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Volume 11 Edition 7: April 2012. Zachary Dayhuff, Editor

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Special Programs!

IPC Welcomes Belgian Business Students

IPC was delighted to extend a hearty welcome to 17 students and two faculty members who visited UNCG from the Louvain School of Management (LSM) of the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium from March 24-31, 2012. The program came about as a result of some long-standing collaboration between Professor Frank Janssen of LSM and Bryan Toney of the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center. The students attended several lectures to understand American perspectives on varying entrepreneurship topics, and participated in site visits with area companies.

Entreprenuership Group

Students from LSM pose during their visit to UNCG. They are, from left to right : (front row) Jade Pohling, Clotilde Ruzette, Lipping Huang, Delphine Verhaegen; (second row) Asst. Professor Marine Falize, Fabrizio Catapano, Julien Paquet, Grégory Vander Schueren, Adrien Van den Branden de Reeth; (third row) Professor Frank Janssen, Carole Dao, Bastien Vansoye, Olivier Danniau, Madeleine Bjornestad; (back row) Edouard Delvaux, Samir El Ouhabi, Valentin Pliester, Simon Vancoppenolle, Alexis Panzer, Bryan Toney (NCEC)

International Internship at Jackson Library

UNCG Distance Librarian Beth Filar-Williams recently had the unique opportunity to work remotely with an international intern as part of the Digital Library Learning (DILL) program. During the month of February, Filar-Williams supervised Iskander Rakhmatullaev, a DILL student from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as he converted the Jackson Library Instructional Tech Toolkit to a LibGuide format.

The Toolkit was originally created in 2011 to provide remote collaborators a single digital access point to share, assess, and develop information on a given project. LibGuide is a software application that allows multiple users to change and customize that access point collaboratively. Filar-Williams decided to adopt the LibGuide format to make the Toolkit more accessible and customizable for both users and administrators.

Beth Filar-Williams

UNCG Distance Librarian Beth Filar-Williams.

Filar-Williams heard about the DILL program from Dr. Clara Chu in UNCG’s Library and Information Studies program, and she jumped at the opportunity to take on an international intern. DILL is a uniquely global institution. A two-year Master’s program focusing on digital information, it is hosted by three universities: Oslo and Akershus University in Norway, Tallinn University in Estonia, and the University of Parma in Italy. Students spend one semester at each school. DILL students generally complete an internship as part of their degree, but Rakhmatullaev’s case was unique in that he would not be working on site, but remotely from Tashkent.

When she agreed to supervise Rakhmatullaev, Filar-Williams decided the LibGuide conversion was an ideal project for him; it lent itself to his IT background, and it could be completed remotely. Still, the effort was not without its challenges. “Having to establish a relationship internationally,” says Filar-Williams, “with culture and language barriers and a 10 hour time difference is challenging. We used Skype to talk at least once a week, early morning for me and evening for him. Sometimes the video worked but not always.”

Filar-Williams found that video communication was crucial to overcoming obstacles in language and culture. “Video helps create a more personal connection than just voice, and I appreciated the times we could use video to communicate. Even though [Rakhmatullaev’s] English skills were great there are still some language or culture differences with communication.” Filar-Williams frequently relied on a free tool called Jing, with which she could record a video of herself demonstrating or explaining something and then upload it for Rakhmatullaev to access later.

The internship was as much a learning experience for Filar-Williams as it was for Rakhmatullaev. “I find challenges like these exciting to overcome,” she says. “It also opened my eyes to the difficulties in other countries that I take for granted. He could not get into the library’s virtual room in Blackboard Collaborate due to restrictions, firewalls and low bandwidth in his country. Even Skype would often break our connection with or without video. To get a solid internet connection he could try an embassy but due to the time difference they would be closed when it was morning work time here in North Carolina. Learning from Iskander about libraries and education in his country was enlightening.”

Iskander Rakhmatullaev

DILL student Iskander Rakhmatullaev, who completed an internship at UNCG from his home city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Filar-Williams and Rakhmatullaev found the experience ultimately very beneficial. As a result of it, he has invited her to Uzbekistan’s annual library conference in 2012 to discuss the project, and the two continue to share an unofficial collaborative relationship, including plans to write an article on the experience with Elena Corradini, an instructor at the University of Parma who acted as site supervisor for the project.

Filar-Williams sees rising prominence in virtual collaboration as information sharing continues to go global. “As the world flattens and information is overflowing internationally, people are connecting virtually and collaborating more than ever before. I recently co-wrote a book chapter now published with someone I have never met in person, connected first through twitter and then developed a professional friendship and live 2000 miles apart. Now I am looking at writing an article on virtual international collaborating with 3 people spread across the globe.”

She notes that libraries have long been at the forefront of international exchange, and cites the International Federation of Library Associations, which has facilitated global information sharing since 1927. Projects such as Rakhmatullaev’s internship demonstrate that technology continues to advance this trend and to surmount obstacles of distance and budget.

For more information on the DILL program and the LibGuide project, view Filar-Williams’ webinar presentation with Rakhmatullaev and Corradini at http://library.uncg.edu/info/distance_education/flvfiles/virtualinternship.html

Previous editions:
- Vol 11, ed 6: March 2012
- Vol 11, ed 5: January/February 2012
- Vol 11, ed 4: December 2011
- Vol 11, ed 3: November 2011
- Vol 11, ed 2: October 2011
- Vol 11, ed 1: September 2011

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