Student Zemirah Lee Uses Technology Skills Gained as a Peer Mentor to Help Moderate and Lead Webinars

Community Profile

Zemirah Lee used the technology skills she gained as an iSchool student assistant to moderate online sessions for the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference, held earlier this year, and to develop an informational webinar for newly admitted students.

Lee expanded her technology skills and instructional expertise as a Peer Mentor for students enrolled in INFO 203, the one-unit introductory course that prepares new MLIS students for success in our School’s fully online learning environment. During Fall 2012, Lee taught newly enrolled SLIS students the nuts and bolts of Collaborate web conferencing software, as well as how to sign onto RSS feeds, work in a virtual team, create screencasts, and use discussion boards to their best advantage. The class prepared her well for volunteering as a moderator at this year’s Library 2.012 conference, a global event for LIS professionals.

“I moderated for speakers from Australia to India and even some as close to home as San Francisco, CA.,” said Lee. “I was at my home in San Diego, CA, making sure the presenters were comfortable with the software. Because the conference was global, there were sessions going around the clock for three days straight. It blew my mind to see people from all over the world coming together for this!”

Primarily assisting the presenters in uploading their slides and making sure they were able to use the software, Lee found the Library 2.012 conference experience incredibly valuable. “I chatted virtually with the other volunteers while waiting for my sessions to begin,” she explained. “We had all attended training sessions ahead of time to prepare us.”

During the live sessions, Lee kept an eye on the chat window and made sure that the speaker saw any questions that were asked. “If participants were having trouble, I’d send them a private message and pull them out into a breakout room so we could troubleshoot. If I couldn’t solve a problem, I could go back into the moderator’s lounge and get backup support,” she said.

With a target graduation date of spring 2014, Lee’s experience as a INFO 203 peer mentor and as a session moderator at the Library 2.012 conference has increased her interest in adult instruction as a reference librarian. She’s currently on the Academic Librarianship career track and is taking classes in information intermediation and instruction.

“Helping with INFO 203 is a really good experience for students interested in learning more about providing instruction,” said Lee. “As a peer mentor, you get to see what happens on the other side of the learning management system. Essentially, you see what the instructors see. I remember what it was like when I first started the MLIS program, and I just want to help give new students the tools they need to be successful. That’s the driving force behind a good peer mentor!”

Lee, in fact, just recently co-presented a special web conferencing session developed for newly admitted students: “Do This, Not That! Tips Every New Student Needs to Know to Succeed & Shine!” 

Additionally, Lee just recently accepted a position as a research assistant, where she’ll join a team of other iSchool students who are helping Associate Professor Anthony Bernier with his grant-funded research regarding young adult spaces in libraries. “I’m excited to have been selected to join a team working on research to increase the field’s understanding of how libraries can meet the needs of teens.”


 The Annoyed Librarian: “She annoys me, but the blog’s so informative! I keep coming back to it!” Lee also recommends a blog by instructor Meredith Farkas: Information Wants to be Free. “She’s a techie and a fellow mom and writes really good articles on communication and library information technology topics.”


 ALASC, ASIS&T, CARL, Library2.0 Network


ALA Annual: “It’s a little overwhelming the first time you go but only because there’s something there for everyone.”  Lee also recommends the Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference: “It’s global and free to all!”


INFO 210 (Reference and Information Services) and INFO 228 (Advanced Information and Resources and Services) with Michelle Simmons: “I’ve learned so much about reference and instruction. I also realized that I have strong skills working with people online.” INFO 298: “Since working as a peer mentor, I’ve earned a whole new appreciation for online learning and instruction. It’s really been an amazing experience!”