May 29, 2020

Best Practices for Remote Research Consultations & Support

The Teaching SIG put out a call for best practices for supporting the research needs of faculty and students in a remote environment. Here’s what librarians had to say:

1 – ZOOM FOR ONE-ON-ONE RESEARCH SUPPORT

Courtney Baron, Director of the Bridwell Art Library, University of Louisville:

  • “I’ve been using Zoom for one-on-one research consultations. Students sign up for consultations via SpringShare’s LibCal scheduling system, just as they did for in-person consultations. I email them the link to Zoom along with tips on what to expect for a virtual appointment. When students enter the Zoom meeting, I tell them they do not have to be on camera unless they want to. I like changing my background to something fun – usually Disney related – and it’s nice because it also hides my fiancé who is usually working in the background! Students’ questions guide the content of the consultations and I share my screen to walk them through the online resources.”

2 – GOOGLE SITES FOR ASYNCHRONOUS TEACHING

Jenna Dufour, Visual Arts Librarian, University of California Irvine

  • “I started to use Google Sites before the days of COVID-19 when I needed to compile resources, links, and information for MFA students looking for grant and residency opportunities. The Art Research Guide did not work for the kind of information architecture I had in mind, so I wanted to try something new! Feedback on the site I created was so enthusiastic that I have continued to use them as alternatives to traditional course guides while working remotely. Google Sites are also a wonderful tool to provide asynchronous instructional content as they have the ability to embed interactive elements, such as quizzes and video tutorials. For students in art and humanities, visual content is always appealing, and Google Sites also offers more flexibility in terms of images and visuality than traditional LibGuide pages.”

3 – MAKE USE OF APPOINTMENT SCHEDULERS

Shira Eller, Art and Design Librarian, George Washington University

  • “My library uses Calendly to schedule appointments with librarians (we had been using it even before this pandemic). It was helpful to already have this in place; we simply changed all appointments to online-only, which we conduct through Webex (a service provided through the university).”

4 – ENGAGE THROUGH LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Bridget Nowlin, Visual Arts Librarian, Cornish College of the Arts

  • “I’ve been teaching within Canvas using their Conferences module (which uses BigBlueButton). It has worked pretty well. It’s nice that the students have a familiar place (Canvas) to go to find their class. We are also working with students via email, chat and social media (in the latter, I look for posted questions and either answer them quickly in the moment or email the student directly for longer replies).”

5 – FIND A HEALTHY BALANCE WHEN CONNECTING

Caro Pinto, Research & Instruction Librarian, Mount HolyokeCollege

  • “I try to get a sense of the scope of their question before inviting them to a Zoom meeting (my campus is a Zoom campus). Given the Zoom fatigue that students have shared with me and the range of time zones we must juggle, I try to do as much as I can via email. I always offer follow up via Zoom if students so choose. In the Zoom meetings, I utilize screenshare features to clarify directions and sometimes to troubleshoot challenges students are experiencing with accessing resources remotely.”

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