Final Exams Time, Again

It’s final exams time in the AUC, which means our students, faculty and staff will be burning data and doing rapid-fire information consumption.

We wonder – how do they use technology during this high-stress, fast-paced time of year?

Final Exam Time
Final Exam Time

From the vantage-point of the Technology Design Studio desk, we have a great spot for people-watching. We can casually monitor behavior and draw conclusions as to how our users survive finals.

During mid-terms, we noticed our students access their campus learning management systems more often in the scramble to submit assignments. Clark Atlanta University uses BannerWeb and WebCT; Morehouse College uses Tigernet, their own version of WebCT; Spelman College uses both WebCT and Banner Web; and the Interdenominational Theological Center uses Moodle. WebCT is now owned by Blackboard, so essentially, most of our schools use Blackboard and are currently weathering the changes that arrangement has wrought.

We also notice students logging-in on their school and personal email accounts more often. Usually, they’re doing tasks like:

  • submitting assignments to faculty;
  • emailing each other about group assignments;
  • making travel arrangements and printing boarding passes for trips home;
  • and cleaning out in-boxes on our desktops, where it’s easier to see on the large screens and perform mass deletions.

We see students using the Microsoft Office Suite for MAC (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) more often. They’re writing, proofing, editing, and printing papers, running formulas and preparing presentations.

We also hear more alarm bells ring on students’ devices, see more folks looking at calendar applications, and get more requests for locating the time and clock functions on the iMacs.

Physically, we notice a new phenomena – students bring piles of books and journals and spread out their learning materials in front of a beautiful iMac station. Large groups of students cluster around work terminals to work together. Thank goodness our chairs have wheels and we have the space. Demand for our reserved rooms spikes as students compete for collaboration space, too.

Woodruff Library users consume power. Image by
Woodruff Library users consume power.
Image by

More students come into the Library and plug-in personal devices for charging. During our renovation, Library administrators worked with contractors to ensure more outlets were available to users. During Finals, those outlets become precious. In our area, students use them while working on iMacs.

No matter how our users take advantage of our technology, it’s interesting to see how and why they do it. What changes do you notice in Library or the Technology Design Studio during finals?

As finals quickly bring about the end of Spring semester, some of our favorite regular users are preparing to graduate or go home for the summer. We wish the whole AUC community a great summer and congratulate everyone on finishing out strong. It’s been a great year. Stay connected and keep building those technology skills.

What is “E-Learning Technologies”, anyway?

Our unit has a lofty title.

When you first heard it, do you envision people sitting around with headsets on, talking about IT and servers? Did you think, “Huh?” or “What’s that?” Were you simply confused?

elt wordcloud

Don’t fret or believe your thinking is out-of-order. “E-Learning Technologies” (ELT, hereafter) is not a common, well-worn term – it’s new. Ask ten different Library staff members what it means and you’ll get ten different answers. The ambiguity of our unit name is both a gift and challenge – we get to define our work and worth, but we also expend energy explaining our purpose and function.

Here’s how different ELT staff members defined our unit’s name:

E-Learning is about assisting faculty, students, and staff in incorporating new technologies into their teaching and learning in a way that enhances their library experience and is done in a seamless, easy-to-use, helpful manner.  – Emy Nelson Decker, MA, MLIS, Unit Head

E-Learning Technologies promotes the use of technology in the academic community, specifically the AUC, by providing professional equipment and software and operating as a support system for faculty, staff, and students. This is a challenging question. We do so much. – Ann’Drea Burns, Library Technical Assistant

We are lucky in the ELT unit – we have a snazzy name to use while we go about a vital task – supporting learning through technology. Our name isn’t meant to confuse, but to define and empower us to work toward our Library’s mission.