- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 19 November 2014
With just over four weeks remaining in the semester, the season of final examinations and multiple page-long research papers is amongst us.
Do students effectively utilize University resources like the library and the Writing Center to prepare for final assignments?
The Outlook editorial staff was conflicted on the effectiveness of student use of educational services, saying the library, in particular, is not used to its fullest potential, albeit for a myriad of reasons.
One staff member said, "The library is used by off-campus, older students and mandatory classes effectively, but people could use the resources more." Professors often schedule research days, which for some are the only time they are exposed to the library.
Another editor added, "I have only used the library to study or do homework a total of three times, two of them being when my professors required the class to go to learn how to use the online database."
On the contrary, one editor noted that the library "is a quiet place to go when you need to study or write a paper. Everyone around you is working too, which provides a great atmosphere to work in."
Despite identifying the value in the library, The Outlook was indecisive regarding the usage of print materials. Some editors noted that they prefer to "refer back to print materials when typing an essay," while others noted that online resources are more convenient.
One editorial staff member noted that using the library is a bit different than using the Writing Center and subject tutors. "I've used all three services, but the library is my second home. Subject tutors and the Writing Center are great for building a foundation, but I prefer the library to really immerse myself in my work."
A major deterrent for students using the library is its location on the residential side of campus. One staffer said, "When I lived on the opposite side of campus in Elmwood and Maplewood I always went to the library because it was closer and more convenient." With limited parking, going to the library can be troublesome for commuters.
The Writing Center also saw mixed reviews from The Outlook staff. Some editors noted that their only use of the Writing Center was if professors offered extra credit for using the service.
The Outlook also recognized that for some, using the Writing Center and subject tutors might require a level of humbleness on the part of the student. "Even though they are there to help me, there have been times when I've felt self-conscious about showing my work to one of my peers at the writing center," said one staffer.
In comparison to off-campus services, however, The Outlook agreed that students are more likely to frequent on-campus subject tutors and services. One editor said, "I doubt anyone would go off-campus for such services when they already pay to use these via tuition."
Whether for an assignment, some extra credit, or simply a place to escape, the library and other educational services can be a useful tool for student success. But considering the constant influx of digital technology, will University services like the Writing Center and the library exist 50, even 100 years from now? The Outlook thinks they will.
The University library in particular boasts a variety of unique collections that increases its value for students. According to the Guggenheim Library's website, the Lewis Mumford Collection is the "only one of its kind anywhere" and "contains over 3500 books and artifacts comprising the personal library of Lewis Mumford."
One Outlook member said, "I think our library will be fine as it doubles as an archive for government documents and has a rare books collection, but smaller libraries, like some public town libraries, will likely diminish in years to come, especially since nearly everything is digitalized now."