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Be a Learning Champ

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Learning Commons Open House

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Learning Commons entrance  
Learning Commons Entrance

On Thursday, Sept. 19, from 3 pm to 4:30 pm, there will be an open house on the second floor of the Library entitled, “Be a Learning Champ.” The open house will celebrate the completion of UMD's new Learning Commons. The event will begin with a few words from Chancellor Lendley C. Black and Executive Vice Chancellor Andrea Schokker, followed by tours of the Commons, and Champ handing out grab bags to visitors. This event is free and open to the public.

The Learning Commons was created to help students have greater accessibility to a variety of helpful services. The Learning Commons will be home to Supportive Student Services including the Tutoring Center, the Writers' Workshop, Multimedia Hub, library research and information services.

“The Library was chosen to house the Learning Commons because students already use the facilities on a regular basis,” Liz Johnson, Library system director, explained. “We also had the space, and the Library is open until midnight most nights making this space more accessible for students.”

Students can use designated tutoring areas and tables during the day while tutoring and workshops are going on. When the area is not being used for tutoring, it becomes a great place for students to work on group projects and study. The tables and whiteboards are on wheels so students can move them around and use them more comfortably. The Learning Commons also has numerous outlets so students can plug in their electronics with ease.

Research and Information Desk

At the research and information Desk, reference librarians provide research assistance to students, faculty, staff, and community users, whatever their research and information needs.  Reference librarians also serve as subject specialists, offering in-depth research support through office consultations, which are available to individuals and small groups by walk-in or appointment.

“Students working on assignments may need many different types of assistance," said Tom Ambrosi, Head of Reference Services. "By bringing these different services together in the Learning Commons, we hope to better provide for students whatever support they need to achieve learning success."

Supportive Services Program and Tutoring Center

The Tutoring Center is a free drop-in tutoring service for all students. It is run by Supportive Services Program(SSP). and is staffed with qualified and trained peer tutors. “The concept is dynamic support with training and services,” Paul Treuer, the SSP director said, “Peer tutoring is a win-win situation; it creates a highly collaborative learning environment in which both the peer tutors and the students receiving tutoring benefit.” SSP also offers preparatory courses, learning strategies workshop and courses, supplemental instruction, Foundation programs, and training for peer educators.

Writers’ Workshop

The Writers’ Workshop offers campus-wide writing support to any member of the UMD community seeking to become a better writer. Undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and staff are all welcome to make an appointment or stop by for a one-to-one consultation with a graduate or faculty consultant. "It’s important that the service be open to the entire campus community because we all write,“ said Jill Jenson, faculty liaison for writing and learning, associate professor in the Department of Writing Studies, and the manager of the Writers’ Workshop. "This is something UMD has needed for a long time, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer our services to anyone looking for a collaborative conversation about their work."

Multimedia Hub

The Multimedia Hub lends camcorders, camera, and many other pieces of technology to students, faculty, and staff. "Most students know how to take pictures with their iphones, but some students have never used video or dslr cameras," Mary Olson-Reed said. “We offer training on this equipment and other pieces of technology, so in the future they will know how to use them."

For more information on the Learning Commons, visit the UMD Library website.

Written by Katarina Menze, September 2013

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UMD News Feature editor, Cheryl Reitan,

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