Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lunch with marketing and Dr. Schultze

Efforts to schedule a time for library staff to interact with Dr. Schultze resulted in an invitation to attend a lunch hosted by Gary Cantwell with Dr. Quentin Schultze (QS). In addition to teaching communication at Calvin, QS is also a web developer and has served as a web consultant for several CCCU schools. I don't have my notes in front of me but here are some highlights of the conversation.

QS said that most students do not want to use a web site in conjunction with their coursework. They prefer surfing and browsing to going to specific sites. Despite this he is developing a public speaking site (http://www.calvin.edu/weblogs/speaking/) that he hopes becomes an important aid to teaching public speaking. He said a key to making a successful class web site is providing content that students are interested in apart from the class context. His desire that his site become a repository of good, current, up to date recordings of public speaking for his communication classes got my librarian brain working thinking about the possibility of creating a repository of Christian sermons for homiletic students and the general public that is interested in Christian preaching. A kind of itunes for sermons. Uploading our chapel tapes would be a good start towards building this collection.

Back to the lunch... QS also said that many students no longer open emails but see them all as junk. Gary Cantwell confirmed that many (I think most) TIU broadcast emails are never opened. QS said what people are really looking for is relationship and authenticity in communication with an institution. He also said that many prospective students will now research a school by looking at student blogs rather than reading official promotional material. There was an exchange about how this is frustrating to institutions b/c they no longer have power to control what gets said.

In response to a question about blogging and podcasting, QS said that he thought both were here to stay. Though he did discuss an "academic bias" against blogging. That many academics view blogging as a waste of time and perhaps dangerous for students b/c what they say will follow them around. There is also a fear that academics who blog will be taken less seriously by their colleagues.

Finally QS thought professors will be increasingly asking students to produce multimedia online productions as part of their assignments. He also talked about the importance of providing students multi-media options on web pages we create. But he stressed that we should never force visitors to our web site to watch a video or listen to something. People want to be able to choose and control what they see.

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