Opening Keynote

Joan Lippincott opened the conference by saying she was glad to be among an audience that is likely to act on the ideas discussed today — she thinks this because the UC librarians already are.

Describing her presentation as a way to provide a framework for the conference, she started with a series of questions:

“Who are today’s students and what do they want?”

  • one size does not fit all
  • we should consider lots of different environments as we reconfigure libraries; students have different needs at different times of day, for different kinds of coursework.

“Would it make a difference if we called these students learners/knowledge seekers instead of library users?”

We know plenty of students in our universities are not library users — we don’t want to shape services just for library users, but encourage all to take advantage of library services.”

“Would it make a difference if we focused on developing physical/virtual learning environments rather than libraries?  (We’re good at the book thing — need to focus on learning environments.) e.g. : photo of GIS workstation at NCSU learning commons.

Examples of active/engaged learning:

  • some faculty are reorienting from “teaching” to “learning”
  • At UMinn, biology professor Robin Wright assigns lectures as homework; classroom work is based on problem-based learning.

UM news article on Wright classroom

Wendy Newstetter at Georgia Tech sets up problem sets that include need to gather information, and sets up study rooms for duration of project.
Professor does not “cover” the content — the students learn the practice of the discipline.

“How can we translate this to libraries?”

Libraries are set up for knowledge seekers — now it should be an iterative/seamless process, therefore must reconfigure services AND spaces to enable creative work. It’s also good to display that work — let students / faculty see results of that work

Some results of “Project Tomorrow” survey work in California schools — that queried students/faculty/parents
67% h.s. students maintain a personal website
27% k-12 students say they create slideshows, webpages, and/or videos for assignments.

The Diagnosis Wenckebach video created by University of Alberta medical students and moodjam.org are  examples of students embracing this technology.

The library’s job is to encourage more of this in academic work.

Understanding our users:

  • students are connected (we don’t need to focus on supplying the technology) 98% students have computer / 82% have laptop
  • most students would choose to keep their mobile phone over all electronic devices
  • they share all kinds of information (how can we leverage that?)

The Beloit College Mindset identifies the experiences that have defined the lives of the students starting college each fall.

Most students today, even PhDs, will work outside academe and produce some kind of digital content every day.

46% think they’re very skilled & 33% think they are expert at searching information on the internet.

The MIT photo/diary study was a user needs assessment conducted in 2005-06. Findings included:

  • discovery/search need to be easier
  • embed trusted resources (social network of trust)
  • link to libraries from where the students are doing their work

What can librarians do?

  • Invite learners to connect
  • Make personal connections — students want to know who they’re working with (post pictures on web, Twitter, Facebook etc.)
  • Invite students to partner on info literacy materials
  • Work with faculy on rubrics
  • Deep engagement with faculty (UCBerkeley is doing this) about how faculty might use resources in curriculum.
  • Library sponsored contests (sparky awards for digital resources)
  • Provide services to increasingly mobile world — can we develop a cohesive strategy for mobile devices? (UVA does a good job of this.)
  • Address special needs of grad students  — tools:  specialized software, spaces for dissertation study groups, intellectual property issues.
  • SPARC — students can be advocates for Open Access
  • TA’s could co-teach literacy class
  • Revitalizing facilities — need to provide new collaborative learning spaces, whiteboards, flipcharts, colorful facilities, presentation rooms, new kinds of software, multimedia production areas.
  • Promote what we offer: Better signage, make services noticeable
    YouTube videos, UTenn movie night and blog

what do they want:

  • services that link them to content that they need in formats they prefer
  • assistance in becoming practitioners of their discipline and using tools they need and might not be able to afford
  • connections with librarians who are responsive

Post presentation question:
How can we let students know we’re doing these things to improve services?

  • focus groups, interviews
  • target specific groups of students
  • experiment: try things & measure success
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