While assessment and user experience (UX) have been identified as areas of growing focus in all types of libraries, there is currently little infrastructure to prepare students for these roles (Applegate, 2016; Askew and Theodore-Shusta, 2013; Nitecki et al., 2015; Oakleaf, 2013; Passonneau and Erickson, 2014). As a step toward addressing this gap, a team from an American Library Association-accredited master’s program situated at a large public land-grant institution (LGU) worked with practitioner partners from academic libraries and information agencies to develop a new model for preparing information professionals with assessment and UX expertise. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
In fall of 2015, faculty members applied for funding from the US Institute for Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians program for a program to develop formalized assessment and UX training in Library and Information Science (LIS) education. The student cohort would have interests in two areas: academic libraries and specialized information agencies. The two groups would complete much of the same coursework, earn the ALA-accredited master’s degree and have the opportunity to engage in co-curricular activities focused on UX and assessment. However, each sub-group would also pursue a subject-specific curriculum. In April 2016, IMLS funded the program.
In addition to reviewing the literature related to best practices in curriculum development, the authors describe the process of designing the program, including the curriculum, co-curricular mentoring and practicum opportunities, and the tools developed to evaluate the program’s effectiveness.
At a time in which the library practitioner and LIS educator communities are contemplating how best to prepare professionals with much-needed expertise in assessment and UX, UX-A represents an innovative approach in professional preparation. Although the UX-A program is grant-funded, several of the program components could be adapted and incorporated without such support.
This paper discusses the structure and history of the program, issues related to developing a new curricular program for LIS education, and the educational and professional development needs of the assessment and UX professional community. It includes an extensive review of literature related to LIS curriculum development, practica, and professional mentoring, as well as suggestions for implementing elements of the program in other settings.
Fleming-May, R., Mays, R., Walker, T., Forrester, A., Tenopir, C., Bilal, D. and Allard, S. (2018), "Experience assessment: designing an innovative curriculum for assessment and UX professionals", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 30-39. https://doi.org/10.1108/PMM-09-2017-0036
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