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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 1 | Jan. 10, 2002

Commons set to be learning hub

Facility set to help foster `leaders in knowledge'

by Michelle Cook staff writer

A facelift has transformed Main Library's historic 76-year-old main concourse into a dynamic, high-tech learning space boasting wireless Internet capabilities, 34 state-of-the-art flat-screen computer stations, and a laptop lending program.

But the Chapman Learning Commons, scheduled to open later this month, will offer the UBC community more than just electronic connections. It is also set to become a hub for discussion, idea exchange, and exploration thanks to a comprehensive program of workshops, lectures, and community events designed to enhance learning opportunities and skills.

"The Learning Commons will be a highly visible and accessible academic support service," says UBC's student development officer Margot Bell, who is responsible for co-ordinating the Learning Commons' program activities.

"It's a place where people will be able to get help to use library and information technology resources, participate in academic success workshops, discover on-campus services and opportunities for personal and career development or simply study."

Supporting new learning and research opportunities for students are key components of Trek 2000, the university's vision document.

Bell adds that a key programming goal is to make people aware of and give them access to information technologies they'll need to become leaders in a knowledge-based society. The Commons will also focus on becoming a central source of learning support and development for everyone, but particularly new and commuter students.

To help, Bell has hired 15 students as peer assistants.

Armed with a solid knowledge of the myriad library resources and on-campus student services, they, along with IT support personnel, will staff the Commons during regular library hours. In addition to support, they will develop more formal programs to help new students investigate learning opportunities and enrich their UBC experience.

"I really wanted to work with other students to help them understand their immediate study needs and the resources UBC has to offer," says peer assistant Andrea Dancer, a fourth-year Creative Writing major.

While the peer assistant initiative will be the centerpiece of the Learning Commons' programming, Bell sees the space as a place where many organizations involved in learning will be able to come and showcase their activities and deliver ideas and experiences.

The Commons has already partnered with the Alma Mater Society, the Learning Exchange, Students Interconnected and other campus groups to develop its programming, but Bell says support from the entire UBC community is necessary to make the Learning Commons a success. She encourages faculty and staff to participate as guest speakers, or host discussions and workshops.

The creation of the Learning Commons was made possible by a $1-million gift from UBC alumni Dr. Lloyd and Mrs. Katherine Chapman. For more information on programs at the Chapman Learning Commons, call Margot Bell at 604-822-9818 or visit www.library.ubc.ca/learningcommons.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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