Pathways to Stimulating Experiential Learning and Technological Innovation in Academic Libraries

Session Type: Presentation

Session Description
Technology units within academic libraries are continually searching for new ways to leverage technology to improve digital collections and library services to students and faculty. Oregon State University Libraries & Press (OSULP) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library have discovered that in many cases the students themselves are best positioned to develop innovative solutions to the challenges they face.

These two libraries have pursued different approaches to promoting and providing opportunities for student leadership in technological innovation. UCLA created Simul8, a team of developers made up exclusively of students who work in an agile programming environment to develop ideas for services, and design interfaces by and for students. Much of their activity to date has focused on mobile and web app development for collection access and data visualization of digital library collections. OSULP also works in an agile manner, but utilizes a more directed approach that includes student programmers guided by Library staff, and collaborations with academic departments that enable students to develop technological innovations via capstone projects and internships. Examples include web sites and apps that build on the content of monographs published by OSU Press, as well as online tools for students to secure study rooms and tables in the Library.

At both OSULP and UCLA, a culture of collaboration with students underpins these programs. This session will offer examples of projects we’ve created with our student programmers, the principles behind these strategies for student engagement, and the tools and infrastructure utilized. We will discuss how this approach supports digital content development and experiential learning for students, as well as the benefits and pitfalls of engaging students in this kind of mutually beneficial enterprise.

Session Leaders
Shan Sutton, Oregon State University
Evviva Weinraub, Oregon State University
Todd Grappone, University of California, Los Angeles
Kevin Rundblad, University of California, Los Angeles

View the community reporting Google doc for this session.