In April 2018, Jess Williams and Dani Wellemeyer won the American Library Association’s ‘Site of the Month’ for an instructional program that they developed using eCoach. Read on to find out what went into their process and why they think eCoach could offer value to library-created content.

As libraries move into the digital age, there’s a growing need for librarians to create online learning content.

The trouble is, librarians often find themselves creating content on tools that are outdated.

In the words of Jess Williams, Information Literacy Librarian at the University of Missouri Kansas City, most library-created content looks like it was “made in 1995”.

So when Jess and her UMKC colleague Dani Wellemeyer set out to find an authoring tool for their latest instructional program, they knew exactly what they wanted: course creation that would bring their library into 2018.

They also needed a tool that could fit within Blackboard, the University’s Learning Management System.

“When it came time to choose a new authoring tool, we took it very seriously because we had learned the hard way which features were important and necessary. We combed instructional design and ed tech articles, made spreadsheets, asked vendors dozens of questions, and tested our top choices” – Jess Williams

After a long evaluation process, Jess and Dani decided on eCoach.

Then, they set about creating their new instructional program – a three-part information literacy program titled Research Essentials Online.

Once the program was completed, Jess and Dani exported it to Blackboard via SCORM. In their words, “this allows our instructors to embed the modules directly into their individual course sites, automatically creating grade columns and collecting assessment data for each student.”

eCoach’s URL sharing feature also let Jess and Dani embed the Research Essentials Online program on their website – “something we had not been able to do before.”

Embedding the program on their website turned out to be an inspired decision.

In April 2018, the American Library Association named Research Essentials Online their site of the month, an honour awarded to sites that “showcase exemplary instructional materials”.

“We’ve loved our experience with eCoach. We were able to onboard our team and convert all of our Captivate and Blackboard-native tutorials to eCoach lessons and modules in 4-5 months. This process also included updating and creating a large amount of new content” – Jess Williams

You can see the Research Essentials Online site here – it’s a blend of video, interactive templates, quizzes, and visuals, managing to stay fresh and engaging despite dealing with subject matter that may not appear gripping at first glance.

Well done to the UMKC team!