Teach With INFOhio

Collaborate and Curate with BLUEcloud Course Lists: Part 2

Author // Janah Shumaker Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Collaboration between school librarians and classroom teachers is one way to highlight and promote quality print and digital resources available for teaching and learning. BLUEcloud Course Lists, a resource list management tool, can be used to create lists of curriculum-aligned resources for students and teachers. 

This product is available to librarians and their teaching staff who use INFOhio’s Library Services Platform (LSP). BLUEcloud Course Lists supports access to print and digital resources in an online platform, facilitating collaboration for busy educators with little or no common planning time. School librarians can work with classroom teachers to create interactive lists of resources to supplement curricula and impact student learning. BLUEcloud Course Lists helps facilitate collaboration with Staff Notes, resource tags, and an interactive review process. Join us for this three-part blog series as we explore ways BLUEcloud Course Lists can help you collaborate, innovate, and share high-quality, curated resources to supplement teaching and learning in the library and the classroom.

Do you ever wonder how to get a foot in the door with teachers in your building or district? BLUEcloud Course Lists offers a way for librarians to collaborate with teachers to provide students with teacher and librarian-vetted reading, research, and study materials. In this second installment of the BLUEcloud Course Lists Collaboration and Curation series, take a look at a few built-in features of BLUEcloud Course Lists that will help facilitate collaborative efforts between librarians and teachers to create lists of strong supplemental materials.

The Bookmarklet Tool

The Bookmarklet tool allows librarians and teachers collaborating on a list to add resources found on the internet with just a few clicks. It is added to the bookmarks bar of a web browser to automate adding resources to a list. Lists can be built without the Bookmarklet tool, but it is much quicker and easier to add resources outside of the library catalog with it. The bookmarklet is added to your web browser’s bookmarks bar with a simple drag and drop. Once it has been added, librarians and teachers can begin using it to add resources to lists. The bookmarklet will capture reference details from a webpage, saving the resource to a selected list. If the resource matches an existing item in the library’s catalog, Course Lists users can choose to select the library resource instead.

Adding the Bookmarklet Tool 

To add the Bookmarklet tool to your preferred web browser log into BLUEcloud and navigate to My Classes or Classes. There you will find the "Add Bookmarklet" button. Don’t have a BLUEcloud login or don’t see access to Course Lists? Contact the Library Support Staff at your ITC for further help. 

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Once you’ve clicked the "Add Bookmarklet" button, a pop-up will appear showing how to add the bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks bar.

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Click and hold the "Add to My List" button and drag it to your bookmarks bar. "Add to My List" should now display and you are ready to begin adding resources to your lists. 

If multiple people are collaborating on a list, each person will want to add the bookmarklet to their browser’s bookmarks bar. By doing this, each person collaborating to add resources to a list will have access to multiple methods of saving resources. Librarians can help teachers to add the bookmarklet and give them a quick demonstration of how the bookmarklet can be used. The bookmarklet can be used at any time, without the need to log in to BLUEcloud Course Lists. As you browse the web and find a resource that would be a good fit for an existing list, click “Add to My List” and save the resource. For more information on adding resources to a list using the bookmarklet, please see the Adding Resources to Classes lesson found in the BLUEcloud Course Lists class in the BLUEcloud Learning Pathway.

Let’s look at an example of how the Bookmarklet tool works using INFOhio’s Digital Video Collection (DVC). The DVC includes more than 5,000 educational streaming videos that are segmented and downloadable. Most videos in the DVC also include teacher guides and related websites. Curating videos for a list could provide another method of instruction for students to use to learn about a topic. Those who enjoy visual and auditory methods of learning will significantly benefit from these options. Let’s take a look at how easy it is to add a video from the DVC to a Course List with the Bookmarklet tool.

Depending on the topic, you can browse the DVC collection by subject, series, or by doing a keyword search. I’m personally a big fan of the rock cycle, so with a browse of the series list, I find a link to Rocks and Minerals which includes two videos. One video is called Rocks and the Rock Cycle. After reviewing the video, I determine it is exactly what I am looking for and I want to make it available for my students to watch. This video even has segments and the bookmarklet will allow me to capture individual segments and add those to a list as well. 

To add this video or a segment of this video to a list, click on the video or segment. Then click the “Add to My List” button in the bookmarks bar.

The bookmarklet will open and you could click “Add to list” but I find it helpful to edit the entry before it is saved. This will allow you to add a title if one doesn’t transfer, and other various information to the description of the resource. Click “Edit” to make changes or click “Add to list” to save the resource to a list.

A confirmation that the resource has been saved to the list you chose will appear. From there you can continue to add resources or login to BLUEcloud, review your resources, and make any necessary changes.

Adding Tags with the Bookmarklet

A new feature recently added to Course Lists allows librarians and teachers to tag resources as they are added with the Bookmarklet tool. Adding a tag or tags to a resource can show the importance or urgency of that resource to those viewing a list. Tags are unique per library instance and a list of suggestions will appear as the user begins typing. The list of suggested tags is updated automatically as new tags are added. Tags are searchable in the Student View interface, so students could search for all resources tagged “Week 1” so they know exactly which materials to read for Week 1. Depending on the list, “required” could be a tag to let students know which materials they must have for class. “New” could indicate new library materials on a list of newly purchased or donated books. Keeping a master list of the tags used and sharing that list with those collaborating to create lists will help keep the tags used consistent and confusion of what to use or search for, at a minimum.

Collaborating Through Staff Notes and the Review Process

Once a resource has been added to a list, those collaborating on the creation of the list can communicate through BLUEcloud Course Lists Staff Notes feature. If a teacher is adding resources, they can use the Staff Notes feature to ask the librarian if there are enough copies of the item in the collection. They may have copyright questions like, can the video be shared freely? Can copies be made of the short story? Is this a reputable website to download materials? They also may not be able to locate just what they are looking for and need the librarian’s expertise to help them find what they need. If a note is available, the Staff Notes icon will display a red circle.

Staff Notes can play a role in the review process of the resources in a list. For a more formal review, BLUEcloud Course Lists contains a list of review actions that collaborators can use to keep track of where in the process they are at. 

If a teacher is adding resources to a list, when finished, they can choose the Request Review in the Review Actions drop-down menu when they are finished adding materials. This will add a date in the “Date Review Requested” column in the list of Classes. The librarian can then begin to review the resources the teacher added to the list. 

The librarian and teacher can then keep track of where the review process is by reviewing any Staff Notes and noting the date and time of when the review was requested, started, and completed. 

Once the review is complete, the URL to the finished list can be shared with students and other audiences as needed. These included supports will help strengthen the collaborative efforts of the library and classroom ensuring students have access to the right supplemental resources when they need them.

If you are interested in giving BLUEcloud Course Lists a try, please contact the INFOhio Provider at your ITC for more details. To learn more, please visit the BLUEcloud Course Lists class found in the BLUEcloud Learning Pathway within INFOhio Campus. Already using BLUEcloud Course Lists? Share your Course Lists with INFOhio on social media by tagging us (@INFOhio) and including #INFOhioWorks in your post. Questions or concerns? Please reach out at support.infohio.org.

About the Author

Posted by: Janah Shumaker

Janah Shumaker is an INFOhio Professional Technical Support Specialist and helps to support ITC Library Support Staff throughout Ohio. One of her roles on the technical team is to assist with the support and implementation of SirsiDynix BLUEcloud products. Before working at INFOhio she was an INFOhio Liaison/Library Services Support provider. Janah is a Google for Education Level 2 Certified Educator and has a Masters in Middle Childhood Education from The Ohio State University. Janah was also a co-winner of the Spence White Service Award in 2020.

Janah Shumaker
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