Student Jennifer Dinalo Gains Skills in Instruction and Technology as a SLIS Student Assistant

Student Jennifer Dinalo boosted her skills in instruction and technology while serving as a student assistant during the fall 2012 semester. She also added valuable professional experience to her resume when she volunteered to moderate a presentation at the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference in October. 

“I moderated an interesting sessions entitled Banned Websites Awareness Day 2012 presented by Michelle Luhtala, New Canaan High School Library Department Chair, in New Canann, CT.

Dinalo was invited to moderate at the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference through SLIS lecturer Debbie Faires, who serves as an adviser for each semester’s group of students assistants who help faculty and students use the information school’s web conferencing platform, Blackboard Collaborate. “I didn’t need additional training to moderate the Library 2.012 conference session because that is what I do for SLIS faculty as a collaborate assistant,” Dinalo said.

To become a collaborate assistant, Dinalo received training before the semester began, which involved reading all the information Blackboard Collaborate provides for moderators, practicing on her own, attending orientation sessions that explained how to use all the moderator tools, and evaluating other web conferencing software.

As a collaborate assistant, Dinalo taught orientation sessions for students in LIBR 203, the one-unit required course that introduces new students to the information school’s online learning environment. She also worked with five SLIS faculty members who needed Collaborate assistance during the semester. “In those classes, I recorded lectures and helped students troubleshoot any technical issues. In one course, I prepared a presentation regarding how to use Collaborate for student presentations, including some tips for using PowerPoint during a Collaborate session,” Dinalo said.

Dinalo, who began the MLIS program in Spring 2011, chose to be a collaborate assistant because she wanted more experience with the technical side of web conferencing software. With an interest in academic librarianship, she also wanted experience teaching. “As a collaborate assistant, I was able to present to a class and teach students directly,” she said.

Dinalo also serves on the SLIS American Library Association Student Chapter (ALASC) board as treasurer. “I encourage everyone to get involved in student groups,” she said. “It has been a great way for me to create a network of fellow students and graduates that I get to hang out with at conferences and ALASC events.” 

With a target graduation date of December 2013, Dinalo hopes to get a position in an academic or special library with a medical or science focus. A microbiologist by training, Dinalo was inspired to earn an MLIS degree through speaking with other librarians who were happy with their career choice and through her own positive experience working in a library during her undergraduate studies.

Influential Classes

LIBR 298 Special Studies (collaborate assistant): “Learning the moderating side of the Collaborate software translates into other skills – it prepares you for working in all types of web conferencing environments.”

LIBR 242 Database Management: “As a group project, we developed our own database, which was so interesting to me.”

Tech Tip

“I really like Komodo Edit, which is a free open-source code editor. I love the color-coding based on your command, and it’ll highlight coding errors.”

Favorite Blog

Librarianwardrobe.com: “It’s a great conversation starter!”

Professional Associations

American Library Association: “I’m an ALA Think Tank member on Facebook.”

Special Libraries Association, Medical Library Association, California Library Association