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Working Together: Brock University’s New Matheson Learning Commons

Working Together: Brock University’s New Matheson Learning Commons

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Working Together: Brock University’s New Matheson Learning Commons

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  1. Working Together: Brock University’s New Matheson Learning Commons Kevin Manuel, Liaison Librarian, Brock University

  2. Today’s presentation • About me • The Matheson Learning Commons • Online Survey • Focus Groups • Preliminary findings • Upcoming analysis • Publications

  3. The Researcher • About Kevin • BA Anthropology, MA Sociology, MLIS • Co-op at University of Waterloo • MLIS Independent study – focus groups • Liaison Librarian at Brock University • CLA Library Research and Development award

  4. Before Renovations – June 2007

  5. After Renovations – Sept 2008 http://www.flickr.com/photos/brock_library

  6. Places to study…

  7. Lots of computers…

  8. Group work…

  9. Partnerships…

  10. Services…

  11. Take a break…

  12. The survey… • Ethics approval • Online survey for one month • Library homepage • For students • 16 questions • Recruit sample population • 138 responses

  13. Survey Results • A) UndergraduateB) GraduateC) No reply • A) MaleB) FemaleC) No reply

  14. Survey Results • A) Applied Health SciencesB) BusinessC) EducationD) HumanitiesE) Math and ScienceF) Social SciencesG) Other • A) LectureB) ReadingC) Audio-VisualD) DemonstrationE) Discussion groupF) Practice by doingG) Sharing knowledgeH) Other

  15. Survey Results • A) Individually with noiseB) Individually with quietC) In a group with quietD) In a group with noiseE) Other • A) StudyingB) MeetingsC) Services (research, writing, career)D) SocializingE) Coffee breaksF) Email, Facebook, etc.G) Other

  16. Survey Results • A) Lounge area by coffee barB) PC workstationsC) Mac workstationsD) Seats by windowsE) Quiet area at backF) Group study roomsG) Computer labs • A) Groups assigned by instructorB) Informal study groupsC) NoneD) Other

  17. Focus Groups • Ethics approval • $20 book store gift certificate incentive • Refreshments • Circle discussion • Moderator • Note taker • Whiteboard

  18. Focus Group • 49 signed up • 21 attended • 4 sessions at different days and times • 45 minute discussions • Icebreakers • Informal discussion

  19. Focus Group themes • What are the perceptions of students when comparing the previous library space to the new Learning Commons design? • How are students using the combined resources provided in the Learning Commons? • How are students actually using the space in the Learning Commons for collaborative work? • Does the new environment promote learning, encourage engagement and contribute to student success?

  20. Focus Group findings • ‘Old library’ • Not welcoming • Not enough group study • Needed more computers • Services crowded • “the old Library was from the dinosaur age!”

  21. What students liked about the LC • Open concept • Better lighting • Very Organized • Various seating arrangements • Comfort of sofa areas • Group study rooms • Starbucks • More access to reserves • More computers • More computer plugs • More space for laptops • “Laptop Wall” (note – meaning the wall along the window with all the plugs) • Informal learning environment

  22. Patterns of Use • Studying • Individual • Group • Combinations • “I like to study alone first and then use study rooms, couches or tables near the café afterwards” • Social • “Nice to unwind here after studying” • “It helps being with friends to work on an assignment” • “I’m here from 7am-7pm” • Computers “it’s more social use like Facebook”

  23. Design of the Learning Commons • More inviting space • “Nice and modern looking – gorgeous!” • Improve acoustics • “It is nice to have options and use different types of spaces” • “Less rigid, more informal, along with the coffee bar these things make the library a fun place to learn” • “Some students spend all their breaks/time here - its’ better than going home - they can get more work done now”

  24. Design… • Lighting • Better lighting so students feel less sleepy • “I like seeing outside rather than being in the tower (library), it’s like a box” • “It’s not straining on the eyes. Helps keep me alert”

  25. Design • Open layout • Easy to find people I’m meeting with • Like being able to cut through rather than walk outside • Better air quality with more breathing room

  26. Furnishings • Soft furnishings for more relaxed study • ‘Pods’ for group work • Window seats for using laptops • Quiet study area • Booths by Starbucks • Need for tables

  27. Group Study Rooms • Some Students use rooms on a weekly basis (1-5 times/week) • “I have to come here twenty times a semester for presentation work” • Convenient place for everyone to meet

  28. Use of Group Study Rooms • Study individually and/or collaboratively • Practice seminar presentations • Midterm/final preparation • To record a video project • Business group projects (one student often has five meetings/week) • White boards are good for studying • Computers/LCD screen

  29. Computers • “Rows and rows of computers. It’s easier to find one between classes, like the standing use only computers. Students really, really like this because of the quick turnover.” • Macs are used – often there is no wait for the Macs • Use computers for email/research

  30. Laptops • “Before, it was hard to find computer plugs but now they are everywhere. This makes it easier to be more productive because your notes are on your laptop” • Use laptops in the study rooms and the social area by Starbucks • Use of laptops on loan from circulation

  31. Services • “Nice to have all the services in one place, especially having the photocopiers and reserves close together” • Self-checkout is good for keeping the line at the desk moving • Enjoy having reserves and circ. in the same place • Like the Help Desk dual monitors

  32. Partnerships • “It is beneficial to have all services together in one place” • Career Services used for a mock interview • Career Services – “I have a friend that uses it all the time”

  33. Starbucks • It makes it like Chapters • Makes the space more inviting and social • “nice during exam time…don’t need to pack up and go somewhere else” • “good idea for studying later, if I can afford it”

  34. Technology • Touch screen – don’t have to bother library staff • Like the print station - don’t get the noise from it because it is boxed in • Having the two banks of copiers makes copying so easy in the LC

  35. Possible Improvements • More sofas and chairs • More tables for studying • Open earlier/later • Improve line for circulation/reserves • Easier photocopying • More group rooms • Easier access to group rooms • Longer booking time for group rooms • More computers • More plug outlets

  36. Collaborative Work • Can work with your group quietly and then talk • “Everyone can meet in the study rooms, everyone knows where it is” • Can work with your group quietly and then talk • Convenience

  37. Promoting Learning • Provides options for learning: individual study, quiet, group study, it provides options for different types of study • Enjoy the academic setting – it’s not just social • It does contribute to students’ success overall • “It’s nice to know this building is for learning”

  38. Highlights • “I’d rather come here to study because it is bright and modern, and everything I need is nearby” • “It encompasses everything a university should have – I wish the rest of the library was like this” • “I live here” • “Don’t know what I did without it” • “There is more opportunity to do work” • “The pros outweigh the cons, I’m really happy that Brock decided to do this”

  39. Analysis… • Examine the literature • Compare findings • Analyze • Publications

  40. Matheson Learning Commons Thanks for attending! kmanuel@brocku.ca