We met with our subject librarians on Monday June 3 to review Module 5 (on Cataloguing and Sharing Data) of the supportDM data training course for support staff at UEL.
A chunk of the blended learning course is the online module produced in Xerte and imported into our Moodle VLE. The module was designed to take no more than 60 minutes. It explained ways to share data, to licence them for reuse, and the metadata needed for finding and understanding datasets in repositories. It also covered developments in data registries and data repositories.
The feedback we received from was that it was far too long at over 50 screens (admittedly 6 or 7 of them were subtitle screens) and as a result:
“it was too much to take in”
“I got to screen 40 and gave up”
“I only got to slide 10”
“break it up”
“it felt like a lot of content was repeated”
“cut it down (a lot seemed aimed at researchers)”
It was suggested that instead of over 50 slides a 15 slides maximum instead would be more manageable.
Some librarians also found usability problems with the Xerte presentational style, for example the websites we featured in the module were difficult to navigate around as they didn’t fit the screen and needed to be scrolled to view. Also despite using videos to make it more interesting and varied some videos and sound clips didn’t work. For example they didn’t realise the first video should be watched from 5min onwards mainly as it was not YouTube video and couldn’t be edited to the relevant time point. It was suggested that some modules could be condensed – “we don’t need so much info”. Perhaps have links to more info if people want to explore, rather than taking them though everything.
However the “drag and drop” task within the module was seen as a good exercise for reinforcing what they had already scrolled through.
To aid the process it was further suggested to create sub-headings to each subject (such as Metadata schemas or UK data repositories) which then explained what was covered and the learning outcomes. In addition it was suggest that we provide information on how long each module would take so that librarians could calculate when the best time to do the module was.
We’ve since taken on board all of these suggestions for improvement and taken the step of dividing the module into two; separating Data Sharing and Cataloguing Data into an additional Module 6 which would make the subjects more manageable. (Uploaded and released on our website)
The task we gave to use as homework looked at examples from real repositories to identify and record the essential metadata needed for citing those datasets, offering a chance to reflect on the process of creating and presenting citation metadata. The learning objective was to think about what makes good metadata, and what a useful citation might look like, rather than to come up with the perfect answer, and to reflect on the process of creating and presenting metadata.Our librarians found that the examples became progressively more difficult (particularly example data from TreeBASE Web – a repository of phylogenetic information, specifically user-submitted phylogenetic trees) and for some it was unclear how to effectively cite any of the data. It was observed that for the researchers they would have even less time to find out. Some felt it was important to be able to state with certainty who the author is of any data in any data repository.