Launching eli – a program to explore innovative uses for images and text in undergraduate learning, in the context of electronic library initiatives



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Yale University Library




LAUNCHING ELI – A program to explore innovative uses for images and text in undergraduate learning, in the context of electronic library initiatives





  1. Background: Yale University Library’s Electronic Library Initiatives (ELI) program

  2. Innovative uses for images and text in undergraduate learning – launching the first phase

2.1. Aims and objectives

2.2. Deliverables

2.3. Plan of Work

1. Background: Yale University Library’s Electronic Library Initiatives (ELI) Program

Yale University faculty members and librarians have been working together for the past three years to create tool kits of digitized study materials. A greater appreciation of the value of using digital images in and outside the classroom has resulted; and the willingness on the part of interested faculty to participate actively with the Library in these experiments has been gratifying. The time has now come for the Library and faculty to develop and expand their collaboration into a mature program, to be known as the Electronic Library Initiatives (ELI) program.


Under the broad umbrella of the ELI program, the Library will be using targeted, curriculum-based collections of digitized material including text and images. These will draw on an expanding program of digitization of Yale collections which can be used in flexible ways both in and outside the classroom and as the basis for support of scholarship. The program will build on the Library’s experience in developing digital study tools using Luna Insight software. It will continue and extend existing interactions among: the Library, University art museums, faculty members, Luna and its multi-institutional User Group, the University’s Information Technology Services (ITS), and the Graduate School’s Teaching Fellow Preparation and Development Program. It will also build on existing external partnerships.
Yale University Library has in place an infrastructure for converting analog images into digital form for use in the classroom (as reported in the October 2001 digital imaging report). It has also a track record in partnerships with other organizations using digital materials for research and learning. Among these are the establishment of the Luna User Group and active work to develop a software platform to support teaching and study. Notable among the more formal partnerships are NERL (North East Research Libraries Consortium, http://www.library.yale.edu/NERLpublic/), a consortium for the joint purchasing of costly digital licenses, and the Mellon-funded ArtSTOR which is building on the Imaging America project piloted at Yale to create a collaborative database of art images. Among other partnerships based on electronic library materials, Yale is represented on the boards of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) and the Digital Library Federation (DLF). On campus, the Library joined with ITS in 1997 to underwrite small innovation grants of funds and staff expertise for teaching.
Yale’s distinguished interdisciplinary programs for teaching and research offer a special environment for extending the use of digital resources and testing their impact on learning. The university’s faculty members who teach courses in American studies, history of art, architecture, and drama rely heavily on images for teaching. They have been among the first to explore the benefits and creative opportunities for teaching that are offered by digitized, as opposed to traditional analog, images. Appointed in the fall of 1999, the Instructional Services Librarian for the Arts Library has introduced faculty members to the capabilities of an exciting and evolving Luna Insight software. Robust support for this exploration has been provided by the Library’s Systems Office and Yale’s ITS.
Assessing the impact of the new materials and teaching techniques is another essential component of the ELI program. The Associate University Librarian for public services who was hired in 1996 has a background in assessment, and she created in 2000 the new position of Director of Service Quality Improvement. Introduction of a periodic reader survey, the establishment of a Service Quality Improvement Council, and related staff training opportunities are creating a culture of systematic assessment in the Library. In the Graduate School, a similar emphasis has evolved with the establishment of a program for Teaching Fellow Preparation and Development and the hiring of its first director in 1997. The partnership between the Library and this program will be extended in the ELI program to assess the impact of managed digital images on pedagogy, studying, and library services. Faculty members will work closely with the Library to design the appropriate form of assessment for each course.
Those involved in the first courses at Yale that experimented with uses of digital images have begun to witness changes in the way faculty prepare for classes and deliver lectures, and the way students develop study habits. We believe we have now created the ideal conditions for a testbed


  • to extend this development, creating software tool kits, building digital collections and offering new and expanded instruction as appropriate;

  • to assess the faculty and student experiences to date, incorporating those results in subsequent phases of development; and

  • to study more extensively the impact of digital materials on teaching and learning and to share widely the results of that study.

Under the ELI program, we expect to accelerate the transition within the University from using analog to digital teaching materials, generating data that should advance our understanding of this organizational change process. We believe the Yale experience and our assessment of it will be valuable to the wider academic community and we propose to share that information broadly.


2. Innovative uses for images and text in undergraduate learning – launching the first phase
2.1. Aims and objectives
The underlying purpose of the ELI program is to improve student learning, with an initial focus on the use of digitized images and text relating to American studies. This will become the seminal first phase of the ELI program. It will act as a pilot, building our experience of the impact of these materials, and pointing us in the direction of new work, both within Yale and in partnerships.
University Librarian Alice Prochaska will provide conceptual guidance and will be closely involved. The work will be directed by Associate University Librarian Danuta Nitecki, drawing on her experience with course support. This pilot work will focus on continued and expanded use of digital images, text, and data in and outside the classroom. Program staff and subject specialists will work in close collaboration with interested faculty members—but focusing particularly on American Studies, art history, and history—to identify those images that best support their respective courses.
As part of the program, the impact of digitized materials on the teaching and learning process will be observed systematically. Faculty and program staff working together will design the key elements for observation. Records of this process will remain part of the program archive and will be used to inform subsequent work. Other academic institutions will be consulted from the beginning. We will assess systematically the use of digital images for teaching and learning, specifically considering:


  • the faculty member’s and graduate teaching fellow’s experiences in course preparation,

  • classroom interactions and student study behavior, and

  • technical infrastructure requirements.

In addition, we will explore the organizational changes in a library that is traditionally grounded in the acquisition and delivery of analog image collections and printed text. The assessment effort will involve a range of methodologies and will be led by William Rando of the Teaching Fellow Preparation and Development Program and Danuta Nitecki. Graduate students, faculty, and librarians will develop their own assessment skills by working on the program. External experts may be invited to join the program in order to design and evaluate specific parts of its work.


Over the next three years and beginning in April 2002, the project will contribute to and draw on a digital image collection that will have built up to 100,000 by the end of year three, and will work toward the following goals:


  • Provide new forms of instruction in some 14 specially designed courses overall;

  • Assess the work over each of the three years and incorporate changes to the program resulting from that assessment data; and

  • Share results of assessment.



2.2. Deliverables





  1. Product Design. Continue to develop a multi-purpose product (based on Luna Insight software) that is useful for faculty to prepare for a course, for delivery of digital images in the classroom, and for students to study images outside the classroom. In the coming year, we expect to test several specific product enhancements, including cross collection searching, management of audio/video clips, and multi-view and annotation capabilities.




  1. Expand Digital Collections. Collect and organize digital images, as a result of providing course support. Simultaneously, digital collections will be acquired through continuing work on the digitization of Yale collections. As a result, by the end of this project, Yale will have made available a collection of up to 100,000 appropriately identified and organized digital images for course support. Links to digital collections maintained elsewhere will be made, in order to provide easy access by Yale faculty and students.




  1. Integrated Tools. Design software capabilities, with service assistance, for faculty to integrate images managed through the Library’s image database with the Web-site course management tool, classes.yale.edu, developed by ITS. We will develop additional ways of helping faculty to manage and integrate their own information sources into their teaching tools. We will explore mechanisms to transport images and their metadata records from museum and gallery collections.




  1. Copyright Compliance Guidelines. Draw up guidelines on copyright compliance and respect for intellectual property rights.




  1. Instructional Services. Instructional modules will address:




  1. use of both the image management system (Insight) and the campus Web course tool (classes.yale.edu);

  2. how students identify and retrieve resources found through these tools as well as other library systems (e.g., Yale’s new Orbis catalog, subject Web guides, electronic texts); and

  3. pedagogical methods for maximizing the effects of these tools in order to improve student learning.




  1. Insights and New Knowledge. Gain insights into quality service and product design, based on the application of systematic assessment throughout the project. Develop a tested method to evaluate the impact of digital images on the quality of teaching and learning, and evidence gained from application of these methods. Develop an understanding of the infrastructure support needed for the image collection to be accessible and used for teaching and learning.


2.3. Plan of Work
At least three categories of learning environments exist that utilize digitized images. We are using the following assumptions and descriptions about these categories:
Broad survey courses, which provide broadly-defined content for a class. Experience has shown that such courses require an average of 800 images to support both in-class presentation and study beyond the classroom.
Focused-content courses, including both lectures and seminars on more narrowly defined subjects. An estimated 400 images are needed to support both in-class presentation and study beyond the classroom.
Out-of-class study sessions. Students review individually and in groups, selected materials introduced in a course. Such study sessions require approximately 200 images. Study sessions will be supported experimentally, using the materials put together for the broad survey and focused-content courses, and drawing where necessary on Yale’s expanded database of digital images and text.
The work will be scheduled as follows:
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Broad survey courses: 4 0 2

Focused-content courses: 0 4 4


We will adopt a combined development, evaluation, production, and service approach, and will involve the collaborative efforts of a team of specialists. Yale will contribute expertise in the following areas to function as the ELI project team:
Faculty teaching expertise related to American studies

Project management

Digital image production and management

Indexing following metadata and cataloging standards

Technology support (e.g., telecommunications and network functions, classroom equipment, servers, and authentication software)

Information technologies and infrastructure, including Luna Insight and classes.yale.edu

Identification and retrieval of information resources

Assessment and evaluation techniques.


During the three years of this project, we plan to engage these experts, in varying degree, to use the technological tools, collection of digital images, and instructional services in support of approximately 14 courses taught at Yale University. Specifically, we envision full support for 6 broad survey courses and 8 focused-content courses over the life of this project. These courses will be the setting to gain insights and to design integrated software tools that will improve student learning through the use of digital images and text.
Full course support will entail the following typical scenario. The participating faculty member will work in conjunction with library staff to identify the images and text needed for each course. They will also work together to design the ways in which the impact of materials used in the course should be assessed. Library staff will provide instruction in using both the Insight software and the library database of images, as well as other tools to identify desirable images and text for the course. Project staff will process any new images not already available in the existing collection and will assist in creating a Web site for the course on classes.yale.edu. They will retrieve, scan, or link to pre-existing electronic form the textual materials requested for reserve reading. Staff will review with the faculty member any restrictions on the use of materials offered electronically for the course and they will assist in processing requests to use materials under copyright protection. This process will be the basis for compilation of our guidelines on copyright compliance and respect for intellectual property. Project staff will gather data on the various activities, as directed by the expert team, and team members will assess the effectiveness of the software, instruction, pedagogical design, and service support.

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