Where students once came into higher learning equipped with pencils and protractors, paintbrushes and easels, scores and record player, today's art student arrives armed with laptop, speakers, and wireless card. Just as academic institutions must adapt and restructure instruction modules around the twenty-first-century student, so must university libraries provide new services to support studio and survey faculty as they change teaching methodologies and pedagogies. At Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, services to support technology in education include digitization workstations, creating and maintaining digital image collections, and implementing audio e-reserves.
At Carnegie Mellon University, the libraries acknowledge that instructional methods are becoming increasingly technological. To that end, each of the three facilities that comprise the University Libraries (Hunt Library, Engineering and Science Library, and Mellon Institute Library) has been supplying electronic databases and online resources for the campus community for some time. For the College of Fine Arts studio and survey courses, however, it became clear that in order for faculty to be successful using technology in the classroom, additional library services were going to be needed beyond changing subscription formats from print to electronic resources. Providing these new services for the art faculty are the staff in the Arts and Special Collections department in Hunt Library, whose areas of specialization and collection responsibilities support the arts disciplines.
Canvas versus Computer Screen
Until recently, studio and survey faculty in the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon were satisfied to continue teaching using tried and true instruction methodologies that required little or no technological skill or knowledge: group lecture and critique sessions, analog slides and in-library audio listening assignments, library print collections, and term papers printed on good, old-fashioned twenty-pound white stock. It was obvious in isolated conversations that some faculty were proud of their luddite tendencies, but when informal polling by library staff began in earnest, another side of the story began to emerge: most studio and survey faculty were simply uncertain as to how the library could help them to begin using technology for teaching, and up until this juncture, it didn't really seem to matter. Students seemed content learning in the old, precomputer ways--but were they?
Students Want Digital
In 2000 and 2001, Carnegie Mellon University was ranked number one by Yahoo! Internet Life magazine in its annual survey of the one hundred "most wired" colleges and universities in the United States. (1) It's no surprise then that within the College of Fine Arts, we found students have their feet planted in both old and new learning environments. Not a day goes by when you won't find students sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of some section of the library stacks, leafing through page after page of books old and new, searching for inspirations for their own work. When it comes to classroom presentations and learning styles, however, most students we talked to preferred the digital world as opposed to analog presentation. Library staff soon began to notice that students were often converting print images or sound files to digital for projects. Immediate access to resources also seemed a primary concern when it came to writing a paper or presenting supporting materials: time is clearly a critical factor in preparation and often the students turned first to online resources. From our observations it is clear that these students are well-equipped to use technology for gathering information and representing points of view. Over the past couple of years, faculty have begun to notice an increase in the number of students requesting the use of classroom facilities equipped with …