Research Help: Ready-made Tutorials and Videos

Written by Instructional Design Librarian, Darlene Aguilar.

At the William H. Hannon Library, we produce instructional content to help students better navigate library resources and gain information literacy skills. In an effort to promote this content for classroom use, librarians teamed up with faculty for a CTE presentation showcasing faculty success stories and sharing existing library content. Below, is a summary of that presentation.

At Loyola Marymount University, information literacy is built into the first-year curriculum. Students receive in-person instruction from a librarian during their Rhetorical Arts courses and asynchronous instruction through librarian-developed tutorials in their First Year Seminar courses. First-years report feeling that their instructors emphasize information literacy topics more than seniors. Faculty in upper division courses can always request instruction from librarians using the Library Instruction Request Form, but we do have limited availability due to teaching Rhetorical Arts courses, staffing the Information Desk, staffing the Ask-a-Librarian Chat, and facilitating one-on-one research consultations. In an effort to provide further support to upper division courses, we have developed asynchronous tutorials and videos. This content helps students fill knowledge gaps, avoids confusion over library specific procedures, and maximizes use of relevant library resources resulting in increased use of high-quality sources.

We have developed many education videos including our “How-To” video series that covers various topics from how to use a specific database to using the physical library. As the Instructional Design Librarian, I partner with other librarians to carefully plan these videos. I storyboard the video first to help me plan the sequence of events and ensure I am meeting the set learning objectives. When the storyboard is approved, I then record and edit audio using the Audacity software to ensure high quality audio that will not distract learners the way low-quality audio usually does. I then record and edit the video with Camtasia software all while keeping good learning design principles in mind. Our videos are on average between 2 to 4 minutes, but the longest video we have is 7 minutes. Many of the learning science strategies I use with videos come from the “Multimedia Design Principles” by Richard E. Mayer that are meant to direct learner’s attention and break down steps into manageable parts. I am also mindful of accessibility and include closed captions and transcripts with each video.

The process for making tutorials is similar to making videos in that I start with a storyboard and work with a librarian to develop the topics but I have the added considerations of user design, visual design, and developing active learning components. There is also a lot more testing that occurs with tutorials to make sure they work well when they are implemented. Several of our tutorials have won the PRIMO award which means they were selected for inclusion into a peer-reviewed collection of instructional materials created by librarians to teach information literacy. A full list of our developed tutorials can be found on the Research Tutorials at the Library web page.

To make it easier for faculty to explore our videos and tutorials, we made the Research Help: Ready-made Tutorials and Videos Libguide. This LibGuide categorizes our instructional resources according to the sections of the Information Literacy learning outcome which states “students will be able to identify information needs, locate and access relevant information and critically evaluate a diverse array of sources.” As such, the LibGuide tabs include “Identify Information Needs,” “Locate and Access Information,” and “Critically Evaluate Information.” We also added a few extra tabs that could be useful to students: “Citing” and “Using the Physical Library.” Other resources are listed below the instructional content including brief descriptions of the learning goals, transcripts and accessible materials, and suggested assignments to help faculty better integrate tutorials into their courses.

Two faculty members shared their experiences with using library made tutorials in their courses, Shan Wang and Kirstin Noreen. Shan Wang is an assistant professor for the Department of Accounting and used the business tutorial called Research Strategies for Company Information. Shan assigns a research project where students need to collect company information to predict the production cost and sale price of a product, but students usually don’t know where to start their search. The business tutorial helps students learn where to search for different types of company information using both library resources and publicly available resources. Shan has received positive feedback towards the tutorial and says that students find it very helpful. Shan receives fewer questions on where to research than she did before using the tutorial which allows her to focus on questions related to the course content itself.

Kirstin Noreen is a professor of art history in the Department of Arts and Art History and uses the Chicago/Turabian Citation Style Tutorial. Students have difficulty using this citation style even after Kirstin provides examples, guides, and exercises. Luckily, Kirstin came across a tutorial developed by Sam Houston State University. She then partnered with the librarian Jamie Hazlitt to adapt the tutorial for LMU. Kristin has used this tutorial several times and finds it very useful especially since it is completed outside of class time and supplements what is already discussed in class. Kristin has noticed that students have improved in using the citation style after taking the tutorial.

I encourage faculty to review the Research Help: Ready-made Tutorials and Videos Libguide and partner with the library to improve student research skills. To learn more about using library videos and tutorials, you can contact me, Darlene Aguilar, at