Skip to content
Talis Aspire

The growing use of resource lists in Canada

Natalie Naik

We spoke to Micheal Brundin, Digital Initiatives Librarian at MacEwan University, about their recent adoption of Talis Aspire.

What made you look into Talis Aspire for your resource list management?

We wanted something that would support teaching and learning on a deeper level. We’d looked at other solutions but we were impressed with Talis and your long history in Higher Education. It was clear that Talis was focused on being platform-neutral. We wanted something system agnostic, that could handle integrations with a range of systems, any of which could be changed over time. 

The University of Alberta, who are very local to us, had recently adopted Talis Aspire, and after an overview of the solution’s breadth and flexibility, we started to seriously consider Talis Aspire. 

It wasn’t just a library tool; we could make a case at the institutional level that this was something beneficial to students, for student engagement and student success at MacEwan University. It is beneficial to faculty in terms of developing their pedagogical approach and presenting their course material in a way that is useful, dynamic, rich, and nuanced.

Why did you want to make the switch from your previous system, Atlas Ares?

Our previous resource lists solution didn’t have integration into our digital learning environment (LMS) and didn’t offer opportunities for engaging with lists with features such as note-taking and deep linking into the ILS, which Talis Aspire does have. It was comparing a Model T with a Ferrari. For us, it’s the natural progression for supporting teaching and learning.

We’ve recently transitioned to Moodle, as well as taking on other digital initiatives, and remote learning was something already within our strategic priorities.. Although we had already been considering additional digital solutions, the pandemic crystallized our need for a solution like this.

What are you hoping to achieve with Talis Aspire?

Talis Aspire will help enhance cooperation between various teams on campus. We have the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Writing Centre, the Library, and so on. In some ways we are siloed in terms of the systems we use; we saw Talis Aspire as a way to bridge this gap, due to the ability for multiple stakeholders to engage with it. 

Our former e-reserve system Atlas Ares was quite cumbersome. Everything had to be vetted first by the library, which caused a huge backlog. We plan to configure Talis Aspire to avoid this bottleneck so there’s less library engagement with resources, particularly when copyright checking is required. 

There are also new opportunities with the analytics that are available. We’re under pressure, like most universities, to be more accountable and transparent and demonstrate clear outcomes and student success with the initiatives we bring in. We know that Talis will help us provide another part of the puzzle with analytics to help us provide this and prove our value.

What does your implementation plan look like?

We have an implementation team to get the technical side of Talis Aspire set up, and then a  teaching and training working group, who will be responsible for doing the promotion and communication to other stakeholders across the university.  Because the solution is cloud-based, the impact on our campus IT is very limited, and the Talis team have a structured, mature onboarding plan, which helps a lot. 

We’re doing a soft launch in September with a few pilot courses, along with the new LMS Moodle. We’ll then use the winter term to do lots of promotion as we make the full switch to Talis Aspire in May 2022.

Want to learn more about resource lists? Download our free ebook “9 Ways Resource Lists Support University Strategies”.

More from the blog