Librarians in Learning Communities

The following individuals and programs are listed here as a result of their response to solicitation sent to three listservs, BI-L, OFFCAMP, and LEARNCOM. Respondents were asked to address the following questions:

  1. What are the objectives of your library's involvement with learning communities?
  2. What have been the outcomes of your library's involvement? How have you assessed the impact of your involvement on student success and overall success of the program?
  3. Contact information including:
    • Name(s) of contacts
      Email address(es)
      Phone number(s)
      Mailing address
      Website address

Please note that inclusion in this resource list was not juried, but is the result of self-nomination and provision of the information required for the list. Neither the Association of College and Research Libraries nor the American Library Association is liable for the results of any consultation with the individuals on the list.

Learning Communities can also be identified using the searchable LC Directory hosted by the National Learning Communities Project.


  • Two-Year Schools

    Diablo Valley College

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    In our Learning Communities here at DVC we have, so far, specifically targeted developmental students. The class "Basic Library and Research Skills" is paired with an introductory English reading or writing class. We hope to "level the playing field" before the students take college-level classes. We are saying that information literacy skills are just as essential a tool for success in college and beyond as are good reading and writing and study skills. In order for the students to better understand the importance and the value of Information Competency Skills we offer them in connection to another subject specific class, so that the students will immediately see an application and need for the IC skills. Thus we also hope to increase retention of said skills. In planning and teaching the Learning Community, the Librarian and the subject instructor work together closely structuring assignments. It is a learning process for both sides. We better appreciate and share each other's expertise, teaching methods and tools. This is a first step towards teaching Information Competency across the disciplines.

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:
    After initial skepticism, students have been very appreciative of the paired instruction. About mid-term they begin to understand that there is a method to research and that the Web is not the answer to everything. Students who have completed our LCs do use the library more frequently, ask better questions at the Reference Desk, and use resources more efficiently. Two of the three initial LCs will be offered again. Students who have taken part in a Learning Community involving a "Library Class" are being tracked for completion, success, retention, and persistence. In the "Library Class" I administer a pre- and a post-test to verify which concepts the students have retained.

    The instructors confer frequently and discuss the students' work on various assignments. Students are asked for comments on the class and the materials used. Students are asked to reflect about the advantages of or problems with this particular Learning Community.

    #3) Contact Information:

    Amelie Brown
    Diablo Valley College
    321 Golf Club Road
    Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
    Email: abrown@dvc.edu
    Phone: (925) 685-1230 x2387
    Website: http://www.dvc.edu/library


    Skagit Valley College

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    To teach Library Research with a particular subject focus. We feel students get more out of that approach and the papers prepared for the subject class should show a marked improvement over those done without. We also wanted to be seen as teaching faculty.

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:
    The results have not always been great. Unfortunately the Learning Communities with Library Research do not get the enrollment desired. Student evaluations have been, for the most part, positive but we have only repeated one LC. In one class we prepared an evaluation for all students and in another class I asked for a short paper evaluating the LC for extra credit and received 4. The 4 papers were helpful in planning the next LC. My enthusiasm for participation in LCs has not waivered. I am now planning one for Winter 2003 and feel it will be a good one as the other instructor (Microbiology) and I have similiar teaching styles and projected outcomes. In the past, LCs were planned with one instructor who then left for various reasons and I taught with someone who had no experience with LCs. It worked out OK once but not twice.

    #3) Contact Information:

    Linda Hendrick
    Skagit Valley College
    Norwood Cole Library
    2405 E. College Way
    Mount Vernon, WA 98221
    Email: hendrick@skagit.ctc.edu
    Phone: 360/416-7606


    Valencia Community College

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    I am currently working on a grant funded project charged with increasing mastery of Valencia's "Core Competencies" by Valencia students through the use of learning communities and changes in the co-curriculum. Valencia's Core Competnecies, as identified by the faculty, describe the learning outcomes of a Valencia graduate. They are Think, Value, Communicate, Act. My specific project will involve the addition of a 'library module' onto an existing Latin American Humanities course. Past sections of this course (and many other community college courses) assume information literacy. This assumption is challenged in this project. We anticipate that the class will include 5 to 7 visits to the library with the intent of introducing increasingly complex research skills and methods as class assignments progress. Library assignments will be coordinated with class assignments.

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:
    Pre and post-tests will assess research skill improvement as well as comfort level in using the library.

    #3) Contact Information:

    Mark Bollenback
    Valencia Community College - East Campus
    Learning Resources Center
    701 N. Econlockhatchee Tr.
    Orlando, FL 32825
    Email: mbollenback@valencia.cc.fl.us
    Phone: (407) 582-2887
    http://valencia.cc.fl.us


    Four-Year Schools

    City College of San Francisco

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    The objective is primarily to promote information literacy skills in another learning environment and also to use this English 1a course as a way of becoming more involved with all the English 1a sections by incorporating our information literacy learning opportunities (whether via our series of workshops, online tutorials, our credit course or now as part of the Learning Community.

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:
    This is my first semester with an English 1A Learning Community. My part of it is an online information literacy course. We are assessing both student satisfaction and I'll be reviewing their research papers along with the instructor.

    #3) Contact Information:

    Bonnie Gratch Lindauer
    Coordinator of Information Competency/Library Instructional Services
    Rosenberg Library and Learning Resources, R413
    City College of San Francisco
    50 Phelan Ave., San Francisco, CA 94112
    Email: bgratch@ccsf.cc.ca.us
    Phone: 415-452-5545
    Website: http://www.ccsf.edu/Library


    George Mason University - New Century College

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    NCC offers two degrees: Integrative Studies and Individualized Studies. The Library works closely with both, but comments here focus on the Integrative Studies program. Our objective in working with Integrative Studies is written right into the program name: Integration. Students who join this program are interested in interdisciplinary curricula, experiential learning, and becoming competent in areas that transcend strict disciplinary study. These include problem solving, critical thinking, communication, intense group work, etc. As such, they are steeped in relationships: among ideas, content, peers, faculty, information, and technology. Having said this our objectives, which are interdependent and closely related, are:

    • To work closely with NCC administrators so we can get involved at the curricular level
    • To gain the trust, and therefore, access to faculty (who due to their involvement in a learning community program tend to be open to this in the first place).
    • To team teach with faculty and show visible dedication to student needs (in and outside the library) thereby communicating to students the importance of the library to their education
    • To view information literacy in a broader context. This is very, very important. Pushing a strict information literacy program at any academic program won't work unless it is (a) closely related to the curriculum and (b) tied to similar initiatives driven by other faculty, namely writing across the curriculum and technology across the curriculum. Working closely with both these programs puts information literacy in a meaningful, relevant context for students, faculty, and librarians.

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:
    Because information literacy is integrated, it is "blended" with many other factors involved in overall student learning. Therefore, assessment of specific skills is difficult. However, there are several different ways we have been able to document success, both at the student and programatic levels:

    Increased access and visibility, respect and exposure to NCC faculty, students, and adminstrators. This comes in the form of long term collaborative relationships and partnerships with faculty (Writing Across the Curriculum, Technology Across the Curriculum, Writing Grants, Presenting at Conferences, etc.), and direct involvement at the curricular level: helping to design "information" friendly assignments, being prepared to anticipate student's information needs. It also means close contact with students and because of the cohort structure of the first year program, there are plenty of opportunities to build an information literacy program that is (a) integrated and meaningful, (b) starts with foundational skills and progressively builds, and (c) the opportunity to measure growth over time.

    The three most identifiable ways that we measure growth is:

    • Via a self-assessment survey administered before and after the freshmen year
    • Via an integrated (with IT skills), hands-on exam in which students need to demonstrate that they have learned certain skills and to apply these skills in a scenario-based environment, and
    • Student reflection in course and year-end portfolios.

    #3) Contact Information:

    James B. Young
    Reference/Instructional Services Librarian
    George Mason University
    Johnson Center Library -- MSN 1A6
    Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
    Email: jyoung8@gmu.edu
    Phone: 703-993-9051
    Website: http://mason.gmu.edu/~jyoung8


    IUPUI - Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    Student learning objectives regarding the library:

    • Communicate and interact with library staff
    • Apply evaluation criteria to determine the credibility of information
    • Distinguish between and open and invisible web (which includes library resources) and be able to use both in support of their academic work
    • Demonstrate the ability to find a book and an article pertaining to a specific information need or research assignment, using the library resources
    • Identify the major services provided by University Library and use the Reference Desk for further guidance

    With further revisions underway as follows, resulting from increasing librarian involvement with IUPUI Critical Inquiry courses:

    • Affective goals will not be ignored - in first year courses we want students to develop a sense of ownership about the library and its resources and to perceive it as a welcoming and helpful place;
    • We want students to understand the facilities and know the service points in the library so that their conception can begin to encompass an understanding of what an academic library is (in comparison to public and h.s.. libraries, for example); and
    • We will be stressing distinctions between the open and invisible web and what types of resources are and are not available to students in both places. Important to our thinking about this is the piece located at the following URL (http://www.clir.org/pubs/cliringhouse/house06.html).

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:
    Librarians have been part of LCs at IUPUI since 1996. As a result of our high-profile instructional roles in these courses, the status and profile of University Library and our librarians has been dramatically heightened on our campus.

    The success of learning communities has been assessed as it has impacted and dramatically improved student retention at IUPUI. Retention has been a major focus at our campus, as it has been for many nationwide. Our assessments of librarian involvement in instruction have led us to the conclusion that we must tease out more carefully our objectives at each step of the undergrad learning process and extend our involvement dramatically beyond first-year experience courses into all levels of undergrad education.

    #3) Contact Information:

    Martha Henn McCormick
    Assistant Librarian
    IUPUI University Library
    755 W. Michigan St.
    Indianapolis, IN 46202
    Email: mhmccorm@iupui.edu
    Phone: 317.274.8588


    Iowa State University

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:

    • To emphasize the importance of ‘information literacy’ in the university experience.
    • To broaden the campus understanding of ‘information literacy’ concepts.
    • To enhance the learning community experience.
    • To assist Learning Community coordinators in building critical thinking skills.
    • To promote library enhancements to learning communities.
    • To encourage discussion and understanding of ethical issues such as copyright, filtering, censorship, and plagiarism as they relate to student learning.
    • To speak to groups both on and off campus to issues related ‘information literacy’ and learning.
    • To provide a location for learning experiences and learning community development.
    • To emphasize the ‘community’ of the electronic library.

    #2)Outcomes of Involvement:

    • Creation of a list of peer reviewed pedagogy journals that will publish articles related to learning communities.
    • Membership on university Learning Communities steering committee and sub-committees on Faculty Development and Curriculum Development and Enhancement
    • Seminar at the Learning Communities Institute, Exploding the YAHOO Myth: Libraries Enhancing Learning Communities.
    • Poster sessions and presentations on the "Pedagogy of Learning Communities".
    • Bibliography created for the Learning Communities Steering Committee - on the Learning Community web page.
    • Co-teach with an English instructor, an experimental course in Fall 2002 on information, learning and society.

    #3) Contact Information:

    Diana D. Shonrock
    Library Representative, Learning Communities
    152 Library
    Iowa State University
    Ames, IA 50011-2140
    Email: shonrock@iastate.edu

    Susan Vega Garcia
    Instruction Commons Coordinator
    152 Library
    Iowa State University
    Ames, IA 50011-2140
    Email: savega@iastate.edu

    Web Addresses:
    Learning Communities at Iowa State - http://www.iastate.edu/~learncommunity/
    Library Instruction Commons - http://www.lib.iastate.edu/commons/index.html


    University of Hawaii

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:

    • To introduce students to the major elements of scholarship, and to the nature of investigation, discussion and creation of knowledge in an academic environment, emphasizing the role of libraries
    • To contribute to the University's first year program designed exclusively for freshmen

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:

    • End-of-semester course evaluations
    • Student reflections

    #3) Contact Information:

    Randy Burke Hensley
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
    Hamilton Library
    2550 McCarthy Mall
    Honolulu, HI 96822
    Email: rhensley@hawaii.edu
    Phone: (808) 956-2474
    Website address: http://libweb.hawaii.edu/uhmlib/learnlib/lis100.html

    Vicky Lebbin
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
    Hamilton Library
    2550 McCarthy Mall
    Honolulu, HI 96822
    Email: vickery@hawaii.edu
    Phone: (808) 956-2527
    Website: http://libweb.hawaii.edu/uhmlib/learnlib/lis100.html


    University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    The Residence Hall Library System (RHLS) serves learning communities within the residence hall system at U of IL.  The eight libraries are maintained, managed, and operated by the Housing Division and do not have a formal tie to the U of IL libraries.   However, the U of IL library staff and I have been developing collaborative programs in our efforts to serve the information needs of undergraduate students.   Our staff in Housing is made up of mostly student affairs professionals (I’m the only librarian in the division) and they view all the residence halls to a certain degree as learning communities.  Learning in the broader sense is defined by the division as a “life-long process of acquiring, understanding, and utilizing information about oneself, others and the world”.   There are specialized Living Learning Communities (LLCs) within some halls: Global Crossroads, Weston Exploration, LEADS (Leadership Experience through Academic Development and Service), WIMSE (Women in Math Science and Engineering), and Unit One.

    The RHLS’s objectives are to:

    • Provide academic support for the students living in the residence hall and LLCs (academic resources, quiet comfortable study space, tutors, library instruction workshops) to help them be academically successful.
    • Assist users to become confidant information seekers and provide them with the skills to become life-long learners.
    • Have collections in the library that are specifically geared to the LLC in that particular hall and general collections that will support the research of first and second year students.
    • Offer more personalized, conveniently located, and tailored library instruction for courses being taught in LLCs.
    • Support professional staff in their efforts to serve students.
    • Promote and communicate the RHLS’s value to users.

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:

    • Library instruction courses (Finding Books & Journals, Searching for Articles, Evaluating Web Resources) taught in the halls by librarians from the Undergraduate Library.
    • Worked with health sciences librarian and a TA in a LLC to teach an instruction course aimed directly at the topics students were given in a community health class.
    • In collaboration with the Undergraduate Library, we offered term paper research assistance in two residence hall libraries.
    • Reserved course materials for classes being taught in a LLC.

    Assessment tools:

    • Benchmarking survey done by Housing Division Spring Semester 2002 (results not yet available).
    • Focus groups with students and resident advisors as part of the department’s Academic Success Taskforce
    • Post workshop on-line evaluation (done by the Undergrad Library)
    • Feedback from TAs on students’ citations—was there improvement during the semester when they had to attend a library workshop?
    • Anecdotal feedback from TAs and LLC staffs.

    #3) Contact Information:

    Ann Wilkens
    Director-Residence Hall Libraries
    1203 S. 4th Street
    422 Clark Hall
    Champaign, IL 61820
    Email: AWilkens@admin.housing.uiuc.edu
    Phone: 217-244-2344
    Website: http://www.housing.uiuc.edu/academics/library/


    University of Maryland

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    The University of Maryland is a national leader in the field of living-learning programs, learning communities where undergraduate students share a residence hall and take courses together as part of a citation or certificate program.  They include large programs such as Honors and College Park Scholars as well as small specialized opportunities such as Civicus, Gemstone and the Hinman  Entrepreneurship program.  The University Libraries are actively involved with all living-learning programs on campus. The Undergraduate Studies Librarian provides outreach services that link librarians with students and faculty in living-learning programs.

    Living-learning programs at the University of Maryland are designed to ‘make the big store small’ for undergraduate students. The University Libraries collaborate with living-learning programs to help students feel more connected to the library system and to information resources.  Librarians work closely with living-learning faculty and staff to plan information literacy instruction tied to the themes and courses of a particular program.   Librarians also provide reference and research assistance on-site at living-learning program residence halls.  The Undergraduate Studies Librarian teaches a primary research methods course in two living-learning programs.

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:
    No formal assessment of the collaboration has been done, but feedback received from students and faculty is uniformly positive.

    #3) Contact information:

    Diane Harvey
    Undergraduate Studies Librarian
    2113 McKeldin Library
    University of Maryland
    College Park MD 20742
    Email: Dh164@umail.umd.edu
    Phone: 301-405-9120


    University of Maryland - University College

    #1) Objectives of Involvement:
    Our approach to learning communities is based on the type of student we serve, adult, and the type of format in which they study, online. Our objective is to serve our faculty and staff and create a virtual library that serves their needs. We are also actively involved in library education both online and face-to-face, and have recently implemented two online, required information literacy courses to begin acclimation and a sense of community when students virtually "step into our doors."

    #2) Outcomes of Involvement:
    We have required courses that have recently gone into effect, standards across both the graduate and undergraduate curriculum measuring information literacy attainment, and, outcomes measures in the online courses to measure actual learning, not just the grade the student receives. We are actively involved in delivering online education, we have established an online educational "space" within our online instructional system that is the first of its kind. All students are now "rostered" into the online library education space and may receive personalized assistance or access to tutorials and other materials to help them in their studies. The success? Having 1400 students rostering themselves into our online classroom is one measure of success. Our chat function is so successful that it now accounts for about 30% of our reference traffic, something no one really expected, and student success is increasing exponentially as a result of the online required courses.

    #3) Contact Information:

    Kim Kelley
    Email: kkelley@umuc.edu
    Phone: 301-985-7209
    Website: http://www.umuc.edu/library/library.html


    University of South Florida

    #1 ) Objectives of Involvement:
    Our goal has been to incorporate information literacy skills into the curriculum of the Learning Communities. For some years, the LCs at the University of South Florida consisted of cohorts of 50 freshmen working together with a group of faculty to complete most of their General Education requirements. Drew Smith (School of Library & Information Science at University of South Florida) was instrumental in incorporating information literacy and computer literacy into the LC program. For some LCs, this took the form of integrating training into their classroom environment. In some LCs, this took the form of a separate 3 credit hour class taught specifically for the Learning Communities students. Drew Smith drafted Mark Dibble from the Tampa Campus Library to work with the Learning Communities. In addition, Drew along Jim Vastine and Ilene Frank from the Tampa Campus Library received an IMLS grant to hire and train some teaching assistants from the School of Library & Information Science to work with the Learning Communities students.

    Due to budget constraints, the Learning Communities program at the University of South Florida is undergoing a change during 2002/2003.

We expect that the Library and the School of Library and Information Science will continue to be involved at some level.

#2) Outcomes of Involvement:
Learning Communities faculty have done extensive surveys and focus groups on student outcomes. Their assessment program has included the library component of Learning Communities.

#3) Contact information:

Drew Smith
School of Library and Information Science
Univ of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave. CIS 1040
Tampa, FL 33620-7800
email: DrewSmithUSF@aol.com
Phone: (813) 974-6849


 

University of Toronto - Scarborough

#1) Objectives of Involvement:
We do not have formally stated objectives. As the Research Skills Coordinator, librarian and member of Teaching & Learning Services (TLS), I seek to work with other units within our department, Academic Resources (which includes TLS, V.W. Bladen Library, Computing and Networking Services) and beyond our department dealing with any aspect of teaching or learning involving research.

#2) Outcomes of Involvement:
The creation of Teaching & Learning services has resulted in integrating the following sections within the unit: The Writing Centre; Teaching with Writing; Reference; Instruction; Graphics; Photography; Audiovisual; Faculty Consultation; Test Scoring; UTSC Teaching Enhancement Grants; TA Services; UTSC Teaching Awards.

As a unit, we have helped develop and participated in: Teaching & Learning for Diversity Conference, The Challenge of Information Literacy, UTSC Teaching Awards, Learning Fair. We have not currently assessed our impact on student success as a unit. The overall success of the unit is aware to us from growing faculty use of services, referral of students to services, integration in to projects beyond the ARC (with AccessAbility Services, Advising, Career and Student Success Centre, involvement with a program for students on probation under development).

#3) Contact Information:

Frances Sardone
Teaching & Learning Services
UTSC, 1265 Military Trail
Toronto, ON. M1C 1A4
Email: sardone@utsc.utoronto.ca
Phone: 416.287.7502


 

University of Utah

#1) Objectives of Involvement:

  • To support undergraduate learning at the University of Utah by strengthening the partnership between the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Marriott Library
  • To develop basic information literacy skills in new university students using course-integrated instruction in LEAP
  • To develop basic computer literacy skills in new university students as they are used in library research using course-integrated instruction in LEAP

#2) Outcomes of Involvement:
Our involvement has strengthened the role of the library in the university's educational mission. We work with faculty to negotiate the content of and timing of library visits for three major freshman initiatives: LEAP, Educational Psychology 2600: Strategies for Academic Success, and the required composition course, Writing 2010. We are involved in campus-wide discussions concerning computer literacy and library research skills. We are asked to expand library instruction as other programs develop and expand. Opportunities continue to develop because of our visibility on campus including funding for teaching assistantships, identifying and supporting transition courses, and additional initiatives.

Assessment:
Focus groups targeting LEAP students have been conducted, and information on satisfaction surveys has been gathered. This past year we tested a pre/post assessment for LEAP students and plan to improve and expand the data gathering using this instrument. We also use instructor and student evaluations to gather information in order to improve instruction.

#3) Contact information:

Linda St. Clair
University of Utah
Marriott Library
295 S 1500 E
Salt Lake City, UT
84112-0860
Email: linda.stclair@library.utah.edu
Phone: 801-585-9499
Website: http://www.leap.utah.edu/

June 1, 2002


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