Support for Students

Objectives for 2008-09

Investigate assessment and certification of various “literacies” for students. [Library, User Services]

This objective was not realized during 2008-09.

Next Steps: Moving forward, this work will be folded into our ongoing focus and expansion of information literacy initiatives in pursuit of our larger strategic goals set forth in Luther’s strategic plan.

Implement BGP routing with expanded connectivity to the Internet. [Network & Systems]

During the summer of 2008 our Internet connectivity was expanded and became more redundant. This project involved the following components:

  1. A third internet connection, a 45Mbps connection to Mediacom was added. This connection joins with our connections to NEIT and ICN for a total of 85Mbps of connectivity to the Internet.
  2. We requested and were allocated additional public IP address space from ARIN.
  3. We purchased three new internet routers and configured them to do BGP routing
  4. We changed to a new model of managing our internet bandwidth with the purchase of a Net Equalizer to replace our Net Enforcer.

Next Steps: During 2008-09, our Internet connectivity was reliable and appropriate for our bandwidth needs. No needs for additional bandwidth are anticipated for the immediate future. We will continue to monitor this resource.

Develop a sustainable and expandable framework for information literacy. [Library]

Instruction and information literacy work continued this year as we work to cultivate a broader model of instruction across the curriculum.

Based on historical statistics as reported to IPAL, the 119 sessions taught for students this year was the highest number of research sessions offered at Luther College (IPAL began keeping instruction statistics in 1996). This was an increase of nearly 42 percent over the 84 sessions offered in 2007-2008, and a 65 percent increase over the 72 sessions offered in 2006-2007 (see the historical graph of IPAL statistics). Total time spent teaching was up 30 percent over last year, and total attendance was up 64 percent over last year. All library faculty participated in library instruction, with additional instruction done by the College Archivist (Rachel Vagts) and the Fine Arts Collection Manager (Dave Kamm).

Instruction for Paideia

Overall, 62 percent of student-focused library instruction was done for Paideia (74 sessions, reaching 1273 students), which was an increase from slightly more than 50 percent of total instruction in 2007-2008. Through concerted effort and working with the Paideia Writing Committee, the librarians successfully increased the amount of library instruction done for the open unit during fall semester Paideia I to 27 sections, up from 11 sections in 2007-2008. Activity options included tours, guided research and/or a library-related assignment based on an introduction to materials (physical and virtual) in the reference collection. In light of the fact that most Paideia staff took advantage of one or more library offerings in the open unit, the Paideia Writing Committee recommended to the Paideia Planners that a library-related activity be required for all sections as part of the Paideia I Fall 2009 Syllabus; the request was approved by the planners.

A new model of library instruction was piloted for the Paideia I spring research unit. Sessions were cut from 60 minutes to 30 in order to provide concise, targeted information about research, and Paideia instructors were encouraged to choose two “modules” (out of five) in order to focus on which strategies would be most valuable for their section topic. (The five modules included: Search strategies, How to find books, How to find scholarly articles, How to find primary sources, and Instruction on a specific database.) Instructors were offered the option of returning with their section(s) for additional library instruction, which allowed students to gain a deeper understanding of research in their topic area. Library staff reported satisfaction with this new model, and will continue discussion on how to improve the effectiveness of work with Paideia.

First-year students were invited to participate in the HEDS Research Practices Survey, a national survey tailored to the instructional context of the liberal arts and informed by the ACRL Standards for Information Literacy (J. Beld, HEDS presentation “Assessing and Improving Information Literacy: The Research Practices Survey,” June 2008). The instrument was administered by the office of Assessment & Institutional Research in cooperation with the Paideia program. As library liaison to Paideia, Andi Beckendorf worked with Jon Christy to edit the survey for Luther College, and added several questions about student attitudes and beliefs about plagiarism. The survey was administered once during fall semester before the open unit and again during the spring semester following the research unit. Data from the Fall 2008 survey was used to help shape the new model of instruction for Spring 2009 research. Luther College data will be studied to identify how research attitudes and practices shifted during the students’ first year of college, and what additional role library instruction might play.

Course-Related Instruction

The 45 sessions of course-related instruction, totaling nearly 36 hours of teaching, accounted for 38 percent of instruction for students. We reached 878 students in 18 academic departments, up from 668 students in 16 departments in 2007-2008. Four departments requested instruction for senior paper/project (totaling nine sessions); 11 sessions were taught for 100 level courses; 14 sessions were taught for 200 level courses; three sessions were taught for 300 level courses, four sessions were taught for 400 level courses; three sessions were taught for music studio seminars; and one general database session was offered. A total of 46 faculty attended the course-related instruction sessions. New requests for instruction came from the Political Science and Environmental Studies programs and seminars for the clarinet and piano studios.

Outreach Sessions

Four area schools came to Preus Library for research work, including the Ceramics class from Decorah High School; the Philosophy class from MFL Mar-Mac High School; the sixth, seventh and eighth graders from CMS for National History Day projects; and the Composition Class from South Winneshiek. Outreach instruction accounted for five sessions that reached 92 students. Visiting classes were offered a 30-minute instruction session and then were given free research time to use materials accessible in and through Preus Library.

Special Collections

The rich special collections at Preus Library are often used for resource instruction, including outreach sessions, Paideia research, and course-related instruction. This year, five sessions used the Luther College Archives; the Fine Arts Collection was utilized for nine sessions, and eight sessions used materials from the Rare Book Room. On occasion, courses may use more than one special collection during their class.

Next Steps: Work will continue to identify the best means to advance our information literacy initiatives. As this priority is included in Luther’s current strategic plan, it is a top priority for LIS for the forseeable future.

Plan for renew and refresh of technology infrastructure in Miller and Dieseth Halls. [Network & Systems]

The college has placed the remodeling of Miller and Dieseth on hold. Our project to install wired and wireless networking there is on hold pending a decision to go ahead with the larger project.

We added wireless network to Brunsdale Lounge in the Spring of 2009.

Next Steps: This objective is paused pending the resumption of the larger renovation project led by the College.

Plan for renew and refresh of wireless in Ylvisaker and Baker Village. [Network & Systems]

The plans are made and underway. Wireless is installed in the Baker Village commons, Farm House, Bergen, Lillihammer, Trondheim, and Oslo.

Installation of a new wireless network in Ylvisaker will occur this summer with completion expected before the start of the 2009/2010 school year.

Next Steps: This work has been completed or will be complete. LIS has also added wireless coverage to Jenson Hall, and expanded wireless coverage in the CFL in summer 2009. We will continue to monitor locations for expanded wireless coverage.

Deployment of Online Tracking of NorseCard Balances. [Application Development]

NorseCard.luther.edu allows students a convenient way to check their dining services meal plan balances and dining dollars and is extremely popular with the students. Staff are able to check their charge accounts, family activity, and the department accounts that they are responsible.

Next Steps: This new service is complete and available to the community.


Ongoing Initiatives and Operations

Enhancements to My.Luther

The Application Development team enhanced My.luther capabilities by working with the Payroll and Student Work staff, adding Web Time Entry for 280 student workers, Approve Time Entry for supervisors, and ability for student employees and supervisors to view work history.

We also added view My 1098T information for students.

New ethnicity codes, increased importance for emergency contact information, and off campus addresses prompted the first features for the custom web form for students to update their profile information. Additional enhancements are planned for next year.

Classrooms and Computer Labs

During 2008-2009 we moved towards installing computer flat screen panels into our labs with the standard being wide screen. We refreshed approximately 12 existing classrooms with new projection systems and we installed our first SmartBoard in the Education department. We also installed computers in the study areas and computer kiosks in the entry area of Sampson Hoffland. Upgraded laptops were delivered to Biology, Physics and the Circulation Desk. Sampson Hoffland received 14 new classroom projection systems and Valders has recently received 26 new classroom projection systems

KATIE: Luther’s Learning Management System

I. There’s evidence that Learning Management Systems (LMS) have gained in popularity and importance with both faculty and students.

A. ECAR (commissioned by Educause) published longitudinal data at the end of 2008 showing consistent growth of use and popularity for LMSs in undergraduate venues.

B. 2008 MISO survey results for Luther show 93 percent of students and 73 percent of faculty feel KATIE is important or very important with the MISO significant usage statistics mirroring our own measurements at 90 percent and 70 percent respectively.

II. Open source LMSs, specifically Moodle, are experiencing tremendous growth.

A. Moodle = from 3,600 to 70,000+ institutions worldwide in five years. The largest area of growth in the last two years has been in North American Liberal Arts colleges.

B. Tighter budget constraints compel innovative decisions anticipating a continued growth trend in the similar adoption of Moodle.

C. Moodle’s “Community” model of software development has proven robust and sustainable building confidence in open source solutions to a ubiquitous need.

III. Luther College is optimally positioned to extract ultimate benefit from the Moodle LMS (KATIE).

A. Luther is a founding member of CLAMP (Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project), a rapidly growing organization of Liberal Arts colleges directing the adaptation of Moodle for the North American Liberal Arts venue. Some of CLAMP’s projects include:

  1. Modifying the Moodle gradebook to more fully meet the needs of its constituents
  2. Enabling the use of additional WYSIWYG editors with Moodle to capture larger audiences (Mac, Safari users)
  3. Integration into Moodle of NanoGong, a voice recording tool used extensively by Modern Languages
  4. Oversight of the MyMoodle customized front page

B. Coordinated training efforts between academic departments and LIS are continually evolving to support faculty with increasingly effective and varied tools.

  1. General introductory sessions
  2. Workshops demonstrating how-to’s and classroom applications of forums, lessons, the gradebook, and scheduling
  3. Sample resources to demonstrate best practices for faculty
  4. Ongoing announcements of tips and tricks, documentation, and screen-capture tutorials provide just-in-time assistance on the KATIE home page

C. Academic Technology subscribes to substantial digests of information regarding Moodle and user issues, enabling a strong level of support for KATIE users through one-on-one troubleshooting and individual tutorials.


Crosslisted Operations, Objectives, and Initiatives