You can mount a defense against library budget cuts by measuring and communicating the impact of library instruction. The key is a better process that lets you deliver individual instruction asynchronously and at scale. The right process means less work and more enjoyment of the work you do.
Online instruction is static, just videos and text on a website. There is no way to measure learning.
Online instruction includes interactive elements like quizzes, response prompts, and discussions. Librarians can identify and address individual needs.
Interactive elements let you measure learning outcomes and provide meaningful individual feedback.
Library instruction is either offered live in a freshman course or on a library website. Lots of students miss it especially remote students, returning students, and transfers
The library offers assignments that can be easily added to any course in the institution. Librarians give direct individual feedback.
Librarians can build relationships with faculty in other departments by adding value to a course without taking class time or adding teaching overhead.
Students are seldom introduced to databases relevant to their chosen disciplines. Great resources are underutilized.
Database introductions relevant to specific disciplines and courses are offered within online course assignments.
Usage skyrockets and marketing of library resources becomes almost unnecessary when they are effectively introduced at the point of need.
Only usage data is reported for for databases and instruction/help sessions, often as part of a "what should be cut" conversation.
Report metrics are impact-focused, including topic mastery and feedback given. The conversation shifts to student outcomes.
Impact-based reporting emphasizes the educational value of library instruction, not just "is it getting used".
Spend less time on low-impact tasks (like database intros and creating videos)
Spend more time working with students
Measure your direct contribution to student success
Deliver (a lot) more library instruction
Most online library instruction is static and doesn't allow for students to really participate actively. Niche Academy allows librarians to interact with and provide instruction to students virtually using activities such as quizzes, exercises, and prompts.
Niche Academy makes interactive library instruction available within existing campus LMS and gives librarians the opportunity to act as the instructor for specific assignments within academic courses. This means that students don't have to log in outside of the campus LMS and their progress is automatically tracked.
Resource database introductions are a huge part of how the library is able to support student learning, but can often be repetitive. By offering this instruction online and allowing students to complete it asynchronously, library staff can focus their time on other tasks to support student learning.
With Niche Academy, academic libraries can focus on core values & essential skills, and provide proof of their measurable impact on student success through detailed usage reports.
Our Guarantee: If you use Niche Academy to offer interactive library instruction within your campus LMS, we guarantee results. If you’re not completely satisfied with your results in the first year, we’ll credit you a full year’s subscription.
Q: Do Niche Academy's tutorials align with the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education?
A: Yes, you can see how our tutorials align with the six ACRL frameworks here.
Q: How is Niche Academy different from CREDO Info Lit - Core?
A: Both Niche Academy and Info Lit - Core accomplish some of the same things. Both products offer, for example, tutorials aligned with the ACRL frames that teach essential information literacy skills, integration with campus LMS systems like Canvas, robust reporting on usage and student progress, customization options that let you adapt instruction to the needs of your institution, metrics to demonstrate the impact of Info Lit instruction to other campus stakeholders, and compliance with accessibility and privacy requirements.
The differences are based on fundamentally different business models. Infobase is a publisher that licenses content. Niche Academy is a software company whose revenue is tied to a simple platform subscription. As a result, you'll notice that Niche Academy offers:
Q: How is Niche Academy different from LibGuides?
A: LibGuides is a library-oriented Content Management System that is used to present information and count the number of views.
Niche Academy is a library-oriented Learning Management System that is used to create interactive tutorials and measure learning outcomes. Niche Academy lets you provide feedback to individual learners and offer library instruction directly within the campus LMS.
Niche Academy customers will often embed tutorials within LibGuides to enrich the information presented there. Niche Academy offers a number of visually appealing embed options for this use case.
Q: What does Niche Academy offer beyond what an LMS like Canvas does?
A: Niche Academy and Canvas are both learning management systems (LMS) that allow instructors to create training and track learner progress, but Niche Academy offers additional advantages for academic libraries that are already using Canvas or another LMS as the main campus system including:
Q: Are accessibility features available?
A: Yes. Niche Academy is compliant with the WCAG 2.1 standard at the AA level. This is something we work hard to maintain as we continuously update the platform. If you spot anything that’s slipped through our testing, please let us know. A thorough enumeration of our compliance level is available in the Niche Academy Accessibility Conformance Report.
Q: Are we limited to a certain number of training and support hours?
A: No. A Niche Academy subscription includes unlimited professional support. See the answer above on what’s included in the price.
Q: What maintenance and support is included with a Niche Academy subscription?
A: Niche Academy provides live technical support during business hours. There is no additional charge levied for Niche Academy support and there are no support tiers. Small customers get the same thoughtful attention as everyone else.
All aspects of initial onboarding are included in the Niche Academy support offering including:
Q: What’s the process for reaching Niche Academy support?
A: Niche Academy support specialists can be reached by phone, by email, or through questions submitted within the platform itself. In addition to the live support, Niche Academy provides a searchable knowledge base and a collection of self-paced help tutorials covering basic administrative tasks and the process for tutorial creation.
Q: Will this tool replace me?
A: If the security of your job is enhanced by measuring the direct value you provide, Niche Academy will help, not hurt. You'll be able to deliver more training and richer library learning experiences because the Niche Academy tutorial marketplace means you don't have to create training from scratch. You'll have more opportunities for direct interaction with learners. Niche will also make it easy for you to deliver reports on instructional outcomes.
More questions? Check out our FAQ page.