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This paper describes the evolution of an academic library’s approach to first-year student information literacy instruction from face-to-face instruction to a fully integrated online microcredential. The design considerations, motivation theory, and evaluation methods used to create and evaluate the course are also discussed, with implications for future library microcredential design, integration, and research in campus first-year seminar courses.


In this paper, a multi-method approach is used to evaluate an undergraduate asynchronous online information literacy microcredential embedded in a first-year seminar. Two methods (Likert scale survey and coded reflection essays) were used in order to evaluate whether one method may be more beneficial than the other in future iterations of evaluating microcredentials.


In looking at a complex cognitive process such as motivation, multiple approaches to analyzing student thoughts may be beneficial. In addition, the role of the first-year seminar instructor, to help students make a connection to library material, is reinforced as is the need to provide students with accurate expectations for time required to complete online asynchronous microcredential courses.


This paper addresses the evaluation of microcredentials in academic libraries and also has implications for other campus departments investigating the creation of microcourses which are integrated into campus programs. These implications can be addressed in the design and development phases of the microcredential using Keller’s ARCS model and in turn, can be improved through iterative evaluation cycles using collected student data.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Reference Services Review, published by Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1108/RSR-07-2020-0048