Milner Library is home to hundreds of thousands of books and materials, so it’s no wonder that finding the right resources can be difficult.
That’s especially the case for students who participate in America’s Promise School Project, Mennonite College of Nursing’s undergraduate pediatric clinical experience. They have to sort through 40,000 pre-K–grade 12 teaching materials to find what they need. Fortunately, that process was recently made much easier thanks to a collaboration between Milner Library and TV-10 News, the student-run news station in the School of Communication.
TV-10 intern Phillip Stefanich worked alongside Milner librarians Sue Franzen and Julie Derden last summer to create an educational video to help America’s Promise nursing students navigate the Teaching Materials Center in the library. Upon beginning their clinical, the nursing students are required to participate in a half-day orientation, which includes a session on learning how to locate library resources. Previously, Milner faculty walked students through a long lecture that focused on finding resources.
Franzen, the Nursing and Health Sciences librarian, and Derden, the Teaching Materials librarian and subject librarian for the School of Teaching and Learning, led that program in the past. However, when orientation time was cut from a full day to a half day two years ago, the pair was faced with a problem. Inspired by the challenge, Derden and Franzen brainstormed a solution, opting to adopt the flipped classroom philosophy of instruction and create two homemade, informative videos for students to watch in lieu of the lecture. Then when students came to orientation, they could simply search for the resources they needed, having already watched the videos on how to do so.
“What was cool about the idea of the videos was that students had the ability to go back and watch them on their own time if they didn’t remember how to do something. That’s the flipping of the classroom,” said Derden.
The two saw room for improvement, despite the videos’ success.
“We had about a month to create the initial videos so they were not very professional. Our lines weren’t memorized, the lighting was off, and the sound was not very clear,” Franzen said. “After that semester, we decided that we wanted a professionally produced video.”
Derden and Franzen decided to reach out to Bob Carroll, production coordinator of TV-10 News, in the hope of hiring the station to create a more professional product. Carroll gave input on the length and pricing of the video and even recommended a TV-10 intern, Stefanich, who would be a great fit for the project.
Three months later, after the librarians applied for and received a $4,000 University Research Grant, the collaboration began. Stefanich, a senior broadcast major, worked with Carroll to use Franzen and Derden’s DIY videos as a touchstone to create a new product. Stefanich and Carroll conducted an audience analysis to tap into what the ideal nursing student was like, and then Stefanich went to work.
“Each finished minute of video equates to about two hours of editing,” said Stefanich. “I’m so glad I got to be a part of this project because it was a huge learning opportunity for me. I could basically be a nursing student at this point.”
He wrote, directed, shot, and edited the footage for what would be a 10 minute video starring three Illinois State students: Crystal Donaldson, Peyton Bade, and Becca Maree ’17 played the role of nursing students demonstrating how to correctly navigate the Teaching Materials Center.
Before her December graduation, Maree was a seasoned Milner student employee and English major. She emphasized the importance of the video being acted out by other students, saying that it helped contribute to students’ self-agency.
“In the video, students are doing the work and students are being showcased. It’s important that they are seen as the front man instead of the librarians. I think that gives them confidence to use the library.”
The final product was well-received among nursing students, Derden said. Faculty routinely redirect students back to the video for reference on how to navigate the Teaching Materials Center.
Deja Whitt can be reached at dwhitt@IllinoisState.edu.