research Question(s)

In dimension one, people; Dewey discusses the Penn State Library Diversity Residency Program. This program is a two-year program that allows graduates from “historically underrepresented groups” to be placed into a two-year academic library position (Dewey, 2015, p. 3). These placements allow the participants to “…develop collegial relationships with Penn State faculty members and provide support in a variety of ways for students” (Dewey, 2015, p. 4). If positions are available, residents of the program are encouraged to seek continued employment with the university after their initial two years.

Dimension two, content and pedagogy, discusses the University of Texas Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative, which is used to collect “radically different but critically important content and the importance of their use” (Dewey, 2015, p. 4). Dewey also looks at Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, an exhibit permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum. This exhibit provides insight into women’s culture from a feminist perspective.

Dimension three, embeddedness and the global perspective, Dewey (2015), emphasizes “’knowing’ from within groups, cultures, regions and perspectives” (p. 6). This involves looking at the framework from a “global perspective” and acknowledging “the broad context of scholarship, as well as the imperative for diverse perspectives and connections” (Dewey, 2015, p. 6). Looking at the framework from this point of view allows it to be seen with a more critical lens and allows for different perspectives.

Dimension four, leadership, discusses how a leader must be if they wish to be a part of the global framework of diversity. Dewey (2015) states “the leadership traits in dimension four are empathy, strategic vision, and commitment to collaboration” (p. 6). Without these characters, leaders will not be effective within the global framework.

Dimension five is about bringing all of the dimensions together and making the Framework for Library Technology Diversity. All of these dimensions, when brought together, create an effective framework for diversity in the library world.

Findings and Conclusions

Fostering diversity must be recognized as being a core component of the academic institution’s ongoing mission. Contending that knowledge creation is essential to keeping the institution’s libraries relevant, it is critical that this knowledge needs to be inclusive and expansive. In order to accomplish this, it is suggested that academic libraries and institutions must embrace and develop a strategy that addresses training and preparing library technology workers in order to meet the challenges of building and maintaining “a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution” (Dewey, 2015, p. 1).

As a means of working to accomplish this, libraries must identify training needs and procedures for recruitment in order to develop and retain a knowledgeable staff regarding diversity and inclusion. The five dimensions, as part of the Framework for Library Technology Diversity, work to provide a basic foundation for achieving this goal. With challenges framed within the five dimensions, an approach is provided that will allow organizations to develop a plan of action for technology diversity in the library workplace.

Unanswered Questions You Have and What Future Research Might Address

While the dimensions of the framework are thorough, the article still leaves the question of how well this framework would perform once implemented. Implementation and its effects will not happen overnight, but even at a slow pace there is still a solution. As these dimensions are put into action, research can be done to assess how close each one is to achieving the desired results. Information also appears to be missing regarding how these implementations will be marketed to the community.

Many references are made to improving services for women, but lacks mention of other minority groups or poverty. Also, there is the question of how much input from diverse community members was gathered for the creation of the framework. Did the author do research to find out exactly what positions and programs are desired? Aside from the aforementioned feminist perspective, where else would the proposed indigenous knowledge come from? Most importantly, where will the new leadership come from, and how will the positive traits of that leadership be maintained? It may be important to address potential failures within the framework and how those failures would be handled, especially in regards to bad leadership.

The programs designed to increase diversity in the LIS field were well presented but seem heavily dependent on technology. What is being done to reach those without such capabilities, either by choice or circumstance? If technology is not central to a culture what will be done so it is not forgotten in the greater world of knowledge? Will the diverse hires be encouraged to bridge that gap more often than their non-diverse peers?

Future research must be focused on how the desired programs will be run. It is not wise to assume that applied diversity will result in instant and miraculous changes. What will be done to address existing bias, prejudice and discrimination? If the environment is not willing to welcome diversity, then the newly hired person will not feel comfortable and may leave. An overall adjustment of an organization’s structure is necessary if any of the article’s visions will be fulfilled. The article mentions the necessity of solid and positive leadership without suggesting what is to be done about present leadership. The obvious solution of creating leaders from diverse hires is not mentioned. What is being done to have more diverse library leaders and not just diverse LIS students or staff?

Furthermore, it would be wise to consider extending the time span of the program itself or to have multiple programs through which a person may advance. A long-term mentorship program that starts after graduation and through employment is one possible solution. This program would create a supportive and safe space for those of similar diverse backgrounds to make connections until more diversity is in place.

Transforming Knowledge Creation: An Action Framework for Library Technology Diversity

Article summary for Transforming Knowledge Creation: An Action Framework for Library Technology Diversity by Barbara I. Dewey.

by Kayleigh Septer, Valerie Valicento, Dixie Jorns, Emily Wells, Jennifer Braden for INFO 275(10)

Synopsis

The article focuses on forming an action framework, or plan, to increase diversity in library technology. The action framework developed consists of five dimensions, people, content and pedagogy, embeddedness and global perspective, leadership, and weaving it all together. The action framework is to be developed through knowledge creation. According to Dewey (2015), “the process of knowledge creation needs be inclusive and expansive if its purpose is to advance understanding, solve global problems, and advance the human condition” (p. 1).

Core Research Questions

Each dimension of the action framework has a diversity issue it was designed to improve. Dimension one, people, is designed to improve the lack of diversity and gender equity in computer and information students. Dimension two, content and pedagogy, is intended to improve the gaps in the content of academic libraries’ collection. Dimension three, embeddedness and global perspective, is designed to improve integration and understanding of other groups. Dimension four, leadership, is designed to have librarians play a leadership role by embracing people and their ideas. The fifth dimension, bringing everything together, is an approach to advance knowledge creation through thought, practice, and diverse cultural perspectives.

Methods Used to Answer the Research Question(s)

In dimension one, people; Dewey discusses the Penn State Library Diversity Residency Program. This program is a two-year program that allows graduates from “historically underrepresented groups” to be placed into a two-year academic library position (Dewey, 2015, p. 3). These placements allow the participants to “…develop collegial relationships with Penn State faculty members and provide support in a variety of ways for students” (Dewey, 2015, p. 4). If positions are available, residents of the program are encouraged to seek continued employment with the university after their initial two years.

Dimension two, content and pedagogy, discusses the University of Texas Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative, which is used to collect “radically different but critically important content and the importance of their use” (Dewey, 2015, p. 4). Dewey also looks at Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, an exhibit permanently housed at the Brooklyn Museum. This exhibit provides insight into women’s culture from a feminist perspective.

In dimension three, embeddedness and the global perspective, Dewey (2015), emphasizes “’knowing’ from within groups, cultures, regions and perspectives” (p. 6). This involves looking at the framework from a “global perspective” and acknowledging “the broad context of scholarship, as well as the imperative for diverse perspectives and connections” (Dewey, 2015, p. 6). Looking at the framework from this point of view allows it to be seen with a more critical lens and allows for different perspectives.

Dimension four, leadership, discusses how a leader must be if they wish to be a part of the global framework of diversity. Dewey (2015) states “the leadership traits in dimension four are empathy, strategic vision, and commitment to collaboration” (p. 6). Without these characters, leaders will not be effective within the global framework.

Dimension five is about bringing all of the dimensions together and making the Framework for Library Technology Diversity. All of these dimensions, when brought together, create an effective framework for diversity in the library world.

Findings and Conclusions

Fostering diversity must be recognized as being a core component of the academic institution’s ongoing mission. Contending that knowledge creation is essential to keeping the institution’s libraries relevant, it is critical that this knowledge needs to be inclusive and expansive. In order to accomplish this, it is suggested that academic libraries and institutions must embrace and develop a strategy that addresses training and preparing library technology workers in order to meet the challenges of building and maintaining “a diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution” (Dewey, 2015, p. 1).
As a means of working to accomplish this, libraries must identify training needs and procedures for recruitment in order to develop and retain a knowledgeable staff regarding diversity and inclusion. The five dimensions, as part of the Framework for Library Technology Diversity, work to provide a basic foundation for achieving this goal. With challenges framed within the five dimensions, an approach is provided that will allow organizations to develop a plan of action for technology diversity in the library workplace.

Unanswered Questions You Have and What Future Research Might Address

While the dimensions of the framework are thorough, the article still leaves the question of how well this framework would perform once implemented. Implementation and its effects will not happen overnight, but even at a slow pace there is still a solution. As these dimensions are put into action, research can be done to assess how close each one is to achieving the desired results. Information also appears to be missing regarding how these implementations will be marketed to the community.

Many references are made to improving services for women, but lacks mention of other minority groups or poverty. Also, there is the question of how much input from diverse community members was gathered for the creation of the framework. Did the author do research to find out exactly what positions and programs are desired? Aside from the aforementioned feminist perspective, where else would the proposed indigenous knowledge come from? Most importantly, where will the new leadership come from, and how will the positive traits of that leadership be maintained? It may be important to address potential failures within the framework and how those failures would be handled, especially in regards to bad leadership.

The programs designed to increase diversity in the LIS field were well presented but seem heavily dependent on technology. What is being done to reach those without such capabilities, either by choice or circumstance? If technology is not central to a culture what will be done so it is not forgotten in the greater world of knowledge? Will the diverse hires be encouraged to bridge that gap more often than their non-diverse peers?

Future research must be focused on how the desired programs will be run. It is not wise to assume that applied diversity will result in instant and miraculous changes. What will be done to address existing bias, prejudice and discrimination? If the environment is not willing to welcome diversity, then the newly hired person will not feel comfortable and may leave. An overall adjustment of an organization’s structure is necessary if any of the article’s visions will be fulfilled. The article mentions the necessity of solid and positive leadership without suggesting what is to be done about present leadership. The obvious solution of creating leaders from diverse hires is not mentioned. What is being done to have more diverse library leaders and not just diverse LIS students or staff?

Furthermore, it would be wise to consider extending the time span of the program itself or to have multiple programs through which a person may advance. A long-term mentorship program that starts after graduation and through employment is one possible solution. This program would create a supportive and safe space for those of similar diverse backgrounds to make connections until more diversity is in place.