Title

Information Commons: Employment as Experiential Learning

Streaming Media

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

The Information Commons (IC) program has been a source of pride at Butler University, a private liberal arts institution in Indianapolis, for over seven years. It is a unique student employee partnership between the Libraries and the Center for Academic Technology that exemplifies a blended learning project. In alignment with Butler’s educational mission, the IC program strives to foster experiential learning opportunities revolving around twenty-first century skills, self-development, and professional growth. In addition to interacting with patrons and managing two service points, IC employees are called upon to assist staff with projects and lead instructional sessions. Preparing them for these multiple responsibilities, a lofty goal in itself, can feel all the loftier while operating within the staffing and financial constraints that characterize small liberal arts colleges.

We have thus had to be creative in our approach to student training, replacing face-to-face elements with LMS-based online modules where possible, leveraging student leaders to lessen our administrative burdens; and, more recently, embracing a competency-based approach to training. Although our competency-based approach is in its infancy, it’s been readily embraced by students so far. Each section of our training begins with a checklist of learning objectives for students to cross-reference against their existing knowledge. Students can self-attest to mastery of select objectives, supplement knowledge gaps with resources, and demonstrate competency through completion of assigned activities. Training topics include customer service, information and digital literacies, creating and managing digital assets, and campus-supported technology such as Panopto and Moodle, and more. Peer teaching occurs as students entrusted with leadership roles verify competency and mentor peers through the process. Reflection portfolios serve as another way for peers to assess learning and for individuals to track self-development.

Our panel presentation will share resources and practical advice for implementing similar employment-based experiential learning. Additionally, although our experience involves teaching students in an employment setting, we will show how our approach could easily be adopted and translated into blended learning contexts or other educational settings.

Location

Thomas 104

Start Date

5-17-2017 2:40 PM

End Date

5-17-2017 4:00 PM

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May 17th, 2:40 PM May 17th, 4:00 PM

Information Commons: Employment as Experiential Learning

Thomas 104

The Information Commons (IC) program has been a source of pride at Butler University, a private liberal arts institution in Indianapolis, for over seven years. It is a unique student employee partnership between the Libraries and the Center for Academic Technology that exemplifies a blended learning project. In alignment with Butler’s educational mission, the IC program strives to foster experiential learning opportunities revolving around twenty-first century skills, self-development, and professional growth. In addition to interacting with patrons and managing two service points, IC employees are called upon to assist staff with projects and lead instructional sessions. Preparing them for these multiple responsibilities, a lofty goal in itself, can feel all the loftier while operating within the staffing and financial constraints that characterize small liberal arts colleges.

We have thus had to be creative in our approach to student training, replacing face-to-face elements with LMS-based online modules where possible, leveraging student leaders to lessen our administrative burdens; and, more recently, embracing a competency-based approach to training. Although our competency-based approach is in its infancy, it’s been readily embraced by students so far. Each section of our training begins with a checklist of learning objectives for students to cross-reference against their existing knowledge. Students can self-attest to mastery of select objectives, supplement knowledge gaps with resources, and demonstrate competency through completion of assigned activities. Training topics include customer service, information and digital literacies, creating and managing digital assets, and campus-supported technology such as Panopto and Moodle, and more. Peer teaching occurs as students entrusted with leadership roles verify competency and mentor peers through the process. Reflection portfolios serve as another way for peers to assess learning and for individuals to track self-development.

Our panel presentation will share resources and practical advice for implementing similar employment-based experiential learning. Additionally, although our experience involves teaching students in an employment setting, we will show how our approach could easily be adopted and translated into blended learning contexts or other educational settings.