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Jennifer goes to Washington pt3: implications for the career college library

October 4, 2011

Before I put out my last post I emailed both Judy and Bob to be sure it was ok to name them in my blog.  Just seemed to be the right thing to do and both were wonderful about it.  Judy made a point of clarity on her bit though and I felt it was a great lead in for my finish to this series. 

In my post I stated:

Judy Komar, Vice President of Educational Technology for Career Education Corp mentioned showing her faculty how to be “content curators” and I think the idea is intriguing.  I wonder what role librarians can play in shaping that concept?

and in her email to me Ms. Komar says:

it is my Instructional Designers who partner with Academics and Subject Matter Experts to create courses that I am showing how to be content curators

I didn’t mean to imply that the librarians at CEC college’s are acting in this capacity.  I was simply pondering what role they could play in that endeavor.  Which is of course what my focus is here.  What does all the educational technology stuff mean for the libraries and learning resource centers of a for-profit college.  I have so many ideas but honestly who wants to read something that long.  Let me just toss out a few things that stick out in my head. 

The first is customization of education.  I think librarians can serve a critical competent to ensure that students have the specific resources they need to be successful. Maybe we are able to match learning styles with resources or create study groups for students at the same level of understanding (even outside of the walls of the college – think Skype).

disseminate.  I tell our faculty often – I’m not the subject expert, you are.  I’m the access expert.  The library’s role is to find the best possible way(s) to get “the book to its reader” not determine what book the reader should be using.  I’m going to take this idea and expand a little bit with critical thinking or as it’s known in the library world, information literacy.  One of the most important skills lacking in our students (perhaps in all of America’s students) is the ability to problem solve and think critically.  Ironically this is what employers say they need most from their workers (whom we prepare in our classrooms).  Every interaction with the library should have an information literacy component to it. 

Training.  Friends I don’t know about you but this artificial line that exists between the IT and library worlds is crumbling.  Librarians will BE the IT’s of the future.  In listening to what was said in Washington I couldn’t help but think, “yes, but many of our students and maybe even some of our faculty, are proficient on the computer”.  What do you do with that?  How do you bring web 2.0 solutions into the classroom when faculty and students can’t use the technology??  You train them.  Much of that training can be handled through or supported by the libraries in career colleges.  Or at least that makes sense to me. 

So here is the other side – you’ll have to show your administration that you can do it.  Many forget the abilities of the library, we must remind them.  Every chance you get say – “we can do that.”  Your role will change in the college, making you (and by extension your library) more valuable.   

So talk to me, what do you think?  Can you use some of these new technologies?  I bet you already are – please share your successes?

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