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W.E.B. Du Bois Library Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of an Information Commons or Two Heads are Better than One – How Qualitative and.

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Presentation on theme: "W.E.B. Du Bois Library Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of an Information Commons or Two Heads are Better than One – How Qualitative and."— Presentation transcript:

1 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of an Information Commons or Two Heads are Better than One – How Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment are Better Together Rachel Lewellen and Gordon Fretwell September 26, 2006 Library Assessment Conference Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment

2 2 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Overview About the Learning Commons (LC) About the observational study About the focus groups Conclusions based on combined data Need for future assessment

3 3 W.E.B. Du Bois Library About the Learning Commons Facilities Located in the Library, 23,000+ square feet, 17 group study rooms, 250+ seats, 169+ computers Services Reference, Writing Center, Advising, Career Services, Technology Assistance, Peer Tutoring, Coffee/Snack Café Access to Software, hardware, library print and electronic resources, wired and wireless network access, multimedia tools, etc.

4 4 W.E.B. Du Bois Library The Tower and the Courtyard

5 5 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Lounge Seating

6 6 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Public Computer Area

7 7 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Study Pod Area

8 8 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Group Study Room

9 9 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Tall Café Style Table with View of Courtyard

10 10 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Study Tables each with a Computer

11 11 Learning Commons Floor Plan

12 12 W.E.B. Du Bois Library The Observational Study - Questions What services are being used? When are services being used? Under what conditions are services used? Do we have enough workstations during peak periods of use? How does use of the same space compare before and after the implementation of the Learning Commons?

13 13 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Observational Study Revision of a similar counting survey done in 2001 For each survey period Once every hour that the LC was open a staff member walked around counting the individuals and activities in each of the predefined locations. 61 locations, service points or activities were defined and counted (group study rooms, tables, reference desk, computers used, cell phone users, sleepers etc.). Data was entered into Excel from tally sheets and analyzed. Six one-week surveys were completed (Oct 05-May 06) One shortly after opening (before 24/5 hours) One during exam period

14 14

15 15 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Observational Study Results Building traffic increased 53% between 2001 and 2006. Use of the main floor (Learning Commons floor) increased 190% between 2001 and 2006. Overnight hours are popular all semester and especially so at exam time. Students use of a variety of seating configurations and locations. High-use times across a day and throughout the week were identified with implications for staffing service points. Laptop use is substantial (10% of LC users). Cell phone use is ubiquitous but not overwhelming. 1.2% of LC clientele were using cell phones. Use was distributed proportionally during the open hours.

16 16 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Use Increased

17 17 W.E.B. Du Bois Library New Questions Raised We wanted to know more about the areas that were most heavily used Were the areas that were used at equal levels liked equally? What attributes made areas heavily/lightly used? Was noise a factor? We wanted to know if users cared about the requirement to log in to some of the computers We wanted information about future development What changes would students like to see? What would users like in a separate quiet study area?

18 18 W.E.B. Du Bois Library About the Focus Group Study Follow-up to observational study Times and locations for invitations to participate were randomly generated LC staff members/assessment librarian issued invitations Free beverage coupons offered as incentive Three focus group meetings and an individual interview – April 2006 Diverse mix of students

19 19 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Discussion Topics Favorite and least favorite areas of the LC and their attributes Discussion of specific areas including: study pods, study rooms, public stations, tables, and lounge chairs Development of quiet areas Development of the courtyard

20 20 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Focus Group Results Students liked the study pods area best They liked the public station area least They want more electrical and Ethernet connectivity Additional feedback about remaining locations

21 21 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Study Pod Area

22 22 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Another Study Pod Picture

23 23 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Public Station Area

24 24 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Findings from Combined Data The public stations and study pod areas were used equally but the public stations were the least favorite of all LC locations and the study pods were the favorite location for students. Students wanted more computers with larger work surfaces. Choice of seating location was at times driven by proximity to electrical or wired Ethernet access. Cell phone use is common and fairly steady but students generally feel that individuals are attuned to noise and courtesy issues themselves One set of lounge chairs had extremely low use - the location was too sunny and/or chairs were too close to computer stations –some students didnt even know lounge chairs were there at all.

25 25 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Need for Future Assessment How does the space contribute to learning? Does the LC foster a sense of community and support diversity? What are students doing in the space - is it many different things? Are the right services provided? Are more/others needed? Do the students feel their needs and/or expectations are being met? What is lacking? Are faculty teaching differently or seeing changes they attribute to the LC – what impact has this had on teaching and faculty perception of the impact on student learning? What kind of innovation is born here? How do we know?

26 26 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Complete Observational Study & Focus Group Information Learning Commons Assessment Observational Study Data Summary data Raw data by week Comparative charts Focus Group Report Other LC assessment activities and data Reference transactions, Café sales, Writing Center consultations, LC survey etc.

27 27 W.E.B. Du Bois Library Contact Us Gordon Fretwell Statistics Consultant University of Massachusetts Amherst Rachel Lewellen Assessment Librarian University of Massachusetts Amherst 413 545-3343

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