The UCCS Kraemer Family Library (KFL) is offering students the chance to participate in research workshops remotely throughout the Spring 2021 semester.
Usually, the KFL holds informational workshops in the library computer labs for students in the fall and spring semesters of each academic year. The goal of these workshops is to give students the opportunity to delve into research practices and presentation methods.
KFL staff wanted to find ways to continue supporting students in an online environment.
Norah Mazel, an assistant professor at UCCS and director of Instructional and Research Services at the KFL, explained what kind of workshops students should expect to be offered virtually this semester.
“The majority of the workshops are the usual ones we have done in the past, but moved to an online format,” Mazel said. “But they are basically all workshops showing different ways of presenting information.”
Mazel noted that four workshops held during the first week of March were presented by Susan Vandagriff and focused on introducing students to the RefWorks program. Last week, Tabatha Farney presented two workshops on the basics of including data visualization in research and presentations and Vandagriff did a workshop on the Timeline tool by KnightLab for chronology-based presentations.
On March 16 and 17, Carlos Duarte, Larry Eanes and Mazel have organized two workshops for designing research posters. This is a workshop that the Kraemer Family Library usually offers every spring to help support all students, but it is especially for the undergraduates preparing for the Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum (CSURF), a collaborative event in which undergraduates from colleges around Colorado Springs showcase their works of research and creativity.
There is one basic and one advanced workshop coming up this month, both of which explore a tool called StoryMap that pairs Google Maps locations with descriptions and allows users to create annotated image presentations. The basic workshop on StoryMap is scheduled for March 18, while the advanced workshop is scheduled for March 25.
The creation and presentation of these workshops is usually a shared task among KFL staff. Several librarians lead these workshops, the majority of whom are staff from the instruction and research assistance desks, and a few other faculty members participate in the production of the workshops.
Some of the workshops are usually delivered more like a traditional presentation or lecture, especially now that everything has shifted online. According to Mazel, when the workshops were held in-person, the presenters would usually give students time to try out the online tools described while they were in the library lab.
With the switch to remote interactive workshops, the presenters have moved toward a straightforward presentation with some elements of discussion.
Mazel added that for the research poster design workshop, the presenters tend to display content through PowerPoint, where some slides are pre-filled templates and students can experiment with the different tools available to them. For other workshops, the staff member who is teaching it usually prepares a file in OneDrive for students to use once they are signed up for that specific workshop.
Mazel hopes that the KFL will maintain these workshops in the coming semesters. If the library is still unable to hold the workshops in-person, the remote format will continue as it presents the safest opportunity for students to participate.
Like most other situations, this will all be decided based on the status of COVID-19 on campus and within the community.
Mazel also wanted to emphasize the library staff’s belief in the importance of keeping the library services and support tools available online, including continuing to provide services such as the online chat features, as well as the phones, in order to maintain support for students in the virtual format.