The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Expanding Student Confidence through Digital Production and Publishing

Hutton Global Summit

Sarah Hutton presenting at Creative Commons Global Summit. Photo courtesy of Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC BY 2.0.

UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sarah Hutton, head of undergraduate teaching and learning, and Lisa Di Valentino, law and public policy librarian, recently presented at the 2019 Creative Commons Global Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where nearly 400 attendees gathered to discuss ways to make knowledge sharing more open and accessible.

Their topic, “Students’ Perception of Their Self-Efficacy in the Creation of Open Access Digital Learning Objects,” explored what students in Associate Professor Paul Musgrave’s Experimental Honors Course, Politics at the End of the World (POLSCI 390EW), thought about their own abilities to complete the class’s final group projects. Students were asked to create podcasts discussing political considerations in various “end of the world” scenarios, with the understanding that the projects would be made freely available online, including to students taking this course in the future.

“When you think about what typically motivates students to learn, grades are a common or typical concern,” says Hutton. “We wanted to look at other areas for motivation, such as knowing that their scholarship would be used to teach future students, that it would be freely available to scholars across the globe, and that other scholars could use and adapt it.”

Upon surveying the class, Hutton and Di Valentino discovered that, with those added factors propelling their work, students had “greater than 70 percent confidence in their capabilities across all categories,” including identifying key course concepts and applying them to their own research and conclusions.

Hutton, who learned about the course through the Commonwealth Honors College Curriculum Council, and Di Valentino were drawn to this project as an opportunity for the Libraries to work with, and learn from, Musgrave’s students. “This assignment clearly aligned with several facets of collaboration within the Libraries,” Hutton explains, “including digital media production for which we provide support in the Libraries’ Digital Media Lab; our advocacy for open access publishing, creative commons licensing; and teaching students about the importance of understanding their role in the global scholarship landscape.” Additionally, with her subject specialization in public policy, government, and legal studies, Di Valentino provided key instruction and support regarding attribution licensing and open scholarship tailored to the discipline of the course.

“The ultimate goal,” Di Valentino says, “is to support students both as learners and scholars.”

Final projects are available here for listening.