Our Article on Student Technology Use

We are delighted to share that our article about what our research revealed about students’ technology use has been published. This past Monday, EDUCAUSE Review Online published Commuter Students Using Technology. This article expands and elaborates on the technology-specific findings from our study, many of which we’ve spoken about at conferences in the past year or so. Thanks to EDUCAUSE for publishing the article, and please let us know what you think!

Qualitative Research in Academic Libraries

Our springtime of presentations continued this month, and we presented on June 6th at the first ever library assessment conference — Reinventing Libraries, Reinventing Assessment — sponsored by CUNY’s Office of Library Services and held at Baruch College. We were delighted to be sharing a session with our frequent collaborator Donna Lanclos from UNC Charlotte. Donna spoke about the value of qualitative research in academic libraries generally as well as the work she does as library ethnographer at UNC Charlotte, and we spoke about the work we’ve done learning more about how CUNY students use (or don’t use) their libraries.

I threw together a quick storify of the whole session after the conference, though it’s perhaps a bit heavier on tweets from our presentation than Donna’s (because I’m not as good at livetweeting a session I’m in as Donna is). And there’s a great writeup of the conference in Library Journal that includes a discussion of our session. We’ve posted our slides and notes from the presentation here and on the Results and Findings page.

CUNY Students’ Learning Spaces

It’s been a busy presentation year for us (with a couple more to come in June), and it’s been great to get around the university and beyond to talk about our project. Last Friday we presented at the CUNY CUE Conference at LaGuardia Community College, which was a great time with loads of interesting questions from attendees. We’re happy to share our slides and notes from the presentation (linked here as well as on Results and Findings). Here’s our abstract:

As commuters CUNY undergraduates employ various strategies to find time and space to be students. While students’ constraints may be invisible to faculty and staff, they may affect engagement in students’ academic work. We interviewed CUNY students to learn how they study in various locations. Knowledge of the student experience outside the classroom can inform strategies to increase student success.

CUNY Students’ Technology Stories

We were delighted to present at yesterday’s Teaching & Technology Conference at Baruch College — many thanks to the always awesome Luke Waltzer for inviting us. The other sessions we went to were terrific: I think I will always want to begin a conference morning with pipe cleaners and paper folding, the Baruch students’ who presented were wonderful, and Jim Groom’s keynote was both fun and thought-provoking, an ideal combination (and we appreciate his complementary words about our presentation, too).

We decided to do something a little different this time around and really focus in on individual students, highlighting their experiences with using technology for their academic work as technology stories. We’re happy to share our slides and notes from the presentation — take a look and let us know what you think.

Data Visualization: A Student Timeline

As part of our study we’re creating an interactive online tool to accompany our book which uses dynamic timelines, mapping, and presentation software. While we’re still hard at work on the website, we wanted to share a preliminary example of data visualization of a student timeline. We used Timeline JS to create a timeline that features a typical school day for one of the Hunter College students that we interviewed, and includes the map she drew of her day. Take a look at the timeline and let us know what you think!

Post-Conference Posting and Wrap-ups

We’ve had a great time presenting at a couple of conferences over the past few weeks, and are delighted to share our presentation materials.

First off was the American Anthropological Association meetings in Chicago, where we participated in a roundtable with colleagues at other institutions who are doing similar work: Andrew Asher of Indiana University, Lesley Gourlay of the University of London, Lori Jahnke of Emory University, and Donna Lanclos of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Our session was titled Embedded and Engaged in Higher Education: Researching Student Entanglements with Technology, and we used a Prezi to highlight some of the images and numbers from our projects. We had a fantastic conversation with session attendees, some of which was captured by Donna in her post-conference writeup and a Storify of the Twitter stream that she created. I also blogged about the session, and especially our interactions with attendees, over at ACRLog.

Just last week we presented at the CUNY IT Conference at John Jay, again talking about what we’ve learned in our research specifically about students and academic technology. Many thanks to all who attended — we were flattered that the session was standing room only! Here are the slides (again via Prezi) and notes from our presentation “It’s an internet phone, but I don’t have internet:” Students Using Technology.

A Website Facelift!

We’re prepping to go to the American Anthropological Association meetings later this week and thought that our project website deserved a bit of a redesign before we head out to Chicago. The site now sports four different banners with photographs taken by students during our study, as well as one banner of selections from student research process drawings. Reload this (or visit different pages) to see them all!

Fall Conference Outings

Popping in here (in the midst of putting the finishing touches on our book manuscript, nail-biting awaiting word from publishers to whom we’ve sent our book proposal, and working with our Data Visualization Assistant on our new project website) to say that we’ve got two conference outings planned for this fall semester. If you’ll be at either, please stop in and say hi!

American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, Chicago
We’re part of a roundtable session called Embedded and Engaged in Higher Education: Researching Student Entanglements with Technology, which runs from 10:15am – 12:00pm on Friday, November 22. With colleagues from four other colleges and universities who are also working on ethnographic projects in libraries, we’ll explore the role of technology for students in their academic work.

CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, New York
We’ll also be presenting at this year’s CUNY IT Conference at John Jay. The schedule hasn’t been finalized yet, but it looks like we’re preliminarily slated for 2:15pm on Thursday, December 5 (we’ll update this post when we have the final info). We’ll also be speaking to undergraduates’ use of technology for their coursework, and the ways that student voices add detail about the college experience that can inform faculty and administrative decisions about instructional technologies.

Making the Most of our Visual Data

We’re delighted to report that we’ve won a PSC-CUNY Research Award to enable us to create a companion website to our book. The website will allow us to display (and interact with) some of the rich visual data that students produced during our project, much of which would be difficult to represent in print.

We’re currently seeking a Data Visualization Assistant to work with us on this phase of the project. We have time logs, maps, photographs, and drawings from students, and we’d like to build an online space that will showcase the variety of workspaces and academic strategies that students shared with us. More information is available in the full job announcement here:

http://helpwanted.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2013/05/24/data-visualization-research-assistant-needed/

New Year’s Update

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, but not for lack of work on the project! We’ve been filling practically every spare minute since last summer finishing up coding and analyzing our data gathered from all of the fascinating students and faculty we interviewed.

We’re also delighted to report that we’ve been busily writing up our results and look forward to sharing them. In fact, there’s so much great data that we’re writing a book this time around, rather than just a brief report as we did early on in the project.

We sent out a book proposal before the holidays so we don’t have a publication date just yet. But the book is definitely taking shape, so we thought we’d share our tentative title and table of contents here:

The Scholarly Habits of Urban, Commuter College Students

Chapter 1: Introduction

Section I: The Scholarly Ecosystem of CUNY Students
Chapter 2: Information and Communication Technologies
Chapter 3: On Campus and in the Library
Chapter 4: On the Commute
Chapter 5: At Home
Chapter 6: Fitting it All In

Section II: CUNY Students and Research-Based Assignments
Chapter 7: Faculty Expectations for Student Work
Chapter 8: The Student Research and Writing Process
Chapter 9: Support and Engagement: Keys to Success

Chapter 10: Conclusions

Appendices
a. Methodology and Participants
b. Recommendations for Librarians, Faculty, and Administrators

We’ll post more updates as we have them. Now back to work with us!