Library workshops aim to teach new digital skills

by Adriana Millar, Staff Writer

San Diego State’s Love Library is launching a digital workshop series that will run throughout October.

The series, which started Tuesday, is designed to promote skills and tools that will enhance digital scholarship.

Workshop topics will include creating info graphics, research posters, ePortofolios and 3D models. Others will cover Creative Commons licensing, open access publishing, digital mapping and social media professionalism.

“As students and as faculty, you’re producing scholarly work and scholarship here, so we wanted to make sure that people knew about interesting tools that were out there digitally to present you information in different ways,” health and life sciences librarian Kathryn Houk said.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics librarian Jenny Wong-Welch, who is teaching the 3D modeling and Creative Commons licensing workshops, said one of the main purposes is to digitally prepare students for their careers.

“My goal here is just to educate more students on technology,” she said. “So making you guys more aware of … what is this world you’re entering into with technology, and gaining more skills that you really wouldn’t gain just in your curriculum.”

While some workshops will be lecture style, most will feature hands-on opportunities to engage with technologies and create different objects, said Jordan Nielsen, entrepreneurship, marketing and business data librarian.

The series was inspired by a campus push to integrate technology with scholarship, Nielson said.

“There are several initiatives going on on campus that are … really all about promoting technology, and how it supports scholarship, both for students and for faculty,” he said. “We really saw this as an important piece of that, kind of contributing to this growing culture of technology to support education and learning.”

All workshops are free to attend. Each workshop will present software either already available in the library or free to download, Houk said.

Librarians will tech most of the workshops, while some will feature guest speakers. Career services will teach a workshop on social media professionalism, and a public health student will teach a workshop on digital mapping.

“As we move forward, we would love to have more groups participating, whether it’s students or offices on campus, and promoting technologies and how it supports learning and scholarship,” Nielsen said.

The library is also using the series as a way to gauge interest in future workshops. Going forward, the workshops could possibly become a monthly event, Nielsen said.

Future workshops could include other skill-based software, such as Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

“While (the software programs) are not free, most students have them, or they have access to them, so we could definitely offer workshops on those programs,” Nielson said.

However, inclusion of those software programs would require finding someone with the skills to teach the software.

“Some of them we can lead because we have experience, and some of them are more outside of our realm,” Nielson said. “That’s the beauty of this workshop series: the collaboration.”

To participate in a digital scholar workshop, students and faculty are asked to register beforehand on the library’s website. Workshops will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room 260 of the Love Library.