Learning Commons at CapU: What Is Our Vision?

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Overview of the Learning Commons model, it's adaptable nature and ultimate goals.

Overview of the Learning Commons model, it's adaptable nature and ultimate goals.

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  • movement in post-secondary learning, started as library + tech, also called an information commonsreconfigure student spaces and servicesreassign obsolete spaces (book shelves) for new purposescreate everything to be flexible – silent or noise, 1-3-7 students, workshops or one-on-one sessionsmaking space for the learning the students are doing NOWinvolving the students on multiple levels, from flexible mobile furniture to student advisory boards/members to student planning of programs to peer support programs; allowing students to shape their learning spaces, as well as grow in non-traditional, non-academic areas
  • describe the current environment from a students’ perspective – confusing, fragmented, few spaces that they own or can use easily to collaborate
  • conceptual model with many component elements – pick and choose what your budget/space/services allow always keeping in mind larger end goals (student centred, collaborative, etc.)
  • UBCCamosunYork
  • word association... Library = ??Natural progression of some of Library functions that are not first when we think “library”.modern library is moving to not just providing access but facilitating information self-sufficiency – information rich world = life-long searchers. Information literacyLibrary as placeRecent grad experienceLibrary is information hub & meeting placeThe end product is not as important as the skills to get there. Library a place where students feel immersed in academic culture. They can concentrate when they see others around them doing the same, they find spaces to meet and work together, they get help to support their academic endeavour.
  • easy access to information (physical or online), flexible study/meeting spaces, academic atmosphere, access to information literacy/research assistance on demand (ref desk and online)
  • LC does not necessarily mean moving all support to a centralize location but providing some services in a hub space. Acts as marketing for the service main location.
  • drop-in assistance or permanent hours; reference, writing, math, study skills, emotional well-being; flexible to rhythm of academic schedule
  • Technology is enhanced and promoted.Social space: studies show students mix social with study, don’t want to go far for fuel
  • high-end hard/software, help for hard/software, group technology spacescafe
  • Peer programs allow our students to get the experience they need to become leaders, resume building – service component now at UBC, other institutions. Studies show students feel more comfortable with peers – doesn’t replace “expert” assistance but can act as conduit.
  • peer tutoring, peer referrals, peer assistance (tech), peer planning of space; leadership opps for those in the peer programs. Can be paid position, honorarium or strictly volunteers QUESTIONS??
  • Watch the video – jot down key words or concepts you hear that could enhance our work at Cap. Share with group, session.
  • Facilitates active, independent and collaborative learning. Based on collaboration between different learning support areas in the university, facilitates collaboration between students.Responsive to the changing needs of learners for resources and support – “hills and valleys” of needFocuses on student needs, preferences and work patterns. Allows students to develop as leaders through peer support programsPart of university-wide development of learner autonomy.Provides a hub for physical and virtual interaction for staff and students.allows for interaction, experimentation with technology
  • steeped in academia – inside “heritage core” of old Main
  • not that flexible, but students part of planning & developmentflexible space provided outside in IK Barberrooms for events, bring university community inside
  • flexible space provided just outside in IK Barberalso has conference space and 2 branches of UBC librariescombination of spaces is ideal LC situation:adjacent to informationtechnologypeer referralsindividual and group study space
  • peer system – paid, trained in providing quality referrals, hired/trained for technologyno permanent services – scheduled hours based on hills and valleys of term
  • LEAP, collaborative efforts of various support/tech departments
  • much more modest implementationfaculty/expert drivenconceptual rather than physical with small virtual componentcollaboration with faculty for referralsfocus is on student services, not collaborationpeer program – honorarium for peer tutors. 1st years get peers only, higher levels get expert/faculty assistance
  • social/academic – line is very blurred for students; want space to do both, flip back and forth
  • work in groups
  • http://youtu.be/xG6A1ukCpZU


  • 1. Learning Commonsat CapUWhat is our vision?
  • 2. Learning CommonsWhat is it? The model:• an academic “village green” or commons• flexible, multi-purpose• physical and virtual options• collaboration space -learning, research, projects• student-centred, not top-down ‘7 Things You Should Know About the Modern Learning Commons’, Educause, 2011. Accessed 20 February 2012
  • 3. Learning CommonsWhat is it? information faculty student equipmentA LearningCommonsfacilitates otherconnections. students ‘7 Things You Should Know About the Modern Learning Commons’, Educause, 2011. Accessed 20 February 2012
  • 4. Learning CommonsWhat is it? • flexible model allows for • adaptation to specific student needs • adaptation to institutional mission • gradual implementation • implementation as budget allows
  • 5. Learning CommonsWhat is it? • heavily used wherever it appears
  • 6. Learning CommonsWhat is it? • usually in or near the Library • library = ?? • information literacy • library as place • information hub and meeting space • ‘steeped in academia’
  • 7. Learning CommonsComponents • usually in or near the Library • flexible meeting spaces • easy access to information • assistance – f2f & virtual • 24/7 • information literacy • research
  • 8. Learning CommonsWhat is it? • integrates student services but doesn’t replace them • “one-stop shop” – students don’t have to guess where to get help • drop-in , varying permanence
  • 9. Learning CommonsComponents • integrates student services but doesn’t replace them • help desks for wide variety of student support services • schedule changes with rhythm of academic year
  • 10. Learning CommonsWhat is it? • more than a lab/social space • enhances and promotes technology • refuelling station – mental and physical • studies: students mix social and learning
  • 11. Learning CommonsComponents • more than a lab/social space • hardware & software • assistance for technology • cafe
  • 12. Learning CommonsWhat is it? • peer opportunities • students more comfy with other students, less threatened • first point of contact • training required • leadership, resume building
  • 13. Learning CommonsComponents • peer opportunities • tutoring • technical assistance • coaching • referrals • paid, honorarium or volunteer
  • 14. Learning Commons What is it?The LearningCommons in BC(2011) This video is a collaboration of several Vancouver schools, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC, Reel Youth and the Libraries and Literacy Branch.
  • 15. Learning CommonsWhat is it?• collaborative• adaptive to student needs and schedules• student centred – peer support programs and student services• move from content to process, enquiry based learning• connect to world and own passions• solve problems together• technology rich
  • 16. Learning CommonsModel 1 - UBCChapman Learning Commons
  • 17. Learning CommonsModel 1 - UBCChapman Learning Commons• high-end Macs, productivity and media software • mix of soft “club” style furniture and round tables • special event rooms
  • 18. Learning CommonsModel 1 - UBCIK Barber Learning Centre• movable furniture• cafe• long hours, 24/7 during exams
  • 19. Learning CommonsModel 1 - UBCChapman Learning Commons• peer support system – referrals and technical assistance• drop-in tutoring
  • 20. Learning CommonsModel 1 - UBCChapman Learning Commons • virtual component
  • 21. Learning CommonsModel 2 - SFUSFU Learning Commons• next to computer lab in Bennett Library• no physical space – consultations only • writing • study skills• peer program – first year students limited to peer assistance
  • 22. Learning CommonsModel 2 - SFUSFU Learning Commons • virtual component
  • 23. Learning CommonsComponents • collaboration • learning • social • study • support • technology • leadership development • ??
  • 24. Learning CommonsQualities • flexible • adaptable • academic • inviting • convenient • ??
  • 25. Learning CommonsPlanning • What is going to happen in this space? List as many specific activities as you envision taking place in the new Learning Commons. • Describe the spaces and/or equipment that would facilitate the activities you listed above. • Who are the stakeholders in the new Learning Commons? How should it be planned and maintained? • Where should this Learning Commons be on campus? • Which specific elements are most crucial to CapU students right now?
  • 26. Learning CommonsPlanningWhat are the potential problems or issuesthat implementing this model could cause? • moving away from traditional, faculty- centred delivery models • collaboration across a wide range of stakeholders can be more work • ?? Bennett, Scott, ‘The Information or the Learning Commons: Which Will We Have?’, Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34 (2008), 183–185
  • 27. Learning CommonsPlanningFollow-up questions: • What elements of the model most or best fit the specific needs of Capilano University students right now? • What can we afford to do…now? Bennett, Scott, ‘The Information or the Learning Commons: Which Will We Have?’, Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34 (2008), 183–185
  • 28. Learning CommonsStudent perspectives
  • 29. Thank you!Literature and links from this session will be available on the TLC Forum resources page.Tania AleksonReference & Instruction LibrarianLiaison for Business, Tourism StudiesRegional Librarianx2141talekson@capilanou.cahttp://www.twitter.com/info_detective