Fight library budget cuts with better measures of student learning

Instead of just measuring usage, measure learning outcomes and talk about student success

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Trusted by 1000+ Library Systems

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Core Concept

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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.

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The Process That Makes the Difference

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Old Way

Online instruction is static, just videos and text on a website. There is no way to measure learning.

New Way

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.

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Old Way

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

New Way

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.

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Old Way

Students are seldom introduced to databases relevant to their chosen disciplines. Great resources are underutilized.

New Way

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.

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Old Way

Only usage data is reported for for databases and instruction/help sessions, often as part of a "what should be cut" conversation.

New Way

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".

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Case Study

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Niche Academy Helps You...

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Spend less time on low-impact tasks (like database intros and creating videos)

 

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Spend more time working with students

 

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Measure your direct contribution to student success

 

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Deliver (a lot) more library instruction

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How It Works

Interactive Instruction for Students

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.

Offering Instruction Within Campus LMS

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.

Targeted Database Introductions

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.

Report Learning Outcomes

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.

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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.

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Questions?

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:

  • more open educational resources available through the platform, including content created by other libraries and experts in the community
  • no additional charges based on which tutorials you use or how much you use them
  • more attention to the quality of the user experience for learners, instructors, and content creators. It's easier to create and customize training on the platform. It's easier to find and generate reports.
  • more options for interactive instruction with Niche Academy including activities, open-ended response prompts, polls, etc. It is a fully baked LMS in its own right. In fact staff training is a primary use case for most of our customers and you'll find lots of professional development instruction available on the platform.
  • more ways to embed tutorial experiences within websites and online tools like LibGuides

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:

  • a large collection of ready-made, professional quality tutorials teaching essential research skills, information literacy concepts, and introductions to academic databases
  • the ability for teaching faculty in any department to add tutorials created in Niche Academy as assignments to any existing course and allow a librarian to directly interact with students and evaluate learning outcomes, even if they don't have access to the full course
  • a much simpler interface for creating tutorials
  • learner reports that provide direct evidence of student learning outcomes
  • the ability to add database introductions to research-inclusive courses to significantly increase usage of library research databases

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:

  • The creation of customer academies and initial population of appropriate tutorials from the Niche Academy marketplace.
  • Basic configuration of tutorials within each customer academy including invitation of learners, the addition of custom links, and showing or hiding available tutorial elements appropriately for the intended audience.
  • The implementation of LTI integration with your campus LMS
  • Live training calls with all customer staff that need to learn how to use Niche Academy.

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.

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