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UIC students share research knowledge by creating video tutorials

"Choosing Keywords"

The short video, “UIC Library: Choosing Keywords” creatively explores how to develop a research topic and find related articles from the student perspective. Third-year UIC students Phoebe Liandyartha (Industrial Design) and Mallika Patil (Computer Science) created the original video tutorial geared toward first-year students with little to no prior research experience by using their own research knowledge and skills.

During the spring 2020 semester under the guidance of Library faculty members Annie Armstrong, Glenda Insua and Cathy Lantz, Liandyartha and Patil approached the project with ideas in mind of what they wanted to learn through the tutorial development process. Liandyartha already knew how to conduct an online search but wanted to expand upon her research skills and to also gain more video editing experience. Patil came to the project with the goal of learning to edit videos with no prior video editing experience.

Liandyartha and Patil then began researching other libraries’ tutorials online to try to identify what they found most interesting. Liandyartha visited an English 160 classroom to observe what students struggled with as they learned to do research. The two students then informally interviewed their peers to gather their opinions about what should be included in the tutorial.

They wanted to be sure that the content was presented at the appropriate level for the audience, giving a thorough and meaningful introduction to how to conduct a research project using critical skills like using Boolean operators and choosing effective keywords when searching the Library’s website. After compiling all their planning notes, they spent time considering whether the tutorial should function as a standalone piece or if it would be part of a series. After making a list of all the possible videos they could include in the project, they decided that their initial 4-5 minute video would function as standalone tutorial that could later be included in a longer video series.

Liandyartha and Patil wanted to create something that would be fun for students to watch with a playful and cheerful style. They divvied up the work of producing the video by splitting it into segments. Liandyartha designed the visuals and Patil handled the storyboarding and narration. Over the course of several months during spring 2020, the two received regular feedback from the Library faculty advisors and went back and forth and made adjustments along the way.

Liandyartha said of the experience, “I learned a lot from watching the other library tutorials. I wanted to use photography or video of people at the library but I have a soft spot for animation. Most of my inspiration comes from Ted Talks. I like their style of delivering the story. The things that I draw are inspired by that style. … I like incorporating handwriting because it is helpful to see the note style. An example is the explanation of a search with a Venn diagram and handwritten notes. I used a chalk brush to convey the feeling of a classroom with a chalk drawing on a chalkboard. … It was a rough start, but once I started it began to flow. I learned about story telling and how to use Premiere Pro to add the animation. The project gave me a sense of achievement and responsibility because I was making something that was applicable to other students. … It was a fun project.”

Patil said, “Choosing an animated style to present the video made the video stand out. I wanted to make sure we never lost the student’s attention. Ideation, storyboarding and editing the video was difficult at first as I am a computer science student with little background in video editing. However, I learned a lot from working with Phoebe and going through online video tutorials. She had some experience beforehand in video editing, and was able to help me become good at using Premiere Pro. The project was challenging at first, but I was very proud of the end result. Not only are the students at UIC able to use the video while searching for research, English professors are also able to show it to help students. I am very happy to share a video that can help students throughout the university.”

“Annie and I got the idea for this project from UCLA librarians who presented at a conference we attended last year. We did it on a much smaller scale, but we loved the idea of having students create something for other students. Phoebe and Mallika exceeded our expectations in every way,” said Insua. Lantz agreed, “We are so impressed with the level of thought and detail they put into the tutorials.”

Armstrong, the Library’s coordinator of instruction, noted the importance of the tutorial during this time of online teaching, “The tutorial has been such a valuable tool for teaching about the core concepts of online searching in the online environment. This is largely due to the unique creative vision and collaboration of Phoebe and Mallika.”

During the early spring 2021 semester, Liandyartha and Patil completed an additional video, “UIC Library: Interlibrary Loan” to instruct users on how to request scanned articles and items from libraries worldwide using the ILLiad system.

Watch “UIC Library: Choosing Keywords”:

Watch “UIC Library: Interlibrary Loan”:

The video tutorial project was a paid Library internship funded by the Library Innovation Seedling Grant in 2020.


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