Student Margaret Driscoll Uses Technology Skills to Support Virtual Learning Communities

Student Margaret Driscoll is sharing her web-conferencing skills to support SLIS students, faculty, and colleagues in the virtual learning environment. As an Elluminate/Collaborate moderator and trainer, she’s using these software platforms to help information professionals connect and communicate online.

“I have a huge interest in using technology for learning, so this intersection of libraries and technology is right where I want to be,” Driscoll said. “I’m excited about the ways that web conferencing allows us to build true community, regardless of our physical locations.”

SJSU’s School of Library and Information Science uses the Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate Live) web-conferencing software to host virtual gatherings for students, faculty, alumni, and colleagues. As a trained moderator Driscoll provides expert technical assistance to help many different users learn to interact during online course lectures, faculty office hours, study groups, student meetings, webinars, and professional conferences.

Driscoll is working as a LIBR 203 Peer Mentor during the Spring 2012 semester to introduce new SLIS students to virtual communication tools in the Collaborate platform. Over the past two years she’s also taught faculty and advanced students how to use the software, and volunteered as a Collaborate moderator for the Global Education and Library 2.011 Worldwide Virtual Conferences. Driscoll even trained to become a certified Elluminate moderator and has built relationships with the team at Blackboard Collaborate.

In July 2011 Driscoll co-presented a conference session at the Blackboard Collaborate Connections Summit in Las Vegas with SLIS Lecturer and Assistant Director for Distance Learning Debbie Faires. Their presentation outlined the adoption of Elluminate/Collaborate as a tool for online graduate education, and Driscoll highlighted the benefits of being a student technology assistant.

With an AAS degree in Library Science from Mesa Community College and a BA in English from Ottawa University, Driscoll has worked in academic libraries, as the Head Librarian at the Hong Kong International School, and as the founding librarian at the University of Advancing Technology’s College Library. She is currently the Reserves/e-Reserves Coordinator at California State University, Channel Islands.

“I waited ten years to get my MLIS degree, because I didn’t think graduate programs were teaching what people needed to know to go into the library field as it is today,” said Driscoll, who enrolled at SJSU SLIS in Fall 2008. “The programs were all very traditional, with little information about technologies that were starting to be used in the real library world. I applied to SJSU SLIS because of its excellent rating as a distance learning program, the use of virtual tools, and the broad range of classes, and it’s been a wonderful experience.”

Driscoll has taken courses from the Academic Librarianship Career Pathway to support her goal of becoming an academic and reference librarian. She’s also included courses in the Open Movement and Libraries, Archival Digitization and Digital Preservation, Instructional Design, and in Information Literacy, where she first developed an interest in using Elluminate/Collaborate as a tool for building virtual communities.

Driscoll also advises current students and job seekers to build connections by getting involved in their local professional organizations. “Being involved in professional associations, and if possible being willing to participate in conferences and committee work, is really important,” she said. “It helps the whole field of librarianship, and it’s very fulfilling as an individual. That work makes a difference when you go out interviewing for jobs, because the people who are in the field professionally like to know that the candidates they’re considering hiring support those organizations and embrace the profession.”

 

Driscoll is active with CLA, CARL, and ASIS&T’s Southern California branch, and recently gave a workshop presentation to the SJSU ASIS&T student chapter. She plans to graduate from SJSU SLIS in May 2012 and looks forward to volunteering as a Collaborate moderator at the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference on October 3-5, 2012.