AALL Spectrum Blog

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The AALL Spectrum® blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.

The AALL Spectrum blog is no longer published. Previous posts are archived on this page.
7/15/2014 3:03:23 PM

AALL Session Review: F3 Making a MOOC: Instruction Beyond Boundaries

Kyle Courtney; Harvard Law Library
Loren Turner; University of Florida College of Law
Jennifer Wondracek; University of Florida College of Law (she was sick and unable to present, but contributed to the presentation)

MOOCs (Massive open online courses) are not a thing of the future or the next big thing, but are in fact happening now. This very interesting and helpful session walked us through MOOCs and the challenges that librarians face when helping create MOOCs.

Kyle spoke first about copyright and IP concerns when it comes to creating a MOOC. These large online classes present new challenges such as the challenges to fair use in a large online class. Fair Use does not quite cover 3rd party materials like it would in a traditional classroom. Syllabus readings may not be available, and ephemeral and aesthetic resources (background art and music, film clips for entertainment) are more likely to be challenged under Copyright Law. Kyle spoke at length about how he and his team of "Copyright First Responders" deal with MOOCs at Harvard. They work to gain permission from publishers to use chapters (permission is often not forthcoming) and look for open access alternatives or another article that would be on-point for the topic. Fair Use continues to play a large role in the use of materials, but this new territory means that more oversight from librarians is required. One thing that Kyle said that I really enjoyed was that "librarians are managers of legal risk when it comes to copyright", which I think is an ideal way to empower libraries and their roles in academia moving forward.

Loren then walked us through the process of actually creating a MOOC. At the beginning of the entire session, we watched two promotional videos for MOOCs that Harvard and Florida had created. The branding of the MOOCs and the obvious inclusion of librarians in their production suggested that MOOCs can be used to generate interest and use for libraries and for law schools in general. Loren had a 9 step process that she very helpfully and thoroughly went through:

1. Check university policy for MOOC creation and select the MOOC provider you want to work with.
2 Assemble committed and interested faculty. Loren emphasized the 'committed' aspect of this step.
3. Agree on course objectives and goals.
4. Create the videos, research assignments and syllabi. This step is the most involved and also provided insight to how Coursera (the MOOC company Florida worked with) creates their videos. Loren explained how there is a Coursera studio at Florida with a Green Screen and Teleprompter that makes the videos more professional.
5. Determine the Course Certificates and Satisfaction goals. Coursera, as a for-profit company, offers a level called 'signature track' for certain classes that lends more respectability to the certificate for a cost to the student.
6. Launch the Course.
7. Watch the Discussion Forums. Florida's MOOC had 72 pages (!!!) of discussion topics, so hiring student assistants to monitor and track these boards was crucial. They would forward pertinent questions to the professors.
8. Solicit student feedback. Florida's feedback was largely positive.
9. Archive the course.

Access to the resources for students across the globe has proven tricky, as economic sanctions on countries such as Iran mean Coursera must seek special permission to 'send information or services' to that country.

Kyle wrapped up by talking about how there is plenty of space for librarians of all stripes in MOOCs, whether in front or behind the camera. Law librarians are in an especially unique place, since much of the primary content is public domain, making the law MOOCS potentially easier to create and avoid some of the Copyright pitfalls.

MOOCs are an exciting and interesting recent phenomenon that show no sign of going away. I plan on taking a MOOC this summer, and would encourage others to try it out as well. While MOOCs may never replace a traditional course, they can serve as great ways to market your library or school, educate users you wouldn't normally reach, or simply create something original. I'm looking forward to trying out my MOOC, and this session certainly gave me plenty of food for thought. 

Posted By Kris Turner at 7/15/2014 3:03:23 PM  0 Comments
7/15/2014 10:09:46 AM

AALL Session Review: Click and Go: Ensuring Smooth Access to Online Resources

Suzanne Graham, University of Georgia
Julie Horst: Ninth Circuit Library
Keiko Okuhara, University of Hawaii

Link Rot is a relatively new and pretty disturbing problem that we as law librarians are facing.  Studies have shown that the Harvard Law Review has over 70% of it's non-proprietary citing links rotted away (not working) and the Supreme Court Legal Decisions have 50% of it's non-proprietary links going nowhere.  Suzanne Graham started the session with these stats and a great image of the 'million dollar website' that, where one dollar bought one pixel...and now about 22 percent are dead!  

One other important distinction that was made was between Link Rot and Reference Rot.  Link Rot means the page no longer exists, but Reference Rot is slightly more devious, with the page still existing but with different, non-cited content.  Librarians must be aware of these problems and how to solve them.

Julie Horst did a quick review of how HTML coding and error code works and gave links to more error links in the session's handout.  Keiko Okuhara then reviewed several add-ons that librarians can use for free to check links on their webpages and in their catalog.  In Keiko's case, she uses Xenu, which can be built to work directly with Voyager.  Keiko also also discussed add-ons for Firefox with a program called Linkchecker. All these programs and resources can be found on the session's handout.

Suzanne then covered more webpage link-checkers, including one that works with the Sierra ILS.  W3C, the web consortium has a good 'base-line' checker.  WordPress has a free add-on for link-checking, as does Drupal web design.  If you are using these programs with your website, these resources are invaluable. Of course, Libguides, everyone's favorite guide creator, has a built-in link checker that is very intuitive.  I have used the Libguide one before, and it is very helpful and friendly for users.

Finding the right website, the one that is cited, can be difficult. Some resources that can be used are the Wayback Machine and Memento.  Both programs catch websites at a moment in time, and can be extremely useful if a citation says 'accessed on a particular day'.  However, you do have to be lucky with those days!  It isn't a perfect solution, but a useful tool to have in your arsenal.

Julie then reviewed how the 9th Circuit Library approached the Link Rot problem.  Julie would receive updates about which websites are being cited, and capture the page and create a watermarked PDF of that page and then add it to the library's website.  A great way to keep track of cited sites.

Suzanne wrapped up the session by discussing some solutions to Link Rot, including Perma.CC, a collection of academic libraries (of which the University of Wisconsin is one), where permanent links are created to preserve cites.  One alternative to Perma.CC is Archive-it, where you can 'force' the Wayback Machine to capture your site before it is changed.  That isn't a perfect solution, but is an option to help preserve a page before it is lost or fundamentally changed. 
This was a great session that was very informative.  I highly suggest that if you work with Law Reviews or with citations or websites you check out the handout for the session (under C4: Click and Go), or at least contact Perma.CC to see if your institution can get involved.

Posted By Kris Turner at 7/15/2014 10:09:46 AM  0 Comments
7/14/2014 4:14:46 PM

AALL Session Review: Deep Dive - Inventing the New Classroom

Presenters: Debra Denslaw, Coordinator & Speaker, Valparaiso University Law School; Susan Boland, Speaker, University of Cincinnati College of Law; Jennifer Mart-Rice, Moderator & Speaker, Northern Kentucky University; Jesse Bowman, Speaker, Valparaiso University Law School

Summer is the perfect time to rethink strategies for teaching legal research, and the ideas generated in this session provide the perfect fuel for an overhaul. The presenters kept their remarks brief and practical, leaving ample time for attendees to interact and brainstorm with the guidance of well-constructed exercises and questions.

Susan Boland began the session with an overview of the flipped classroom model, an oft-discussed trend that is appealing, but somewhat intimidating undertaking. Susan’s comments focused on concrete examples of best practices for creating plans for a flipped class, and fair warning of the challenges this model may present. Jennifer Mart-Rice followed with a very thought-provoking presentation on question formulation as a part of effective teaching. She highlighted the ways in which multiple choice questions, if carefully constructed, can actually reinforce learning objectives and serve as study aids. Jesse Bowman concluded with suggestions for bringing social media into the classroom as a means of enhancing traditional instruction. Many of his ideas, such as utilizing Google Hangouts for guest speakers, creating Pinterest boards instead of traditional pathfinders, and asking students to create blogs or wiki entries instead of completing worksheets, were especially innovative.

Participants then had the opportunity to work through exercises and questions created by the panelists, including the creation of a lesson plan for a flipped class, an aspect of this new teaching style that is often difficult to conceptualize for those who are used to more traditional lecture-style classes. The suggestions for in-class activities provided in the activity packet were especially useful in generating creative discussion. The group then moved on to brainstorm ways of using social media differently in the classroom, and finished with some exercises on question context and structure, an activity that I found personally very useful and enlightening.

This session did an excellent job of blending ideas and concepts with concrete suggestions and examples to facilitate innovation in teaching. A bibliography of selected articles and resources on flipped classrooms and collaborative learning, as well as links to useful tech tools is available via the AALL2go Learning Center by searching with the session name.

Posted By Sara Gras at 7/14/2014 4:14:46 PM  0 Comments