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Volume 12, Edition 3: November 2012 *20 year Anniversary*

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Beth Filar Williams guest lectures at University of Parma

By Beth Filar Williams, Distance Education Librarian at Jackson Library

The last two weeks of September 2012, I had the honor to visit Parma, Italy as a guest lecturer for the Digital Libraries Learning Program (DILL) of Erasmus Mundus of the European Commission. DILL is a two-year, English speaking, international masters for information professionals to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully navigate the world of digital libraries. It is offered in cooperation between Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (Norway), Tallinn University (Estonia), and the University of Parma (Italy), and students spend approximately one semester at each institution before completing an international internship and thesis.   

Beth Filar williams
"Irma" and I visiting Parma professional librarians
I first learned of the DILL program in February 2012 while volunteering as a host to a virtual student intern who lived in Uzbekistan and had studied at the University of Parma through the DILL program the previous fall.  The success of our collaboration led the DILL coordinator  at the University of Parma, Professor Anna Maria Tammaro not only to ask me to host another virtual student intern in Fall 2012 but also to invite me to travel to Parma to meet with and lecture to the DILL students in person, as well as meet with local library professionals.

While in Parma, I gave a lecture to DILL students entitled “Creating the Digital User Experience at UNCG Libraries”, which showcased what UNCG Libraries do to virtually support our students.  Services discussed included virtual reference help, our digital library collections, our online teaching, and our hosting services, apps, and tool creations. The DILL students asked many questions about our technologies and services, and by the end of my talk, I had many DILL students asking if they could work at our library!  My other lecture day covered “Designing eLearning Digital Objects”, during which I discussed basic e-learning concepts, instructional design process, and technologies used to create tutorials and online learning at UNCG Libraries.  While in Parma, I also connected with UNCG’s Library and Information Studies Department, primarily the Digital Libraries course ( LIS644) and Dr Nora Bird. Together we formed a Facebook group connecting students at both UNCG and DILL to discuss digital libraries. We held an online session using Blackboard Collaborate to join both groups virtually with video and audio. DILL students introduced themselves, shared their country of origin (they came from seventeen different countries across the world), and what they were doing in their libraries.  The goal of the session was to show that a synchronous, global connection between librarians and students is possible and to open the door for future collaboration.
Beth Filar Williams in Parma
Visiting the Parma library
An added benefit was meeting other visiting professors for the DILL program from all over the world, including Australia, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Sri Lanka.  We had amazing discussions about digital libraries from a truly international perspective.  Visiting with the local professional librarians was also a positive experience. I showed them the Digital User Experience slides, answered many questions about UNCG Libraries services and practices, and discussed libraries and library practices in general.  They were also impressed by what UNCG Libraries does for their students and said we had the “ideal academic library.” 
I have remained connected with the students and professional librarians I met while in Parma and hope to build more collaborative endeavors between us. I am currently hosting a DILL student from Germany as a virtual intern for the rest of the fall semester,
Visiting Parma library
Beth Filar Williams at the library in Parma
and plan to hold a synchronous webinar with her in early December as I did with my student last February. I am also wrapping up a collaborative article on my experience last year with my first virtual intern and the previous year's student intern supervisor in Parma. The Parma DILL coordinator asked me to write on my recent experiences in Parma with the program, and she will translate for the Italian audience. She also requested I return next year.  The DILL program coordinator and our library Dean supported this international endeavor with hopes of building a more dynamic partnership with DILL and UNCG and to create better global perspectives for both parties.   This collaboration has benefited all parties and promoted UNCG, especially the Libraries, on an international scale.  I thank the UNCG University Libraries and Kohler Fund for their travel grant to help make this travel experience possible!

For more information about the DILL program, please visit their website at http://dill.hioa.no/

To view slide slows of Beth’s lectures, click on the following links:
“Creating the Digital User Experience at UNCG Libraries”

Designing eLearning Digital Objects

To see video of the virtual internship, go to http://library.uncg.edu/info/distance_education/flvfiles/virtualinternship.html

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Previous editions:

October 2012
September 2012

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