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Real Learning Connections Begins a Fifth Year of Projects

The Real Learning Connections Project is a joint initiative between the University Libraries (UL) and the Department of Library and Information Studies (DLIS) at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). This is an ongoing venture, now in its fifth year, which has triangulated the work of a faculty member, a librarian, and a student with the goal of harnessing the learning power that could be shared among these three participants in a unique way. 

Experiential learning opportunities for students in the DLIS are work experiences that allow them to sample professional environments in which they might seek a career or which might give them experience that will help prepare them for their careers.  Projects are chosen by the UL administrators and led by librarians to accomplish a specific organizational goal or need.  Students and librarians work together in consultation with LIS faculty to produce tangible project outcomes.  LIS faculty utilize the interaction to inform changes to the curricula to update them and match real work with theory.  The expectation is that learning objectives are established for all participants and a tangible product outcome is expected to be produced by the end of the spring semester.

This year’s projects and participants are:

Web Usability:
•    Terry Brandsma, Information Technology Librarian
•    Ingrid Johnston, Graduate Student Department of Library and Information Studies

Social Media:
•    Jenny Dale, University Libraries Coordinator of First-Year Programs
•    Phillip White, Graduate Student Department of Library and Information Studies

Special Collections and University Archives Outreach
•    Keith Gorman, Head of Special Collections and University Archives
•    Jada Jones, Graduate Student Department of Library and Information Studies

These projects are supported and coordinated by Dr. Nora Bird, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for the Library and Information Science Department and Michael Crumpton, Assistant Dean for Administrative Services for the University Libraries.
From the start, Real Learning Connections projects were designed to examine a new model of internship based on prior research and focused on the learning objectives of all parties in the relationship.  Students learn through reflection and hands on actions, while embracing real life barriers or conflicts that might occur in the project development.  Librarians are given an opportunity for insights into current theory or teaching methods that can impact motivation and attitude in this rapidly changing field.  And faculty as part of this relationship, gain an understanding of current practical application of concepts and values presented in the classroom.

Successful projects in the past include the development of an Instructional Technology Toolkit, arranging and describing an artifact collection, establishing the new digital media commons, and creating a digital collection on Cello Music.  The success of all of these projects is found not only in the impact of the project outcomes but also in the learning experiences of the project participants.  Additional reading on this project is available at:

Posted on behalf of Michael Crumpton and Nora Bird