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How to Embed Library Resources in Blackboard

A how-to guide on how to embed library resources into Blackboard courses

Embedding Library Resources

Blackboard commercial logo. Black chalkboard with a capitalized b and a uncapitalized b. Under the board, it reads "Blackboard."Embedding library resources into your Blackboard course is a useful way to provide students with complimentary educational resources.  The digital resources curated by the librarians can help foster students to develop their Information Literacy Skills while taking online courses. Embedding library resources can also extend students’ access to library resources, making them more available and immediate. This way, librarians can be more available to students and faculty.

This guide will provide ways that faculty and staff can incorporate library electronic resources into their Blackboard courses. In addition to incorporating library resources, faculty and staff can also incorporate:

  • Research service consultation via chat, email, or text messaging (978-709-1955).
  • Making appointments (via Navigate) with the research librarians.
  • Include the latest resources acquired by the library.
  • Digital resources that are pertinent to the course and students’ research topics.

What are some of the research services I can include in my course?

Information Literacy (IL) and Research services can be included in any online course. The NECC libraries and their team have various resources and tools that can be part of your online teaching and experience. Among the resources that can be included in your course are the subject and research guides, online databases, IL sessions via Zoom, and reference services. The Library research services are being conducted through our chat, email, or text messaging services. Students and faculty can also request appointments with the Research Services Librarians through the appointments option on Navigate. All of these services can be incorporated into your Blackboard course to enhance your students’ learning experience! 

Tips & Help

What is the best way to incorporate Library Resources into Blackboard?

Blackboard offers various options on how to incorporate resources. Some of the ways that you can include library resources in your course are using the following tools:

  • LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) Tool
  • Hyperlinks
  • Permalinks
  • Web Link
  • Section Assets

Each of these tools will be discussed in this guide. You will be informed on how to use and incorporate them into your Blackboard course.

What resources should I include in Blackboard?

As an instructor, you can incorporate all the library resources that are explained in this Libguide. However, we suggest that you incorporate those that are pertinent to your course and your students' needs. It is handy to have various library resources available in your course, while the semester is being offered through a virtual module. Yet, keep in mind that your course should be one that facilitates ease of navigation.

Some of the most useful tools for a course are research, as well as databases. These are available 24/7 and can be accessed remotely. If your course required students to visit or communicating with one of the research services librarians, you can incorporate the chat books, appointment booking tool, or provide students with the reference email (reference@necc.mass.edu).

How do I make sure that my students can access library resources?

Some tips to make sure that your students can access library resources are:

  • Orient them on how to log in with their library card number and password. The library card number is 203850 + an 8-digit student number that is used for login into Blackboard. For instance, if the student ID is 00112233, the library card number will be 20385000112233. The password is their 8-digit birthdate. For example, if the student's birthdate is July 21, 1998, the 8-digit password will be 07211998.
  • If a student is unable to log into the library's online resources, direct them to the library staff. The NECC Library staff will assist students on how to log in or find their library card information.
  • Incorporate some of the library resources into your Blackboard course. At the beginning of the semester, have students try to log into these.
  • Let students know they can schedule a computer appointment at the library. If a student doesn't have reliable internet access, let them know they can schedule an appointment to use the library computers. At the library, students will be able to access all the online resources. Advise students to check the library hours for each campus before making their appointment.
  • Make sure that the databases and library resources that you are sharing are from NECC Library. Keep in mind that students might not have access to resources from other libraries. However, they will have access to all NECC Library resources.

Off-campus access

All of NECC Library's digital resources can be accessed remotely. This includes ebooks, articles, newspaper articles, magazine articles, videos, and audiobooks. Students, faculty, and staff can also contact the library staff via chat or email. Throughout the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters, the Research Services team is offering information literacy sessions virtually through Zoom. In case of student, faculty, or staff need assistance with technology, they can contact the Academic Technology Assistants via chat, email, or schedule a virtual appointment. For more information on how to access library services virtually, visit our "When You Can't Come to the Library" LibGuide (also available in Spanish "Cuando No Puedes Visitar la Biblioteca").

To access the NECC Library databases, you must log in with your NECC Library card. The NECC Library card will also give you access to NoodleTools, and the library catalog.

Active Links

Whenever you share a resource, link, permalink, or hyperlink, make sure that these are active. Routinely check if the resources that you are sharing are active or have been updated. Information over the Internet is constantly being updated. Thus, resulting in changes that could potentially make some links inactive. It is also beneficial to make sure that you copy/paste the links correctly.

Glossary & Terminology

Information Literacy "is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning" (ACRL, 2016). As a NECC Core Academic Skill, Information Literacy is defined as: "Students will learn to identify their information needs and use appropriate resources to find and communicate this information" (NECC, 2020/2014).


A citation management tool (also referred to as a bibliographic manager) is a software that allows you to organize information to create lists to properly cite articles, books, videos, websites, etc. A citation manager is designed to help students, scholars, professors, and writers. There are various formats and styles that citation managers can work with to generate a reference list. These lists can be downloaded as a .pdf, or .doc file. In addition to assisting with the creation of reference lists, a citation manager can assist you in organizing your research. There are different software for citation management. At NECC libraries we use NoodleTools.


LibGuide or Research Guide is/are an electronic page created, organized, and curated by a librarian on a designated subject. NECC Libraries have created research guides to address the curricular and information needs of the NECC community. The topics of the libguides/research guides can address topics from using library resources to identifying resources for a research assignment for a specific class.


HELM Catalog

The NECC library catalog is subscribed to the HELM (Higher Education Libraries of Massachusettsnetwork, a Fenway Library Organization (FLO). This is a consortium of academic libraries in Massachusetts. Having a HELM catalog facilitates interlibrary loan (ILL) among community college libraries and other members of the academic community. This will aid members of the NECC community find resources that are pertinent to their curricular and academic needs.


A checkpoint  (also referred to as a library checkpoint) is a service provided by the Research Librarians. It consists of students meeting with the Research Librarian on an individual basis. The student may request to meet to know how to use a library database, receive feedback on a research assignment, review citations, or find resources for a research assignment. During Fall 2021 the library is providing in-person and virtual appointments.

Hyperlink

A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or image that you can click to jump to a new document or website. Hyperlinks are embedded in texts. You may notice that some words in a document or a website are underlined and in a different color (usually blue). When you over a hyperlink, your pointer might change from an arrow to a hand with a finger (this will vary depending on the program or operating system).

An example of a hyperlink will look like this:

Definition of hyperlink

You will notice that the phrase "Definition of hyperlink" is bright blue. When you over the text, it will change into a darker shade of blue and it will underline itself. Once you click on the phrase, it will take you to the Merriam-Webster website where the word "hyperlink" is defined.


Permalinks

Permalink is short for "permanent link." These are URL addresses that are static and do not change. These are mostly used in databases, news websites, and digital archives. In the case of databases, the types of links will be used for articles, electronic books, and/or videos. Permalinks are unique to an individual item located within each database.

How do permalinks work?

NECC libraries are subscribed to various databases. To access each database, the NECC requires an authentication process through a proxy server. The same happens when sharing a permalink through Blackboard, email, chat, or any online platform. Each of the NECC permalinks will start with the following prefix: "https://login.ezproxyness.helmlib.org/login?url=", followed by the domain address of the database you have requested to access (the suffix). 

An article for a NECC database will have a similar permalink to the following example:

https://login.ezproxyness.helmlib.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=146389765&site=ehost-live&scope=site

The highlighted yellow part of the permalink is the fixed prefix, while the blue highlighted part is the suffix. The suffix is the URL address of the database. In this case, the permalink of the article in the example (above) belongs to an EBSCOhost database. If copy/pasted into a browser, the link will forward you to the library authentication proxy. Once you authenticate your library credentials, you will access the article.


Authentication Process/Screen

The authentication process or authentication screen appears when you log into any of the library subscribed services such as the library catalog or its databases. This page will ask for your library credentials or login information. Your credentials will be the same as your library card number.


Proxy

A proxy server is a gateway between you and the internet. It provides a level of security that will lead you to the requested website. NECC library databases contain proxies to provide security to its services and users. A proxy will be displayed through a portal where you will authenticate your library credentials. Once you authenticate your credentials, the proxy will lead you to the website of the database service of your choice.

LTI Tool

Blackboard's LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) are third-party applications that are/can be accessed from the LMS platform. These tools can be accessed once the user (student and instructor) is logged in to Blackboard. Some NECC examples of LTI tools are Springshare, Pearson Foliotek, and CodeLab. An LTI Tool can be available campus-wide or limited to a department. This will vary on the licensing agreements of each tool. 

When accessing LTI in Blackboard, the standard protocol will facilitate a seamless and trusted login. Students and instructors will only need to log into Blackboard to access these tools.

Academic Core Skills are an array of skills that tackle the process of organizing and preparing students to become efficient learners. NECC's (2020/2014) six-core academic skills are:

  • Global Awareness - Students will develop an understanding of diverse cultures and use this knowledge to address global issues.
  • Information Literacy - Students will learn to identify their information needs and use appropriate resources to find and communicate this information.
  • Public Presentation - Students will develop and express ideas through public presentations with increasing complexity and sophistication.
  • Quantitative Reasoning - Students will learn to interpret and manipulate quantitative information and apply concepts and skills to solve real-world problems.
  • Science and Technology - Students will learn to explain how science and technology influence each other and how both can be used to explore natural and human-created systems.
  • Written Communication - Students will develop and express ideas in writing with increasing complexity and sophistication.

Each of these academic core skills is a graduation requirement for all students enrolling in an associate degree program at NECC.


Online Accessibility

Online accessibility (also referred to as web accessibility) consists of developing, providing, and ensuring inclusive web content without barriers for persons with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, or bandwidth speed restrictions due to socioeconomic. Bandwidth restrictions can also represent a barrier for socio-geographical reasons. Some of the components that ensure online accessibility are a website's layout (including colors), headings, ease of navigation, HTML content, javascript, alt text (for links, hyperlinks, and visual media), and structure.


Universal Design

Universal Design (UD) refers to the composition of an environment that can be accessed, understood, and used by everyone regardless of their age, physical abilities, or conditions. The premise of UD goes in-hand with online accessibility. It aims to ensure accessibility and usability. UD is guided by seven principles:

  1. Equitable use
  2. Flexibility in use
  3. Simple and intuitive
  4. Perceptible information
  5. Tolerance for error
  6. Low physical effort
  7. Size and space approach

When applied to learning, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that aims to improve and optimize teaching and learning for everyone. Similar to online accessibility, UDL strategies seek to remove barriers in instruction to ensure that students can achieve learning. This takes careful planning by educators to ensure that all students' needs are met and that no one lags due to the instructional design of a course. UDL is based on three principles:

  • Representation, which means providing information in more than one format. This includes text, audio, video, and hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Action and expression are met by providing the learner with more than one way to interact with the material. It also fosters the ability to allow the student to show flexibility and multiple ways of what they have learned.
  • Engagement seeks to ensure that students will be motivated in multiple ways. This can be done by providing different assignments that are pertinent to the students' interests and experiences.

To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:

APA: Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page. Title of LibGuide. URL

MLA: Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.