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Digital Badges Interest Group

Libguide for ACRL members interested in digital badging in libraries

Pollak Library Sparks Tutorials

by Kelsey O'Brien on 2018-09-23T10:24:00-05:00 | Comments

We are starting a new blog space for DBIG members to share their experiences implementing badge programs at their libraries. Our first post comes from Lindsay O'Neill, a faculty member at California State University, Fullerton. You can read more about the Pollak Library Spark tutorials in chapter 7 of Teaching with Digital Badges: Best Practices for Libraries.

About the Author: Lindsay O'Neill is a faculty member in California State University, Fullerton’s Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program as well as a freelance trainer and e-learning developer. She consults and trains faculty and librarians on effective pedagogy, instructional design, educational technology, elearning development, open licensing, and accessibility. Lindsay holds a Master of Education, specializing in Educational Technology/Instructional Design, as well as a Master of Library and Information Science. She blogs regularly at

About the Program

The Spark Tutorials are an online tutorial suite and digital badge system at Pollak Library at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). The Spark Tutorials are simple but engaging interactive e-learning modules that give students the basics in getting started with library research.

For each tutorial completed, our students earn a digital badge. Once they complete all four, they earn a meta-badge recognizing their accomplishment!



On a campus of 40,000 students, a team of 12 instruction librarians can’t reach as many students as they would like. Since the Spark Tutorials were launched in 2016, more than 1,200 students have completed the entire set of tutorials, which is equivalent to about 1,000 hours of in-seat instruction time. Tutorial completion continues to grow year-over-year.

The digital badge component is critical to this project. Students get immediate recognition of their hard work, and their faculty members can both verify student completion, and also feel confident that their students underwent a valuable instructional experience because the badges are tied to set information literacy learning objectives.

Please check out demos of the full tutorials, linked below (sorry, no badges issued for tutorials completed outside of our campus Learning Management System!).

Spark Tutorial Demos:

Lessons Learned

Being the first adopter of digital badges at CSUF has certainly come with a learning curve. It was very challenging to lobby for the badge technology, to learn how to use it, and to communicate its value to others across campus.
However, the fact that in two years over a thousand students have completed the entire set of tutorials with extremely minimal marketing and only one partnership with First Year Experience is fairly impressive! Faculty that use the Spark Tutorials have told their colleagues about it, and the word-of-mouth effect is only growing. Clearly this new library educational offering is valued by faculty as it continues to be incorporated into a wide variety of courses, from freshmen all the way to graduate programs!

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