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===Appendix I: Information Technology Literacy as reported in End of Program Reports===
===Appendix I: Information Technology Literacy as reported in End of Program Reports===
Revision as of 15:31, 10 December 2007
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Teaching and Instruction
- 2.1 Description of Teaching and Instructional Programs
- 2.2 Analysis & Assessment of Teaching & Instructional Programs
- 2.2.1 How many students does LIRN teach?
- 2.2.2 Which Students?
- 2.2.3 Media/IT Literacy across the Curriculum: Where are we now?
- 2.2.4 Critical Approaches to Media
- 2.2.5 Does LIRN Instruction Result in ITL Gains?
- 3 Information Collections and Services
- 3.1 Description of Information Collections & Services
- 3.2 Analysis & Assessment of Information Services and Collections
- 3.2.1 User Surveys: Use & Satisfaction Rates
- 3.2.2 Media Services User Surveys
- 3.2.3 Comparing Use Statistics With Other Libraries
- 3.2.4 Comparing IT Facilities with Other Institutions
- 3.2.5 Responsiveness to Rapid Change in the Information Environment
- 3.2.6 Conclusion: Assessing LIRN Collections and Services
- 4 Future Plans, Goals & Challenges
- 5 Appendixes
- 6 Standards
- 7 Supporting Documentation
Evergreen's library and information resources, which include traditional library services, media services, and academic computing, support "freely chosen inquiry based on broad skills of knowing, reasoning and communicating about issues whose outcomes remain to be discovered" (Smith, Standard 2). All areas work to balance dynamic tensions between the open-ended demands of free inquiry in a flexible, responsive curriculum with the need for stability, security and efficiency in systems and services. Thus, Evergreen’s information resources and services should be evaluated as they support the aspirations of free inquiry, balanced with the need for reliability and efficiency.
Fluid, interdisciplinary curriculum and individual student users free to pursue any inquiry create distinctive challenges for the library and information services. Historically, in recognition of the college-wide focus on independent and freely-chosen inquiry, the library has been comparatively well funded. To effectively meet the expectations of independent inquiry, the library, media and academic computing depend upon well-established, intensive, personal, resilient and institutionally thoroughgoing interconnections to the curriculum, the faculty and the academic administration. These exceptionally strong interconnections shape the work and help assure high levels of use and satisfaction in the campus community.
Founding Dean of Library Services, James F. Holly, wrote his “Position Paper No. 1” in the Fall of 1969. His primary assumption about the library was that it would be generic. "By generic I include man’s [sic] recorded information, knowledge, folly, and wisdom in what ever form put down, whether in conventional print, art forms, magnetic tape, laser storage, etc. By generic, I also eliminate physical boundaries such as [a] specific building or portion limited and identified as 'the library'."
The generic library proved untenable in many ways as budgetary and technical limitations and traditional expectations caused retrenchment. Today, information technology has caught up to Holly’s vision due to the broad reach of networked information and the ubiquity of increasingly portable personal computers and networked information devices of all kinds. With Holly’s vision as the foundation of the library, and interdisciplinary curriculum as the environment, Evergreen’s information services have moved quickly and flexibly into boundary crossing. The largest single accomplishment of the past decade, a major remodel, interconnected the disparate areas into a more cohesive information technology wing.
Looking ahead, continued integration of information services provides the greatest challenge and opportunity as LIRN thoughtfully and effectively supports the academic mission, with a special emphasis on "freely chosen inquiry and broad skills of knowing, reasoning and communication about open questions with real world implications". This evolving web of staff, facilities, tools and services needs a manageable name for the purposes of this study. Library and Information Resources Network (LIRN) will be used to encompass the work of what is administratively identified as Library Services (including Media Services); Academic Computing (part of the Finance and Administrative Division); and the Computer Applications Lab (administered through Academics).
Two broad categories of LIRN's shared work organize the description below:
- Teaching and instruction
Consistent with a long history as a teaching library, this section will describe and assess the instructional work of the LIRN in the context of the college's interdisciplinary, flexible, student-centered pedagogy
- Collections, tools and services
This section describes and evaluates work driven by the curriculum and the original generic library concept as revitalized by new information technologies.
Teaching and Instruction
Description of Teaching and Instructional Programs
The title of this section suggests the array of instruction LIRN provides. From basic technical skills instruction to complex, content-driven teaching by faculty and professionals in the curriculum, LIRN both instructs and teaches in multiple modes. Additionally, information services, collections and policies at Evergreen have developed in a dynamic relationship with teaching faculty who assume an inquiry-based, independent research-oriented interdisciplinary curriculum. LIRN works intensively with the faculty in a proactive role which assumes teaching as the focus of everyone’s work. [EX: Library Dean’s position description 8/07].
Cross-curricular Information Technology Instruction: Digital Scholarship
Information Technology Literacy (ITL), terminology identified by Legislative mandate during the first half of the self-study period, broadly encompasses the teaching and instruction in LIRN. [Ex: ITL Process Assessment]. ITL as used throughout this study encompasses every aspect of information technology including digitized library research, but also concepts found in the theoretical literature of media literacy, visual studies, communications and related fields. In order to assure that students have the broad skills to communicate about their open inquiries, LIRN takes a broad role in the curriculum. As further articulated in the Six Expectations of an Evergreen graduate, expectation two is that she communicates creatively and effectively and four, that he apply qualitative, quantitative, and creative modes of inquiry appropriately to practical and theoretical problems across the disciplines.
Thus media and information technology instruction support the broadest definition of media literacy, which includes the ability to "access, analyze, evaluate and create messages across a variety of contexts." This definition and the Evergreen expectations lead, in the contemporary techological context, to digitized scholarship as the goal; not only should the literate student read and write astutely, but she should access, view, critique and produce digital media and information resources astutely as well.[Footnote Sonia Livingstone article; Wyatt's definition; Caryn's position paper from the gen ed. process Nov. 27, 2000]. LIRN supports ITL, including media literacy, as a cross-curricular agenda, necessitating instruction designed for students across programs, disciplines and media of academic work.
In support of this cross-curricula agenda, intensive academic work with and about media happens not only in interdisciplinary teams that include media faculty, but also with any student who might decide to create a film, multi-media or musical production independently or within a program that is not media intensive. These are the challenging demands of the "freely chosen inquiry," demands which cannot all be met at all times. The location of Media Services administratively and physically within the library is meant to insure that media studies and media production are supported appropriately both within the programs that media faculty teach and elsewhere in the freely chosen inquiries of students.
Access to both broad and deep information technology across the curriculum and within specialized studies has also been the mission of academic computing support, through a balance of specialized and open computing facilities. With the migration of many media applications to commonly available personal computer platforms, instruction and facilities to support media publishing have spread to academic computing and even to the library.
Connections with the Curriculum and Teaching Faculty
Each area within LIRN has developed structures to connect teaching and instruction closely to the faculty, the curriculum and the academic mission of the college. In the case of the Library, Evergreen requires rotation between the librarians and the teaching faculty. [EX: Pedersen, etc. for full description] To describe this rotation briefly, faculty librarians rotate out of the library to teach full-time on a regular basis and, in exchange, teaching faculty rotate into the library to serve as "librarians" doing reference, instruction and collection development. Faculty who rotate into the library leave with updated skills for developing information literacy effectively within their programs and teams across the curriculum. Library faculty develop the ability to work effectively across pedagogical and disciplinary realms to deliver information literacy instruction. Perpetual faculty-wide interactions in faculty governance and team-teaching reinforce the strong connections between the library faculty and the teaching faculty. Librarians know the faculty as colleagues and teaching faculty know the librarians (probably the only basis for widespread and effective library instruction in a curriculum without requirements). Teaching teams also spread best practices in library instruction as older teaching faculty introduce their new faculty teammates to their library colleagues and the teaching they offer.
A loose liaison system links each librarian with a subset of the curriculum, based on subject expertise and personal alliances. Faculty librarians provide a wide array of library and information technology related teaching. Teaching outside the library in the curriculum at large, library faculty develop teaching and subject expertise which increases their competence and creativity as they work to match library instruction with individual academic programs. One-time workshops designed to introduce sources particular to the research projects within an academic program represent the most common format. Librarians and teaching faculty design these workshops with the assumption that the skills imparted are embedded in the interests and needs of the program learning community. At a minimum, the faculty for the program usually 1) create a research assignment which informs and motivates the students’ work; 2) attend the workshop and take part, adding his or her expertise and/or questions; 3) provide the library liaison a syllabus and a copy of the assignment and a list of the topics students are considering and 4) ask the students to begin considering their topic or even hypothesis before attending the workshop so that they are primed to begin actual research during the workshop. Librarians teach in staged series of workshops most frequently in the graduate programs, in the sciences, and in the off campus programs. Each year one or more library faculty affiliates deeply with a program, meeting weekly to create stepped learning conjoined with research assignments [Ex: Sara H. syllabi?]. For several years an information technology seminar linked library internship opportunities with a hands-on web technology workshop. In that model, a small group of students explored contemporary questions in the world of rapid digitization and its social implications. They paralleled that study with real library work and web production practice, including wikis and webpages designed to support library functions [EX: IT wiki, Rare Books page; SAIL page?]. The seminar and workshop provided a venue for library faculty, staff and Academic Computing instructors to gather and consider both the past and future of information technologies [Ex: internship syllabi]. Each year one librarian also offers research methods through the evening and weekend curriculum. [Ex: Randy Stilson syllabi]
Library support for the two major off-campus offerings, the Tacoma and the Reservation-Based, Community-Determined programs focuses heavily on instruction. Students of these programs have limited access to the physical library, and must be directed to the many high quality resources made available to them on-line. Most years librarians work closely with the Research Methods class at Tacoma, providing instruction on site several weeks per quarter. In Winter 2008, a librarian will offer a 2-credit research module linked to the broader interdisciplinary curriculum of the Tacoma campus. Library instruction at the Reservation sites of the Reservation-Based Community-Determined programs has varied widely. Recently the program has focused on building library methods into the lower division bridge curriculum, which has not involved the library directly. Rebuilding this connection should be a high priority, and a planned faculty rotation from the Reservation-Based program will be an opportunity to do so. See the supplemental discussion of new services for discussion of the many ways direct access to collections has been facilitated through new services to off-campus programs. [this will need to be a link to the specific paragraphs] [EX: NAS and Tacoma resource pages]
Within the library, the Library Faculty see themselves primarily as teachers. They tend to understand the services of the library in the context of teaching, rather than as service providers. They take a proactive approach to the work, suggesting tools and strategies for designing library instruction, and finding the intellectual work in the world of research instruction. They see the library as part of the larger work of the faculty and students, rather than as a separate realm. They position themselves to work across administrative as well as curricular boundaries and sustain an important role in the crossroads of traditional research methods, contemporary information technology and the world of the curriculum and teaching faculty.
Teaching faculty must be able to easily identify and contact the appropriate staff member to coordinate ITL instruction which may also require significant logistical support: lab scheduling, equipment check-out, server space, password access, personnel scheduling and other details. Academic Computing assigns a staff member is assigned to each program to help coordinate technology needs for the quarter or year. This liaison helps set up technical support such as fileshares, webspaces and other resources, and also schedules and teaches workshops and coordinates with other technology areas on campus if the program has technology requirements supported outside of Academic Computing. Media Services staff work directly with faculty to design integration of media use in programs; additionally, the Head of Instructional Media coordinates specific requests for media instruction, including scheduling, location and staffing the instructional sessions requested by faculty. Regular meetings of the Media faculty and Media Services staff, focused on facilities development and use planning, foster the interconnection of academic program design and media technology tools.
Faculty institutes create valuable connections among faculty and ITL instructorss.Every summer faculty institutes familiarize faculty with new technologies and media applications relevant to their teaching. The Dean of faculty development sends out a call for proposals for all kinds of potential faculty development institutes. The Dean funds the proposals which generate the most enrollment rather than pre-selecting institute themes. In other words, faculty and staff drive this avenue for faculty development, and some sort of institute for development ITL expertise occurs every summer. Recent ITL institutes have focussed on specific applications such as teaching statistics with Excel or using on-line collaborative tools to encourage learning communities. As part of the paid work of the summer institutes, faculty do self-directed work focused on their real academic program needs. They evaluate the technology for their use, experiment, practice, and plan how to incorporate applications into programs.
Modes of Instruction in Media and Academic Computing
Several teaching modes occur commonly across media and computing facilities and curricular areas. At the level of academic programs, all major computer and media labs provide group instruction covering particular applications or the tools of the relevant discipline. In the case of interdisciplinary programs, workshops occur in different spaces depending on the technical needs; there is no constraint upon which facility may be used. In one quarter, a program involving science and media might have a computer workshop in the Computer Center around blogs; a math program workshop in the Computer Applications Lab; a video creation and manipulation session in the Multimedia lab; and a library research workshop in one of the general purpose Computer Center labs. In this way academic programs leverage the expertise of staff who specialize in those applications and find the best facility for their class size and application needs.
Students who work independently on media or computing projects or who decide to tackle media projects within non-media oriented programs find many forms of instructional support outside of academic programs. Pre-scheduled technology workshops in Academic Computing provide first-come, first served instruction on an array of applications. In addition, Evergreen subscribes to Lynda.com, a web-based instructional resource that provides focused, well-developed on-line tutorials on a large array of software applications and programming languages. The Library recently subscribed to Safari Books Online, to support Computer Science curriculum, but also the technical inquiries of students across the curriculum. A Computing wiki began last year and hosts approximately 2,000 pages of instructions, tutorials and other information. Students, faculty and staff use this resource increasingly to learn about computer-related technologies hosted on campus. Any student may access most media production facilities once he or she has completed a proficiency training session. Media instructors run hundreds of these quick, skills-focused instructional sessions annually, serving thousands of students, ensuring proper use of the equipment, and providing supportive technical background for systems. Finally, the Evening and Weekend Studies curriculum provides a coherent, regular pathway for instruction in use of the more complex production facilities, allowing contract or students specializing in other areas of the curriculum to gain the skills needed to apply media production resources to their work.
As in the case of library faculty, Media staff take on a variety of teaching roles. A significant portion of the Media Services staff are artists, professionals and faculty in their own right who routinely teach as adjuncts, providing Evening & Weekend Studies curriculum as well as Extended Education teaching. As instructors, these Media staff are important to the success of media-based programs and are seen as colleagues by the Expressive Arts faculty whose programs they support, and as gurus by faculty who are less media-literate. These working relationships form the backbone of the interconnections so essential to the effective administration of media services in general. Media staff who teach as adjuncts sometimes move into the full-time curriculum as visiting artists as well. Photo, Electronic Media and Media Loan staff supervise 4 to 8 student interns who are critical to the effective functioning of labs and services. These students typically not only gain high level skills in technical production, but also develop instructional, collaborative and administrative skills associated with working closely with students and technical staff. Finally, all LIRN faculty and staff sponsor many individual contracts which provide opportunities for students who have identified intensive individual inquiries which are not supported in the curriculum at large.
Analysis & Assessment of Teaching & Instructional Programs
How many students does LIRN teach?
Within recent years about 75% of the total FTE attends program-based library instruction workshops. [EX: workshop statistics]. In media services, from 2000 to 2007, a total of more than 1500 workshops were offered to approximately 156 programs. The number of workshops given and students reached in 2005 and 2006 were each more than double the numbers provided in 2000. One driver for these increases has been that workshops are needed for more kinds of equipment, especially in the media loan collection and in the new Multimedia and DIS labs. Academic Computing instructors provide academic program-based training sessions and workshops throughout the academic year.
|Computer Applications Lab||50/1368||50/1248||52/1344|
Up until 2007, Academic Computing offered 30 to 40 general computer skills workshops per year in the Computer Center, attended by approximately 350 students. Professional staff conducted these workshops focused on general technical skills-building, independent of academic programs. Voluntary attendance became increasingly sporadic, which may be attributed to the increasing number of students who consider themselves already technically literate. In response to this waning attendance, Academic Computing redesigned the workshops as student-centered open support sessions to which students bring their self-identified technology questions or projects. This student-centered structure should more effectively meet the specific skill-levels and interests of the students. Assessing the effectiveness and popularity of this new model will be an important focus over the immediate future and will drive further instructional design.
The number of teaching contacts across LIRN helps us understand how many students are taught, but not which students. The Office of Institutional Research conducted end-of-year program reviews from 2001 to 2006 which asked faculty “Did your students use technology to present work, conduct research (including library research), or solve problems? If yes, how?" The responses show several tendencies, as reported in the “Summary of Information Technology Literacy Emphasis in Programs” (August 2006). Not surprisingly, especially because faculty were prompted to consider library research skills as technological, “library/internet research skills were the most commonly used, followed by some form of presentation technology.” [Exhibit: http://www.evergreen.edu/institutionalresearch/pdf/assessment/epr/EPRsummary2006technology.pdf.]
Closer analysis of the technologies taught according to planning units may be found in the supplemental material below (Appendix I). To summarize, while library research appears widely across the curriculum, and while other information technologies are common throughout much of the curriculum, faculty are quite selective. Significantly different technologies predominate in different parts of the curriculum and no standard set of applications comes into play broadly throughout the curriculum or in Core programs. Thus computer and media technology instruction and use parallel library instructional practice; skills, tools and pedagogy are designed to suit the particular inquiry at hand. Data on library, media and academic computing instructional support correlate well with activities end of program reports. Weak coverage in a planning unit generally correlates with weak instructional support from LIRN, for example, CTL and SI faculty report the least use of library research in their programs and are have the least number of programs served by library workshops. Thus the end of program reviews may be used as tools for assessing, very generally, gaps in both service and coverage. This analysis should not presume that gaps should be filled, but rather that there may be some areas were more connections to be made with the curriculum.
Media/IT Literacy across the Curriculum: Where are we now?
Media Services claims as its mission support for media literacy and instruction across the curriculum. As discussed earlier, the historical concept of the generic library mandated that media support and instruction come from the library in order to assure interdisciplinary, cross-curricular access. Over the past ten years the nature of media services technology has changed dramatically; the platform for entry-level or basic media production and consumption has become the commonly available personal computer. As a result, basic or entry-level media applications are now ubiquitous. How has that impacted the support media services provides to media technology in the curriculum? Data from scheduling software provides insight into which faculty and programs were served through formal workshops since Fall of 2000 and this data matches findings in the end of program reports.
The scheduling data, while it does not cover the very significant teaching done in equipment proficiency workshops or one-on-one instruction in labs, shows that almost 90% of formal program-based workshops serve expressive arts faculty. Thus it is clear that media services' formal instruction focuses heavily on expressive arts faculty and that while media faculty serve consistently in interdivisional teaching teams, advanced media production applications are not generally being taken up by other faculty in that process. Remodeled specialty lobs in Media Services support this complex and specialized media work, while media-related instruction using entry-level applications has migrated significantly to Academic Computing.
A snapshot of Computer Center program-related workshops in Fall and Winter of 2006/07, shows that 68% of the faculty requesting these workshops come from planning units other than Expressive Arts. The Computer Applications Lab shows a trend toward more broadly used applications. Although the CAL focuses on the science curriculum in ES and SI, instruction and program use in the CAL has moved toward less specialized applications. Roughly 60%-75% of the classes meeting in the CAL now work with some type of statistical or numeric analysis, primarily Excel. Other tools used include Graphical Analysis, R, and SPSS. Presentation preparation is the second highest use; 90% of the users engage in preparing results and presentations using presentation tools, with the highest use of Powerpoint, Word, Illustrator and Excel. Approximately 60% of the programs meeting in the space take advantage of analytical tools including (in order of usage) ArcGIS, Mathematica and Stella, which used to be the most highly used CAL applications. This shift results from better data collection tools which allow direct work with analysis of data straight from the experiment. Faculty are also now working more strictly in lab and field experimentation and bring the data back into the computer classroom for analysis using standard applications. Thus specialized applications both in media and in the sciences have moved away from general labs while facilities and instruction for widely used media, presentation, analysis and design tools concentrate in the Computer Center and the CAL.
Formal, entry-level cross-curricular information technology literacy instruction, including media applications and excluding library technology, has clearly become an important part of the work of Academic Computing. This should not suggest that a silo of basic or entry-level information technology occurs only under the auspices of one department. Networking has blended services and facilities across LIRN while students arrive with greater familiarity and ownership of personal computers, laptops and other digital devices; the use of basic information technology is ubiquitous. All areas of LIRN provide extensive informal support and instruction, whether to students on independent contract, students choosing media as their form of communication within non-media programs or students working within media and information technology intensive programs. Students access entry level and basic media production tools for general program uses, and the Academic Computing area has expanded its instructional support to teach these resources. In more complex or specialized media work, almost all instruction by Media Services in labs designed and staffed also provide access for the general student. Thus students who are not members of media-focused programs still find intensive, ongoing technical support for advanced work if needed.
Critical Approaches to Media
Access to facilities and instruction in media and computing does not assure critical or contextual considerations. Even within programs where formal instruction occurs, that instruction may be entirely skills-based, without connection to program content or reflexive thinking about the impact of technology use on the message, the creator, the audience or society. Critical approaches may even occur more heavily in parts of the curriculum such as CTL where information technology hardly appears at all. In the past, the generic library model brought critical approaches to research into discussions of media. A rotating faculty member directed media services and helped linked service models of instruction with critical approaches across the curriculum and with individual faculty. Today, while ITCH, remodeled physical relationships, and networked tools provide more opportunity to address questions of purchase, delivery and support, LIRN still experiences little opportunity to share discussions of critique or strategies for engagement with the curriculum. Shared work on faculty institutes, for example, often focuses on introducing classroom applications on a very practical basis as faculty anxiously try to catch up on skills. LIRN and the Dean for Faculty Development should focus attention on this area in the immediate future.
Does LIRN Instruction Result in ITL Gains?
In the third level of analysis, the question becomes one of learning or at least skill development. No established single information literacy curriculum or single list of skills will match the Evergreen context. Open inquiry, absence of requirements, independent learners, and a fluid curriculum responsive to changing events drive varied needs and expectation. Thus, standard assessment methods that presume particular goals for skills at particular stages of a student’s college career do not make sense for Evergreen's students or curriculum.
A Process-Based ITL Assessment Project
Nevertheless, in an effort to understand and promote discussion of researching methods and abilities among Evergreen students, LIRN and the Office of Institutional Research devised an assessment project which brought students with real research inquiries together. They were asked to work collaboratively and intensively on library research in a context where processes, techniques, thinking and results might be examined. The group involved was very small, and not intended to be in any way representative statistically of the general level of library research competence. This process was an example of combining assessment of technical skills with assessment of the processes of inquiry, including the critical perspectives not assessed above.
To summarize the results, the students showed strengths in analysis and content knowledge, while their technical command of library research tools for their specific inquiries and searching was weak. The ability to develop an effective inquiry; the assessment, evaluation and synthesis of findings; the academic content of the work; and the reiterative group process of developing the research content were all strengths. This suggests that “Faculty may want to assess their students’ abilities to obtain information and offer tutorials or refer students to the Library [presumably librarians or the reference desk] when deficiencies are detected.”
As has been shown in the case of computer workshops, student-centered skills instruction remains preferable to canned skills curriculum outside of programs, and that model defines reference desk instruction and the reference desk interview. Meanwhile within the context of research programs in programs, faculty often ask students to strategize thesis development and other research processes in small groups. Working with faculty to add peer group discussion or brainstorming to library instruction seems productive, based on this process assessment. Library faculty working with programs may want to more frequently suggest and encourage this focus and could also, when time allows, set up these small group processes as part of library workshops. How to encourage focused instruction at time of need remains challenging and depends largely upon the faculty as they review and assess the bibliographic results of students’ actual work. Some library faculty who work intensively programs will evaluate student bibliographies and provide feedback for both process and content. To the degree possible, librarians should probably expand this strategy, considering the findings of this study. [Exhibit: http://www.evergreen.edu/institutionalresearch/pdf/assessment/informationliteracy.pdf]
The 2006 Evergreen Student Experience Survey asked "To what extent have your Evergreen experiences contributed to your growth in ... the following computer-related fields...?" For the category 'Studying or Doing Research via the Internet or other online sources" 30.5% of Olympia campus students reported at least some contribution; 47.5% reported quite a bit or a lot, for a total of 77.5%. More than 84% of Tacoma students reported at least some, of which 50% reported quite a bit. More than 93% of reservation-based students reported at least some contribution; 86.2% reporting quite a bit or a lot. These statistics correlate well with the end of program review and instructional data cited earlier. Considering just how many students express self-confidence in their research skills, and as the internet provides so many increasingly powerful tools for personal research, it is heartening to see that a good majority of students recognize that they developed greater (and one hopes more scholarly) research skills as part of their education at Evergreen.
The ESES 2006 also asked about "Using the computer for artistic expression (e.g. music, other audio, still images, animation, video, etc." Just over 42% reported Evergreen contributed "Some", "Quite a Bit" or "A Lot". Fully 36.8% said "Not at All" and 20.9% said "Very Little." Other than word processing, skills development attributed to Evergreen for other types of computer applications is fairly low. Because the data is broken out by specific technologies or applications, it echoes the end of program reviews where different parts of the curriculum report differing kinds of information technology instruction and use. Thus, no single type of application is found in large numbers, but rather many types have small representation. From the end of program reports, these small reports are not simply the same small number of technologically savvy students reporting repeatedly across many technologies.
ITL Instruction Conclusions
Overall, LIRN and the teaching faculty assure that information technology use and instruction infuse the curriculum. On the other hand, the faculty single set of information technology skills or inquiries has been embraced, as faculty and students choose and adapt the technology according to the pedagogical and disciplinary requirements of their chosen inquiry. Determining, in conversation with teaching faculty, whether the campus has any broad consensus on basic aspects of ITL desirable for most or many students, should be the focus of LIRN planning in the immediate future. The college committed long ago to writing across the curriculum and allocated significant institutional resources to encouraging that work. The faculty developed broad commitment in a context without proscriptive limits. In the immediate future LIRN should instigate and facilitate cross-curricular efforts engaging the recently integrated tools of media and computing, or what might better be understood as digital liberal arts.
Information Collections and Services
Description of Information Collections & Services
As a long-time teaching library and with instruction at the center of the work of media and academic computing, LIRN staff as well and faculty and instructors focus on responsiveness to the needs of the curriculum and individual student inquiry. The fluidity and interdisciplinarity of the curriculum help define all services. The interconnectedness found in LIRN instructional program mean that LIRN does not just react to the expectations of patrons and the professional environment. Instead LIRN staff and faculty creatively design services and collections in interaction with rest of the teaching world of the college.
Library faculty develop collections to support the changeable and interdisciplinary curriculum without benefit of departmental allocations. They do so based on their own teaching, extensive service in governance structures of the faculty at large, and their role as members of the faculty who are, as a whole, responsible for designing the curriculum. [Ex: list of librarian and staff dtf assignments]. Because the faculty at large develops the curriculum, the work is done collectively through Planning Units and all-faculty retreats. No formal curricular review structure in the traditional sense exists. Thus, the librarians know, from the ground up, what is being planned and the curricular interests of their colleagues as they develop. Faculty who rotate into the library will often review, weed and strengthen areas of the collection related to their disciplinary expertise in order to complement the oversight offered by the library faculty selectors and the approval plan they have designed. Because collection development is centralized in the hands of library faculty selectors, and because of the commitment to free inquiry, individual requests for acquisitions are almost always honored unless they are far out of collection development policy guidelines and represent a significant diversion of resources (budget or staff time).
The particular challenge of developing library collections and information services at Evergreen has been the impossibility of effectively satisfying all but the most beforehand requests of students and faculty working deeply on projects outside of the core curriculum and collections. Networked services and collections have basically solved this issue, even though the expectation for immediate access to all information in all formats continues to grow. For all but the very worst procrastinators, the SUMMIT system, which includes well over 30 academic libraries from Oregon and Washington, brings huge monograph collections to hand within two or three days. Additionally, periodicals collections have expanded 8 to 9 times over the self-study period; although parts of the aggregated databases are often less than appropriate for the academic context, specific titles and databases have been added thoughtfully, within the framework of the academic mission. Consortial purchases not only reduce costs dramatically, but are based upon the academic focus of the consortia. Finally, ILLiad, the on-line interlibrary loan system brings journal articles to the email accounts of students, again, within days (or even hours) of ordering. There are almost no discernable limits to accessing published information for any researcher except those who need to present within 24 hours. Nevertheless, Orbis-Cascade, the umbrella consortium which administers SUMMIT, is exploring collaborative collection development to ensure both the depth of the shared collections and the appropriate coverage of local collections. This process should result in even better assurance that students can effectively find the monographs needed to support their widest and deepest inquiries.
Support for Freely Chosen Intensive Media Production
Freely-chosen independent media production by students creates significant strain for Media Services similar to that of library collections trying to cover every possible realm of inquiry. Students working on independent media productions can create competition with the Expressive Arts media curriculum over scare resources (whether equipment, laboratories or staff teaching). In order to balance these demands, Media Sevices requires a Media Request Form of students (and programs) planning extensive use of Media Services. Individual contract forms include a checkmark for special equipment or facilities and the academic deans who review the forms use this as a safety net for screening intensive media use. The Media Services Manager and the Head of Instructional Media review demands for media support and assure that media resources are sufficient for the proposed work. The Expressive Arts planning unit instituted a Student Originated Studies (SOS) group contract in media in order to handle some of this demand for independent media production studies and to assure that students have the supervision and instructional and facilities support they need.
Service Desks and Facilities
Evergreen's teaching models shape the design of traditional service points within the Library. Faculty librarians generally staff the reference desk whenever the library is open, with the presumption that individual assistance should be a teaching opportunity. The work at reference should be process-focused rather than product focused, leading the patron to contextual understanding of research tools and methods appropriate to their needs. The reference desk serves as the end of the pipeline begun in workshops, the place where librarians can see what library instruction produces, whether inspiration or confusion. [ex: Pedersen e-mail on teaching at the desk]. Reference collections, tools and resources such as periodical databases, web pages or finding aids, demonstrate attention not just to convenience or uninformed expectations, but also and more substantially to learning opportunities. Thus, for example, very broad aggregate databases have been purchased because they are extremely cost-effective, but the librarians also emphasize and teach comparatively expensive digitized indexes which refer students more deeply into the discipline-based literature of their inquiries. In web page design, signage, collection organization, and creation of virtual services, the planners ask what can be taught through the new design, service or collection.
The Information Technology Wing
As information technology has evolved over the past ten years and computers have become the networked platform for the majority of information access, research, communication and media production, LIRN has devoted significant energy to blending services. With the generic library as a foundation and the interdisciplinary curriculum as the context, merged collections and services build upon an alternative past. The major remodel planned and implemented during the self-study period substantially strengthened opportunities for networking services, facilities and staff. One central, broad entrance provides access to the Library, the Computer Center, Media Loan and the stairs to Electronic Media, Photo Services and Computing and Communications. A large staircase which hides this entrance from the view of individuals entering the building is being removed in the current, second phase of the library building remodel.
Instructional emphases and responsiveness to the character of the academic mission shaped the remodel. Collaborative study spaces predominate, whether open area study tables, grouped lounge furniture, pod-shaped arrangements in labs or small group study and media viewing rooms. Wireless access (almost ubiquitous on campus now) allows informal groupings around personal or library-owned laptops. Additional laboratory spaces provide easier scheduling for program work and more computers for individuals when classes do not use the labs. Limited quiet study areas provide an alternative for the solitary scholar, but group work is the norm and encouraged.
New artwork welcomes patrons to lounge and study areas, emphasizing the library as a physical as well as virtual space. The new basement lounge near Rare Books and Archives, now affectionately dubbed the Library Underground, hosts frequent campus gatherings and public readings, although since the remodel flooding has occasionally disrupted the area. During the current crunch on college space due to more remodeling groups from across campus have used meeting and teaching spaces in the library, helping create interactions across campus organizations. A prominent location of the media collections assures visibility and close connection to the circulation and reference staff when Sound and Image Library (SAIL) staff are not present; further reduction of the physical reference collection will produce space for SAIL to expand toward reference and circulation. Student find lounge furniture in what were formerly the barren hallways of media services and among the strictly utilitarian desks of the computer center. More room for the book collection, more study space and more flexibility for computers, laptops and media all serve to extend the ways in which students, faculty and the public use the wing.
Blending Lab Facilities
Academic Computing and Media Services have blended facilities as specialized labs have evolved over the self-study period. Historically, Academic Computing focused on the physical computer center and on-site teaching and technology training for students and faculty, usually covering specific skills such as Word. The specialty labs (CAL, MML, DIS, ACC) focused on more specialized content-specific software and hardware. The specialized labs, with supporting instruction, facilitated student work with more advanced media creation, collaborative critique, or discipline-oriented applications.
Today, students come to higher education with an array of computer skills already developed. They often extend their skills through individual or ad hoc methods such as on-line tutorials and peer instruction, working with personal computers. Distinctions between library, media, computerized information technology, not to mention between academic and personal applications disappear as the average laptop or workstation runs applications previously requiring highly specialized, expensive hardware and software. Accordingly, the distinctions between general and specialized technology labs have blurred. The main computer center includes many specialized scientific software packages such as ArcGIS and Mathematica while standard graphic manipulation software such as Photoshop and Illustrator appear in the science computer labs. Similarly, the computer center supports high level statistics applications such as R as well as digital music editing. The library computers provide basic Office applications and general web access in addition to library-specific searches, but specific computers also provide GIS, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, assistive/adaptive technology and scanning applications. Additionally, Academic Computing has changed access to networked facilities to reduce distinctions for students working across lab spaces. One user domain and single sign-on mean simpler, more consistent access to networked resources across campus.
Specialized peripherals such as large format printers, collaborative production, and some applications requiring intensive computing power still require specialty labs. However, the primary distinction among labs is the level of expertise and specialized knowledge of the staff. Students benefit in many ways; they know where to find specialized support from the staff and faculty while they have the tools they need to do their work no matter which facility they are using.
Planning merged LIRN facilities and services creates challenges for administratively separated departments. The Information Technology Collaborative Hisve (ITCH) provides the most formal mechanism for collaboration around technology across the various parts of the college. Evergreen supports three ITCH groups: Academic, Administrative, and Core. The Academic ITCH meets at least once a month and includes professional staff from each of the primary technology labs, faculty, and interested students. The purpose of the Academic ITCH is to coordinate general academic IT initiatives, help develop general academic computing policy, and to guide strategic planning. Professional staff members in each of the primary technology areas have developed strong connections to discipline-specific slices of the curriculum, faculty and academic administration while they also need cross-disciplinary and cross-divisional exploration, planning and communication. ITCH provides one of the necessary cross-curricular and cross-division contexts for developing information technology across these strong.
The work of ITCH focuses on facilities, budgets and services. No structure supports discussions or explorations about cross-curricular instruction across the areas or with faculty. In the immediate future, LIRN should focus on fostering opportunities for these discussions.
Analysis & Assessment of Information Services and Collections
User Surveys: Use & Satisfaction Rates
Once again, although it is clear that LIRN provides a wide array of information services, the question still remains whether the services are effective. Institutional Research surveys alumni and students about campus resources routinely. Over time, responses regarding the library and computing center have been strikingly positive. Students reported the library and computer center among the most highly used services or facilities with high user satisfaction levels as well. Library use rates were 99% in 1998; 97% in 2002; 97% for on campus users and 94.2% for off campus students in 2004. User satisfaction rates were 75.5% somewhat or very satisfied in 1998 and 85% somewhat or very satisfied in 2002. The student experience survey of 2006 reports 95% users of the library. Computer Center users were 94% of respondents in 1998, 96% in 2002 and 92% for on campus students and 93.4% for off campus students in 2004. In the 2006 student experience survey 88.5% of students reported using the computer center.
Thus, despite the radically changing information environment, the physical library has experienced only a slight reduction in use: 4% from 1998 to 2006. The computer center also has enjoyed heavy use over time, with some reduction in 2006 as more and more students use their own laptops on campus; the survey showed that 91% of students have their own computers. Satisfaction rates for the library and computer center remain the highest for any services on campus.
Starting in 2006, the ESES included questions about using library resources online and found that 85.2% of respondents use online library resources. Internal records also suggest phenomenal growth in online use of library resources. In 2000, when the library subscribed to three aggregate databases (Proquest, Ebscohost and JSTOR) users conducted 80,000 searches. In 2006, with approximately 30 subscription databases, there were more than 262,677 searches. Careful review of variations of use from year to year reveals the direct impact a fluid curriculum has on database use. For example, Modern Language Association International Bibliography statistics are quite erratic; one major project in a large academic program explains a five-fold increase of use in one year. As JSTOR has developed into a more deeply and broadly multi-interdisciplinary tool, use statistics show a shift away from heavy dependence on the less scholarly aggregates. Extensive lobbying by faculty and librarians encourages this shift toward use of scholarly resources such as JSTOR.
Media Services User Surveys
Assessment of the popularity of Media Services may be approached through use data from Institutional Research and an additional user survey by Media Services staff member Lin Crowley, conducted as a project for her Masters in Public Administration studies. The goal of the survey was to understand what and how often the current college community, including students, staff and faculty, use Media Services. In addition, satisfaction levels were surveyed in order to identify areas of Media Services which may need additional attention and to elicit requests for additional services.
The survey data showed that respondents used the various media services and facilities at rates of between 40% to 80% with more general services such as media loan more heavily used than more specialized facilities. While the response rate was too small to be statistically valid for the entire campus community, it can be safely assumed that users of media services would be the predominant respondents. This should be compared to The Evergreen Student Experience Survey, which showed 48% use of media loan and 89.6% somewhat or very satisfied. Crowley’s respondents reported an average satisfaction level for each service ranging from 3.07 to 3.62 (out of 4), which indicated that those users who used current services are generally pretty satisfied with each of the services that they use.
Comparing Use Statistics With Other Libraries
In order to assess whether these use rates are cause for celebration, comparisons with other libraries provide some guidance. In 2002, the Library implemented a major new service of sufficient complexity to allow some assessment of how efficiently the dissemination of new information technology occurs at Evergreen. Does interconnectedness mean that news and skills spread quickly? The new service (then Cascade, now the much larger SUMMIT consortium of Washington and Oregon academic libraries) allowed students to search the shared collections of the 4-year public colleges and universities of the state, make on-line requests, and have items mailed very quickly to Evergreen.
The peer groups Evergreen most commonly uses for comparisons consist of liberal arts colleges. In general, the liberal arts college library (and thus, liberal arts college students!) is a very hard working institution. Nationally, a comparison of the average 2004 national liberal arts college library use statistics with those of the smaller masters level universities (Carnegie Class Masters I) reveals a dramatic difference. Looking at the first level of use, the walk into the library, Evergreen’s average gate count per FTE was 1.8, Masters universities were at 1.4 and Liberal arts colleges averaged 2.77. At the next level of engagement or expertise, the patron checks out a book. At the third level of library use, the patron identifies materials from libraries beyond his own and requests an interlibrary loan (ILL). Unfortunately, in order to be comparable, ILL data must be conflated with the data for circulation, because SUMMIT statistics are counted as either circulations or interlibrary loans, depending upon the practice of the reporting library. Evergreen’s patrons borrow (via ILL and circulation) an average of 36 items per student, while the masters level institutions borrow only 1.55 and the liberal arts colleges nationally borrow an average of 34.
|Library||# Items borrowed||FTE||Items/FTE|
|G. Fox U.||14,427||2,392||6.03|
|E. Ore. U.||4,620||2,306||2.00|
Looking at national data, the following table compares the averages of various commonly used Evergreen peer groups:
Thus, the way in which Evergreen students use their library reflects academically superior liberal arts practices. Looking closely at the practices of colleges with extremely high use rates (Reed College and New College of Florida, for instance, have 120 and 89 uses per student) we find institutions surface requiring major senior thesis projects, demonstrating that an emphasis on independent academic inquiry will drive library use.
Comparing IT Facilities with Other Institutions
Edutech, an information technology consultant, provided peer comparisons for Evergreen's information technology budgetary support. The review determined that Evergreen devotes considerable resources to IT, and that Evergreen is consistent with many peers in doing so. Edutech compared us to similar schools (in physical environment, enrollment numbers, educational goals and aspirations, residential nature, tuition, and governance structure) and found that such schools put a larger percentage of their budget into information technology than institutions with different kinds of aspirations. Evergreen’s total actual expenditure for IT in 2005, expressed as a percentage of total institutional expenditures, was 6.7%. This is in alignment with the figure reported by the Campus Computing 2006 survey for public four-year colleges, 6.7%. Campus Computing reported 6.5% as the average for all institutions.
Responsiveness to Rapid Change in the Information Environment
As an organization which makes decisions about services, staffing and resources through a flat, organically driven culture, does LIRN take appropriate advantage of the many new options and responsibilities which result from new digitized and networked information resources? An appended list of major changes in services in library and media services, almost all driven by the opportunities created in the realm of digital resources and systems, testifies to a flexible and responsive organization (Appendix IV).
Conclusion: Assessing LIRN Collections and Services
Future Plans, Goals & Challenges
Cross Curricular Information Technology Literacy
Media Services and the generic library have traditionally kept the question of broad, cross-curricular, critical media literacy in the forefront of their support and instruction. With the movement of many common media applications into the instructional and facility support of Academic Computing, and also directly into the hands of students, the locus of cross-curricular media instruction has spread. While Media Services staff work heavily with Expressive Arts faculty, Academic Computing facilities and instructors work more broadly across the curriculum with basic media and computing applications. At the same time, Media Services, responsible for the rapidly expanding information technology delivery systems across the campus, supports systems essential to the spread of information technology literacy across the campus. Ironically, with the spread of access to media applications, the college’s media professionals and media faculty have become less significantly engaged in promulgating media or information technology literacy across the curriculum.
LIRN should facilitate information technology literacy conversations across the instructional staff and in connection with media and technology-literate faculty. The goal should be thoughtful engagement of faculty across the curriculum in questions of appropriate use and critical analysis of broadly relevant media and computing applications. As one vehicle for this work, building on the success of technically-focused summer technology institutes, LIRN should develop faculty institutes and faculty/staff summer working groups to facilitate these explorations. One goal for institutes and workgroups should be to identify further activities to continue the exploration of the digital liberal arts across the curriculum. Collecting ore presenting best or most interesting practices could be an example of such activities.
Continue Blending More Functions within LIRN
The LIRN IT infrastructure supports a surprisingly diverse array of technologies and media in the curriculum. In order to fully leverage this infrastructure, LIRN should considered more coordination across boundaries to provide technology support. The experience a student has in moving between different specialty areas on campus (CAL, MML, Computer Center) could be more seamless and intuitive. This seamlessness could be facilitated by evaluating the common services that areas currently provide separately (printing, building and maintaining image sets, server filespace, common software, etc..) and seeking unnecessary redundant efforts. By taking better advantage of the network infrastructure, IT staff who directly support the curriculum could dedicate considerably more energy towards coordinating, developing and designing IT strategies with academic programs instead of maintaining redundant infrastructures.
To do so would require considering changes in both the focus of specialized facilities staff and in the coordination of instruction and support to the curriculum. It would also require additional curricular design support staff in academic computing in order to increase the flexibility for planning instruction with faculty. In support of these possibilities, LIRN should discuss models for integrating curricular support and instruction.
The possibilities and questions above relate to information technology and media instruction. From the perspective of the shared facilities, LIRN should continue to consider a central help desk for the information technology wing, especially as the central staircase which blocks the view to the shared entrance is removed. It is time to look at the best design and flow of traffic in that entrance once again. The internal physical flow between the various floors of the information technology wing should be considered as well. Equipping potential teaching and performance space for large programs in the Library Underground and providing a safer environment for Archives and Rare Books should be part of this work.
Construction of the Center for New Media will begin soon. This project has distinct relevance to the changing roles of media services, the library and academic computing within the evolving digital liberal arts. The CNM will comprise a collection of media production studios and equipment to complement and complete existing Media Services and Academic Computing media resources and provide the primary bridge between the campus media infrastructure and networked digital resources. For a discussion of the CNM and related curricula projects see Appendix V.
The thinning of the ranks of the library faculty has also lead to more rotations out of the library proportionate to librarians who remain to serve in the library. The result is less consistency in library faculty attention to library administrative matters; lack of support for some areas of the curriculum; and inability to respond to proposed additional reference desk hours. Further, the lessening role for traditional reference desk service creates a ripple effect on existing practices: 1) the role of student-centered reference desk instruction is weakened as the follow-up and safety net for formal library instruction; 2) the independent learner receives less attention; and 3) the function of faculty who rotate into the library changes as their service at the desk becomes less and less important. These questions should inform the reference group as they consider how to proceed with or without an increase in the number of library faculty.
Collections and Services
Budgets and Support for Rapidly Evolving Information Technology
Appendix I: Information Technology Literacy as reported in End of Program Reports
|End of Year Program Reviews: ITL|
|Planning||# programs||Research||Presentation||Basic Comp||Media Prod||Spec. Comp.|
|*Includes Powerpoint, Illustrator; manipulated playback|
|**Includes Excel, classroom management applications, program blogs, listserv, webpages|
It is obvious that, consistent with the discussion of library instruction above, information technology literacy is understood and taught according to the context of programs and planning units. Faculty selectively embrace the technology according to the culture, needs, content and emphases of their discipline or inquiry. Clearly, no single definition of appropriate information technology literacy applies across any significant portion of the curriculum. The data provides some insight into whether, in the context of no requirements and no curriculum-wide definition of information technology literacy, students are widely developing information technology experience within the context of their chosen inquiry. What follows is a discussion of the various emphases and interests in information technology expressed through end-of-program reports, with an emphasis on planning units and curricular structures.
Appendix II: Major Facilities
Following is a description of the major information technology facilities supporting academic work.
[Provide map of labs at least in library building]
On the first floor of the library, Media Services administers following facilities:
-Similar applications reside in the 2 24-hour access Non-Linear Video Editing suites.
-Film editing and viewing suites are also located in the area.
Appendix III: Service Points
- Desktop Support Services for Faculty and Staff
- Desktop Support Services for Students
- On-line services
- Information desks in the Library
- Virtual access
Appendix IV: Achievements/Changes
Appenddix V: The Center for New Media
Some specific function for the NMC include:
Provide a technical foundation for skills building in media production from web to HDTV resolution.
Promote and facilitate media literacy and technological proficiency across the curriculum.
Provide current technical skills and access to broadcast standard technologies.
Create an easy to use, A/V presentation space for recording and distribution of lectures.