Collaborating in the cold: connecting learners across a Canadian province

Your Name and Title: Josh Seeland, ACC Library

Library, School, or Organization Name: Assiniboine Community College

Co-Presenter Name(s): Lynn Cliplef (Faculty Development Coach) and Caitlin Munn (Director, Learning Commons)

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Brandon, MB, Canada

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Teaching and Learning Centres, Instructional Designers, Librarians, Educational Technology Specialists

Short Session Description (one line): Collaborating in the cold: connecting learners across a Canadian province

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

 With 5 staff covering about 1950 full-time students over an area of 72,000 square miles, the ACC Library has long employed a service-focused model. Through outreach and liaison efforts, library instruction focusing on information literacy and academic integrity has been embedded informally but is usually limited to the decontextualized one-shot orientation for students. In April 2016, the ACC Learning Commons was formed with the amalgamation of the Library, Test Centre, and Learning Curve (student learning centre). This led to co-facilitated workshops and interventions for students that integrated learning strategies, critical thinking, and information literacy. This proactive approach reduced the need for individual student remediation.  

 While this approach was effective, it was mostly focused on student development and success. From experience and research, we knew that faculty and teaching centre staff would be key partners needed to engage in this process. Recently, the Centre for Learning Innovation (teaching centre) merged with the ACC Learning Commons, allowing us to explore this need. This has demonstrated to us that further aligning our Library services with the teaching and learning centres allows the Learning Commons to offer seamless, integrated academic services that will respond to change over time and support staff, students, and faculty. Through collaboration we can embed transversal skills such as digital and information literacy into curriculum and assignment design. For example, rather than a one-shot approach to Library instruction, we can embed Library instruction material into the assignments for which they would be used. This optimizes our impact on students, supports faculty development, and allows us to scale services past individual instruction. By collaborating we can proactively address areas of student and faculty need by improving assignments, informing program reviews, and developing curriculum assets. 

 As a Learning Commons team, we collaborate to ensure parity in services and access, regardless of location. This is increasingly important as the College aims to increase post-secondary participation across the province of Manitoba, where an in-person visit to the site is not always feasible. For some sites, low bandwidth makes remote delivery of workshops and presentations challenging. Therefore, by contextualizing Library instruction into curriculum and instruction we are able to provide Library services in a nimble, 21st century manner to all students, regardless of geography. As a larger Learning Commons, we are uniquely positioned to meet institutional goals and be a strong partner to programs.


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