Maximizing the Use of Digital Libraries: Training researchers Through an Online Certificate Program
MetadataShow full item record
Digital libraries worldwide are filled with textual, numerical, and image data that are openly available to researchers and the general public. However, many researchers do not know how to access this data or how to incorporate it into their own work, leaving these collections unused. Many academic libraries, such as the Baylor University Libraries, are strategically positioned to plan, organize, and deliver online instruction in data research. With expertise in data research management, data research use, and secondary research data sources, as well as an intimate knowledge of major research themes in each academic department, data specialists and subject liaisons can partner with instructional design specialists to deliver effective online instruction in data research. Building on recent in-person summer training programs, a team of two data specialists, an instructional designer, and four subject liaisons created the Fundamentals of Data Research program (FDR), an online summer learning opportunity for Baylor graduate students for Summer 2018. This summer a second track within the FDR program will be open for enrollment, the FDR Certificate, an external-facing, fee-based, and completely online certificate course. Researchers from all over the world who need this training to conduct research using digital collections will now be able to participate in the program. The framework for the course is based on the UK data life cycle which includes six stages: planning research, collecting data, processing & analyzing data, publishing & sharing data, preserving data, and reusing data. About 25% of the course focuses on planning research, publishing & sharing data, and preserving data; about 25% focuses on collecting or finding data, and about 50% on visualization and analysis. Transitioning from in-person to online instruction requires sound instructional design. For example, learning outcomes must be clearly stated, observable, and measurable. Guided by contemporary instructional design models and best practices, the FDR Team is using the Canvas learning management system (LMS) to facilitate the learning process. The LMS provides access to instructional resources and houses a modular design that scaffolds the instructional content through learning activities. We believe that the content of this course provides much-needed instruction in data research in which academic libraries have strong expertise. The format of the online course makes this instruction available not only to Baylor students but also to the wider research community interested in using digital libraries.