This is my last post to the Instruction & Outreach blog, and I have decided to spend this one reflecting upon my experience with Duke Libraries and a few of my projects. Getting the chance to learn from Diane, Emily, Amber, and Erin has been a gift, and I am thankful to have been a part of this great department this semester.
I really appreciate that I was able to pursue individual projects as well as team projects. Throughout the semester I investigated possible uses of technology in instruction, and I reported some of what I found about collaborative learning spaces in an earlier blog post.
Another project involved surveying the landscape of library instruction spaces. A lot of places have library classrooms very similar to those at Duke: desktop computers for the students, an instructor’s station up front, a projector and screen(s). However, I was excited to see some of the spaces at Penn State University Libraries’ new Knowledge Commons. One classroom in particular was based on the Steelcase LearnLab concept which has the instructor’s station in the center of the room with student desks and chairs radiating out from it and screens on the surrounding walls to allow for more student-centric, collaborative work. This emphasis on designing spaces to accommodate collaborative work and active learning seems to be growing, and it is encouraging to see architects taking notes from what is actually happening in the classroom in order to inform design.
One of the creative projects that I got to work on was a photo study pilot that took a look at the way spaces are used on the first floor of Bostock. I was fortunate to join Erin and Brian, the Research Services Intern at the helm of the project, on this venture. It was a great experience to puzzle through the logistics of taking photos in such a busy and varied space in order to capture furniture and technology use. Likewise, I learned a lot through the process of deciding how to categorize and analyze the data we gathered. One of the surprising revelations, to me at least, was that students at the time we ran our pilot seemed to prefer the hard seating and tables rather than the soft seating. It will be interesting to follow up once the project is out of the pilot stage to see if this preference changes throughout the day.
As my final act within the department, I have the pleasure of co-leading a session with Hannah Rozear from the Divinity School Library at the upcoming Instruction Retreat. The theme of the retreat is reflection, and Hannah and I will present strategies and tools for “reflection on the run.” In an earlier post I wrote about reflection, so it is nice to bring this experience full circle by getting the chance to talk about reflection once again and hear how others incorporate reflection into their practice.
It was a real treat to work at Duke Libraries and with the Duke community—thank you all for making this such a wonderful experience!