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ORM Podcast: The Road to Research With Library Transcript


Hi everyone. And welcome to our next episode of the Online Road Map. Today we have the head of Library, Office, Curriculum, and Instruction, Kelly Diamond with us. We're excited to have you here Kelly, to talk about May-mester and some of the resources that may be available throughout the summer term.

Thanks for joining the show. Thanks for inviting me. So I didn't just get started here. I wanted to see if you would go ahead and tell us a little bit about who you are and your affiliation with the university. I actually started out teaching English here. I was a composition instructor. I taught English 101and English 102 and the technical writing class and the business writing class.

So I think every writing class that they offered, I taught, but I decided on a career change. So I went back to school and got my Master of Library and Information Science. And because I'm a professional student, I then went back and got a graduate certificate in instructional design. And I worked for a little bit as a reference librarian.

And then I was moved up to this position where I get to the. Teach online and design classes and things like that. And as part of my being a professional student, I'm now currently working on my EDD from the University of Florida. So as if I don't have enough to do a spare time, I like to watch, I like to crochet.

I watch true crime documentaries, which sometimes disturb people, but, and I really like bad reality. Paranormal shows the cheesier, the worst, the production values, the more I enjoy them. And I'm owned by two cats. That's fantastic. I too like yourself. I'm a lifetime student. I feel like it's always good to be learning new stuff.

So I continued to go back to school. I have a feeling that when I retire, I'll probably go back to school again, because I'm just, I don't know. I can't stay away from. Being in school. It's very weird. So yeah, I feel you, I totally feel you and I love paranormal activity, so that's just a little sidebar.

We can, we can discuss that offline later. Well, thank you so much. So yeah. Why don't you give us a little background, if you can, about WVU libraries and some of the resources and services that they provide to our students? Well, there are four libraries in the system. There's the downtown campus library.

There's the Evansdale campus library. That's where my office is the Health Sciences Center library. And the Law library. A lot of students think that they can't go into the Law Library if they're not a law student or a lawyer. And you can, if you're actually researching some legal topic, you're more than welcome to go to the Law Library.

The downtown library also has the West Virginia and regional history center. So there are lots and lots of resources. Most of our resources are online now. And that was a trend that happened pre pandemic, but I we've tried to really, really boost our online resources because a lot of students are quarantined or they don't feel comfortable coming into a classroom.

And I would say, I know this sounds a little cheesy, but I think the best resource we have or the people who work there, I often tell students that, you know, no matter what your question is, if you go to the ASCA librarian service we have, which is on our web page, it's a little bit. Box at the top, it says, ask a librarian.

If you click on it, you can talk, have instant messages with a librarian. Or if it's something you're not in a big hurry about, you can leave a message or you can text no matter what your question is, if that person doesn't know what it is, they will find the person who knows that answer for you. So I always tell people don't hesitate to ask us questions because that's, our job is to find answers.

We also have lots of lots and lots of online books. eBooks are very popular databases with all kinds of articles, datasets, and we also have things called research guides, which are kind of a mini websites that are curated for certain classes. So. Oh, and I was the liaison to the English department. I had a special lib guide or research guide for English 102.

So everything that students needed to complete an English one or two assignment would be on that research guide. So lots and lots of stuff. I just encourage students just to go Library's web page and just click around and explore. Yeah, that's great. I know, even as an advisor, in my previous role at the university, I would sometimes go on the, ask a librarian for our students.

They would come to us and ask questions and I would be like, well, that'd be fine night out for you. So it is fantastic. And I will say that somebody always got back to me in a timely manner, which I super appreciated. So I think that's a great resource for the students as well. Just to see what's out there and what what's available, and it might be an online article that they can send you or book, or it might be an eBook or, you know, or it might be something that you can come pick up whatever the case may be, but it's definitely a helpful tool.

So I know that we're excited about may master this being the first time that we're able to get it rolling since. You know, unfortunately last year we wanted to run it, but with COVID it just didn't happen. So, so we're really excited about it this year. So why berries is offering a course? So can you tell us a little bit about the course that you are offering during May-mester.

Sure. It's ULIB 101, which is introduction to the library research. It's two credits, two whole credits, which makes it really popular. We teach this class over the winter intercession and I taught that last winter. Intercession. And we had 27 students. It was very popular. So the course is ULIB 101 introduction to library research, and in some ways the name doesn't really convey everything that students will learn or get for their two credits worth.

So we do talk about how to use it. A few basic library databases. There's also a dataset resource that we have. That's really, really good. Data always looks good in research papers, but we also talk about the kind of sources that students encounter in their daily lives. So. We all use Google. I mean, we all use Wikipedia.

I use Wikipedia. I'm no, no sense of pretending we don't. We do but there are ways to use it more effectively and sort of like I call tricks and tips. So we talk about things that Google can do that maybe students weren't aware of and how to use Wikipedia effectively. So for example Wikipedia actually grades it's articles that they have, and you don't see that immediately.

You have to actually sign up for an account and create some settings. It's not user-friendly and I don't know why they don't make it user-friendly but if you do that, you can see the, the articles that are actually very high quality. I would say. Feature articles in Wikipedia are probably the same quality is something you can pick up from the standard.

It's like the PD you'd pull off the shelves or online. They're very well done, but you have to know where to find that writing to kind of get that. And Wikipedia is also helpful because they list all the sources that they use. And most of those are linked. So if you're doing a paper on something, it's.

I always tell students, go to the Wikipedia article and then scroll down to the bottom and it'll have all the sources and that's where you can start your research. So we talk about things like that. The class also the student's research something of particular interest to them. And we encourage people to write about something they know a lot about or passionate about, and it doesn't have to be academic.

We have we have a lot of people who write about their hobbies. So for example, I had a student who had pet rabbits and she researched the best diet for rabbits, which is kind of complicated. I never realized how complicated it was to feed a rabbit. But so it's something that students you can, if you ever wanted to flick your hobby on other people for three weeks, it's a class to do that.

So you research something that you're really interested in. And we also talk about ways to kind of when you encounter information. In the wild, so to speak is how to try to suss out how credible or valuable it is because that's as anybody knows, it's a real problem anymore to see things, you know, on Twitter or Facebook or whatever.

And, you know, you look at and you think, wow, is this really true? So we sort of talk about that a little bit. That's awesome. So a lot of how to use the library and the resources to do the research and your classes, that's valuable, you know, for all students at the university. So that's awesome. Yeah. We've had students who I've had seniors take the class and they.

And usually say on the evaluations, I wish I had this class when I was a freshmen, you know, so I think it's valuable for anybody. Cause like I said, it, it will teach you things like post-graduation to kind of deal with the information world. But even if you're a freshman or a sophomore, I think it you'll take something away from that will help you in other classes.

For sure for sure. And I know Wikipedia is out there, you know, I mean, it's a source that everybody says don't use it, but it is one that, you know, still, if there's a way to know that the information that you're getting is useful and viable and valuable. That's awesome that you guys are teaching that in that class too.

Yeah. It's just, it's just being realistic, you know, it's, it's there and if it's there, you know, it's good to teach people, okay, this is the best way to use it. And this is how you find out this, this article, this Wikipedia article. It was not very good, but this one is pretty good. So, yeah. Yeah. That's fantastic.

So what would you say are some of the benefits of taking the, you live course in May-mester then? One benefit is it will help you in your future classes. I believe the second benefit is students can transfer a lot of the skills that they use or learn in this class to post-graduation. I, I think a lot of people when you're an undergraduate, and I know I thought this, you don't realize how much research and writing you have to do in whatever job you have.

And so it's always good to kind of get those skills down. No matter what job you have. So I think a lot of this will transfer and also, and like I said, this is kind of a fun benefit. You get to talk about your hobby or what you're really interested in for three weeks. So hopefully that makes it a little more enjoyable for students.

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So in terms of students who should take the course, you know, what type of students would you recommend the course to? I would say, well, I guess any student, I think maybe students who maybe have a little library, anxiety, I think that would be good. I know sometimes when students encounter are databases or proprietary databases, Some of them are not as user-friendly as they should be.

And it can be a little intimidating and frustrating and students sometimes. You know, get frustrated and they go back to Google, right? So I think this will help alleviate some of the anxiety. I think students who would like to get a two credit, just to be honest, as students who need a two credit hour class and you're going to learn something and you get, like I said, you get to research something you're passionate about.

I would recommend that they take it. I'd also recommend that maybe students who are a little hesitant about taking an online class like I said earlier, I have a certificate in instructional design and this class was always designed to be taught online. So it's very, a lot of the, many of the things that are very deliberate for an online environment.

Also myself and the other person who teaches this class were both very hands on with online instruction. One of the, I think one of the difficulties students encounter is that. They don't get a lot of feedback or interaction with the instructor, which is difficult in the online environment, but Celia that's the woman who teaches is going to be teaching this summer.

She and I are both very hands-on with emailing every I emails in the, during the winter session. I email students every day. I know Celia emails, her students every day. I'm very, we're very responsive. If there is a problem or an issue, I usually try to solve it within a working day. Now, a lot of times students are night owls and they might email me at nine 30 or 10 o'clock at night and I will respond and say, Hey, I got your email.

I will take care of this the next day. And I think students appreciate that. Just being heard. Okay. I, she knows I have an issue. She'll take care of it. So if you're a little nervous about taking an online class, don't be, this class is designed for that. And we have instructors who are very happy and willing to work with students.

Yeah. That's, that's also a great advice. I know, you know, this is an accelerated course and not only for the students. Right. But for the faculty too. So I know they're logging in and you guys are logging in daily as well in assisting students. So that's good to know for, for the students, for sure. Students, you know, are still able to use the library resources through may master in summer rates.

So can you talk a little bit about what they may be able to use during the summer term, whether it's in person or online, what, what does that look like during summer for, for our students? In summer, it looks pretty much like it does during the fall and spring semesters. Really. The only thing that might change is the hours of operation for the physical building.

And I would go to the library's web page to check the hours. But other than that, ASCA librarian is working the interlibrary loan. Office that gets your articles from other libraries they're working to get your articles or your books. People are there to check out things. I'm not sure about tutoring though.

And that's something you would might want to check with the library's webpage or whoever does your tutoring. I know in the past they have met students there, but to be honest, I'm not sure if that's going to be happening in the summer, but your best bet is always to check the library's website. So anything that you're doing in the library.

During spring semester, you can do it in the summer. That's fantastic. So check out that website guys, for sure. And then as far as student contact, so I know you mentioned going through the website, are there any specific contact hours that they should be looking to receive responses back or is there a phone number, email address, or should they just really go through the ASCA librarian?

What, what do you recommend from like a best practice? I would go to the ASCA librarian and use the chat. If you want something immediately. And even if you don't want anything immediately just go to the chat and whoever is attending, it will take your request and they'll probably email the person, or they might even, that person might even be on chat and they're just not, they just didn't pick your question up and they can transfer you to the person who could answer that.

So that would be the first step. Okay. And if you do go to the ASCA line, ASCA librarian page, there is a form you can fill out. So you can say you have a question at two weeks clock in the morning, which sometimes I do. I wake up at two o'clock in the morning and don't worry, but you can actually go and fill out a form and it gets put in what we call hopper.

And then the next morning someone will pick it up and then get in touch with you and answer it. So going through the website, going through ASCA library, and those are definitely I think, the best ways then to contact you guys. Right? Correct. Okay, awesome. That's good to know. So I wanted to, to wrap it up, asking all of our guests, what one piece of advice you would like to offer for students that May-mester in summer term?

And this can be about the course or just the library in general, but yeah. Yeah. If you could just offer one piece of advice up to our students. Sure. So, like I said, I'm working on my EDD from the university of Florida and it's all online. Unfortunately we can't go to Florida for on-sites, which it's kind of disappointing.

Here's what I do is I set a time to quote unquote, attend class. And this is what I recommend for students to do. So pick a time every day of the week and do classwork that time. So for me, I'm I wake up pretty early in the morning. I'm awake at five 30. So I attend quote unquote, attend my classes from about six to seven 30 every morning.

So I log in, read my discussion posts post things do my assignments. And I get in that habit of attending class, because the main problem I've see with students and even in my graduate class, I've noticed this people it's very easy to get behind in an accelerated class. So. Make a commitment to yourself, put it in your calendar, attend class every day.

And this is like another piece of advice. So just tack this one on for free. If you ever run into a problem, email your instructor, as soon as possible. People who teach these accelerated classes are very invested in teaching. So if you have a problem or an issue, let them know as soon as possible and they'll help you with whatever it is.

Yeah. Honestly, the classes go so quickly, right? They go quickly on a normal semester. I feel like, right? So these accelerated ones, if you get, start getting behind, then it becomes a lot more difficult to, to make it up. So definitely the communication piece is key too. Yes, I would agree. Absolutely well, Kelly, I really appreciate it.

I appreciate you taking the time to meet with us and talk with us a little bit about library and on what you guys are offering in the summer and in may master. And we're really excited to get the semester rolling here. And everybody's looking forward to the sunshine in West Virginia, because we've had nothing but snow.

So I appreciate your time. Well, thank you for inviting me. All right. Well, we will see you guys next time on the Online Road Map and Kelly, thanks again.

Thank you.

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