UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 1 | Jan.
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
"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'
"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
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
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.