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Tutoring Center Summer Services & Hours

Posted on: June 26, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Tutoring Center Summer Services & Hours

person studying in front of a laptopThe Tutoring Center continues to provide all of its tutoring support services online, including support to students for their math and science GURs. During the Tutoring Center’s regular hours this summer (Mon.-Thurs. 12pm - 2pm), students can connect with a peer advisor by clicking on the “Chat with the TC'' link, found on the left side of the Tutoring Center’s main page. Tutoring Center peer advisors are available to answer general questions, match a student up with a tutor, connect students with additional online resources, or make referrals to other services.

Peer advisors have been working to ensure that all of the resources that the Tutoring Center offers are available online, that procedures for connecting students with tutors are recorded and understood, and that students’ questions regarding this new service model are answered. Peer advisors can also assist with answering study skills questions, and students who want more in-depth study skills support will have the option of joining a Zoom room where they can utilize video, audio, white board, or screenshare options.

Additionally, students can access a PDF drop-in card, which provides a full list of tutoring-supported courses, on the Tutoring Center drop-in page.  Online study groups for specific courses are in the process of being scheduled, and more information about those groups can be found on the study group section of the Tutoring Center’s website, and will also be emailed directly to students enrolled in those particular courses.

The Tutoring Center is working hard to ensure students have access to the services they need, but they welcome feedback on how they can do even better.  While acknowledging there will be some new challenges, they are committed to ensuring that the Tutoring Center will continue to be an invaluable resource to students throughout summer quarter and beyond, and they invite you to reach out to them with any questions or comments you may have. For more information about what the Tutoring Center offers, or to chat with a staff member, visit the Tutoring Center website.


Read more: Tutoring Center Summer Services & Hours


Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Update

Posted on: May 22, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Spring 2020 Update

Over the last 16 months, Western Libraries and the Subscription Task Force have been engaged in the challenge of bringing subscription expenditures into alignment with the Libraries’ allocated collections budget. The final list of subscription cancellations for the 20-21 Academic Year (AY) is now available to all Western faculty, staff, and students on the Libraries’ subscription review webpage

This work involved the efforts of dozens of people, both internal and external to the Libraries, and was shaped by multiple outreach initiatives and tours through faculty and university governance channels. As was shared in January 2020, due to the combination of a flat collections budget and inflation of subscription costs, Western Libraries anticipated a subscriptions budget shortfall of more than $300K in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21. This immediate pressure required a reduction to subscriptions which meant moving towards a more agile, access-based approach rather than focusing primarily on traditional modes of ownership. 

During fall quarter 2019, 252 titles were identified for potential cancellation based on scores acquired by applying 13 quantitative and qualitative criteria. Of these original 252 titles, 63 titles  will be retained. Forty-seven titles will be paid for using the originally planned buffer of $66,000, with an additional 16 titles funded from the Libraries’ carryforward funds. 

Given current financial uncertainties, there are no additional one-time funds to retain more than the 63 titles mentioned above. Further, any one-time funds applied this year would only increase the scope of reductions for AY2021-22, as those funds are not added to the base budget. In saving an additional 16 titles beyond original projections this year, the Libraries are attempting to strike a balance between mitigating this year’s losses and making next year’s worse.

The retained titles will remain available for one year, after which they may again be subject to cancellation. The remaining 189 titles from the original draft cancellation list will be cancelled; the end date for each subscription—and any post-cancellation retention rights—are listed in the cancellation spreadsheet. This list represents a total reduction of approximately $278,000.

Next academic year, all subscriptions up for renewal will again come under review. Budget pressures are still such that annual subscription reductions are necessary into the foreseeable future. These pressures include the unsustainability of funding inflationary increases combined with an increasingly competitive university budget, steeply rising subscription prices, and ongoing publisher consolidation. If the Libraries collection budget remains flat, projections are for $121,000 in reductions for AY2021-22 and roughly $94,000 each subsequent year. 

Future annual subscription review processes will follow the same basic schedule as the 2019-20 review. They will include a variety of quantitative and qualitative evaluation criteria, including a period for input from the university community. To help ensure the best possible outcomes for next year, the Libraries is looking for constructive suggestions about how the process might be improved. To that end, you are invited to complete a short survey about the AY2019-20 subscription reduction process. The Libraries will use suggestions gathered from this survey to inform future revisions to the process. The survey should take less than fifteen minutes to complete and is due by Sunday, June 14.

Western Libraries appreciates the interest and involvement of the many people who have participated in this process, and encourages faculty to continue connecting with their UPRC and Senate Library Committee representatives, the Libraries’ subject teams, and each other. In the long-term, the proliferation of journal titles, rising costs of library subscriptions, and for-profit journal landscape require a more forward-looking conversation about scholarly publishing. While these challenges are ongoing, collective efforts and commitment can influence a more sustainable future for subscriptions. Western has the opportunity to be part of these important efforts. For more information about Open Access and the future of scholarly communications, visit the Task Force webpage.


Read more: Subscription Cancellations and Securing Access to Information - Update


Tutoring Center Support for Students Now Online

Posted on: April 8, 2020

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Tutoring Support for Students Now Online

As Western transitions to online learning for spring quarter in the midst of this period of uncertainty and anxiety, students, faculty and staff are challenged to engage in teaching and learning in new and different ways. Western Libraries personnel want to assure you that many of the traditional services and supports you have counted on in the past are still available, even if the way you have traditionally accessed them has changed. In particular, the Tutoring Center is now providing all of its tutoring support services online, and will continue to offer support to students for their math and science GURs. 

Group photo of members of the Tutoring Center staffDuring the Tutoring Center’s regular hours (Mon.-Thurs. 9am - 9:00pm / Fri. 9am - 5pm / Sun. 5pm - 9pm), students can connect with a peer advisor by clicking on the “Chat with the TC'' link, found on the left side of the Tutoring Center’s main page. Tutoring Center peer advisors are available to answer general questions, match a student up with a tutor, connect students with additional online resources, or make referrals to other services.

Aside from the Tutoring Center director, coordinator, and office assistant personnel, all additional positions are staffed by Western students. Tutors receive at least 20 hours of training in specific subject material, as well as in the areas of effective communication, questioning techniques, and equity and inclusion. Often tutors have taken many of the math and science courses they are supporting, and are familiar with the instructors and departments.  Additionally, tutors can help refer students to other relevant resources at Western, such as DAC, the Counseling Center, Veteran’s Services, SOS, Academic Advising, Career Services, and the Math Center.

 “Our tutors have really stepped up to learn an entirely new method of delivering tutoring services in a period of just a few weeks,” explained Katrina Buckman, director of the Tutoring Center, adding, “we’re really amazed and inspired at how well they’ve taken it on.”

Peer advisors have been working to ensure that all of the resources that the Tutoring Center offers are available online, that procedures for connecting students with tutors are recorded and understood, and that students’ questions regarding this new service model are answered. Peer advisors can also assist with answering study skills questions, and students who want more in-depth study skills support will have the option of joining a Zoom room where they can utilize video, audio, white board, or screenshare options.

Additionally, students can access a PDF drop-in card, which provides a full list of tutoring-supported courses, on the Tutoring Center drop-in page.  Online study groups for specific courses are in the process of being scheduled, and more information about those groups can be found on the study group section of the Tutoring Center’s website, and will also be emailed directly to students enrolled in those particular courses.

The Tutoring Center is working hard to ensure students have access to the services they need, but they welcome feedback on how they can do even better.  While acknowledging there will be some new challenges this quarter, they are committed to ensuring that the Tutoring Center will continue to be an invaluable resource to students throughout spring quarter and beyond, and they invite you to reach out to them with any questions or comments you may have. For more information about what the Tutoring Center offers, or to chat with a staff member, visit the Tutoring Center website.


Read more: Tutoring Center Support for Students Now Online


Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available!

Posted on: June 26, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available

On June 25, 2019, the beta version of Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) will be available to the university community. This central repository will allow for the discovery, sharing, and preservation of Western's digital assets, which includes images, video and sound recordings, and textual documents.

Screenshot image of MABEL's landing page header; text that reads: MABEL: Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library; placed over a search box with options to browse the collections or browse by format.

MABEL was developed to provide access to digital content in support of communications, research, and teaching & learning activities at Western, while also allowing for the responsible stewardship of unique materials and valuable digital assets created or managed by Western.

 

What’s the difference between Western CEDAR and MABEL? 

Western CEDAR provides open access to scholarship and creative works produced by the Western community, making the research, scholarship, and creative works of WWU faculty, staff, and students easily discoverable to anyone in the world. 

These two platforms have separate purposes and different kinds of content, and can be used together in complementary ways to support the wide array of teaching, learning, and research activities at Western. 

Screenshot from MABEL's landing page that lists the "Browse by Format" options, which include image, video, audio, newspaper, and text.

Content in MABEL can be used to support and enable:

  • Academic and scholarly research
  • Primary source instruction
  • Preservation of digital assets
  • Marketing & outreach activities

 

Western employees who work with digital assets on behalf of their organizational units will be able to use MABEL to manage and share those assets. Although access permissions for content in this platform will vary, members of the larger university community (employees, students, and beyond), will also be able to use MABEL for search and discovery of public-facing collections. 

MABEL is the result of an intensive, multi-year cross-campus university partnership involving numerous stakeholders, content creators, archivists, and library professionals.

Black and White photo of Mabel Zoe WilsonThe name MABEL is in part an homage to Mabel Zoe Wilson, Western's first full-time librarian and the namesake of the Wilson Library building, which is still part of Western Libraries’ main complex. Mabel Zoe Wilson served as librarian from 1902-1945. Tasked with creating a library from virtually nothing, she worked through four decades to grow, catalog, and organize the collections, initiate services, and teach students effective library use.

Work to improve and further develop MABEL will continue throughout the summer as a team of web developers and content experts will make additional improvements. The goal is to replace the beta version with the launch of an improved version in the fall of 2019.  

  • How to find MABEL: You may visit MABEL here: https://mabel.wwu.edu/
  • Content Contributors: If you are a member of Western’s University Community, and you are interested in hosting your unit’s content in MABEL, please email grp.mabel.training@wwu.edu  to learn more. 
  •  Interested in helping us improve the display and function of MABEL? Contact us.

Read more: Western’s Multimedia Archives Based Electronic Library (MABEL) Now Available!


New SensusAccess Service Now Available

Posted on: April 3, 2018

Topic(s): Updates, Resources

Partnership Results in New Service for Students with Disabilities

Beginning spring 2018, Western Washington University students, staff, and faculty will have a new service available to them. SensusAccess is a conversion service that makes documents searchable and accessible for individuals who use text-to-speech technology. This service allows users to convert inaccessible documents, such as course readings or assignments, into accessible versions at any time. You can learn more about and begin using this service by going here: https://access.wwu.edu/sensus.

In order to access documents used in everyday life, such as syllabi or admissions paperwork, individuals with specific kinds of disabilities may need to employ text-to-speech technology to read the document. However, the document first needs to be formatted to ensure that the assistive technology can read and deliver a coherent report of its contents to the person with a disability.

Historically, all requests for document conversion for accessibility purposes had to go through Western’s disAbility Resources for Students. But now with SensusAccess, students, staff, and faculty can create accessible versions of their documents as needed. Typical conversion rates vary due to a variety of factors but the usual turnaround time is less than 24 hours -- and the service is free for Western users! SensusAccess is intended as a self-service solution and complements existing accessibility services at Western.

Everyone at Western is encouraged to use this service when creating or reformatting educational or informational documents. Here are a few examples of how SensusAccess can be used:

●     Faculty and Instructors: When you assign course readings that are formatted as scanned articles or PDFs, you can create an accessible version using SensusAccess. You can also learn more about PDF accessibility principles here:  https://wp.wwu.edu/webtech/accessible-pdf/ and available training here: https://access.wwu.edu/.

●     Staff: When you create informational documents, or if you need to convert an existing document into an accessible version, you can e-mail the newly accessible document to the student or colleague upon the completed conversion.

●     Students: If you ever need an accessible version of your course materials, you may use the SensusAccess service.

Prospective users should know that SensusAccess is perfect for documents under thirty pages or so. However, if there are print-impaired individuals who require the conversion of large texts into accessible versions, these individuals should contact the disAbility Resources for Students office for assistance and support [insert hyperlink: http://www.wwu.edu/drs/contact.shtml]

SensusAccess services at Western are made possible through an innovative partnership between Western Libraries, Web Communication Technologies (WebTech), and the disAbility Resources for Students office. SensusAccess is one example of several University-wide efforts dedicated to improving accessibility at Western in order to co-create an inclusive educational environment by providing a new tool to address a common problem.  For more information, please see:  Western Digital Accessibility.


Read more: New SensusAccess Service Now Available


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