From Creation to Preservation: Transforming the Culminating Student Project Through Collaboration at Purchase College, SUNY

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This project briefing, presented at the METRO's 2nd Annual Conference (#metrocon14) on January 15, 2014 at Baruch College, shows how key members of the Purchase College Library and the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center came together to transform the year-long Student Projects process. At Purchase College, Student Projects is the blanket term used to refer to the ‘culminating student experience’ and includes senior projects, capstone papers, and master’s theses. We will show how librarians, catalogers, developers, and TLTC staff partnered to create a workspace that has taken Student Projects from a traditional paper-based process and transformed it into a dynamic, digital, student-centered venture that is interwoven with reference, instruction, assessment, access, and other practical innovations such as the ability for faculty readers/sponsors to approve projects within the workspace. We will explain how we adapted technologies already in place at Purchase (Moodle, LibGuides, and Drupal) to enhance and streamline the process of researching, developing, submitting, and archiving Student Projects. The flexibility of these systems allows us to respond to student and faculty feedback quickly and make adjustments as needed. We will present our successes, challenges, and share our current plans for developing an open, fully searchable, and aesthetically mindful digital repository. We will also discuss future plans for a large-scale digitization effort to make accessible nearly 40 years of Student Projects, allowing for better and broader access to this collection of important student scholarship and creativity. We hope that our collaboration and the development of the Student Projects digital repository will make a meaningful contribution to Purchase College’s institutional memory and serve as an inspiration to other institutions interested in preserving student scholarship.

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  • KIM
  • KIMSenior Project: The senior project is a college-wide requirement for B.A. and B.S. degrees. Students devote two semesters to in-depth, original, and/or creative study. Each program has guidelines for the senior project, which range from research culminating in a baccalaureate thesis to text combined with a visual or performance component.  Capstone: The liberal studies degree program within the School of Liberal Studies & Continuing Education concludes with a Senior Capstone course. Students engage in intensive research and writing, synthesizing individual learning by completing a biographical capstone paper.  Masters Theses: The MFA program in the School of Art+Design is a two-year, interdisciplinary graduate program in the visual arts. Each graduate student is expected to produce a body of work culminating in an exhibition accompanied by a written thesis. The Art History MA Program in modern and contemporary art, criticism, and theory culminates in an 8-credit thesis. 
  • DARCY: Since 1973, senior projects were submitted in print and bound by the Library.  They were held in compact shelving that was closed and only accessible to staff.  Researchers needed to request a project be fetched from compact shelving and had to be on-site to read them. Original cataloguing was performed by the library’s cataloguer and projects were searchable in ALEPH. In other words…if you wanted to view a senior project, you had to look it up in Aleph, bring the title, year, and board of study to the Circulation desk, and wait for a staff member to retrieve it from compact shelving.Challenges:  The problem with the analog system:Hard for researchers and alumni to access projects; had to be physically on campus to view the print copies requested from the closed stacksHard to search for projects in the catalog due to minimal metadata with no subject heading.  Patrons often required instruction from librarians to search the catalog for a list of all sr. projects.Students physically submitted print projects to the library; specific margins and formatting were required for binding; library staff had to provide paper receipts; Mad rush during finals week for students to hand in projects. Faculty readers had to sign off on the cover of the project, which was time-consuming and difficult (faculty might be on sabbatical, might only be on campus a few days a week, students might be abroad, etc).  After all this, library had to provide copies of the cover pages and receipts to the registrar to confirm that students had submitted their projects before graduating.This lead to students and faculty associating the library with storing and archiving senior projects but didn’t give the library as big a role during the research process.We felt that making the submission digital would help with these issues.
  • DARCY: This is the timeline of our transition from an analog to a digital senior projects submission process.We switched to digital in 2009. Students submitted projects on CD-Rs. These were manually uploaded into a temporary online directory and catalogued in Aleph. Accepting the physical discs was still problematic.
  • MARIE: Several people in different departments of the library had to work together to create a useful moodle space.  The Library Director wanted to go digital.  The TLTC director/assistant director and digital media developer were instrumental in setting up the Moodle space.  They collaborated closely with the library’s sole cataloguer to discuss what metadata fields were needed.  Reference Librarians also helped with usability suggestions, suggestions for what resources to include, creating help documentation for students, etc.
  • MARIE: TLTC is housed in the library, which makes for easy collaboration.  See this list of other projects that we collaborate on together.
  • MARIE: Now students have individual Moodle spaces where they can add their first and second readers, add new resources, submit rough drafts, submit final project, and have faculty sign off on it.  The TLTC’s digital media developercreated the student-centered interface and functionalities. Since Moodle is an open source LMS, the TLTC was able to build and design a customized workspace.This approach is more student-centered: the student invites faculty readers, organizes resources as they see fit, provides metadata, can access the space from anywhere.Via Moodle, students can now:define metadata (title, author, board of study, keywords, abstract)invite their readers (faculty readers accept invitations)submit draftsshare documentscommunicate with readersaccess Library resources/services like citation managers, research guides, Ask Us servicessubmit final project as .pdfFaculty sign off electronically
  • DARCY: Moodle makes it possible for the Library to embed resources like citation manager links, libguides, and our Ask Us services into each student’s project space. Librarians developed a rubric to assess information literacy skills of past graduates using senior projects. “This rubric assesses information literacy skills demonstrated in senior projects. Numbers in parentheses after eachcriterion correspond to the SUNY Learning Objectives and the ACRL Information Literacy Standards respectively.” The MoodleRepository of senior projects provides an ideal selection of papers to assess--having a digital selection makes it even easier to complete the assessment because they’re accessible from anywhere– we don’t need to “check out” print copies from compact shelving or trade them back and forth.By uploading our sr. proj.assessment rubric into Moodle Rubrics, librarians can integrate assessment into the student project process going forward. In the future, readers can partner with librarians to immediately assess projects in Moodle.
  • KIM: Librarians and TLTC staff used iFrames to make updating a LibGuide on Student Projects easier.  This LibGuide answers student and faculty questions about the student project research process from start to finish: finding other projects, setting up your Moodle space, researching, submitting, approving.iFrames in LibGuides used to displaystep-by-step instructions for entire StudentProject process, pulled from the TLTC website. Reduces duplication of effort and content. Only
  • KIM/MARIE: Culture Shift:    Some faculty were used to the analog traditions. We’ve had to convince them of the advantages of the moodle senior project submission process. Selling points:  Faculty don’t need to sign a sheet of paper in-person, they can sign off remotely even after the semester is over or during a sabbatical or trip.  Archival issue: easier for future students and researchers to access online rather than print archives.  Engages the second reader earlier in the senior project process; second reader becomes a more active participant and less of an afterthought.  Allows students to prepare in their junior year. Open Access:  Library generally feels that the online archive should be more open so that future researchers (including former students) can more easily make use of these research projects. However, some boards of study like Biology, Art+Design, and some Theater/Performing Arts divisions are concerned about privacy and intellectual property issues and request that the projects are protected behind a login wall and only accessible to current students and staff.Full Features:  So much more than a place to submit a file!  Students and faculty readers can use discussion forums, share readings, share drafts, link to useful resources. Unified Repository:  Currently print projects are in the aleph catalog along, early digital submissions from CDs are also indexed in the catalog, some projects are in a Moodle 1.9 archive, and the latest projects from Moodle 2.2 (spring 2013) currently are not in a publicly accessible repository, although TLTC staff have access to it.  We need one unified repository where patrons can search for print and digital projects regardless of the year they were submitted. Hence, our plans for Collective Access...
  • KIM: We are in the process of implementing Collective Access, an open source digital asset management system.  We hope this will help us make all iterations of senior projects searchable in one online repository with a user-friendly interface.   
  • From Creation to Preservation: Transforming the Culminating Student Project Through Collaboration at Purchase College, SUNY

    1. 1. From Creation to Preservation: Transforming the Culminating Student Project Through Collaboration Kim Detterbeck, Art Librarian Darcy Gervasio, Reference & Instruction Librarian Marie Sciangula, Ass’t Director, Teaching, Learning, & Technology Center METRO’s 2nd Annual Conference The Vertical Campus at Baruch College January 15, 2014
    2. 2. What is the Student Project at Purchase College?  Senior Projects  Capstone Papers  Master’s Theses
    3. 3. The Way We Were…  Student projects submitted in print (a bit onerous)  Catalogued and searchable in ALEPH but with limited metadata  Archived in compact shelving and closed stacks  Library seen as storehouse and involved only at the end of the student projects process
    4. 4. Digital Transformation
    5. 5. Collaboration This project made possible by:  digital media developer  reference & instruction librarians  library cataloguer  director & assistant director of the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center
    6. 6. Collaboration Other collaborative projects include:  Online course redesign cohorts (with Liberal Studies & Continuing Education)  Semi-annual Teaching & Learning Days and regular faculty/staff workshops  Integration of librarians into Moodle with custom “course librarian” role  Library Reserves function embedded in Moodle  Assessment initiatives and development of Moodle rubric  Streaming resources for online and hybrid courses  Embedded tutorials and modules (academic integrity, College Writing, etc.)
    7. 7. Student Projects Spaces in Moodle
    8. 8. Library Integration into Student Projects Moodle Spaces
    9. 9. Student Projects LibGuide
    10. 10. Challenges  Culture Shock: Buy-in from faculty and administration to “go digital”  Open Access: Convincing some faculty and departments to embrace open access model  Full Features: Encouraging faculty and students to take full advantage of Moodle features throughout research process  Unified Repository: No single, comprehensive online repository for all student projects
    11. 11. Future Plans: Collective Access  Projects in one online repository  Open access vs. closed  Aesthetically pleasing front-end  Auto OCR/full text searchable  Configurable metadata fields  Direct migration from Moodle  Mobile device support
    12. 12. Thank you! Kim Detterbeck @kimdetterbeck kimberly.detterbeck@purchase.edu Darcy Gervasio @darcyiris darcy.gervasio@purchase.edu Marie Sciangula @msciangula marie.sciangula@purchase.edu All photos by Pamala Gomes
    13. 13. Helpful Links http://tinyurl.com/SPILSARubric http://purchase.libguides.com/studentprojects http://www.collectiveaccess.org/ http://moodle.purchase.edu View this presentation at: http://tinyurl.com/metrocon2014Purchase

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