Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SMART Learning Commons

I am familiar with the University of Minnesota Libraries' helpful assignment calculator as well as the campus leadership role they took with launching the UThink blogging service open to all U of M's faculty, staff, and students. I have been a fan of stealing both ideas for quite some time. What I did not realize (and I feel pretty silly about this, considering I was at a conference in the Twin Cities last month) is what a strong learning commons they have developed.
Students can drop in on a SMART Learning Commons, a one-stop study/research/learning spot offering help in finding material, honing writing skills, learning to edit video, getting help with math, or whatever they need. Located in University Libraries, SMART is part of the Office of the Vice-provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Education.
Check out their website. It's clean and simple but full of useful resources for students. Among other resources, students can easily make appointments with a consultant or reserve equipment. Plus students are made aware of the popcorn and cookie breaks offered in some locations. What a nice touch.

U of M Libraries richly deserve the Excellence in Libraries Award they have just received. Congrats!

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