Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From Learning Commons to Learning Outcomes: Assessing Collaborative Services and Spaces

Don Beagle, who wrote an early, influential article* and a book** on the information commons, is the author of an ECAR Research Bulletin reviewing six recent user studies of the commons model. http://bit.ly/oWxK4Y

From the abstract on the EDUCAUSE website: "While the studies used varying methodologies, their cumulative results indicate that the commons model cannot be evaluated by focusing only on design aspects of “learning spaces” or perceptions of “library as place.” These features must be balanced by qualitative reviews of service effectiveness and quantitative measures of service delivery. This bulletin concludes with a consideration of change theory as a possible means to extend service evaluations and spatial appraisals to assessments of learning outcomes." http://bit.ly/oWxK4Y

If your college or university is not a member of EDUCAUSE, maybe you should suggest joining.

*"Conceptualizing an Information Commons," Journal of Academic Librarianship 25, no.2. (March 1999): 82-89.
**The Information Commons Handbook, Neal-Schuman, 2006.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On the Horizon - Canadian Learning Commons Conference

New Media, New Fluencies and Life Skills Development:  Preparing Learners for the 21st Century

We invite program submissions for the 6th Canadian Learning Commons Conference, May 7 - 9, 2012 to be held at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Trend Continues - Anne Arundel CC Library and Student Success Center

Truxal Library at Anne Arundel Community College (MD), built in 1967, is currently undergoing a major renovation, expansion and reconfiguration as a combined library and student success center -- a mix of tutoring, computer commons, distance learning and other multifunctional rooms. 

The new facility's infrastructure will be completely redesigned for efficiency and reduced energy costs.  LEED Silver certification is the goal.  See the full list of building features: http://bit.ly/n7uM1U

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In the Works - U. of Tennessee, Chattanooga

January 2015 is the target date for the new library at U. Tennessee, Chattanooga. Planning began in late 2007 and state funding ($48m) was recently secured.  Construction has begun.

Features include:
24/7 study space
Seating for 2,100
Information Commons with 200+ computers
40 group study room (3 sizes) 
7 classrooms
Media lab
Special Collections 

Building partners: Ctr for Advisement and Student Success, IT Division, Teaching Resource Ctr, Southern Writers, Writing Ctr.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Clough Commons at Georgia Tech: Library + Academic Support Services

A few years ago there was a flurry of activity, and some controversy, surrounding the merger of academic libraries with their campus IT organizations.  EDUCAUSE even has a list of 35 resources on the topic.  In some cases the merger held; in others it reverted to the original state: separate and (relatively) equal.

Recent developments involve a different kind of merger or bundling of services under one roof, usually the library's.  These often started as "information commons" and grew or evolved into a medley of academic support services and became known as "learning commons" or "knowledge commons." The services might include tutoring, writing lab, media lab, academic adivising, first year experience, and lots of space for social studying, group work, collaborative learning.  It's not just a computer lab in the library.

One of the most recent is the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons at Georgia Tech.  It is a 24/7 facility that includes many of the services listed above.  It is located alongside the university library and has been "integrated" into the library organization, according to Dean of Libraries, Catherine Murray-Rust:
"At the end of fall 2010 semester, Provost Rafael Bras asked me and my colleagues to integrate the G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons with the Library. The Library was a logical choice for this important effort, not only because Library faculty and staff have many years of experience managing large academic spaces that service the entire campus, but also because many of the innovations that are featured in Clough Commons were first tested in the Library."  Photos of construction and opening day.

A few more examples of this kind of organizational bundling: Seattle U. Learning CommonsOberlin College's Academic CommonsCal Poly's Library and Academic Center.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Uncommon Learning in the Information Commons" Conference Report

“Uncommon Learning in the Information Commons” was the theme of the  Ohio Private Academic Libraries 2011 Annual Conference last August.  Chad Boeninger, reference librarian at Alden Library, Ohio U., was a presenter, and he has a good summary of all the presentations at his blog Library Voice.   http://tinyurl.com/69gu9je

Some quotes to whet your appetite:

"Information Commons is not just about the building.  With the changing of the library environment, student expectations of service will change."

"Someone asked ... about the noise level in Learning Commons environments... When the floor is packed with people, all of the voices together make a nice “hum” that drowns out individual voices pretty well."

"We no longer have a food policy. Long story short, if you don’t have a food policy to enforce, then you can’t get in trouble with custodial services for not enforcing your food policy."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Old Dominion's Learning Commons Opens

The Learning Commons at Old Dominion U.'s Perry Library opened in September, 2011.  It is a collaborative effort involving University Libraries, Computing and Commuication Services and Academic Enhancement.  See the press release from 9/13/11 or my earlier post for details.