Assessment in Action

California State University-San Marcos: Project Description

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Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

(No) Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport

(No) Enrollment

(No) Retention

(No) Completion

(No) Graduation

(No) Articulation

(No) Graduates' Career Success

(No) Testing (e.g., GRE, MCAT, LSAT, CAAP, CLA, MAPP)

Other (please describe)

Student experience

Primary Library Factor Examined (select one or more)


(No) Instruction: Games

Instruction: One Shot

(No) Instruction: Course Embedded

(No) Instruction: Self-Paced Tutorials

(No) Reference

(No) Educational Role (other than reference or instruction)

(No) Space, Physical

(No) Discovery (library resources integrated in institutional web and other information portals)

(No) Discovery (library resource guides)

(No) Discovery (from preferred user starting points)

(No) Collections (quality, depth, diversity, format or currency)

(No) Personnel (number and quality)

Other (please describe)

Synchronous online instruction through web conferencing

Student Population (select one or more)


(No) Graduate

(No) Incoming

(No) Graduating

(No) Pre-College/Developmental/Basic Skills

(No) Other (please describe)

Discipline (select one or more)

(No) Arts

(No) Humanities

(No) Social Sciences

(No) Natural Sciences (i.e., space, earth, life, chemistry or physics)

(No) Formal Sciences (i.e., computer science, logic, mathematics, statistics or systems science)

Professions/Applied Sciences

(No) English Composition

(No) General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

(No) Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

(No) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

(No) Other (please describe)

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

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Inquiry Question (150 words open)

What was the project's primary inquiry question?

  1. Does synchronous online instruction through web conferencing result in similar student learning outcomes as traditional face-to-face instruction?

Executive Summary (150 words open)

  • How does the project align with your institution’s priorities and needs?
  • Why did you choose the outcome and library factor as areas to examine?
  • Why was the team composition appropriate?

  1. Sustained excellence in teaching to support student learning is central to the mission of Cal State San Marcos. This project aimed to both develop reusable assessment tools to measure student learning in the classroom environment and to assess how one form of online instruction measures up to traditional in-person instruction in the library. CSUSM has recently begun to more clearly institutionalize a sustainable approach to assessment of student learning, in part because of a focus on accreditation. This project aligned with the institutional priorities of assessment, student learning, and continuous improvement of teaching. The campus team pulled expertise from the librarian team leader, a kinesiology faculty member, and the campus assessment specialist. Expertise from these areas allowed the team to successfully develop and implement the project.

  • What are the significant contributions of your project?
  • What was learned about assessing the library’s impact on student learning and success?
  • What was learned about creating or contributing to a culture of assessment on campus?
  • What, if any, are the significant findings of your project?

  1. This assessment project found that librarian-led instruction in a synchronous online environment leads to equivalent student learning and an equivalent student experience as traditional face-to-face instruction in a one-shot library research class. As more and more courses and programs are being offered in hybrid or entirely online formats at CSUSM, this finding can inform how instruction is delivered in an online environment. While most online instruction is currently done asynchronously, the knowledge that synchronous online instruction leads to significant learning allows librarians and instructors more flexibility in their online teaching choices. Choosing a web conferencing class may be more appropriate when teaching complex concepts so students have the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers in real time. In addition, the fact that either teaching method resulted in significant student learning demonstrates the impact and necessity of librarian-led instruction on campus.

  • What will you change as a result of what you learned (– e.g., institutional activities, library functions or practices, personal/professional practice, other)?
  • How does this project contribute to current, past, or future assessment activities on your campus?

  1. During this assessment project, the team discovered firsthand the benefits and drawbacks of using synchronous online instruction to teach IL concepts. The results will impact how online instruction in the library will be approached moving forward, especially when working with the health sciences and human services programs at CSUSM. The librarian team leader's research will continue to focus on student learning in the online environment, using this project as a basis for further exploration. Additionally, the experience gained from participating in AiA will allow team members to better support library and disciplinary colleagues in their assessment efforts. For example, there are several library assessment activities planned for the next academic year that range from assessing student learning from one-shot classes to programmatic student learning outcome assessment. Participating in this program has given the librarian team leader the assessment knowledge to fully participate in these conversations and projects.

Please list any articles published, presentations given, URL of project website, and team leader contact details.

  1. Tricia Lantzy
    Health Sciences & Human Services Librarian
    CSU San Marcos, San Marcos, CA


    Lantzy, T. (2016). Health literacy education: Impact of instructional method. Reference Services Review, 44(2), 1-15.

    Lantzy, T. (2016). Following the Evidence: Using Assessment to Inform Online Instruction and Demonstrate Library Value Across Campus. Conference paper and presentation for the California Academic & Research Libraries Conference.

    Poster Presentations

    Lantzy, T. (2016). How Does it Measure Up? Assessing Student Learning in Online Versus Face-to-Face Instruction. Poster Presentation at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.

This project sought to uncover whether student learning from synchronous online instruction through web conferencing is equivalent to in-person instruction. A comparison between two sections of a course showed that significant student learning and a positive learning experience occurs in both settings. This is an important finding for librarians who want to provide online instruction to distance students that is on par with traditional instruction.
ALAposter_r6.pdf How Does it Measure Up? Assessing Student Learning in Online Versus Face-to-Face Instruction.