Assessment in Action

California State University-Fullerton: Project Description

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Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

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)

(No) Other (please describe)

Primary Library Factor Examined (select one or more)


(No) Instruction: Games

(No) Instruction: One Shot

Instruction: Course Embedded

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)

(No) Other (please describe)

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

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)

(No) 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

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

Research Paper/Project

(No) Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

(No) Other (please describe)

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

Other (please describe)

Course grades

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Inquiry Question (150 words open)

What was the project's primary inquiry question?

  1. Does embedding a librarian and library resources into an online-only class improve quality of students’ research skills?

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. Currently, online students at Cal State Fullerton are being underserved by Pollak Library, so this project served as a pilot to discover best (and scalable) practices for embedding librarians into online classes. By targeting an underserved population, this project supported CSUF’s Strategic Goal Two: Improve student persistence, increase graduation rates Universitywide, and narrow the achievement gap for underrepresented students.

    The team leader was the Instructional Design Librarian, who designed and developed learning objects and strategies that supported the embedded Human Services librarian, whose existing relationships were leveraged to identify a faculty member willing to offer her online class for a library intervention. This team also included a CSUF Assessment Officer to guide assessment strategies.

  • 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. Embedding a librarian and library resources into an online class appears to improve students’ research skills, though we had some issues with data collection and were unable to secure a control group.

    While the project did not run as smoothly as hoped, I learned how to prepare an application for IRB approval, how to collect data to comply with IRB, that there are faculty extremely interested in working with the library, and that the campus assessment office is a fantastic resource. Our campus already has the framework set up to facilitate assessment, and our team pioneered formal assessment efforts at the library. So, while rocky, our project paved the way for future assessment efforts at the library by teaching me the basics of assessment so that I can serve as a local resource.

  • 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. This project taught us some practical and scalable methods for embedding in online courses to support student learning and success. It will serve as a model for future library instruction assessment efforts as most of the materials (pre/post-test, tutorials, handouts) are adaptable and reusable.

    We demonstrated the library’s enthusiasm for working with campus partners to improve and expand our services and instruction, and I hope that we will be able to use our successes with this project to launch further collaborations across campus.

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

  1. Lindsay O’Neill
    Instructional Design Librarian, Pollak Library

An embedded librarian and library resources were integrated into an online section of a 300-level Human Services course. Results indicated that students in the intervention course that completed an online tutorial were likely to retain what they learned and received higher grades on the course research assignment. Evidence suggests that scaffolded online mini-tutorials and embedded library resources may be a scalable means to serve online students, with minimal librarian time required.
AiA_Poster_56x42_2016-06-12.pdf Embedding the library into an online course: A quest for scalable solutions