Brock Allen from the Center for Teaching and Learning met with our group. Be advised that some of these views are very controversial (maybe even upsetting). In otherwords, please don't freak out! Here are some highlights:
Brock's global view of where higher education is heading:
- We're in a process of disintermediation of information. Getting rid of the middle man (like librarians). We can find pretty much what we want on the Internet or on our own. This will be hitting Universities hard in the next 10 years.
- "Gatekeepers" (like librarians) need to be retrained. Technology is making information more easily available.
- Higher education is about student learning, not about teaching.
- We need to strategically look at how the library wants to support learning as opposed to how we want to provide access to information.
- Sources of information that aren't easy to use will become obsolete.
- Brock envisions a virtual system where an avatar of sorts helps people acquire knowledge and information (rather than a librarian).
- Thinks 'information' is not the best word and that we should say 'knowledge.' For example, change the library's name to 'Library and Knowledge Access.'
- We're a world of Autodidacts (self-taught) and don't need an intermediary anymore.
Brock's views on the future and current state on SDSU's campus:
- It is difficult for us to do the type of strategic planning we are proposing (collaboration with other units) because key or allied units are disjointed. There's no council to bring these groups together in terms of educational technologies and information literacy. The best path is for ITS and the Library to create a bond as we overlap and complement each other nicely.
- History: ITS used to do what CTL does. ITS continued faculty development as it relates to technology. CTL concentrates more on the student learning and teaching tips.
- ITS doesn't try to develop instruction/instructional design in Blackboard. They support the technology, not the teaching.
- ITS' media materials are 'dead' because they are only played via closed circuit television in the classrooms. Brock thinks the library should take over the collection.
- The library is the main unit on campus that provides direct support to students.
- Thinks library computer labs will only be useful for another 2-3 years until everyone has their own laptop or other handhel device. So he thinks we need to figure out how the library can remain important to students.
- There's a shift to large 500 seat classrooms on campus (which also increases the number of 200 seat rooms available).
- Anecdotally, people say that only about 150 students enrolled in the 500 student classes are actually showing up to class in person. There's no accountability.
- There's a thought that the students in these classes don't need to interact with each other, but there is that need.
- This could be an opportunity for the library. For example, we have 35 sections of 500 seat classes. Where are those students going to interact?
- The library can help faculty negotiate contracts with vendors for multimedia text books and lab sessions for these large classes.
- Librarians can help faculty develop assignments for the large classes.
- The library could be a place to socialize and hold more social events, like colloqiua instead of traditional lectures. For example, students might attend a lecture one week and the next week attend an event that the library helps plan.
- There seems to be a big push to make everything convenient for students.
- Brock thinks that librarians have about 7-8 years to figure out what we are going to do besides being reference librarians because our jobs are going to be extinct.
- Over the last year, CTL, pICT and ITS have been meeting regularly and collaborating. However, it does not seem to be on higher administration's radar to look into a reorganization of these units that would facilitate cooperative management.
- The most pressing issue for the library is to work with ITS so our missions are aligned and complimentary and responsibilities are clearly stated.
SDSU was selected as the only CSU and only school on the West Coast to be a part of a Carnegie project for a leadership cluster on the advancement of teaching. The other schools are:SUNY system, UNC system, Seton Hall, and one other. This project would be working with MERLOT to not only have a media object repository but also include what people have found out about the objects' effectiveness in teaching and learning.