Although the experiences of the past year has been new for most of the population, this is not the first time that America or the world has faced the trauma and terror of a quickly spreading virus. What can we learn from examining the progress of previous examples like the 1918 Pandemic commonly known as the “Spanish Flu”? Explore the timelines below to look at the side by side comparisons of major moments in events spread almost exactly a century apart.Continue reading Learning From History: Timelines of COVID and the 1918 Pandemic
Category: Learning Commons
Summer Tutoring Opens Today
Join us this summer for help with numerous core chemistry, math, and physics classes.
Our free service does not require appointments! Simply drop in anytime you need assistance and our tutors will be happy to help. All tutoring during summer 2021 will happen online through Zoom, and you can find more information about the service via our Online Tutoring page.
Our summer hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 8pm to 11pm.
For questions or to request additional information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women’s History Month 2021 at FSU
As we celebrate Women’s History Month (WHM), let’s take a stroll down memory lane to reflect on Florida State University’s history—or should I say, the Florida State College for Women.
The Florida State College for Women is what we know as the predecessor institution of FSU today. Not only that, but FSCW was also one of the largest all-female centers of higher learning in the country. From the year of its establishment in 1905 to the year its name changed to FSU in 1947, thousands of young women attended and graduated from FSCW.
Although FSU is no longer an all-female university, there are still significant efforts made by many organizations on campus to place a main focus on celebrating women, especially during Women’s History Month. WHM is celebrated every March to commemorate and raise awareness of the significant contributions of women to our culture and society throughout history. To take part in this celebration, organizations including Women Wednesdays at FSU and the Women Student Union are either taking a closer look at this year’s WHM theme or holding relevant events throughout the month.Continue reading Women’s History Month 2021 at FSU
Online Instruction at FSU Libraries
On February 2, 2021, FSU Librarians Liz Dunne, Adam Beauchamp, Rachel Duke, and Lindsey Wharton provided an overview of the online instruction that the Libraries developed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online instruction was presented to the FSU Foundation Board of Trustees to help the members better understand how technology is leveraged by the Libraries to get students engaged in the online learning environment.
Dean of University Libraries Gale Etschmaier started off by mentioning how much FSU Libraries have changed from the past while still being a central center for community at FSU. Even more changes took place in March when FSU Libraries closed their physical spaces as a result of the pandemic. Fortunately, the Libraries were able to provide digital access to materials for the university’s faculty, staff, and students. When FSU Libraries reopened in August, with COVID-19 protocols, fewer students were present in the physical libraries, but a virtual community was still upheld between the Libraries and the students. Online tutoring in chemistry, physics, math, and statistics was offered and subscriptions were made to online books and other educational content that weren’t available beforehand.
The four FSU Librarians who were a part of the given overview took the time to demonstrated the teaching partnerships of FSU Libraries in the online environment that cater to students at the university.Continue reading Online Instruction at FSU Libraries
Data Literacy and COVID-19: The Importance of Understanding the Data
By: Paxton Welton and Nick Ruhs
“Data is the sword of the 21st century. Those who wield it, the samurai.”-Jonathan Rosenberg
Data is all around us and we often interact with it in ways we don’t even realize. From using an app to mobile order our coffee to reviewing a chart provided in an article, data surrounds us and has become so intertwined with our lives. However, with the increasing amount of data available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to understand its meaning, accuracy, and relevance to our lives. This is the reason we decided to start this new blog series, Get Data Lit! We realize that data can be difficult to decipher and want to give you the tools to better navigate data you are faced with everyday.
7 LinkedIn Learning Skills to Master This Summer
Hi everyone, this is Courtney again, the STEM Libraries GA, along with Emily McClellan, the STEM Libraries Outreach Associate, to talk about ways we can continue our learning and professional development throughout what promises to be a unique semester. It’s often said that we should try to control how we react to the things we can’t control. While that’s a lot easier said than done, we wanted to share some opportunities that you may find helpful while continuing to learn and grow throughout the summer. While the world is constantly shifting and changing around us, finding stability can be hard. If you’re looking for a professional goal you can achieve this summer, try a LinkedIn Learning training to keep you grounded and focused as we continue to work from home.
Continue reading 7 LinkedIn Learning Skills to Master This Summer
Preparing for Online Finals
We may not be on campus, but the library can still be one of your first stops as you prepare for finals. We’ve worked hard to get as many services as possible online, and we’re here to help in any way we can!
Library tutoring service are available through Zoom for all the usual subjects and hours. The library offers assistance in chemistry, math, physics, modern languages, and several other subjects. If we don’t cover the class you’re looking for, you can also reach out to ACE for additional help.
Especially since circumstances have closed campus libraries, we want to help you arrange the space you’re in. As finals approach, the space you’re going to use to work in is going to get more important. Check out this short article from Huffington Post for tips to set up your workspace.
Below are some more quick tips on preparing yourself for the upcoming online finals, but that’s not all. We’ve also compiled a list of learning resources with study tips, courses, and links to services available through campus programs and various partners.
But studying isn’t the only important element to preparing for finals. Giving your mind a chance to rest is also key. This is why our usual stress busters events are going online this semester, and they’ll be live on April 22!
The events team has created fun and relaxing virtual activities, all of them inspired by Keanu Reeves. You can find them on and after April 22 by visiting lib.fsu.edu/online-stress-busters.
A Visit to Panama
By Lindsey Wharton, Extended Campus & Distance Services Librarian, & Michael Pritchard, Distance Services Library Associate
In February 2020, members of the FSU Libraries were hosted by the Florida State University – Panama campus in an effort to strengthen our partnership with the Panama students, faculty and staff. Our visit provided us the opportunity to promote library resources and services as well as learn about the teaching and learning experiences, both academic and culturally, of our students, staff, and faculty abroad. While Lindsey Wharton, the Extended Campus & Distance Services Librarian, had visited the Panama campus previously in 2014 and 2016, this was the first visit for both Michael Pritchard, Distance Library Services Specialist, and Dr. Gale Etschmaier, Dean of University Libraries. This campus visit marked an important occurrence for University Libraries and FSU Panama, as all were excited to reconnect with colleagues, work with the students, and introduce Dr. Etschmaier to the campus.Continue reading A Visit to Panama
A guide to a successful undergraduate Art History practice: Florida State University
This post is a guest contribution from Stephanie Fischer, a senior in the Department of Art History and current Library Media Collections Intern in the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship. As part of her internship, Stephanie produced this helpful guide for incoming undergraduates in Art History that includes both library resources and her own extensive research into graduate schools, professional training programs, and internships in the field.
This guide is for the incoming art history student curious of what lies ahead. Navigating the field of art history is something that may be very intimidating, especially as a student trying to figure out what their next step is. As a transfer student, I was kind of thrown into this program without knowing much about the expectations of a successful art history student and feel like I have done a pretty good job seeking out opportunities while taking advantage of the ones presented to me. The following outlines what I’ve learned and what I regret not knowing/doing.
Here at Florida State, undergraduate art history students are required to take at least two upper-level seminars in order to meet graduation requirements. The way the program is currently set up is that students must complete 12-credits of lower-level art history courses in order to enroll in a seminar class. However, with permission from the professor, anyone can take a seminar, regardless of the amount of art history courses taken so far. Students should take advantage of this opportunity and get into a seminar as soon as they can. These seminars are designed for students to conduct research and make direct examinations of works of art through leading class discussions and writing a developed research paper. The quicker they get enrolled, the quicker they can learn these advanced skills and apply them to their remaining art history courses.
Another way seminars can enhance undergraduate study is by inspiring a topic of research students can use as a writing sample for later internship or graduate school applications. When applying for summer internships at big institutions, for example, it is advantageous for students to have experience in research and project development. Many of these institutions require students to provide a writing sample or personal statement, and this is an opportunity for students to showcase their research areas and skills with written communication. This may sound obvious, but it was something no one told me: when applying for internships, an application is much stronger if it demonstrates tangible experiences with developing and executing research projects. An application will benefit more to focus on academic interests (backed by concrete examples of research done in a given area), and taking a seminar early in your undergraduate experience will allow students more opportunities to pursue such projects.
Honors in the Major
Florida State offers undergraduate students with a great opportunity to complete an honors thesis throughout their junior/senior year prior to graduation. Through the Honors in the Major program, any undergraduate student can apply and propose a thesis to develop over two to three semesters alongside a faculty advisor in their department. By undertaking an Honors in the Major thesis project, art history students will be preparing themselves for graduate-level coursework which will enhance their application for graduate school by providing examples of completed, ongoing, and upper-level research. Many students derive their thesis projects from research done in seminars and further produce it alongside this professor (another reason to get a head start on seminars).
The Department of Art History at FSU is one of the smaller departments on campus, but still provides opportunities for student involvement through the Undergraduate Art Historian Association (UAHA). UAHA on our campus serves to connect students and create a community within the department, while also inspiring curiosity in the field of art history. The club organizes bi-weekly meetings covering topics about upcoming events and socials, club merchandise, research opportunities, and provides tools for building great applications for internships, jobs, or graduate school. The club really strives to create a community within the art history department through social events to help students connect to one another.
As I am currently writing this, I serve as a co-vice president for UAHA. It is one of my goals for this school year to elevate the experiences associated with the organization, as I believe past years have lacked the social aspect and the collegial feel to the club. Our team this year is determined to reconstruct the environment of our department by urging students to do more and get everything out of the program that they can. For example, the art history department at Florida State does a wonderful job of organizing a lecture series throughout the semester. Roughly every other week, professors and graduate students present their previous or current research. This program can help undergraduates get a sense of their desired area of study and expose them to other aspects of art history. Attending these events also gives students and professors a chance to get to know each other better. Taking advantage of being apart of a student organization can aid students in giving their feedback to the program in order to make it stronger for future students.
The study of art history is often focused on research and writing, but students have the opportunity to build more hands-on skills through experiences like internships in museums, galleries, and other cultural heritage institutions. In museum and gallery spaces, students can gain experience in institutional research, art handling, curatorship, and visitor experience. Take advantage of the art community surrounding the university, find a gallery or two, and apply. Utilizing all the resources surrounding the university will impact student resumes and highlight that the student is eager to take charge, which is a great quality to have when applying for jobs or graduate school.
Over the course of the past three and a half years, I have held five internship positions in a variety of different institutions – one at a student newspaper, a national art museum, a local gallery, a public art program, and in digital archives.. Throughout these positions, I have learned skills like copy editing, research, public speaking, art handling, curatorship, administration, and digitization. While museum and gallery experiences are great, students should also consider branching out to other fields of study that can be related back to art history. Art history is not necessarily a skill based field, so I encourage students to look into technology, librarianship, archives, journalism, and even studio positions. Having a collection of diverse experiences can not only help you learn what your enjoy, but also help you become a desirable candidate when applying for jobs and graduate school.
One of my internship experiences was a hands-on, art handling and curating internship in a gallery local to Tallahassee. I held this position for an entire school year to really immerse myself in the setting of the institution. Over the course of over 500 work hours, I did what was expected – installation, deinstallation, and visitor experience. But, I also introduced projects, worked on personal research, and worked double the hours expected of me. You get what you put in. Had I just done the bare minimum, I wouldn’t have built a strong work ethic or a strong relationship with the director, who I can now use as a reference. It’s so important to stand out as best we can in everything we do, especially if we want to be successful in this limited field of study.
That position will likely prove to be one of the most valuable in the course of my career. The director of the gallery was very hands-on, giving interns guidance on learning all the different variables of running an art gallery, she made sure all interns were comfortable doing all of the various tasks. Something that this experience has taught me is how the different positions in the museum or gallery space intersect. While I had a lot of interactions with visiting artists and curators, I realized how important it is for someone who wants to pursue a curatorial career to know how to install a show. Curators should understanding the process of art handling, not just the intellectual aspects of selecting a body of work.
I have consistently tried to challenge myself throughout my academic career by seeking out different intern positions. I typically try to have an internship every year/semester depending on my class load. I have found most of these opportunities through posters or newsletters sent out or posted by an organization or the art history department. Once I come across the advertisement, I will research the organization and compile a list of what I would like to mention in a cover letter. I then finish my cover letter, edit my resume, send off my application, and wait for an email or phone call to schedule an interview. For me, the interview process is the least stressful part of the whole process, I can really showcase my personality and enthusiasm for the position. This gives the employer a sense of how I will perform in the workspace and interact with colleagues, which is just as important as having the right qualifications.
I’ve included a list of internship opportunities local to Tallahassee for the Spring 2020 semester, as of October 2019: Internship Experiences
Students should start to research potential graduate programs their Freshman and Sophomore years of college. With a wide variety of Art History-based programs nationally and internationally available to them, students should get an idea of what type of requirements their desired programs may have. For example, New York University offers a dual Masters program in Art History and Conservation. The program is four years, fully-funded, but requires students to have an academic background in both chemistry and art history to even be considered. These kinds of prerequisites are things students should be aware of as early as possible in their undergraduate experience. Knowing exactly what institutions are looking for in an applicant ahead of time will only allow students to be proactive in designing their undergraduate coursework and hopefully increase their chances of getting accepted into great graduate programs.
I have compiled a spreadsheet of current graduate programs in Museum Studies, Curatorial Studies, and Art History that I found interesting: Art History Degree Programs
Florida State Libraries presents students in the College of Fine Arts with a unique opportunity when it comes to research assistance and resource access. I say unique opportunity because not many other universities, apart from Art and Design schools specifically, have a subject librarian in this field. A subject librarian is designated for faculty and students in each campus department and program. While serving as a liaison to the department, the subject librarian teaches classes and individual students how to maximize their use of library resources, particularly for research. Students are able to meet with any subject librarian in order to expand their interdisciplinary studies and use the librarian as a resource. Visual & Performing Arts Librarian, Leah Sherman, says, “Not all our resources are books, but people too.” She suggests students utilize the Art History Research Guide as a starting point for research.
Our campus libraries are some of our biggest resources for young art historians and they offer us dozens of different opportunities to learn new skills to aid us in our research and academic careers. Alongside meeting and interacting with various subject librarians, students should also take advantage of different library events like the events put on by the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship. The Office of Digital Research and Scholarship gives workshops on citation management, academic publishing, copyright, and more. You can RSVP to events here: Event RSVP and Information
If you are interested in meeting with Leah Sherman, you can schedule a consultation here: Consultation Request, or email her at email@example.com.
Forgien Languages and other fields of study
One small, but important tip, something that will help in research throughout the thesis process and into graduate school: take advantage of the foregin language courses. At Florida State, art history students are required to take 12-credits of a foreign language, but students who continue their language study are better prepared for graduate school. Many art historical resources may need to be translated to English, and reading knowledge of a foreign language related to your course of study, would be very useful in this situation. Plus, if students begin their study early, they have the opportunity to learn more than one language throughout the course of their undergraduate study.
Many students in the art history department take advantage of double majoring or minoring in a different field to make their research and knowledge more interdisciplinary. Within the art history department, students have the opportunity to minor in Medieval Studies or Museum Studies in conjunction with an art history major. These minors are useful for students who are particularly interested in Medieval art or who want to pursue a career in the museum or gallery space. However, students should be open to the full scope of possibilities FSU makes available through its undergraduate curriculum. Some majors/minors that could be particularly interesting being paired with an art history major are Business Administration, majors in STEM (which might align with a career in art conservation), Psychology, or Studio Art, just to name a few. Exploring an additional field of study can help to refine the scope of research interests and familiarize the student with non-art historical areas of research.
There are so many opportunities at FSU that students can take advantage of to further our careers and we should utilize these resources while they are at our fingertips. I hope this guide serves you well in your career pursuit as a starting point to the many opportunities presented to you.
Why and How Libraries Should Use Student Data: Two Perspectives
Why (and How) libraries should use student data to measure the relationship between library services, spaces, etc., on student outcomes.
In this conversation, two librarians at FSU share their perspectives and experiences on student data. Why should we use student data? Why shouldn’t we use student data? Below, read Adam Beauchamp and Kirsten Kinsley’s take on student data.
By Adam Beauchamp, Humanities Librarian
“How” should libraries use student data to measure the relationship between library services, spaces, etc., on student outcomes?
In short, very carefully.
There are two questions, one methodological and one ethical, that I ask myself when considering the use of student data in library assessment. First, do these data actually measure the outcome I want to assess? Second, does the potential benefit to students from using data this way offset the potential harm to students’ privacy or intellectual freedom?
Libraries collect a lot of transactional data in the course of normal operations, and it is tempting to use these data to demonstrate the library’s value. But the mistake I see often in the library literature is that librarians conflate a student’s simple use of the library with the broadest (and most flawed) measure of student learning: GPA. A high GPA may be indicative of a student who does well in general on tests and class assignments, but GPA doesn’t tell you what or how a student has learned.
Similarly, counts of library transactions like checking out a book, attending a workshop, clicking on an electronic journal article, or passing through library turnstiles do not tell you how, or even if, those transactions resulted in student learning. In the first example, did our student read the book, fully understand its thesis, and successfully incorporate those ideas into her own thinking and writing? Did she even select an appropriate book for the assignment in the first place? None of these questions are answered by circulation statistics. Asked another way, if learning did not take place in this scenario, is it the fault of the library? If the library cannot be held liable for the student who checks out a book and doesn’t learn, can the library take credit for the same transaction leading to a positive outcome without justifying how?
If library transactional data alone are insufficient measures of student learning, one response is to collect more, better student data. How can we know if the student above learned from checking out a book? Perhaps if we had her entire search history and records of every other book and journal article she had looked at, we could then hypothesize about whether or not she had deployed a logical search strategy and had selected the “right” book for the assignment. But now we have a serious ethical problem. Is it appropriate for libraries to conduct this kind of surveillance of our users? If the student finds out we are scrutinizing her every keyword and mouse click, would she think twice about searching for or reading materials on certain subjects? Are we sharing these data with her professor, who might deduct points for “irrelevant” searches or checking out the “wrong” books? Have we gotten any closer to discovering how the student is or isn’t learning such that we could alter our practices to benefit her and other students?
In the ALA Code of Ethics we are called to offer the highest quality service, but we cannot let pursuit of that value cause us to trample on our equally important mission to support intellectual freedom, fight censorship (including self-censorship), and protect library users’ right to privacy and confidentiality. Therefore, we must think very carefully before using student data in an effort to connect library use in all its forms to student learning outcomes. We must be sure that such use of student data is a valid measure of the outcome we wish to assess, and that the potential benefits to students outweighs the potential harms to students’ privacy and intellectual freedom at the center of our professional ethics.
By Kirsten Kinsley, Assessment Librarian
My position is for purposes of modeling Critical Thinking and Healthy Discussion–the value of the month and to start the conversation on big data and student privacy:
An example of the data we collect on students:
We collect data on a number of library services, outreach, spaces, and resources/collections as demonstrated by the data inventory completed in the fall. One of the datasets assessment collects is card swipe data for Dirac and Strozier. From this data we can determine who uses the library, how frequently, and for how long. The data includes student EMPLIDS, a nine digit code identifier that serves to connect individual student user card swipes with the Office of Institutional Research Business Intelligence (BI) data warehouse. The BI system is used to pull any number of variables about each student who enters the library. Some of the student variables include: major, year of study or status, semester or overall GPA, retention, class load, whether they are an athlete, a part of Greek Life, or a veteran, etc. We pull demographic variables such as age, sex, race, and pre-college variables, such high school GPA, SAT/ACT scores and Pell grant recipients.
We include all these variables about individual students and examine them in the aggregate because theories and research in higher education conclude that a lot goes into what makes a student successful in college and there are many ways to measure that. Some point to pre-college variables, such as SAT/ACT scores, as factors that contribute to success. Other studies have shown that collegiate engagement in programs like CARE, living-learning communities, athletics or studying abroad play a role in student success. Using statistics, we can also tease out the relationship between library usage and student success.
In order to be thorough, analysis includes as many factors as we can by holding some variables constant (such as high school GPA, which can have a hidden effect on student library usage) while measuring whether something like first year retention rates may be affected by library usage. We do this knowing that we cannot account for all variables, such as personal motivation.
You might ask, “How do we know that it is not something about a student’s good study habits and not in using the library space itself that makes them successful?” In other words, good students self-select to go to the library. This is self-selection bias and for this we apply statistical techniques like precision matching to mitigate it. One way to do that is by creating a comparison group by matching each library user’s demographics and characteristics with a non-library user. For example: A student who visits the library physical space is matched with a non-library using student on characteristics like ethnicity, age, year of study, major, high school GPA, SAT score, etc. What is being compared is the differences of frequency of library visits between them and to estimate the effects it has on first year retention rates. From this a comparison group of library users with a matched group of non-library users is created. We can apply this technique to measure whether the library user group has a statistically significant higher semester-to-semester retention rate.
All the student data that we collect are anonymized and analyzed in the aggregate. We do not want to know about a particular students’ library participation, but we do want to know what trends there are that relate to library usage in general. Aside from library spaces, we know that the library provides many important services, configurations of spaces, and resources that help our users. So measuring the impact of as many library variables together as we can will build our case that the library makes a difference. Since this process involves a lot of datasets, we need a secure and safe data warehouse to store it.
Why should we use all that student data do this?: To show that libraries play a role in student success.
To compete for campus funding:
If we don’t hold ourselves accountable and demonstrate our value and impact on student, faculty, and staff success, who can we count on to advocate for us on campus? Others campus divisions and stakeholders , such as the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) and the Division of Student Affairs are and will be vying for dollars by showing evidence of their contributions. [Look at Goal IV & V of the Strategic Plan: Student Success and the focus of those Goals includes student advising initiatives]. FSU’s operating budget includes E&G Funds (44.36%) and the Libraries share a portion the E&G budget with other campus stakeholders. Of those funds, 11.80% comes from tuition and fees, and the remaining 32.56% percent comes from state support.
The Board of Governors (BOG) oversees the distribution of some large sources of funding: Preeminence funding, Performance-based funding, and National Ranking Enhancements that are distributed to the eleven schools in the State University System (SUS). At FSU, “performance funding currently accounts for approximately 22% of all Education & General (E&G) dollars, the principal source of university operating funds” (Daly PowerPoint 2019) and is based on metrics. Metrics that libraries can contribute to include: four year graduation rate, academic progress rate (2nd year retention with GPA above 2.0), and others. Another source of income that is getting more and more competitive is Preeminence funding. Of the $20 million recurring funds for the SUS–FSU’s portion is $6.1 million.
ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Initiative (2010) was strongly supported with IMLS grant funding projects and programming and continues to be a driving force for the impetus to conduct this research that demonstrates Value and Impact. Currently, they offer grants for up to $3000 for libraries who want to conduct research to demonstrate value.
While funding is not the only reason we should measure our impact on student success, it is clearly a compelling reason.
So, how do we measure the Libraries’ impact on student success, while also honoring our values?
- Foster partnerships: By partnering with other campus colleges and departments as we have successfully done in the past and by utilizing high standards of research practice and methodologies, we raise awareness across campus that the library makes a difference in the lives of students, faculty, and staff.
- Adhering to research standards: We ask questions and let the data speak, not the other way around as in data trolling or dredging. For quantitative research we frame our questions supported with theories tested in higher education [for example, for students we could use Astin’s Theory of Student Involvement (1984) or Tinto’s Institutional Departure Model (1975, 1993)]. We don’t give the data to third parties. We do it to show them the value of students’ tuition or tax dollars. We can do all this while still honoring our professional values (e.g., ALA Code of Ethics),
- Model good data stewardship: We can be a role model for not only how we adhere to good research practice, but by being transparent to library users that we collect their information to improve their services, spaces, and collections in the aggregate. We adhere to stringent privacy considerations and make sure we are in alignment with campus data governance. We are good data stewards by maintaining high standards of data management practices and protocols–such as how we store, secure, and de-identify data. We do this using the same research standards and protocols of the university. We develop a privacy statement and a way for users to opt out of library research should they want to.
We need to be proactive about demonstrating impact and value to the institution and advocate to stakeholders our value. Aside from competition for campus funds, we need to hold ourselves accountable to measure that what we do matters. If any part of this institution is capable of measuring impact and value with care and consideration of its users, it is the Libraries. Our values and concerns will keep us balanced between contributing evidence-based data and the practices of privacy, and keeping what we measure within the bounds of reason. Let’s not leave it up to the vendors to decide the granularity of data we seek, but let us ask the questions, within the bounds of our values, and conduct sound research practice in good faith knowing that there will never be data that give us certainty and definitive answers, only a compass to point the way.
Note: References provided for my assertions provided upon request.