Arts & Humanities Advisory Group – Fall 2012 Meeting Notes

In attendance: Steve Bertolino, co-convener (LIS), Louisa Stein, co-convener (FMMC), Ellie Gebarowkski-Shafer (RELI), Mary Ellen Bertolini (WRPR), Holly Allen (AMST), Stefano Mula (CMLT), Kellam Ayres (LIS), Hans Raum (LIS), Rebekah Irwin (LIS), Joe Antonioli (LIS), Terry Simpkins (LIS), Carrie Macfarlane (LIS)

1. Liaison Program Assessment – Carrie Macfarlane (addressed)
2. Curricular Technology Stats & Future Directions – Joe Antonioli (addressed)
3. Ebooks Stats & Strategies – Rebekah Irwin (tabled to a J-term optional meeting)
4. Digital Scholarship/Digital Humanities Update – Rebekah Irwin (tabled to a J-term optional meeting)
5. Information Literacy Update – Carrie Macfarlane (tabled TBA)
6. Collection Management Standing Orders & Subscriptions Review – Rebekah Irwin (tabled TBA)

1. Liaison Program Assessment – Carrie Macfarlane

A. the assessment is a multi-year project; further, we are still under-staffed, and so this year we are focusing on communication to/with faculty

B. reiterating a point made in the previous meeting: liaisons are most important to faculty when they don’t know who in LIS to contact for a question, issue, or task, though not all communication must go through liaisons if a faculty member already knows who the best person is to help them, though they may also want to keep their liaison in the loop

C. faculty have told us in the past brief email updates from liaisons work best–continued agreement with this from faculty around the table

D. Carrie asked “What do faculty most need to know from LIS?” and mentioned there are no new surveys of faculty planned, as we already have various data from MISO & others done in the past couple of years.
–Mary Ellen: help with, information, and sharing opportunities concerning Moodle. Because the Moodle system is closed, unlike Segue, faculty cannot see what other faculty are doing with the software without being added to classes. It’s harder to share innovation and efficient tips with each other; liaisons should facilitate help with this. Last year, Mary Ellen expressed interest in an online Moodle discussion group; the tool we suggested in response didn’t meet her needs; Carrie will follow up.
–Louisa: agreed with above, wondered if LIS can help facilitate online discussions of how faculty are using/can get the most out of Moodle & WordPress.
–Ellie: agreed with above, expressed satisfaction with her liaison (Steve Bertolino) in providing timely and helpful service even with random questions
–Louisa: would like to see more updates on library collections, and how the collection is growing and being directed for growth. Rebekah responded by giving a brief explanation of the Approval Plan used to guide collection development, and urged faculty to, if they see certain publishers as crucial for their teaching or scholarship and we don’t have many of their volumes, to get in touch with herself or their liaison to suggest adding publishers to the Approval Plan
–Stefano asked if faculty find themselves borrowing a certain volume or type of volume repeatedly from NExpress or ILL, could they order it or work with their liaison to develop the collection in that field. Rebekah and Terry both affirmed that this is encouraged.
–Holly said she sends seniors in regularly for consultations.
–Holly noted that the questions she doesn’t find herself asking are related to the Helpdesk, because she’s generally been frustrated with delayed or insufficient help she and her students have received there historically – the rest of the faculty around the table concurred.
–Holly wondered how much liaisons could assist with exploring new software for curricular technology and lamented how the Curricular Technologist position formerly held by Alex Chapin has still not been filled – Louisa and Ellie concurred. was cited by faculty as a useful learning tool. Mary Ellen asked for an update on the job search for that position and Terry responded.
–This led into a side discussion involving Terry sharing briefly about some of the MISO survey findings: that faculty’s highest general LIS concerns included fixing computer problems, backing up data, interest in graphics software packages, information security, and copyright concerns. He asked if the assembled faculty agreed with those concerns. Ellie, Holly, Louisa, and Stefano all expressed anxiety concerning what they described as “run-around” at the Helpdesk generally and frequent service that was not prompt or efficient. In particular there was frustration at issues relating to their laptops needing to be reimaged or updated and these processes taking more than a day to accomplish, which greatly affects their teaching as they use their laptops every day to teach. Concerns were expressed by the faculty generally that the loaner laptops in Circulation are not a helpful solution due to their age, their slowness, short battery life (age again), and not knowing what kind of shape the previous person who checked them out returned them in. An idea was floated that Helpdesk could put together a webpage about “the five most common things that can go wrong with your faculty laptop and how to fix them.” Due to time restraints we didn’t discuss the rest of the MISO concerns.

2. Curricular Technology Stats & Future Directions – Joe Antonioli. Joe shared various stats concerning use of the Course Hub this semester (Fall 2012):

A. 83% of faculty have uploaded something to the Hub. 99% of the students have at least one class with some link on its Course Hub that’s more than the basic catalog and scheduling information. Literally 22 students have a course configuration this fall where none of their courses use the Hub at all.

B. 47% of faculty have added a link to MiddFiles. 85% of students have at least one class with a professor using MiddFiles.
–Mary Ellen asked if that meant almost half of the faculty are still using our oldest in-use curricular technology, which Joe confirmed.

C. 30% of faculty have added a Moodle link. 65% of students have at least one class with a Moodle link.
–Louisa commented that she’s considering using the Course Hub as the focal point for curricular technology for her classes next semester as opposed to Moodle, which she currently uses. Her reasons include a frustration with the layout of Moodle, its aesthetic qualities, and that she feels without a staffer in the Curricular Technologist position, LIS has not been able to move forward with faculty support for Moodle in an acceptable way. The rest of the assembled faculty generally concurred with Louisa’s statement about the Curricular Technologist position. Mary Ellen mentioned that liaisons aren’t able to address “nuanced questions” about Moodle – Louisa added the term “back-end questions” as well – and it’s why a hire in the Curricular Technologist position soon is important.

D. 9% of faculty have added a WordPress link. 21% of students have at least one class with a WordPress link.

E. 30% of faculty have uploaded a syllabus to the Hub. 69% of students have at least one class with an uploaded syllabus.
–Holly brought up the idea of having departmental coordinators upload syllabi for all courses in their department each semester, since they collect syllabi for record-keeping each semester already. LIS staff agreed to look into this.
–Louisa mentioned a technical issue with Moodle: that students can’t easily tell when they’re not logged into the Hub, and if a professor uploads a syllabus but doesn’t make it public, students don’t understand they’re not logged in and that’s why they aren’t seeing it. To deal with this she’s made her syllabi open to public viewing, which she’s not comfortable with as a long-term solution.

F. Joe talked about how LIS will be upgrading to Moodle 2.0 very soon, and will send out a date for the conversion once he knows it. Everything in everyone’s sites will be upgraded automatically and backups will be kept if they are any issues. Very few cosmetic changes will occur as a result of this, but back-end mechanics will run more smoothly.

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