Connect, Communicate, Create

Posted on: Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 9:25am

Topic(s): Feature Story, Updates

Learning Commons New Tagline: Connect, Communicate, Create

In February 2014, Western Washington University’s Learning Commons announced a tagline contest in which Western students, faculty, and staff were asked to help create a memorable and positive phrase that captured the Learning Commons mission. The Learning Commons brings together resources and programs to advance teaching and learning, online and across the physical space of Western Libraries. As added incentive and as a show of appreciation, it was also established that the winner of the contest would be awarded a $100 gift card to the A.S. Bookstore.


After reviewing over 60 submissions, the winning tagline of: “Connect, Communicate, Create” was selected. The Learning Commons partners agreed that each of the three key words in that phrase successfully captured the Learning Commons’ essence. Unbeknownst to the Learning Commons partners when they chose the winning entry, creator of the tagline, student Kathryn Jensen, also happens to be employed as a Writing Center Assistant.


As Learning Commons Director Carmen Werder stated, “I was delighted to find out that Kathryn is one of our very own student staff in her role as a Writing Center Assistant – no wonder she really gets the Learning Commons.  We are very grateful to her for helping us find a phrase that captures the Learning Commons dream.”


Jensen explained how she came up with the tagline after she began thinking about the mission of the Learning Commons during a discussion in her first-year intern seminar at the Writing Center.


We had been talking about how to establish it as a place students know they can go for all kinds of peer collaboration from working on group projects to writing assistance to math/science tutoring. I realized that the idea of 'connecting' with others was sort of the core of the Learning Commons, and created a tagline that emphasized that,” said Jensen.


Werder, who also directs the Teaching Learning Academy (TLA), and Writing Instruction Support (WIS), mentioned how the word “communicate” represents another significant component of the tagline.


“We also want everyone to think of the Learning Commons as a place to communicate in genuinely human ways – not only to gain information, but to engage in spirited dialogue about topics that matter most,” stated Werder. For example, “Conversations in Common,” a program that began during winter quarter 2014, is one way the Learning Commons offers the Western community opportunities for both making connections and communicating ideas.


Such programs and activities hosted in the Learning Commons naturally lead to the third component of the tagline, which is the word “create.”  Werder noted how she and other Learning Commons partners were “especially thrilled” to see how the winning tagline emphasized “the Learning Commons as a place to create new knowledge, and to create it together.”


In addition to Jensen’s winning submission, Carly Roberts, who is also President of Western’s Associated Students (AS), submitted a tagline suggestion that grabbed the attention of the Learning Commons partners. Learning Commons Program Coordinator Shevell Thibou stated that all of the partners were pleased with Roberts’ emphasis on the Learning Commons as a physical gathering space.


“We also liked how the phrase ‘gather here’ was both an explanation and an invitation, welcoming everyone into this collaborative space available for connecting, communicating, and creating knowledge,” explained Thibou.  Because of this emphasis, the Learning Commons partners expressed their appreciation to Roberts for her valuable contribution, acknowledging that the tagline and other future marketing materials will also incorporate the part of Roberts’ submission that includes the phrase “Gather Here.” The Learning Commons partners would also like to thank everyone else who participated in the tagline naming contest for offering their submissions. 

Kali Legg Awarded "Best Student Presentation"

Posted on: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 8:03am

Topic(s): Updates

Western Washington University students have a reputation for contributing to scholarship, research, collaboration, and service, and we here at Western are particularly proud of how they exemplify Western’s motto of “active minds changing lives.” Recently, Western Libraries very own Learning Commons student liaison Kali Legg received recognition for her significant contribution to research and scholarship when she was awarded the title of “Best Student Presentation” at the 2013 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (ISSOTL) conference.

Kali is an Environmental Science major who has also been actively involved with the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) here at Western as both a student participant and also through her role as Learning Commons student liaison. Incorporating voices from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, TLA was established at Western in 2001 with the mission of creating a community of scholars who could work together to better understand the existing learning culture, share that understanding with others, and enhance the learning environment by exploring multiple views of teaching and learning. It was partly because of her involvement with TLA that Kali was selected to attend the ISSOTL conference and act as a representative of the many exceptional students at Western who are actively engaged in exploring the research and scholarship of teaching and learning. Kali both appreciated and recognized the value of this tremendous opportunity.

“This conference helped me further realize that I have a passion for education—well more for learning. I have a passion for learning. And I felt incredibly fortunate to be able to share and receive ideas about learning from some very brilliant and kind individuals from all over the world…” Kali stated.

Together with Western Libraries staff and faculty Shevell Thibou and Carmen Werder from the Teaching-Learning Academy, along with Tim Costello from the Center for Service Learning, Kali introduced and co-led the session entitled “Transforming Teaching and Learning Cooperatives.” Together they explored a number of “partnering” models and examined the concepts of “co-location,” “collaboration,” and “co-inquiry,” posing the questions: “To what extent are these partnering models distinct and yet interrelated relationships on a continuum? And how might understanding this cooperative continuum model facilitate institutional change for teaching and learning?” 

Using case studies, this group was able to provide an analytical model that defined co-location as referring to shared space, collaboration as sharing an interest in reaching a common outcome, and co-inquiry as sharing an interest in addressing a common question. One of the case studies used focused specifically on the Learning Commons, and illustrated how co-location has actually led to collaboration and co-inquiry. Such research is often inspired by the work that is being done in the TLA, which serves as the hub for the study of teaching and learning at Western, and engages student participants in its ongoing dialogue with faculty, staff, and community members.

The annual ISSOTL conference includes faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students from a number of institutions located throughout the world.  This international audience responded enthusiastically to Kali’s award-winning presentation, and Kali later explained how this conference was also valuable for her in that it affected her own views about education and the learning experience.

“I have come to realize that learning and learning theory should be present in every discipline. I would like to make what I've learned at the ISSOTL conference present in my learning experience and that of my peers whenever I can, no matter what kind of classroom or working environment I'm in,” Kali explained.

ISSOTL was founded in 2004 by a group of 67 scholars from several different countries, to recognize and promote scholarly communication on teaching and learning, to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and the integration of “discovery, learning and public engagement.” Each year, members of this organization come together to share research and experiences related to the scholarship of teaching and learning. This most recent conference was held October 2-5, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and focused on the theme of “Critical Transitions in Teaching and Learning.”

Jeanne Armstrong's translation of 'La grand misere' is published

Posted on: Friday, December 13, 2013 - 1:59pm

Topic(s): Feature Story, Updates

Jeanne Armstrong, a professor at Western Libraries, recently published her translation of La grand misère ("Great Misery") with the University of Nebraska Institutional Repository Zea Press as an open access e-book available in print on demand.

Great Misery is Maisie Renault’s story, as the editor's cover note relays, of her nine months in this “man-made hell, where brutality, starvation, sickness, filth, and degradation took a daily toll on women whose principal offense was having opposed the Nazi regime. Maisie’s story, however, is one of loyalty, devotion, faith, endurance, and the loving and self-sacrificing support that her circle of women gave each other, allowing some of them to survive the horribly cruel and inhumane conditions."

This work was originally published in French in 1948, and Professor Armstrong's translation is the first available published English version of Maisie Renault's compelling account of how she survived life inside an SS concentration camp,  "and the indomitable spirit that bound these women together and allowed them to emerge hurt, sick, battered, but unbroken and unafraid to testify about what they saw.”  For more information about this book, see the DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska here. 

Learning Commons New Look!

Posted on: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 12:15pm

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries are excited to announce the completion of the Learning Commons renovations which began this past spring. Thanks to a generous donation from WWU alumni Dave and Ann Thomson Mann, and one-time funding from the Provost’s office, the Learning Commons has been transformed into an inviting, modern, interactive space for everyone on campus to enjoy. 

LC Update

During spring quarter, WWU students sampled demo furniture and voted on the pieces they preferred, and the Learning Commons program partners helped select the colors in shades of purple and green to provide a sense of relaxation. With its new furniture, carpet, and freshly painted walls, the renovated area in the Wilson entrance will serve as the central hub for the Learning Commons activities.

The Western Libraries’ Learning Commons brings together resources and programs to advance teaching and learning at Western. This space has been designed to promote collaborative opportunities in a flexible, functional, and attractive space geared towards student learning.

We hope you will stop by to see these changes for yourself and will find them as exciting as we do!

Western Libraries Launching New, Improved Search System

Posted on: Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 12:13pm

Topic(s): Updates

Big changes are coming to the Western Libraries this summer—changes that will improve the ability of students, faculty, and staff to find just what they’re looking for when it comes to information and research materials at the Library.

The future is OneSearch

Starting June 18th, Western Libraries will replace its current, separate catalog and database interfaces with a new integrated discovery layer, OneSearch, which will return search results from the catalog, databases, journals, and other collections regardless of material format. OneSearch makes it easy to find resources and more at Western’s Libraries or through any of the 37 university libraries that are part of the Orbis Cascade Alliance. Think of it as the Google search for the Western Libraries.

Western, along with the University of Washington, is in the first group of Alliance members to launch the new system, with the others to follow over the next 18 months. Once complete, this shared library system will give users access to 8.8 million titles and more than 26 million resources that are held by the Orbis Cascade Alliance members. All of that will be right at users’ fingertips.

The upcoming changes are significant and won't be without some bumps along the way, especially during the summer. A large and dedicated group of Library faculty and staff will regularly be testing and improving functionality day by day. OneSearch is quite the transition for us, but we’re excited for the improved experience it will bring to our users once the new system is fully tested and implemented.  Much more information and training on OneSearch will be available by Fall Quarter.

If you have any questions about how OneSearch will help meet the Libraries' strategic goals to advance teaching and research, please contact Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg.


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