- 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
- 4 Future Plans, Goals & Challenges
- 5 Supplemental Materials
- 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
As the foregoing description makes clear, LIRN focuses strongly on teaching. Assessment of this teaching might well consider several questions: 1) In a college without requirements, does information technology instruction reach enough students to assure that the vast majority of graduates develop their skills broadly in support of their inquiries? 2) Which students are taught? Do students receive their information technology instruction in an array of disciplinary and developmentally varied situations or is it happening only in pockets of the curriculum? 3) Is it working? Have students acquired information technology skills?
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.
To summarize, not only does LIRN teach a large number of students about information technologies, but also a very wide spectrum of the curriculum includes information technology use and skills development. The interdisciplinary focus of Interarea programs appears to provide the environment in which students are most likely to experience a range of embedded skills development across information technologies, while other areas of the curriculum use technology in highly varied ways as appropriate for the pedagogy and content of programs.
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.
To support and facilitate these connections to the rest of Academics, the Library Dean meets once or twice weekly as one of the Academic Deans in the primary cross-curricular academic administrative structure of the college. He also meets weekly with the Provost, Associate Vice President for Academic Budget and Planning and the Academic Dean of Budget for budgetary discussions and decision making. The Director of Computing & Communications and the Manager of Academic Computing also join the Academic Deans meeting every other week.
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.
Service Desks and Facilities
Evergreen's teaching models shape the design of traditional service points within the Library. Faculty librarians usually 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, 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 central question is often what can be taught through the new design, service or collection.
Freely-chosen independent media production by students creates similar significant strain for Media Services and creates competition with the Expressive Arts media curriculum over scare resources (whether equipment, laboratories or staff teaching). In order to balance these demands, a Media Request Form is required for 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 thus review Media contracts in order to assure that media resources are sufficient for the proposed work. A Student Originated Studies (SOS) group contract in media has been set up in the Expressive Arts planning unit 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.
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 are not a new commitment, but build upon the college’s alternative past. The major remodel planned and implemented during the self-study period substantially strengthened the opportunities for the networking of services, facilities and staff of LIRN. 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 will be removed in the current, second phase of the library building remodel.
Instructional emphases and responsiveness to the character of the academic mission have shaped the work of the remodel. Collaborative study spaces predominate, whether open area tables, grouped lounge furniture, pod-shaped arrangements in labs or 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.
The Library as a physical as well as virtual space is emphasized through new artwork which welcomes patrons to lounge and study areas. The new basement lounge near Rare Books and Archives, now affectionately dubbed the Library Underground, hosts frequent campus gatherings and public readings. During the current crunch on college space due to more remodeling, meetings and teaching spaces are opened up for groups from across campus. The prominent location of the media collections assures visibility and close connection to the circulation and reference staff when Sound and Image Library (SAIL) are not present. Lounge furniture is scattered in what were formerly the barren hallways of media loan or the 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 can use the wing.
With a large, visible, shared entrance to the Information Technology wing, LIRN has the option to consider a shared information desk. Early recommendations for an Information Commons, incorporating library, media and computing expertise and serving as a staff development tool for literacy across technologies, have become outdated but the fundamental concept still generates significant interest. Users, services and the portions of the curriculum served have already blended greatly as a result of the process of digitization and movement to the web environment. Ongoing conversations should continue about how best to help students navigate the ever more intertwined LIRN facilities and services as digitization and the web continue to enlarge their domination of information media. [Exhibit: Berlin Group]
The remodel also brought the Writing and the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning Centers into the main floor of the library, physically centralizing many academic teaching and learning support functions. This relationship has the potential to become an instructional and intellectual connection as well as a physical one.
Another form of blended information technology has occurred within and between Academic Computing and Media Services 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 on specific skills such as Word. The specialty labs (CAL, MML, DIS) focused on specialized and more content specific software and hardware. The specialized labs allowed students to work with more content-rich knowledge and media production, collaborative critique, or discipline-oriented applications, all requiring higher level instruction, academic focus and, often, critical analysis.
Today, students often acquire computing skills through individualized and/or ad hoc methods such as on-line tutorials or one-on-one peer instruction over laptops. Distinctions between library, media, scientific and computer information technologies disappear as the average laptop or workstation may runs applications previously requiring highly specialized, expensive hardware. Thus the distinctions based on hardware 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, the network environment has changed to reduce distinctions for students working across lab spaces. One user domain and single sign-on (SSO) mean much simpler access to networked resources.
While specialized peripherals, collaborative production, associated labs and some more intensive computing power still require specialty labs, the primary difference is the level of expertise, content specific knowledge, and broader context for use. Students benefit in many ways; they know where to find specialized support from the staff and faculty and tend to be introduced to the higher level, more complex applications in the context of a broader academic framework.
Planning for these rapidly merging LIRN facilities and services creates challenges for administratively separated departments. The most formal mechanism for collaboration around technology is the Information Technology Collaboration Hive (ITCH). 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. Because of the distributed nature of academic IT, strategic planning often is itself distributed to individual facilities and their associated user groups. Specialization within academic IT labs sometimes falls along planning unit lines, but more often crosses planning units. Professional staff members in each of the primary technology areas have developed intensive, personal connections to discipline-specific slices of the curriculum, faculty and academic administration while also needing cross-disciplinary and cross-divisional exploration and communication. ITCH provides one of the necessary cross-curricular and cross-division contexts for developing information technology across these strong.
Analysis & Assessment of Information Services and Collections
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 drop over time in the reported use of the physical library has been slight: 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 inquired about using library resources online and found 85.2% using library resources on-line. 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.
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.
All five institutions added the service at the same time. Using normal communications, instructional methods and interconnections, Evergreen had the best results among the member libraries. Evergreen patrons borrowed 9,723 that first year, more than any other library, even though Evergreen is by far the smallest institution in the consortium. At ten times Evergreen’s size, the University of Washington borrowed just under 7,000 that year. It took a year for the University of Washington to surpass us, while the other institutions had not done so even in 2006. While one might assume that small collection size drives this higher demand, the fact is that Evergreen students also use their local collection at higher rates than their peers at Cascade-member institutions.
Judging by the quick integration of SUMMIT into the culture of the college, it appears that communication methods and instructional relationships effectively support the spread of awareness of new services and the skills to use them. And it is important to remember that it was the circulation staff, with the willing support of staff of other areas, who made the service work effectively and efficiently from the outset. Lower early use rates at other institutions may be partially the result of staff deliberately implementing the service at a careful pace in order to avoid system collapse. Evergreen decided to implement at full force, with excellent results. Had turnaround time or inefficiency disappointed the users of Cascade, the take-off would have fizzled.
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. The highest level of library use collected federally is when 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 combined 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.
The same dramatic distinction between liberal arts colleges and comprehensive institutions appears in the SUMMIT consortium, which covers the full gamut of colleges and universities in Oregon and Washington. Following is a chart which ranks the top half of the 31 libraries in the region based upon their rates of use of SUMMIT, and shows Evergreen high on the list of the higher ranked liberal arts colleges, all well above usage rates at more comprehensive institutions.
|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 colleges with extremely high statistics (Reed College and New College of Florida, for instance, have 120 and 89 uses per student) institutions surface which have major senior thesis projects, demonstrating that an emphasis on independent academic inquiry will drive library use.
A consultant on information technology provided peer comparisons of Evergreen's support for information technology. 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.
As in all areas of LIRN, Media Services plans and develops their work based on strong interconnections with faculty. Assessment of the popularity of these 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 various services or facilities at rates of between 40% to 80% with more general facilities 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.
Despite the fact that the respondents were largely active media services users, many respondents expressed lack of awareness of some media services and although there was much interest in investment in new equipment in digital technology, respondents were often unaware of new or planned digital facilities. One clear conclusion of the survey is that visibility could be better for some of the various media services. Suggestions for improvement focused on access, whether longer hours, more workshops or more facilities. The survey project director recommended that future follow-up surveys be conducted to compare whether the reasons people use each service change and to evaluate the satisfaction levels for each type of services by patron types. [Exhibit: Crowley, Lin. Media Service Survey]
High use of general media facilities is verified in use statistics: for example, during the past year, Media Loan recorded about 14,000 patron contacts and handled over 132,000 transactions with individual pieces of media equipment, a level of use which has remained fairly constant throughout the study period.
A final, important question to consider as LIRN assesses services and collections is whether LIRN responds rapidly, responsibly and appropriately to the opportunities presented by changing technology. Among the organizations included in LIRN, the library is the largest and most embedded in professional traditions. In the context of the rapid digitization of information challenges, the library may have the most investment in pre-existing structures and assumptions.
The Library rotation model and the particular form of library faculty status, while providing strong connection to the fluid curriculum and the motivated individual learner, also creates significant challenges to library administration and services. Consistency is a problem. Library faculty tend to be drawn away from much of the administration and day-to-day services of the library other than reference and bibliographic instruction, a tendency which has only been increased by the loss of one faculty library line due to budget cuts. Contractual requirements push Library faculty into college governance, full-time teaching, and the development of their own intellectual, creative and/or scholarly interests as teaching faculty. Limited summer coverage and sabbaticals further attenuate consistent attention to ongoing library administration.
This means that Evergreen has no managerial class of librarians, but rather a team of faculty librarians who share management responsibilities with staff. Non-librarians head almost all departments and assure administrative consistency and focus. As a result, the hands-on managers of the library departments and the staff in those areas initiate a large proportions of new services and developments. The staffs of the areas involved discuss and decide upon new services or activities in a generally egalitarian manner, keeping in mind the nature of the college, the community and the curriculum. The library takes these steps largely without top-down pressure. Certainly the possibilities created by the close working relationship between the library and teaching faculty would be strangled by unresponsive services were not the library staff also imbued with a professional, responsive and thoughtful culture of public service.
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.
The overall organizational habits of the college, habits of collaboration, egalitarian ideals, fluidity, face-to-face interactions, non-departmentalization, and interdisciplinary inquiry, deeply influence LIRN planning. The result is a responsive, flexible, evolving set of services and resources. Working across the digital divide from traditional library services to computing to media has generated a commitment to providing information technology services without regard to where the services reside administratively. LIRN assesses technology within the context of Evergreen’s particular curriculum and needs and implements new applications incrementally in collaborative processes involving all three areas of service and the teaching faculty. As part of that work, LRN has had the distinct historical advantage of presuming that information comes in all formats and that it is not only possible but advisable to break down as many barriers as possible to access to information in all its forms in order to approach the ideal of the generic library, an idea whose time may have finally come.
Future Plans, Goals & Challenges
As described above, commonly used media applications, once physically limited to Media Services, are now found throughout the facilities administered by Academic Computing and even, to a degree, in the library. Library resources, once physically limited to the library building, are found anywhere one can reach the web. Computers, once found only in the Computer Center, are everywhere. These shifts have accelerated over the past ten years and have changed the instructional roles of the areas and their relationship to the curriculum. Undoubtedly the focus of LIRN’s work over the next few years will be the continuing evolution of information technologies. Overlap and blending will continue and formal and informal connections among the library, media services and academic computing must also continue to develop so that effective shared work will continue to thrive in this network. It seems less than useful to expend large amounts of energy redesigning administrative structures in order to respond to what is happening organically as the result of the changing, networked information world. The library, media services and academic computing can assume working together, the question is how best to strengthen the shared work and how best to connect it even more fruitfully to the faculty outside of LIRN?
The growth in extremely accessible media editing and authoring tools, easily portable personal computing and web sharing has changed many of the access issues surrounding media authoring and literacy. Teaching critical media skills becomes more important as the availability of creation tools becomes almost universal. The issues surrounding critical media theory as a foundation for media and technological literacy must underlie all efforts to expand and apply these tools in curriculum. Simply providing more access to tools does not ground a thoughtful interdisciplinary education.
The existing curriculum and facilities allow students to use media in a range of ways, across the curriculum including, for example, MPA students participating in mock news interviews, intensive media students completing experimental video projects, freshman history students digitizing primary sources for presentation and analysis in a web design writing assignment. In the current environment, these and other similar curricular initiatives in the digital liberal arts often remain isolated from each other and operate without the advantage of structured support and collaboration with specialized media faculty and staff, faculty and staff with not only technical skills, but critical perspectives. At the same time, some media focused programs and facilities are highly specialized and inaccessible or unknown to most students. The result is that teaching and learning with digital media operates at times within separate spheres or silos of activity, with unequal access to equipment, but also to thoughtful, critical teaching.
Media Services and the generic library have traditionally kept the question of broad, 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, is responsible for the rapidly expanding information technology delivery systems across the campus, 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 are becoming less significantly engaged in promulgating media 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.
Some questions to consider: What is information technology literacy according to the mission of the college, as it supports broad skills of knowing, reasoning and communication about open questions? With the spread of commonly used media applications, and with increasingly media technology-experienced students, how has the college’s understanding of basic media literacy changed? What do should a student or graduate know about accessing, evaluating, using and producing media? How does this vary across the curriculum? How does this literacy compare and connect to traditional library-based information literacy? What are the respective roles of the library, media and computing staff and faculty across the curriculum and across pedagogies? What kind of summer institutes would be helpful to bridge the gap between basic academic computer use by programs and in-depth media production in programs? How can critical perspectives be engaged when skills development are such a compelling interest for many students and faculty? What are engaging academic projects in the digital liberal arts?
Considering support, rather than instruction, the 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 areas and in the coordination of instruction and support to the curriculum. It would also require additional curricular design support staff in academic computing, where instructional staffing is very thin 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 will be part of this work.
Another major piece of remodelling slated for this biennium is the construction of the Center for New Media (CNM). 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 Internet.
The CNM reimagines and rethinks the traditional television studio and associated Master Control facility. In the new environment of network based content from web to HDTV resolution, the CNM replaces the outdated production core with a flexible, current, and comprehensive production system for open authorship, independent production, and instantaneous distribution of multimedia content for the college and beyond.
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.
Prepare media students with knowledge and production skills necessary for independent, commercial and other computer based forms of production and distribution.
Provide current technical skills and access to broadcast standard technologies.
Provide for faculty and staff professional development in the realm of technical skills, distribution standards, and modern production.
Create an easy to use, A/V presentation space for recording and distribution of lectures.
Bring faculty training institutes and production opportunities back to a broad cross-section of the college.
Create a centralized technical resource to support initiatives developing format standards for digital archives and content collections.
Expand the college’s ability to produce interactive and streaming media content for and about the Evergreen learning community.
Enable faculty, students, and staff to format, store, and publish media in the wide range of formats currently available (from web to HDTV to Blu-ray and HDDVD standards).
Scheduled to be completed and included in the curriculum for Fall 2009/10, the CNM will help connect the use of specialized technology in the general liberal arts and the media-focused curriculum. Promoting the use of the facility across the curriculum and across levels of user proficiency and skill will be one of the primary goals for the CNM. Cross-curricular use and instruction are central to both the mission and function of the CNM as is increasingly true for all other academic information technology resources on campus.
Currently, a key project is planned to address the complex problem of media silos in the curriculum through the CNM. In keeping with one of Evergreen’s traditional pedagogical approaches, an emphasis on grounded, project-based learning, Library faculty and Expressive Arts media faculty are working with Library Archives and Media Services staff toward a digital archives project meant to involved the whole Evergreen community. The Evergreen Visual History Archives (EVHA) project will focus on the current generation of faculty retirements and new hires, occasioned by the thirtieth anniversary of the college’s founding. It will bring together faculty from across the curriculum, and at every range of career tenure, into numerous media training institutes focused on digitally preserving and celebrating the college’s past. The EVHA project, with the CNM as its hub, will enrich, expand, and even reinvent the existing uses of digital technologies on campus as participating faculty incorporate their experience into their teaching. Several academic programs that combine digital arts with history, political science, law, and anthropology are in consideration for 09-10 curriculum, with EVHA and the CNM at their center. The expectation, in this and other projects to come, the broad integration of the CNM into the curriculum to begin with media specialists and then to disseminate outward through years of shared planning, team teaching, and independent student work.
The focus on archives and collection and dissemination of digitized liberal arts knowledge will bring library interests into the CNM project. Meanwhile, the instructional role of the library faculty will continue to involve more digitized formats and media. The influence of the web has already dramatically changed library teaching at the reference desk and the library faculty have reduced their commitment to the reference desk due to both reduced faculty lines and reduced traffic. On the other hands, substantial increases in the Evening and Weekend curriculum have created a set of additional demands, spread over a wide range of the schedule, to be satisfied with a smaller team. The need for consistent support for and engagement with off-campus programs remains a difficult challenge.
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.
The reference group should evaluate service to areas of the curriculum reporting or demonstrating less involvement in the various forms of information technology and consider whether more or different instruction support would be appropriate or desirable. Considering the retirement of one of two faculty librarians with expertise in science, the intensive library instructional model currently in use in the science curriculum, and the low rate of inclusion on library research in SI programs as reported in end of program reviews, the next library faculty hire should emphasize scientific expertise.
As discussed in the process-based ITL assessment project, library faculty should suggest and model small group peer work among student researchers as an important step toward developing research strategies. Library faculty should also encourage faculty to assess proposed bibliographies in order to determine whether individual students could benefit from work with library faculty on specific projects. For programs which require a preliminary thesis statement and annotated bibliography as part of a staged research process, library faculty might offer to review and assess those products and consult with students based upon the results. This would, when manageable, help close the loop left open as library faculty start students on their research process, occasionally have the opportunity to follow up with individuals, but rarely have the opportunity to intervene as the process continues (or stalls). Broadly trained faculty, who rarely have the opportunity to teach in areas of their own deep expertise, might deeply appreciate this help with assessing resources identified by students.
Academic Computing and the Library Faculty should explore instructional connections with the Quantitative and Writing Centers to enhance overlapping roles as instructors providing broad skills development across the curriculum.
Collections and Services
The section above considers the many ways in which both services and instruction might be influenced or improved through stronger interconnections in LIRN. Following are additional considerations for collections and services, based upon the assessments thus far.
The library will continue the already active work to implement a new library front page and database search pages. The college web designers may be willing to maintain the library front page without too much loss of library control over content. These discussions are underway. The Orbis-Cascade consortium is also considering developing a shared catalog front-page which the library will consider as well. Current investigations into developments in federated searching options are also ongoing, the library having found the original Meta-Find search extremely disappointing.
The last self-study emphasized the library audio/visual collection. Since then, one-time funds have frequently been infused and the collection has grown significantly. SAIL staff and selectors have emphasized both new titles and replacement of older formats and worn copies. The library anticipates circulating the collection through SUMMIT, which will increase wear.
Based on this record of expenditures, a permanent allocation of more funds should be made to create a more predictable and stable budget. Selectors should still have the flexibility to purchase various formats from their traditionally monographic print funds, but a stable and larger allocation for the SAIL budget would lessen the need to do so and reduce irregularities in expenditures, workload and processing. Additionally, the staff necessary to research and order this significantly increased number of items should be funded.
Continuing to identify excellent web-based media collections will be important as well, to achieving the level of media collections desired to provide distributed access to those collections. Digitizing archival collections of images and video and creating high-quality photographic archives of faculty art work will be a priority, as described above in the section on the Center for New Media.
During the self-study period, the budget for purchasing monographs was cut. $25,000 was transferred to Periodicals/Reference in 04/05. $49,000 was cut in 02/03. These cuts have been partially restored through a yearly allocation of $45,000 from Indirect Cost (soft money produced largely from grant activities involving research) and $10,000 from Library Fines, leaving a cut of $20,000. There have been no new allocations in response to inflation.
With the very efficient SUMMIT and ILLIad systems the collections do not need to be designed to support the student who engages in a freely-chosen in-depth inquiry which does not match the collection profile. The materials he needs are only a few clicks and a couple of days away. However, with SUMMIT the library also has data with which to examine, over time, whether there are particular subject area weaknesses, subject areas which generate particularly high borrowing from other institutions when compared to the strengths and expenditures in the library collection. Additionally, the library will engage in a shared collection development project within the SUMMIT organization to identify and agree upon areas of special attention by each library in order to develop the overall coverage of the consortium, while not abandoning core collections. The library should consider focusing on rebuilding the monographic budget in the context of the huge increase of titles in the periodicals collection, the recommended build-up of the audio-visual collections (which will relieve the monographic budgets expenditure on media) and the new tools for collection analysis SUMMIT will provide. The library should not simply assume that cuts need to be restored across the board.
The library will continue to take advantage of the significantly increased purchasing power created by consortial agreements for periodical and other database purchases. The library needs to keep an eye on the time and expertise necessary to keep up with the ever-increasing work of evaluating these agreements, purchases and contracts and the technical work to support electronic resources generally. The library should consider whether a position devoted to electronic resource management is a high priority or whether other distributed staffing is more appropriate to handle new formats in a distributed fashion. A centralized specialist working on electronic resources would potentially help the selectors, who are generally library faculty and thus not well prepared to attend to collections consistently. The work reduction afforded by systems such as Serials Solutions and Marchive should be considered in this larger picture of evolving collection development.
Budgets and Support for Rapidly Evolving Information Technology
The Edutech consultant who evaluated information technology at Evergreen gave us good marks for the general level of budgetary support for information technology. The report also recommended that “to follow current best practices, the replacement cycle should be permanently funded and the operations budgets need to be raised regularly to reflect the increase in technology-equipped classrooms, the increased number of servers and desktop computers that must be supported, and other increases in the technology base.” The college has begun to address this issue as permanent line item now addresses core server replacement and permanent funding for desktop replacements is under discussion for the next biennium. This movement towards more permanent allocations for replacement and repair helps to ensure that the infrastructure can support the curriculum. ITCH has an important role in this process of establishing permanent allocations, setting priorities and sharing needs across the expectations and requirements of the various facilities within LIRN. While excellent discussions and planning occur through ITCH, the work of the ITCH is limited by its purely advisory status and lack of budgetary authority.
Many specific challenges remain. While broadly speaking information technology is well funded, aspirations for face-to-face instruction and support lead to the need for greater emphasis on IT curricular support positions (curricular designers). The additional instructor/curriculum designers would work directly with the faculty and students, mentoring them through a technological landscape that is far more dynamic than even Evergreen's curriculum.
Remodeling has significantly enhanced and increased teaching spaces and thus the amount of technology. Most teaching spaces now include computer, projection and LCD display systems if they are not actually labs with computers for each users. The library plans to add even more specialized study lounges and rooms where small group collaborative learning activities are enhanced by ready access to information. The library should consider turning one of the library teaching spaces into a lab. While LIRN is currently able to adequately support these facilities, the planned growth of the college to 5000 will require access to additional resources, ideally from a variety of sources.
Media Loan provides portable digital equipment while still struggling to keep older analog equipment running and available for programs using Super 8 and other analog formats. This creates several problems including storage, maintenance (many parts are no longer available) and teaching the many different formats. Weighing faculty demand for out-dated equipment presents an on-going challenge. Methods for resolving these competing demands are not sufficiently developed and should be addressed.
The Media Services area brought on-line a Web-based circulation system that greatly improves the efficiency of Media Loan. Unfortunately the college hasn't been able to add a funding line for the annual maintenance contract and software updates. Electronic Media authored an extensive Filemaker Pro-based system for space scheduling, equipment tracking, inventory control and work order controls. Computing staff only minimally supported this effort. These system are critical to the area operations, and need to be integrated into the broader campus programming support schema.
The Arts Annex does not enjoy media, a/v or networked technology. Projecting art images is an important process for the arts curriculum and many of the image resources are migrating to web-based and digitized applications. Faculty must use Seminar II classrooms and cannot project or display in the annex where they often teach.
The newly expanded Multimedia and Digital Imaging Studio labs provide popular places for teaching and for students to work on their media projects, but they are still underfunded by the college. The huge increase in media and computer technology capability in classrooms across campuses also generates a constant pressure for routine replacement, maintenance and upgrades.
The Media Services chargeback system has been an important tool for supplementing equipment/software and student hourly budgets based on actual use. A white paper on the chargeback process was created for the college administration’s review. One of the recommendations was to decrease the reliance on the chargeback system and instead transfer funds into Photo Services, Electronic Media and Media Loan to support the academic and production needs of the college. This is still under consideration. [Exhibit: Chargebacks in Media Services]
Information Technology Literacy as reported in End of Program Reports
The survey asks faculty to describe their inclusion of information technology in programs. While the descriptions are idiosyncratic and display widely varying perspectives on what might be included in the idea of information technology, it is still possible to track patterns of technology use across planning units. The table below portrays response rates for information technology sorted into five categories and organized by planning unit or interdisciplinary status (core and interarea programs). Other than library research, the categories distinguish between in-depth disciplinary tools used almost exclusively by one or two planning units (media production and specialized scientific applications) and more basic, cross-curricular entry-level tools which might reasonably be taught in a wide array of contexts (presentation media and basic computer applications such as Excel, social software or courseware, or simple webpage creation). The two categories of cross-curricular tools, presentation media and basic computer applications, might be considered common components of basic information technology. Extremely widely utilized applications such as word processing are not considered at all, having become almost completely ubiquitous, and thus, untaught at the college level.
|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.
Not unexpectedly, the CTL planning unit reported the least involvement with information technology, even including library research. At 39% of programs reporting library research, CTL is lowest of all planning units except SI. Interestingly, media production work at 19% is higher than either presentation technology or other forms of basic computer use in that planning unit. Obviously, a significant portion of CTL faculty focus on close reading and thoughtful engagement with assigned texts, avoiding the search for external authorities. They also are more likely to use technology as text or form of expression via media production, rather than simply as a tool.
SI also places less frequent emphasis on library research (35% of programs), and again, it seems quite natural that some forms of original research might supplant an emphasis on library research in some programs. The culture of the science planning unit may also presume that students are well able to negotiate background research without specialized emphasis or instruction.
Continuing with an analysis of library research engagement, the Expressive Arts curriculum, despite a strong content focus on non-scholarly and non-print texts and expression, still works with library research in a respectable 43% of programs. Remaining planning units report library research in between 50% and 63% percent of their programs. Core programs, where one might expect strong emphasis on basic academic skills development, report only 55% engagement in library research. Interarea programs, on the other hand, have the highest attention to research, at 63%.
Looking beyond information technology, and considering specialized technologies (media production and specialized computer applications), the use of these technologies presents a mirror image of each other. That is, in content areas where use is widespread (63% media production emphasis in expressive arts and 48% specialized computer applications in scientific inquiry) there is the least use of the opposite specialized technology (4% media production in SI and 0% scientific applications in EA). There is modest use of media production in other areas (19% in CTL; 13% in SPBC) and almost no use of specialized computer applications in planning units outside of SI and EA.
The most likely place for media production to appear outside of its disciplinary home is in interdivisional programs in Core and Interarea. As faculty from EA move into interdivisional teaching, media production appears in 29% of core programs and 39% of interarea programs. Scientific computing appears in only 5% of core and 6% of interarea programs. EWS programs offer 16% media production and 10% scientific computing in their often more specialized classes. Although team teaching is one of the college’s strongest faculty development tools, specialized applications do not appear to be spreading via team teaching. What little dissemination of expertise occurs is more likely to be media production rather than specialized scientific computing.
The table uses two columns to define basic information technology literacy. In the table, these are identified as presentation media and basic computing. In most cases, if a program reported use of a specialized medium or technology, then less specialized use was not included in the tabulation.
To summarize across the planning units, there are see strong preferences depending upon discipline. SI focuses heavily on a combination of presentation media (often Illustrator posters) at 46% and specialized computing with less use or at least less mention of more basic computer applications. ES and SPBC are the most balanced in use of basic information technology tools: ES uses presentation media heavily (49%) and a fair amount of basic computer applications (39%). SPBC also uses presentation media in a substantial number of programs (38%) with basic computing in 29%. EA reports 26% of each basic technology, showing a commitment to using many types of information technologies as part of their context of media production.
The interdivisional curriculum and the broad EWS programs show a different pattern. With a more distributed student body and schedule and shorter class sessions concentrated in off-hours, EWS shows very strong dependence on basic computing to support communication outside of the classroom (46%). Once again, while one might expect Core programs to introduce students to basic academic computer uses, Core reports low use of presentation media (18%) and modest use of basic computing (29%). Interarea programs are a bit more ambitious, with 26% use of presentation media and 22% use of basic computing, although it should also be remembered that media production is fairly well represented in interarea programs (39%).
Overall, considering both forms of basic information literacy, and factoring out the double counting of programs which work in both presentation media and basic computing, 42% of programs work with basic information literacy. In general, this work happens more at planning unit and interarea levels than at Core. It appears that core faculty are focusing more on basic reading and interpretation skills when not actively engaging non-print tools such as media production. The interarea curriculum on the other hand provides an environment where faculty tend to have more room to develop a wider range of skills, presumably because students are more widely prepared, and probably because of representation from the planning unit faculty with a variety of expertise. Factoring in more specialized use, then, overall curricular coverage of media and computing information technology reaches a significant majority of programs.
While not represented in this table because the number of programs is small, off-campus programs generally show a high level of focus on information technology as an essential tool for accessing the resources for college level work and for communicating over the physical and temporal distances of their programs. When asked "To what extent have your Evergreen experienced contributed to your growth in each of the following?" tribal students answered "Quite a bit" 44.8% of the time to the category "Using computer technology to present work, find information or solve problems." In stark contrast, all other categories of students ranked computer use as last or 20th of 24 categories [EX: http://www.evergreen.edu/institutionalresearch/studentexperiencesurvey2006responses.htm question 19]as a skill developed at Evergreen. Presumably students in more conventional settings feel that they come to college with their use of computers well established, or they developed their use outside of the curriculum. In addition, a larger percentage of faculty teaching off-campus programs leverage the on-line collaboration tools such as Learning Management Systems (LMS) and eportfolios to facilitate communication within the planning unit outside of class time. This brings a technology focus to the forefront for off-campus students. The Tacoma program, which reports out as a single program, but represents many tracks for hundreds of students, always includes a research and a media production component.
How does this spread of information technology instruction and use across the curriculum correlate to the teaching and support provided by LIRN? Library workshops for 2003 through 2007 show that although Core program focus is not particularly frequent (55%) compared to much of the curriculum, yet library faculty work heavily with that part of the curriculum. Librarians gave workshops to 40 core programs over the time period, the highest commitment other than to EWS, with its very high number of individual programs and classes. Thus while library research may not be as heavily covered in the Core curriculum as might be expected, faculty in core teams are reaching out for assistance in this aspect of the work very actively and the library is providing strong support.
Interarea and social science curricula are also well supported by library instruction with 26 and 22 programs served. Self-reported library research in programs (63% and 60%)correlates well to library-based instruction. Thus while one might expect that interarea programs are able to include more information technology in their programs, this is not simply because students are already prepared or assumed to be prepared in basic skills such as library research. There might also be a recognition that library research at the core level will be very different from what is expected in subsequent years.
The science and environmental studies curriculum show lower use of library instruction, with 12 and 15 programs requesting workshops. CTL programs requested only 4 programs in the three year period, showing that even with low focus on library research, demands for instructional support are lower yet.
Following is a description of the major information technology facilities supporting academic work.
[Provide map of labs at least in library building]
Academic Computing operates the Computer Center located adjacent to the campus library. Media Loan is ajacent in the Information Technology wing. The Computer Center includes a large unscheduled, general access space plus four teaching labs, including two Windows classrooms, a Macintosh classroom, an Advanced Computing Classroom (ACC), each seating 25 students. Five academic computing staff manage the center and provide instructional and faculty support broadly across the curriculum, as described under teaching and instruction above.
The Academic Division operates the Computer Applications Lab or CAL, also known as Scientific Computing, located in Lab II, site of most of the campus laboratory facilities and dedicated science classrooms. The Computer Applications Lab is operated by two full time staff plus 8-10 student workers and is equipped with 50 PC’s, 8 laptops, 2 macbooks, and 4 Power Mac G5 workstations. The CAL features two independent teaching spaces each with 25 PC’s and projection. In addition to general computing software (MS Office, OpenOffice, Adobe Suite, IE, Firefox), the CAL hosts and provides support for a range of scientific software including GIS (ArcInfo), math (MathCad, Mathematica), statistics (R, SPSS, PC Ord, Kaleidagraph) genetics and chemical modeling (CN3D, Mega, Chemdraw) and programming (Labview, Python, .Net,) software. The CAL supports faculty, staff, and students working in the physical and environmental sciences. Strategic planning and integration with the curriculum occurs primarily through discussions with individual science faculty, curriculum deans, the Environmental Sciences (ES) and Scientific Inquiry (SI) planning units.
On the first floor of the library, Media Services administers following facilities:
-The Multimedia Lab, a specialty lab that supports the media arts, offering resources for non-linear video editing, audio multi-tracking, 2-D animation, web design, graphical programming environments and 3-D modeling. The applications list includes Final Cut Pro, DVD studio Pro, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, IDVD, IMovie, Bias Peak, Digital Performer, Maya, MAX/MSP/Jitter and other media specific utilities and authoring environments. The area is supported with a full time staff, student intern and 10 student lab aides all trained in the software.
-Similar applications reside in the 2 24-hour access Non-Linear Video Editing suites.
-The Audio Mixing Benches are computer suites optimized for audio mixing, production, MIDI sequencing and composition. They are equipped with audio peripherals, keyboards, and full bandwidth speakers.
-The 5.1 Mix suite is an audio production facility for mixing in surround (5.1) audio formats for multimedia and DVD audio authoring. It has the highest resolution audio interfaces, and specialized software for creating many formats.
There are additional facilities in the Communication Lab building across campus managed by Electronic Media, Including;
-The two Eight track and single Sixteen track recording studios, with an excellent cross section of analog audio signal control and routing systems and computer based multi-tracking and music sequencing/composition software.
- The four Music Technology Labs, again with excellent analog and digital synthesis perpherials, recording and monitoring systems, and complete computer based editing, sequencing, synthesis and analysis applications.
-2D and 3D animation facilities with lighting, cameras, staging resources and digital video production stations using Final Cut studio, Aftereffects, Photoshop as well as other image processing based applications.
-A large traditional 16mm animation stand with a motion control system is located with other film based animation equipment.
-Film editing and viewing suites are also located in the area.
-Open users from across the curriculum have access to the Digital Imaging Studio (DIS) for still imaging, graphics, and web design. The facilities include ten PC workstations, many flatbed and film scanners, and two exhibition quality large format inkjet printers.
-Instructional Photography offers facilities for traditional B&W and color photography as well as a state of the art Digital Imaging Studio. Brand new facilities include a B&W lab, a color lab with a 42” print processor, photo studio, print finishing area, and critique space.
-Classes, workshops, and independent experimentation occur in the Instructional Photography facility, known as the Photo Center. Students must take proficiency training in order to use the Photo Center's equipment.
Academic Computing support two computer labs at the Tacoma program. Right now they have two labs (PC and Mac) and up until recently it has been supported by one technology systems specialist who also teaches intensively in the Tacoma curriculum. [How is this changing? Also, many of the reservation-based program facilities are abysmal--is this on the radar of academic computing at all?]
In context of the recent remodel of the library facility, various adaptive and assistive technologies (AT) for people with disabilities have been upgraded, expanded, and collected into several central locations. Principal among these developments is the new AT Lab located on the ground floor of the academic library. In the lab, there are three PC stations with a range of AT software applications and peripherals. One station is specialized to support people with physical mobility, sensory, and dexterity problems. One is specialized support people with cognitive and learning difficulties. One is specialized for high-end graphics and digital photography work, with an electronic height adjustable table as the only disabilities-related accommodation. The lab also contains a CCTV reading station for people with visual problems. Circulation maintains a selection of headsets and other peripherals for check out for use in the Lab. The lab also provides necessary hubs and make software settings available to support such items owned by lab users.
The lab environment provides the privacy and quiet necessary to many AT applications, and it also provides a haven and separate place where students and others in the disabilities community can mix socially or sit quietly together among themselves. In partnership with Access Services and Student Affairs, the faculty librarians supervise the AT Lab, its users, and the student interns that have made it a living place of shared support and learning for the disabilities community here at the college. Matching the AT equipment and software in the lab are two stations across the foyer in the General Computing Center. Disability accommodations for mobility problems in particular are also maintained in the Digital Imaging Studio in Photo Services and in the Multimedia Lab. There is a need for more equipment in other areas of the college, as well as dedicated staff to administrate and maintain AT equipment campus-wide.
The library remodel included three teaching spaces. Although none is currently configured as a lab significant thinking has gone into equipping and using the library underground, including one of the classrooms and the many study rooms as a good facility for large classes engaging in a variety of activities (seminar, media presentation, computer lab work, small group discussion, etc.). The two additional classrooms have full computer, network and media viewing. For laboratory style teaching, colocation with the computer center makes scheduling and using computer labs very easy and convenient. Typical of the variation among the rest of the faculty, some of the reference librarians prefer teaching in the library classrooms, some the computer labs, and some in the many classrooms on campus which now have web access and classroom display options.
Students find the public library computers configured to mirror applications in the computer lab so that students can work in either area. Printing is free in both environments. A desktop link to the CAL system supports fluidity across campus from the library public access computers. The library circulation desk provides laptops for use within the library, although more and more students bring their own and take advantage of the wireless access. Two multi-media stations (one on the Mac platform) in reference support slightly more specialized applications such as Dreamweaver and Photoshop with scanners for reproduction of materials which do not circulate from the library's collections.
Following is a list of the many service points where students, faculty and staff receive help with library, media and information technology.
- Desktop Support Services for Faculty and Staff
Technical Support Services provides desktop services and support to all faculty and staff. This group prepares and deploys new equipment to faculty and staff, provides a drop-in counter for technical assistance, and phone and remote desktop support.
- Desktop Support Services for Students
Computer Center help desk and Housing provide the majority of desktop support to students although this is typically ad-hoc and informal since there is no organization on campus formally charged with this responsibility. This is done through an informal network of student support by students for students, with the occasional help from professional staff.
- On-line services
Through coordination with the developers and systems managers within Computing and Communications, a number of on-line resources and services are available to students and faculty. New online services include myEvals (for managing and writing narrative evaluations on-line), my.evergreen (account and resource management) and other services currently under development. The college also manages a host of on-line collaborative services for programs wishing to use them. This includes a content management system (drupal) for managing on-line content for a program such as discussions, chats, image galleries and a host of other services. Learning Management systems are available through Moodle which is supported by Academic Computing as on-line courseware. This tool allows students to engage in distance learning and faculty to manage threaded discussions, provide materials and readings on line and conduct surveys and quizzes remotely. E-portfolios are also available for faculty to use if they are looking for alternative tools to engage students who are geographically distributed (such as the Tribal and Reservation-based programs).
- Information desks in the Library
A variety of help desks are scattered among traditional library services and collections. In addition to the Reference Desk, the library operates the Sound and Image help desk which supports both audio visual collections and some basic media equipment for playback and transfer; the Assistive Technology Lab in conjunction with SAIL; Government Documents; Periodicals; Archives & Rare Books; Archives; and Circulation. Some collections are accessed primarily on the basis of appointments, such as Rare Books. Most of the services other than Reference and Circulation are minimally staffed outside the normal work week, with Reference and Circulation serving as general backup for those areas when questions arise during off hours.
- Media help desks include Media Loan, a very large collection of portable media equipment available to students across the curriculum. Media Loan has an inventory of over 4,000 items and circulates audio/video and photographic equipment to support the academic and business needs of the college. It also houses the extensive advanced audio and video/film production equipment.
- Electronic Media has a help desk where users of the 40+ A/V classrooms can get assistance, training and hands-on help with preparing materials for use. There is a satellite office in the Seminar II building where an additional full time staff provides help in the cluster's 20+ A/V classrooms. At the help desk students and faculty can receive assistance with their audio and video productions as well as schedule any of the labs, get help with technical issues, arrange proficiency for studios, and get help from any of the technical staff. The adjacent Multimedia Lab is typically staffed with student or full time staff, providing hands-on technical help with applications. EM runs the campus multimedia production labs (e.g. the Multimedia Lab, Animation studios, video/editing suites and audio studios). EM also provides technical production support and services for academic and campus events.
- Photo Services offers a wide variety of professional photographic advice and services including film processing, film recording, copy work, passports, scanning and digital printing plus a store that sells photo supplies. Staff also offers professional photography services for portraiture, events, and college publications.
- The Instructional Photography help desk answers questions from students, faculty and community members about analog and digital image processing/manipulation and printing.
- Virtual access
With the digital turn in information technology, the library's collections and services have moved extensively on-line, where appropriate for this curriculum and pedagogy. The two major off-campus programs have been great beneficiaries of the digital turn: a huge number of new periodical titles and reference sources are now online; students may order interlibrary loan (ILLiad) and (SUMMIT) materials on-line; a toll-free telephone option has been added for access to the reference desk; on-line holds in the library catalog will cause materials to be sent directly to the homes of students or their campus. The lag in getting almost any materials to off-campus students is a few days at the most and the instructional support which has been the historical focus of service to off-campus works to assure that students know how to access these services.
Following is a list of the new services provided and collections developed over the past ten years, as LIRN has made the digital turn:
We implemented Innovative as the circulation system and were able to collaborate with other Washington and then Oregon academic libraries in order in circulate thousands of books, videos and sound recordings borrowed and lent from regional libraries using on-line ordering through SUMMIT (previously Cascade). 1 million system wide thus far (2006) . Categories of items which are shared have expanded frequently, so that most audio/visual materials are borrowable. Through SUMMIT, Evergreen students have complete access to walk in and check out collections of 30+ academic libraries around the region
Intensive collection development and circulation were made possible through networking. Periodicals subscriptions have increased from about 2,000 titles to over 17,000 titles (13,000 online) plus over 1600 free online journals linked to the catalog. Much of this dramatic increase has been made possible through increased leverage via cooperative purchases made with the other public 4-year institutions in the state or with the Orbis/Cascade Alliance covering Oregon and Washington. Most indexes and abstracts are on-line, including many discipline-specific academic indexes are on-line. About 400 reference sources are on-line. Students at Tacoma, the reservation-based programs, and Grays Harbor as well as those who are homebound away from campus or traveling as part of their independent work have complete access to these resources. The public still may access most of the resources if they come to campus. Fall of 2007, Serials Solutions MARC record updating service for e-journals replaced the manual maintenance and updating of a little over 16,000 records representing almost 30,000 urls or links.
The ILLiad system was implemented so that patrons may now make interlibrary loan requests on-line, be notified by e-mail and even receive digitized versions of many documents also via e-mail. The campus has implemented e-mail as the required method of communication with students, so that the library may now consistently use e-mail for notification for these and other materials received. Almost 8,000 items were ordered on-line in 2004, a jump of 70% from the previous year, another testimonial to the efficiency with which the word gets out about new information resources and methods.
Students are automatically set up with library accounts when they register, allowing off campus web access to subscription databases, ILLiad and SUMMIT, holds, and management of their accounts. Students at the reservation-based programs may have books mailed directly to their homes automatically through the on-line holds system. Students at Tacoma may have materials sent to the Tacoma campus. In fact, all users of SUMMIT may have items sent to any participating campus that is convenient to the user. A free long-distance phone reference service was established for the students on the reservations.
At the start of the self-study period the Government Documents collection was almost invisible. A new Government Documents specialist was hired at about that time who immediately began to develop an extensive web presence, providing clear pathways into the rapidly developing online federal and other government world. He also created hot topic pages that attracted significant interest from on and off campus. Overlapping the same period (1997-1999/2005, the physical government documents collection was cataloged, including paper, microfiche and maps. In Fall 2007, the library began using the Marchiv tape service for maintaining Governemnt Documents cataloging records.
The Media Services area has brought an on-line Web-based circulation system that greatly improves the efficiency of Media Loan. An automated scheduling system began in 2001. Much of the analog media equipment is being replaced with digital. Media Services has upgraded the Digital Imaging Studio, and tripled the size of the Multimedia Lab. A new design lab was added to the Communications Building. Access to the Tacoma campus, located 40 miles to the north, was improved by adding a video conferencing system that links the two campuses in 1998.
Media Service's instructional support is facilitated by the Head of Instructional Media, who works closely with faculty and media staff on workshop planning and meets regularly with the Academic Computing staff to promote integration and coordination of teaching support.
Because of an overall reliance on computer-based systems, Media Services added or reclassified four staff as Information Technology Specialists.
The very large Seminar II classroom building came on-line. Audio-visual and web display capabilities grace every classroom, bringing the number of AV classroom spaces on campus to 49. Thus, at this time, most faculty may assume that they will easily be able to use audio-visual, computer and web technologies in their programs at any time, with the notable exception of the Arts Annex. The electronic media section of Media Services supports all these classrooms, with two new staff positions.
Photo Services created an on-line photo collection/archive that is accessible to the campus community. The on-line digital imaging services have been enhanced and now provide Web-page design support to the campus.
The Sound & Image Library (SAIL) absorbed the Washington State Film Library collection of 1,578 DVD’s, 738 16mm films and 3,208 VHS tapes in 1998. In 2001/02, the Library decided to circulate videos to students as well as staff and faculty. Circulation jumped from 3362 to 8277 and now has leveled off at over 12,000 items per year.
The Sound and Image Library also continues to maintain and circulate a collection of over 80,000 slides, primarily art history images. A few faculty continue to use slides, but use of the collection has dropped significantly from more than 10,500 in 1999 to 2456 in 2007. Subscription to ArtStor in 2007 appears to be the easiest and most efficient way to provide most of the high quality teaching images needed for the curriculum. The library is exploring using ArtStor to make local work available, primarily work submitted by past and present Evergreen faculty [Exhibit: grant application]
As the physical collection of videos and music shifts toward new digital media, SAIL has also moved toward the purchase of a few really exceptional web-based collections and tools such as an on-line sound effects database and the Smithsonian collection of traditional music. Subscriptions to web-delivered media are the preferred medium for the foreseeable future because of their accessibility for off campus programs and at all hours.
Library computers were opened up to enable use for writing and producing, not just research. Web access and Office suite were made available and free printing continued. Two multi-media stations support scanning, image manipulation with Photo Shop, and web publishing with Dreamweaver. An experiment with color printing failed under the weight of its own popularity and this is still a gap in campus information services generally. Large scale printing and high quality color printing are available in media services for a fee.
Creation of a new library catalog and services website has been a long-term desire, but catching up to the demands of web support has been a problem. Within the library there was not sufficient expertise or time to support any major redesign and simple upkeep with the existing pages was a major issue [other areas need to discuss this?]. Extensive discussions in 2006 finally lead to agreements among the staff about how to reallocated some of the new work generated by new digitized sources and the expectation for a web presence generally. Two successful library faculty hiring processes increased the level of expertise in the reference group and an active catalog redesign working group is well on its way, with expectation for a new library front page within the year which will include a quick search of the catalog on the front page, bringing the library search closer to the front of the college web presence. Recruitment strategists and web page analyses are starting to note the attention potential students and their parents are paying to library services as a way to assess colleges. Perhaps the library will be linked from the front page some day.
Staff and faculty work has shifted throughout the period to respond to these changing needs: 1) Reference was reduced due to an opening that came about during budget cuts. The reference desk is no longer double-staffed during peak hours in response to lower use rates as web searching has become commonplace for basic information needs. Use statistics for reference are problematic and have been throughout the history of the library. A recent revision in method has produced a huge drop in reporting reference contact, as did a revision in 98/99; this data is not trustworthy. Nevertheless, general attention to the role of the reference desk within the entire range of information instruction and services should continue. The Government Documents Specialist helps cover hours, as does the Reference Specialist. Approximately one half of one FTE was deployed to teaching a library internship, which generated extensive student support in all areas which choose to take part [Exhibit: links to syllabi, discussion about future of this project from Unsel self-eval]. The Archivist, who had supported the reference schedule moved to Archives full-time during the academic year in part in recognition of the major new spaces in a newly remodeled special collections are in the basement. 2) Staff in interlibrary loan, technical services and circulation were shifted to accommodate the new workflows supporting SUMMIT (a service which may be seen as either ILL or circulation); 3) the Acquisitions Specialist and technical services staff took on the ordering, cataloging and processing of digitized subscriptions which were not really serial publications in recognition of the shift in expenditures away from print monographs and toward digitized collections requiring annual payments; 4) substantial cross area conversations lead to workload changes as the overload of government documents cataloging was addressed and a Marchive service initiated [update]; 5)leadership for library catalog web development returned to the reference group as the expertise became available.