Launching a Course Resources Service: Three Keys to Success

After successfully migrating to a new library services platform in fall 2017, the Ithaca College Library collaborated with IT to implement a course reading list tool. 

After successfully migrating to a new library services platform in fall 2017, the Ithaca College Library collaborated with IT to implement a course reading list tool.  

Working together with the IT department, Ex Libris Leganto, was made available into the college’s course management system (Sakai). This allows the creation of reading lists for faculty, unifies the provisioning of resources by library staff, and gives students’ access to course materials in multiple formats. 

An added benefit is that Leganto has made library resources more discoverable as faculty are creating their course reading lists, says Access Services Manager Ben Hogben. As a result, library staff anticipates the college’s existing collections will be used more frequently for instruction.
Ithaca College faculty can create, manage, save, and share course resource lists from within Sakai by activating the Leganto tool. The application then opens within the course management system, allowing faculty to build reading lists that are relevant, easily accessible, interactive, and include all types of materials.

Leganto also integrates with Ex Libris Alma, Ithaca College’s new library services platform. As instructors create their reading lists, built-in tools within Leganto automatically suggest related materials from the library’s collections. This not only helps faculty construct their lists; it also makes them aware of the resources the college already owns or subscribes to, so these resources can be leveraged more effectively for teaching and learning.

In addition, Leganto’s integrated workflows automatically alert library staff when new resources are added to an instructor’s course list, so they can immediately get started with processing items.

After a pilot project with a group of instructors and then a larger pilot both proved successful, Leganto was made available to all faculty during the spring 2019 semester. Here are three important lessons that other institutions can learn from the college’s success.

Partner with IT.

The collaboration between IT and Library staff was a critical piece in implementing Leganto, Hogben says. In fact, the recommendation to explore Leganto came from the college’s IT department, after IT learned about Ex Libris’ course resources solution while implementing the company’s Alma platform.

The key to partnering effectively with IT is establishing who will be responsible for which tasks at the outset of the project, Hogben reports. Frequent communication between library and IT staff using the project management software  Basecamp helped with this task.

Faculty Collaboration

 A request was made to faculty to try Leganto during the pilot phase. After the pilot, a survey was useful in finding out what else needed to occur before the spring semester.

“The response among faculty who were involved in the pilots was very positive,” Hogben says. “They liked having one place to go to create their course reading lists, and they said the lists were easy to manage.” 

Faculty also really appreciated Leganto’s “Cite it!” feature, which is a widget that users install on their browser’s toolbar. When faculty come across an article on the web that they would like to use in their course, they simply click on the “Cite it!” widget—and the resource is added to their course list automatically, complete with a full citation.

Scale up training and support.

For the pilot projects, Hogben showed faculty members how to use Leganto during brief one-on-one training sessions. “They picked it up very quickly—within a matter of minutes,” he says. 

In delivering the service to instructors, however, he knew the library would have to scale up its training of faculty; the Library created a  LibGuide that explains how to use Leganto. The guide includes links to training resources created by IT staff.

Hogben will be discussing his college’s experience in greater detail during a Library Journal webcast, “Launching a New Course Resources Service: The Ithaca College Library,” on March 1.

Get more information, or register for the webcast today.

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