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2018/19 Library & Learning Commons Annual Report

Learning & Life Competencies

Sharing Unique Expertise

Library Instruction

The Library's instructional program continues to grow at a torrid pace, surpassing 1,000 classes (in-person and online) for the first time ever. The number of classes delivered increased by 18% and the number of instances of students receiving instruction increased by 12% from 2017/18.  While the English department continues to account for the vast majority of instructional classes, the most instances of students receiving either instruction now come from the Psychology department.

In-person library instruction is the major driver of growth in the Library's instructional program. For the second year in a row, the number of in-person classes has topped the number of online tutorials, indicating that instructors prefer the customizable in-person workshops or a blending of in-person and online instruction. Overall, librarians spent 770.5 hours teaching this year. As the demand for in-person instruction has increased, so too has the competition for access to the Library's teaching lab. With the lab reaching its capacity, many of the Library's classes must take place in other computer labs across campus or in regular classrooms. 

While the Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial continues to be the most popular online tutorial assigned by instructors, each of the Library's three tutorials saw steady growth in 2018/19, with Introduction to Research and "Can I Use This?" Evaluating Your Sources increasing by 12% and 8% respectively. Interestingly, while the number of classes using these tutorials has increased, the overall number of students completing these tutorials decreased slightly from 2017/18.

With the increased adoption of the online tutorials, the Library's instruction and systems teams worked to streamline the administrative processes of assigning tutorials and forwarding marks to instructors. Students can now view their past marks online in their Library account and request to have past marks forwarded to instructors directly through Brightspace.

Academic Supports at the Library

The Library provides research support through numerous channels, including in-person drop-in sessions and appointments, phone call, e-mail, and virtual chat. This year, library staff members answered over 5,500 "in-depth research" questions from students, staff, and community members. Notably, the Borrower Services team is increasingly answering Basic Research questions, which may be indicative of shifting student research habits. The Library is currently engaged in a project to update its wayfinding signage in order to better identify the services offered at the various service points throughout the Library.

Students are accessing the services offered by the Writing Centre more than ever. Writing assignments from English courses make up over half of interactions at the Writing Centre.

Subject Tutoring continues to be a popular service in the Learning Commons, with close to 4,000 visits in 2018/2019. Computer Science & Information Systems once again drove a significant amount of traffic to the Writing & Tutoring Centre, accounting for 46% of all subject tutoring visits.

The Library & Learning Commons strives to support students at their point of need, with an understanding that students are not always able to visit librarians and tutors in person on campus. As a member of the BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN), the Langara Library & Learning Commons provides students access to collaborative online research and writing services. In 2018-19, Langara students contacted librarians through the AskAway chat service and writing tutors through the WriteAway online submission portal over 2,000 times.  

Learning Strategist Pilot Project

The Library hosted a Learning Strategist Pilot during the fall and spring semesters. A Learning Strategist is a professional who assists students with developing various academic and executive functioning skills, such as organization, working memory, reading/writing skills, time management, and more. A working group representing various support departments identified a gap in this type of support on campus and was able to secure one-time funding from the Ministry for the pilot.

The pilot contracted an external consultant to conduct an environmental scan during the fall semester and a one-on-one learning strategist service during the spring semester. 15 students participated in the pilot and met with the learning strategist for an average of six sessions each over the 11-week pilot. Overall, students reported high satisfaction with the pilot.

Langara secured another round of funding to extend the pilot for 2019/2020. One of the key deliverables for the coming year is a recommendation on a referral process to/from the learning strategist including faculty in the classroom.

Research & Writing Coach-Ins

The Library and the Langara Writing Centre began collaborating to host monthly research and writing clinics for students. In addition to enjoying free coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks, students from all disciplines can drop in to the clinics to get help with research, writing, and citation at one convenient location.