Sunday, October 26, 2008

George Mason University - Instructional Technology Program

George Mason University is located in Fairfax, Virginia. It was named #1 for national university to watch on the list of up and coming schools (promising & innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities) in U.S News & World Report. They are in the process of investing $500 million between 2002-2013 in high tech academic buildings, on campus hotel, conference center and residential communities.

The History department teamed up with the media center to create the "Center for History and New Media" this collaboration is one that incorporates current medias into the field of history. Students have immediate access to primary sources, online teaching modules and technologies such as Zotero (online database to store reference list, properly cite them, etc). The concept of digital history is also revealed here - it is the approach to examining and representing the past while taking advantage of new communication technologies. History is able to reach many audiences worldwide because of technological exhibits.

Instructional Technology Program
The Instructional Technology program at George Mason University provides its graduates with the skills needed to be very marketable and competitive in the workforce market. The program has 3 tracks on can choose from:

1. Instructional Design and Development - for the person who desires to become an Instructional Designer; gain knowledge and the skills needed to design and develop technology based systems and learning environments. (30 credits)

2. Integrating Technology into Schools - this program is for the person who desires to effectively integrate technology in the teaching/learning process. The program focuses on the k-12 arena and students are prepared to assume leadership roles in technology integration in schools. (36 credits)

3. Assisted Technology - students are prepared to work with students with disabilities, service providers and family members. Technology will be used to help individuals function more efficiently at school, home, work and in the community.

Admission Procedures/Policies

The GRE is not a requirement to be admitted to the programs. However, admission differs slightly for each of the three programs, the requirements are as follows:

1. Instructional Design and Development - completed Application for Graduate Study and the non-refundable application fee; Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits-of-study (some applicants with a lower GPA may be admitted provisionally if there is sufficient evidence of potential success); 2 official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended; 1-2 page goals statement; 3 letters of recommendation from professional references targeting instructional technology and academic abilities and passing scores on TOEFL test for non-native English-speaking applicants.

2. Integrating Technology into Schools - Completed Application for Graduate Study and the non-refundable application fee; Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits-of-study (some applicants with a lower GPA may be admitted provisionally if there is sufficient evidence of potential success); 2 official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended; 1-2 page goals statement that gives the reasons for choosing Instructional Technology as your profession; 3 letters of recommendation from professional references targeting instructional technology and academic abilities and passing scores on TOEFL test for non-native English-speaking applicants.

3. Assisting Technology - Completed Application for Graduate Study and the non-refundable application fee; Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits-of-study (some applicants with a lower GPA may be admitted provisionally if there is sufficient evidence of potential success); 2 official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended; 3 letters of recommendation from professional references and passing scores on TOEFL test for non-native English-speaking applicants.

The instruction & design and integrating technology into schools programs both have graduate certificates associated with them as well. These certificates are completed with 15 credit hours. There is also the e-Learning graduate certificate as a secondary program option. With this option 13 of the 30 credits required for the primary degree program can be applied towards this e-Learning certificate.

Marketing Materials - there are brochures and flyer's for each program. They offer detailed information about the admission process, admission requirements, what you can do with the degree, highlights of the degree program, faculty members, various types of programs offered in the instructional technology department as well as sample course information.

Resources - there are many resources available to students and faculty. Students will use Patriot Web to schedule the courses, look up class offerings, view their grades and transcripts. It is an online information portal for students. There is also Blackboard and WebCt that is used by faculty to facilitate online course or disseminate important information.

There is a multitude of information available to students to view online such as: tuition rates, how to apply/deadlines, instructional technology courses, frequently used forms and the graduation process. Items that are available for faculty members are the faculty handbook, salary matrix, course/syllabus preparation, ordering textbooks and employee tuition exemption request.

There is also an Instructional Technology listserv that conveys information about job opportunities, upcoming and new classes being offered and Instructional Technology events. One will need to email the listserv to gain access to it.

A program that I found to be of interest was the Immersion Program. The program is designed for full time students in the Instructional Design and Development track. Students will immerse themselves in several project-based experiences that requires them to translate their educational experiences into authentic real-world experience. Key features of the program are:

  • Master's in Education/Instructional Technology granted in three semesters of full-time student participation
  • Tuition is funded (up to 27 credits) by sponsoring agency
  • Participation real world design projects
  • The promotion of students' positive interaction with a design team and support of their development as independent learners
  • Portfolio based assessment of student represents individual accomplishments and contributions to the design project


Personnel is handled exclusively by the human resources department. The IT department has 9 full time faculty members; 19 affiliated, Instructional & adjunct faculty members; one full time and one part time staff members currently employed in the department. Each member has their own areas of research that focus/teach. Faculty members have profile pages that can be viewed at:

Budget for the Instructional Technology Department

The College of Education receives 5.56% of the total universities budget($300,609,300). Of that each department is allotted monies based on their needs. A appeal for additional monies can be made to the Budget Advisory Board in the College of Education when there is surplus monies available. The program will have to justify the needs for the monies, how they will be spent, the outcomes and the benefits. According to Kevin Clark the Instructional Technology department has been favored when it comes to their budget. They are given sufficient monies to recruit top faculty members and students, purchase current technologies and conduct research.

In closing, George Mason University's Instructional Technology Program seems to be a pretty good one. It has unique features that is able to attract students from near and far to attend. The school's campus is beautiful and is centrally located. The program provides opportunities for students to translate their education into real-world opportunities thus making them more marketable in the workforce arena.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kent State University Library & Media Services

Service Philosophy of the Kent State University Libraries & Media Services Commitment to Users:

Reliability: We will provide service that is thorough, dependable, and accurate.
Responsiveness: We will consistently provide prompt, courteous assistance. When we are unable to help, we will direct users to the party who can.
Respect: We will give individualized attention to each user's need without bias and with full use of available resources.
Accessibility: We will endeavor to provide equitable access to services and resources for both in-person and off site users.
Environment: We will strive to provide a learning environment conducive to study and research.
Staff Quality: We will support our staff to ensure that they are knowledgeable and prepared to offer service that inspires trust and confidence.

Approved by Libraries and Media Service Council
November 6, 2002

I have to be completely honest, I have not been inside Kent State University's library since 2003. It has been quite a long time since I journeyed into the refuge of references. Upon entering all of my memories flooded me. The library has changed a lot in 5 years, for the better of course. I was not aware of the multitude of services that are offered by the library outside of books. There is a student multimedia center, design studio, presentation room and a audio visual center to name a few.

Collaboration: Teachers frequently bring their students to the library for various workshops or instructional sessions. The most common sessions are research methodologies, finding resources, citing properly and how to use the catalogs/databases. Teachers are able to reserve rooms for class meetings that require library usage. The rooms can be reserved in 90 minute blocks and a lecturer can be brought in to assist the teacher with finding materials on a specific topic if need be. Over 444 classes or instructional sessions have been taught since the 07-08 academic year.

Technology: The library has an array of technologies on site. Students have access to DVD players, CD players, laptops, Audio equipment, editing equipment, practice presentation rooms, camcorders, digital cameras and PA systems. There is also many copy machines on a few of the floors as well as a Copying & Design Services Center on the 3rd floor. Community members are able to borrow books and utilize the Teleproductions department for media and full length video productions. The computer labs on the 1st floor are equipped with the usual programs (Microsoft package, Internet capabilities, Adobe, Windows Media Player, etc).

Program Planning: Programs are designed around course assignments. Instructors/Professors will submit request to the library about certain topics and that request is assigned to the appropriate librarian (practitioner) for that specific topic. That librarian will then conduct a instructional session for the class and provide suggestions for resources, how to properly cite the sources and interpreting sources. These request must be made two weeks in advance and will only be honored twice per academic year, per professor/instructor (so the professor/instructor does not attempt to host their classes their for the whole semester).
Collections: Floors 4-9 of the library house literary collections. Collections consist of Special collections and archives, government documents, periodicals, juvenile and reference documents. There is a Collection Management department that is responsible for maintaining and ensuring the quality of the collections. Within that department is a Collection Development unit that manages the continuous development of the libraries' collection. Librarians act as liaisons to the departments and follow collection development guidelines in order to ensure the requested materials are necessary and aligned with the universities instructional needs.
Policies: The policies are very thorough yet standard. There are policies available for food & drink in the library, Internet usage, borrowing privileges, copyright, renewals, library classroom usage, acceptable use of library facilities or workstations, etc. Each policy is explained in its entirety leaving one armed with the knowledge of what is right or wrong. There is a Copyright Clearance Service department that is available to help you obtain permission to use copyrighted materials. There are separate polices for borrowing electronic equipment and library books. They even have policies about the confidentiality of library records. This is meant to be a protective barrier for patrons personal information. There is a process for responding to request of that information in place that I think is wonderful; they are truly practicing being proactive.

Facilities: Quite a few floors or area of the library has been renovated. The lighting is bright and the environment is quite yet very welcoming. The circulation area on the first floor is centrally located and properly labeled. The first floor of the library consisted of a reference desk, student multimedia studio, computers and the May 4th room. The library has learning classrooms in the basement as well on the 3rd and 4th floors. There are various locations available for small group activities as well as whole class instruction. There are floors that are designated as quiet floors as well as a cafe', poetry center and practice presentation room.

A room that I found to be of interest for me was the video room for ASL (American Sign Language) students. Prior to the establishment of this room, students would need another person to tape them as they signed for exams or assignments. Due to some eventful minds of the library staff a room was specifically staged that will tape the student signing on a camcorder that is already positioned AND once finished will burn to a CD-R. I thought was absolutely brilliant, no longer will I couldn't find someone to tape be an excuse for missing a signing exam :)

Personnel: According to the person that I interviewed the library is currently fully staffed at the present time. Some people have moved around to different departments but for the most part the turnover rate is very low. There is a total of 29 full time staff members and 1 part timer in the Media Services department. Each department head reports to Dean Weber; followed by assistant and associates deans (Admin Services-Hermon, Public Services-Scholman, Technical Services-Klinger and Media Services-Pike). Each librarian must have a Master's in Library Information Science and they each have specific concentrations that they deal with. New this academic year, the teleproductions department moved from under the umbrella of the library. They are now house in Moulton Hall on Kent's main campus.

Budget: The budget for the library is close to ten million dollars, it actually totals $9,814,384 for the 2009 fiscal year. Of that $4,831,958 is wages and salaries, that sum does not include benefits because that comes from a different pool of monies. Expenditures totaled $559,064 for things such as the travel, supplies, maintenance, telephone, entertainment etc. The library collection development allotment is $4,423,362.

Evaluation: Focus groups are formed to evaluate specific areas or functionalities of the library. There is currently a Focus group working together this semester with the hopes of the results being available towards the end of December. There are also surveys e-mailed to students after they attend instructional sessions as well as to the professors or instructors. This tool is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the sessions and if the needs were met.

Informed Transitions: What I found to be of great interest was on the 3rd floor. Room #334 is reserved for a high school outreach program hosted by Kent State's library. A high school teacher/administrator can reserve the room for their classes and allow the students to utilize the resources of the library for an assignment or class project. I think that this is a great opportunity for high school to become acclimated with college libraries, learn the importance of citations and examining materials for their usefulness. These are great topics for students to learn before entering colleges and universities.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Akron-Summit County Public Library Visit

Mission Statement: The Akron-Summit County Public Library provides resources for learning and leisure, information services,meeting spaces and programs for all ages that support, improve and enrich individual, family and community life.

Before arriving in the library I held some preconceived notions about what a typical library should be and look like. Upon entering the library, my assumptions were quickly denounced. Once I was given a tour of the facility, I was completely amazed at the vast amount of technology in this place. There were:
  • Computer labs equipped with all the latest technologies and/or programs such as:Microsoft Package-Excel, Power Point, Front Page, Word, Publisher; Adobe Dreamweaver; Lotus Package, etc.
  • Auditorium with state of the art sound systems, projector, wireless microphone, portable podium with ability to control all medias in the auditorium.
  • Computer training courses on file management, computer security, Microsoft programs, HTML, Email basics, etc.

Not only was the center centrally located in downtown Akron, but the hours were convenient as well. The library is open Monday through Thursday 9am-9pm; Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm. In short the library is open seven days a week, except for holidays. There is a certified media specialist on site during all of those hours except on Sunday. On Sunday there is a student assistant there from the University of Akron; she is currently enrolled in their Library and Information Science Master's program.


They have various programs that they are held year round at the main location as well as the branch locations. They are based on age, skill level, library location and interests. They have family(Grandparent's Day Craft, Toddler Story Time, After School Fun, Family Movie Nights); special interest (Journey to Freedom, Self Defense Basics, Angels Among Us, Hearth and Home)and school programs (Computer Training, Decorate Your Locker, After-school Fun, Read with Willow the Dog). The best part is, there is usually no charge for the programs and if there is one, it is very minimal ($5.00 or less).

There is also an variety of computer training programs that are available to the public at no cost. However the class sizes are limited to 15 people, so you must get there at least 1/2 hour before the class start time to ensure entrance into the class. What I thought was great, was that on the computer training website one can view and/or print out handout materials to supplement their learning endeavors. This is very beneficial to those who learn by reading and doing. It will also allow for patrons to look over the materials before attending class and get a feel for the material beforehand. The library even offer online tutorials online. I felt that this site was very informative and useful to all patrons.

For patrons that are deaf and would like to attend the computer training classes, there is a interpreter available but one must notify the library before attending the class so this can be arranged in advance. The schedule is posted every three months and programs are created and developed at least 6 months in advance. However for programs that non-library employees would like to utilize the library for, they will need to notify Mark Derr who is the marketing events supervisor at least 14 business days in advance to do so.


The libraries polices are very thorough. There are policies from borrowing library materials, the library meeting rooms to patron behavior guidelines. However, there is not a handout that is readily available to patrons; they have to access the libraries homepage to view the material. There is a short policy handout given to new patrons when they receive their library card about Internet usage and borrowing of books. I think that the policies should be more visible, so that patrons are more aware of them.


I was shown MANY book collections while at the library. They have collections for just about every topic that you can think of. Some of the more popular collections are as follows:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Children's
  • Business & Government
  • Science & Technology
  • Popular Culture
  • History & Humanities
  • Special Collections
  • Genealogy
  • Language & Literature
  • Religion & Philosophy
  • Teens
  • Language & Literature
  • Legal Information

Each collection is organized and ran by a certified librarian who specializes in that particular concentration. I thought that was very helpful because he/she is very knowledgeable of the collection and should be able to effectively recommend materials to patrons. This is extremely important when collaborating with teachers on lesson planning. The librarian will be able to align materials that will have substance and usefulness for the classroom. This also very beneficial when teachers are able to bring the students to the library to work on class assignments. Because the collections are divided by subject content, that means that the librarian and teacher can host the students in one area and maintain a visual on all students.


The library has a lot of unique services that are available for their patrons, the most popular ones are as follows:

  • ACORN/Internet Service- known as the Akron Community Online Resource Network: offers access to local/community information; Internet access and free web hosting for non-profit groups/organization.

  • Ask-A-Librarian- a portal that patrons can access to ask brief questions to librarians. It has a 24 hour response time where they either answer your question or suggestions of where to look.

  • Book Club to Go- canvass bag with 10 paperback books for those in the book discussion groups.

  • Bookmobile & Van Services- vans visit preschools, day cares, Head Start, elementary schools and senior housing centers. Also there is a Library Express Delivery Service that is available for patrons who cannot come into the library because of medical reasons.

  • Books in Boxes- a set of children's books that can be checked out up to 4 weeks. There are specific titles that are included in this program.

  • E-mail Notification- a patron can sign up to receive e-mail notification when a book is available, due or ready for pick up.

  • Kits for Kids- comes in a blue bag with 6 books, videos, audio cassettes and a toy or puzzle all centered around a theme. Comes with an activity sheet and suggestions for other materials that relate to the theme.

  • Know it Now 24/7- a comprehensive reference service that connects to librarians to answer your questions.

  • Learning Express Library- interactive online learning platform with immediate scoring, answer explanations and individualized analysis of your results.
  • Patent & Trademark Services- access to resources from the U.S Patent & trademark Office granted since 1790.


The staffing at the library ranged from Directors down to student assistants. All ultimately reporting to the Board of Trustees. The staff's educational background ranged from associate to master degrees. Each department has different qualifications and specification for their staff members.

The librarians must have their master's degrees in order to work in the library and their library media staff member must have proper certifications before they can be employed at ACSPL.

Overall the staff seemed to be very knowledgeable of their job duties and was very welcoming to my questions. They seemed to have a passion for their jobs or careers and was eager to share their expertise.


I was not able to gather current information about their budget, but I was told that it does not change much. The information that was given to me was finance report from the 2006 fiscal year. I was amazed to find out that the library collects over $600,000 a year in fines and fees. There expenditures totaled $25,008,826 which includes salaries, supplies, library materials, etc. Specifically:

  • Salaries and benefits = $15,050,438
  • Supplies = $$587,348
  • Purchased and contracted services = $4,809,714
  • Library materials and information = $3,440,102
  • Capital outlay = $930,010
  • Other expenditures = $191,214

Interesting enough the number of registered card holders jumped from 192,755 in 1998 to 309,111 in 2006. There was 140 available computers in the library in 1998; as of 2006 there are 475 and to date there are over 650 currently in the library. The last tidbit of information that was shared with me was that the operating expenditures on increased $500,000 or so from 1998 to 2006.

Overall, the visit to the Akron Summit County Public Library was quite an enlightening experience. I would recommend it to all those who live around the area to visit it sometime and see what all it has to offer.

Till the next time.....