Digital Badges Exposed

I presented recently at ACRL and Electronic Resources & Libraries on my digital badges/tutorials program, on digital badge technology, and on effective learning object design. These are now available as a three-part recording via YouTube! Get more information and download my slides from my conference post. Enjoy.



Part 1: Introduction/Spark Tutorials


Part 2: Digital Badge Technology


Part 3: Learning Object Design

Get more information and download my slides from my conference post.

Instructional Design Librarian Starter Kit

Instructional design-related librarianship is a growing field, just like instructional design is. I get asked periodically about what it is exactly that I do, and while I love sharing my own experience, someone with the exact same job title as me might do something very different.

I always encourage others to learn more about instructional design! I love being an instructional designer and eLearning developer and think these skills and knowledge are really useful and important in today’s schools and corporations. So, I’ve collected a few of my blog posts and some other resources to help get you started on your own journey to instructional design.

Let’s start with a 5-minute overview of the very basics of instructional design from the Commonwealth of Learning organization:

What is Instructional Design? from Commonwealth of Learning on Vimeo.

Here’s also a great written overview: An Introduction to Instructional Design!

Hear from Instructional Design(ish) Librarians About What They Do

There is a lot of variation in official title for librarians that do instructional design-related work. The first was probably blended librarian. Sometimes emerging technology librarians are ID-esque. You might also see instructional technology, learning experience, or online learning librarians.

However, even two librarians with the exact same title might do very different things! It’s a very new position in libraries and the position’s function depends on the local library culture. So, if you’re interested in exploring this type of job, you might want to check out the experiences of people that already do this work.

Recorded webinars from the Blended Librarian Online Learning Community:

My Own Posts About Instructional Design Librarianship

Design and eLearning Development

Have you been thrown into the deep end of the eLearning pool? Are you jumping in excitedly all on your own? Here are a few of my posts on getting started with eLearning development.

Keep in mind that knowing how to USE the software and knowing how to DESIGN effective learning experiences are two different things, so I recommend started with the “so you want to get started” post for some useful design resources.

Librarian-Centric Courses on Instructional Design

I haven’t taken or reviewed these courses so I can’t vouch for their quality, but it’s great there are options for librarians wanting to learn more about this specialization in a structured learning environment. If you know of others, please drop me a line and I’ll add them.

University Programs in Instructional Design

Conferences to Attend

Check out my post on Recommended Online Learning & EduTech Conferences! There is always programming related to instructional design at library conferences, but get out of the library bubble to meet and learn from professionals that do nothing but design and development for a living! They’re really good at it.

Bottom Line

Instructional design is all about designing effective learning experiences by applying a deep knowledge of learning theory to an instructional problem. Always keep the learner forefront!

Digital Badges Exposed: Technology Behind a Library Badges Program

I’m presenting at ACRL and ER&L 2017! My presentations are about my Spark Tutorials project and the technology needed to make digital badges happen.

Both my slides and my handouts are licensed as CC-BY-4.0. You are welcome to download them, reuse them, redistribute them, etc., as long as you give me attribution.

A three-part recording is now available of my long-form session. 

ER&L Materials

Digital badges exposed: Technology behind a library badges program
15-minute presentation, April 4, 2:30-2:45 Central

ACRL Virtual Conference Materials

Digital badges exposed: Technology behind a library badges program
60-minute interactive webcast, March 23, 10:00-11:00 am Eastern

ACRL TechConnect Materials

Digital badges exposed: Technology behind a library badges program
TechConnect in-person presentation, March 23, 4:00-4:20 pm Eastern, BCC 317

TechConnect Slidecast Recording

Source page of this recording.

Spark Tutorials Course Tour

Teaching Online Track at ACRL

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Head to ACRL next week? I am! I’m excited to be presenting both a webcast and a TechConnect presentation. This will be my first ACRL presentations!

Interested in scaling up your instruction by going online? Thinking about launching your own badges program? I love it when conferences offer “tracks” of programs on a given topic. Unfortunately ACRL has only a “Teaching and Learning” category which encompasses a huge number of diverse programs!

So, I made my own “Teaching Online Track!” (Which includes my two programs on badges, of course!)

Here are a bunch of sessions at ACRL that relate to online teaching, tutorial development, and instructional design, which is especially important when developing online content and assessment:

  • Digital Badges Exposed: Technology Behind a Library Badges Program
    Thursday 10:00 to 11:00 am, Live Webcast
    Our academic library has issued thousands of digital badges to students for mastering basic library concepts using tutorials with built-in assessment and our Learning Management System – no manual grading required! In this interactive session, participants will learn about the necessary technology for a badges program and effective learning object design for issuing badges. Participants will also analyze their campus’ learning infrastructure for opportunities for implementing a badge program.
  • Take It Online: Building Librarian Competency in Online Teaching and Learning
    Thursday 2:40 to 3:00 pm, Room 324-326 (Paper)
    By using a successful online/hybrid teaching certificate program as a framework, the argument will be made for including librarians in faculty professional development activities in order to build librarians’ capacity to support online learning. Presentation will include ideas for developing a strong online instructional presence and best practices in engaging online learners.
  • Teaching Librarians About How to Teach Online
    Thursday 3:00 to 4:00 pm, Poster Session 35
    Learn about a series of free online modules to teach librarians and library workers how to teach online. See examples of how students have applied their learning to projects in their own libraries while studying instructional design, technologies, diversity, community, and social media. This poster will highlight the tools and methods that participants from academic libraries have found most valuable, for you to apply when developing online instruction for your own institution.
  • Anchoring Online Learning Content in Student Knowledge Practices
    Thursday 3:00 to 4:00 pm, Poster Session 39
    Find out how one university library is using student knowledge practices to inform the creation of online learning content that supports student success in research and information literacy. View our newly adopted student knowledge practices, which incorporate language from the ACRL Framework, alongside two of our online learning objects: a completed online learning module for literature research and an in-progress Research DIY website focused on supporting students throughout all steps of the research process.
  • Teaching Digital Humanities Tools at a Distance: A Librarian-Instructor Partnership Integrating Scalar into a Graduate Distance Course
    Thursday 3:40 pm to 4:00 pm, Room 337-338 (Paper)
    Attendees will discover teaching strategies for integrating digital humanities publishing tools into distance learning. The presentation will outline the partnership between a subject librarian and an instructor to develop digital scholarship learning outcomes and measures in a history of children’s literature course. The authors highlight challenges and support mechanisms for teaching digital tools at a distance when there is no option for an in-class “hands on” session to introduce students to tools.
  • Digital Badges Exposed: Technology Behind a Library Badges Program
    Thursday 4:00 to 4:20 pm, Room 317 (TechConnect)
    Our academic library has issued thousands of digital badges to students for mastering basic library concepts using tutorials with built-in assessment and our Learning Management System – no manual grading required! Students earn a badge for each tutorial completed with a 100% score (repeatable), and both librarians and faculty may track their progress. Learn how we did it, and let’s discuss how to choose the technologies to structure a sustainable badges program.
  • Taking a Different Tack: Adapting First-Year Information Literacy Instruction to the Online Environment
    Friday 8:30 to 9:30 am, Room 318-320 (Panel)
    Budget, staffing, and scheduling constraints might prevent the academic library from meeting all the demands for first-year instruction via the standard face-to-face format. Three academic librarians from small, medium-sized, and large institutions will discuss the challenges of and opportunities for providing alternative information literacy instruction to first-year students in virtual learning environments, such as cultivating new learner behaviors to remove barriers to success, optimizing course content for online delivery, and achieving personalized learning experiences.
  • Transforming First-Year Writing Library Instruction into Engaging Online Modules
    Friday 9:30 to 10:30 am, Poster Session 36
    With the rising number of students choosing to complete their college degrees online, it is important for libraries to produce intentionally-crafted online information literacy instruction. To this end, we crafted engaging, interactive multimodal online modules for first-year writing courses. These modules provide high quality instruction using student learning outcomes (SLOs) and activities from face-to-face instruction sessions. This poster shows attendees how to map SLOs, craft interactive learning modules quickly, and assess them for incremental improvement.
  • Scaling up: Using online tutorials to maximize library reach in the sciences and health sciences
    Friday 9:30 to 10:30 am, Poster Session 48
    This poster will describe how they used online tutorials to “scale up” their instruction efforts in the face of a quickly increasing student population. Preliminary assessment data from a project comparing the achievement of student learning from the tutorials versus in-person instruction will be presented.
  • Library Orientation in Blackboard: Supporting Online & Distance Learners
    Friday 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Poster Session 37
    This session explores how online library orientation progressed from initial course request to selecting and balancing technology resources, how development of library tours and tutorials, creation of overview and instructional videos (Tellagami, Animoto, Screencast-O-Matic) impacted course content, and how inclusion of library social media helped develop a project inherently valuable to students.
  • Interactivity and Gamification in Virtual Library Learning Objects
    Friday 2:00 to 3:00 pm, Poster Session 47
    See how our library has reimagined Orientation, following two students as they progress through a variety of interactive learning scenarios. Students must click, hover, drag, drop and explore to proceed. Additional examples of virtual gaming experiences created by our library will be demoed.
  • Standardizing and Managing Online Tutorials for Improved Learning
    Friday 4:35 to 4:55, Room 321-323 (Paper)
    Learn how to standardize and improve the look, functionality and accessibility of your online learning objects to improve students’ learning and improve their experience.

Did I miss any? Post them in the comments below!

Recognition at Campus Honor an Educator Event

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It’s not often that I get awards, so I hope you’ll forgive me for being super excited to share that I was recognized at my campus’ recent Honor an Educator event! It’s an annual fundraiser put on by the California State University, Fullerton, College of Education.

I was nominated by the director of the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program. I’ve only been teaching for her for about a semester and a half, but she thinks I’m doing a great job and I’m very flattered. I love teaching for the program! My students are the best.

As part of the event, I got this amazing certificate thanks to our California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva. You bet it’s getting framed and going on my office wall!

Certificate of recognition for Lindsay O'Neill from California State Assembly

Mike and Lindsay at Honor an Educator dinner
Mike and I at the dinner!

Free Downloads are Here!

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I’ve added a Free Downloads page to my website – previously visitors had to hunt for my free templates in my Portfolio. Use and reuse these files for free under the terms of the Creative Commons license assigned to each. I will continually be adding templates to this section, so come back often.

Please cite me and link back to my website – and if you want to share your creations I would love to see them!

Happy developing!

Get Started With Camtasia

posted in: "How To" Guides, Blog, eLearning | 0

New to eLearning Development? Read this first!

I love Camtasia! I use it regularly at work for anything from simple screen recordings to long informational videos. Everything I’ve published to Pollak Library eLearning on YouTube was made with Camtasia.

Camtasia is a video editing program, but you can create surprisingly robust interactive mini-courses using its hotspots feature. Whether you want to create professional-looking videos, or dip your toe into the eLearning waters, this is a great program to get started with.

Get Started With Camtasia

First, download the free trial of Camtasia if you haven’t already. I also recommend giving SnagIt a shot, it’s a great, simple image editing program. Jing is the free, limited version of Camtasia.

Video Tutorials

Do you have access to I would work through the Camtasia courses. They have practice files for you to use.

Work Through a Handbook

Alternatively, I also recommend finding a copy of Camtasia 9: The Essentials. This book will walk you through learning Camtasia and also offers practice files. I use the Adobe Captivate edition for teaching students in our Master of Instructional Design & Technology program, it’s a really great book.

Get Started with Free Graphics

There’s not much in the way of free Camtasia templates out there, unfortunately, but Camtasia is fairly simple to pick up.

I highly recommend Pixabay for stock graphics and videos, all of which are public domain/CC0. Remember to respect copyright when selecting images for your elearning!


Making videos is really fun! It’s a useful skill that allows you do make and ship useful tutorials very quickly, with a low learning curve. You don’t need a special server for plain videos, you can just pop them onto YouTube. However, if you do take advantage of Camtasia’s interactive features, you DO have to load the published files onto a server or into an LMS. To do this, follow my guide on Sharing Your eLearning Courses.

Get Started With Captivate

New to eLearning Development? Read this first!

Adobe Captivate 9 is very powerful authoring software. It’s also very challenging to learn. Sure, you can easily pick up how to do screen recordings, but to create interactive tutorials you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves!

Captivate is similar to Storyline, but it does not allow for easy rapid authoring like Storyline does. While Storyline has a similar feel to PowerPoint and allows you to get your feet wet by making something super simple, you’re going to go through a bit of frustration making even a simple tutorial with Captivate. But! Captivate will pay off – it allows you to customize anything and everything, and its Advanced Actions (akin to Storyline’s triggers) are much more powerful and complex. Also, many instructional design job postings want you to know how to use Captivate! If you can do this, you can do anything!

Captivate is also cheaper than Storyline – you’ll pay $300 if you’re an educator or if you work for a nonprofit. Buy a full copy for $1,099 to be able to sell your work.

Get Started With Captivate

First, download the free trial of Captivate if you don’t already have the software.*

Video Tutorials

Do you have access to I would work through the Adobe Captivate courses. They have practice files for you to use.

Adobe has a robust collection of videos on YouTube as well. Get used to Pooja, you’ll see a lot of her! Her videos are really clear and helpful.

Work Through a Handbook

Alternatively, I also recommend finding a copy of Adobe Captivate 9: The Essentials. This book will walk you through learning Captivate and also offers practice files. I use this text for teaching students in our Master of Instructional Design & Technology program, it’s a really great book.


Adobe Captivate 9 includes free templates from the eLearning Brothers, so definitely take advantage of those.

In general, there doesn’t seem to be as many free downloads for Captivate templates as there are for Storyline templates. If you intend to do a lot of development in Captivate, I would work on creating your own templates and themes. Challenge yourself by attempting to recreate a neat Captivate tutorial you saw online.

There are some downloads and templates available on Adobe Exchange. Browse through the Teach and Learn categories on the left – I found a few under Learn -> Digital Assets.

Important to Learn

I also suggest learning to create your own image buttons, because Captivate’s buttons are mostly ugly. I also highly recommend learning to use Captivate’s Advanced Actions – which are equivalent to Storyline’s triggers, but allow for much more complexity and reusability.


What’s important is diving in and getting going – a lot of people find Captivate to be more challenging to pick up than Storyline, but done right, I think the software can offer a lot more customization and power.

You want something instantly pretty? Use Storyline! Want to challenge yourself and learn a marketable skill? Get going with Captivate!

*Important note: If you download a free trial of Captivate, your files will expire at the end of the trial period. So, if you want to keep evidence of them, perhaps take lots of screen captures or screen recordings to document your work. If you end up getting a paid copy of Captivate, you can reaccess and republish your files.

Get Started With Storyline 2

posted in: "How To" Guides, Blog, eLearning | 1

New to eLearning Development? Read this first!

I love Storyline 2! It’s the authoring software I use most often. I used it for creating the Spark Tutorials and for several of the items in my Portfolio.

Storyline is fairly easy to learn. Because it’s similar to PowerPoint, you can use Storyline to make something as simple or (almost) as complex as you want. Storyline has some limits with the complexity of “triggers” you can use compared to Captivate, but, it makes up for it by ease of use. You can create something very beautiful and usable very quickly!

Unfortunately, Storyline is expensive! You get half off if you’re an educator or a nonprofit, but it’s still about $800. In contrast, Captivate is about $300 for educators. You can always download a 30-day trial, though, enabling you to get a taste of Storyline and create something really nice for your portfolio!

Get Started with Storyline

Download the free trial if you don’t already have the software. Articulate now offers a cloud-based suite called Articulate 360 that includes Storyline if you’d like to give that a shot also, but it’s very expensive to subscribe to it.

You can always just dive into the software and see what it does, but to take advantage of Storyline’s power and to understand how to publish, check out one of these options:

Articulate’s YouTube Channel

Articulate, the company behind Storyline, has a pretty great YouTube channel with a nice “Get Started with Storyline” playlist. Start with the overview, move on to interactivity, and then learn to use layers, triggers, and states! Unfortunately this option doesn’t seem to offer any practice files, so you’ll have to pay close attention to the videos and just practice on your own.

Do you have access to If you work at a college or university, there’s a good chance that you do. Some public libraries offer free access as well. Check with your employer also – you never know!

I highly recommend working through the Articulate Storyline courses. They have practice files for you to use to follow along with the videos. Complete a whole Storyline course and get a badge/certificate of completion to put on your LinkedIn profile (keep in mind this only offers proof you watched the videos, your projects don’t get reviewed or graded).

Up and Running with Articulate Storyline 2 is a good course to begin. I encourage you to check out the Advanced Techniques course also to get some really great ideas and more hands-on practice with advanced features.

Work Through a Handbook

Prefer a book? I recommend finding a copy of Articulate Storyline 2: The Essentials. This book will walk you through learning Storyline and also offers practice files for you to learn. I use the Adobe Captivate edition for teaching students in our Master of Instructional Design & Technology program, it’s a really great book. You have to download the practice files from the publisher’s site, so make sure you do that first before you get started!

Play With Free Downloads

I offer lots of my Storyline raw files as free downloads – you can reuse the Spark Tutorials, Keyword Generator, or Branched Scenario. Just use the files according to the Creative Commons license assigned to each one.

There are lots more free info lit Storyline raw files from Marquette University that you can reuse.

I have a lot of “how’d they do that??” moments when viewing other people’s projects, so being able to see the raw file is enormously helpful to learn new things.

Join the Community

Finally, get involved in the E-Learning Heroes community (managed by Articulate!), if you haven’t already. They have lots of fun Storyline challenges and LOTS of free downloads for you to reuse.

Articulate’s outreach and marketing arm is strong. Their bloggers and content creators are frequent presenters at conferences. They do their best to help you be successful with Storyline!


Don’t forget to save your projects early and often! I save my Storyline raw files on my local hard drive, then copy them over to Dropbox every time I close it out. I also save “versions” periodically – I’ll “Save As” each new day or week. Sometimes you regret making a major change, so you can always go back and redo what you undid if you have multiple versions. This strategy can also help save you in event of a file getting corrupted, or your computer crashing (which has happened to me TWICE in two years!)

Above all – build your portfolio! Telling employers and clients that you know Storyline isn’t enough, you need to have something to show them!

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