Research Collaboration Opportunity (LIBR 597)

 

Title
Testing the Usability of the Social Impact Lab (SIL) Curriculum Website

Course supervisor
Dr. Heather O’Brien (h.obrien@ubc.ca)

Description of the area of investigation

  • Website evaluation and usability testing

Pre-/co-requisites

  • MLIS and Dual MAS/MLIS: completion of MLIS core
  • Research Methods (e.g., LIBR 507)
  • This opportunity is ideal for someone who has taken or is concurrently taking the Designing for People (DFP) graduate training program and/or LIBR 555 or 556

 

If you are interested in this LIBR 597 Research Collaboration opportunity, please contact Dr. Heather O’Brien (h.obrien@ubc.ca) by Wednesday, August 31 with a note on why you would like to participate in the course and what you hope to learn from it.

 

Rationale and objectives for the study

UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) catalyzes, designs, and implements opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills to help address the most critical social and environmental issues by collaborating with diverse university and community partners and stakeholders. To this end, CCEL facilitates experiential learning in which students critically engage with academic content while working to address complex societal challenges. The Social Impact Lab (SIL) is a project at CCEL intended to facilitate transformative learning experiences in open-ended collaborations with community partners. It is open-ended, insofar as students do not have predetermined projects but instead must work with their partners to generate solutions to systemic problems that communities face.

To date, SIL has primarily been co-curricular, which is to say that it takes place outside of and alongside courses at UBC. However, CCEL is currently piloting a curricular version of SIL – that is, a version that is integrated into courses. As part of this pilot, CCEL has designed a new SIL curriculum, which can be adapted to a range of courses spanning multiple disciplines and Faculties, and which is compatible with a variety of learning levels and formats, such as in-person workshops or asynchronous content. Essential to the success of this highly flexible curriculum is its modularity: it consists of a large number of fine-grained learning objectives and corresponding lessons that can be rearranged into different lesson plans, workshops, etc.

In collaboration with the Learning Technology team at the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT), CCEL is creating a website to house the new SIL curriculum. The website will aid CCEL staff in adapting SIL to courses. It will also provide a space for faculty members interested in integrating community-engaged learning into their courses to mix and match SIL resources as they consider how best to integrate social impact curriculum into their courses. Finally, the website will make SIL resources widely available to students, other universities, and public interested in integrating community-engaged learning and social impact practices in their own work.

The SIL curriculum website will be finished by the end of August 2022. However, it has not yet been tested with users. To ensure the website’s usability for diverse audiences, it is essential to understand how visitors to the site experience it and whether the site effectively serves users’ varied goals.

Methods

  • Identification and recruitment of potential website users
  • Co-development and implementation of usability testing protocol, including a brief interview
  • Collation, analysis and presentation of usability testing data

Resources

  • SIL curriculum website (under construction through August 2022)
  • Expert advice and guidance from iSchool faculty member and CCEL project lead
  • Research and professional literature on usability testing and best practices obtained through library databases and web-based resources

Description of the final product
Usability report

Timeline
September – December 2022

 

If you are interested in this LIBR 597 Research Collaboration opportunity, please contact Dr. Heather O’Brien (h.obrien@ubc.ca) by Wednesday, August 31 with a note on why you would like to participate in the course and what you hope to learn from it.