The administration and staff at the Moody Medical Library at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) ensure that users – students, faculty, and staff – have access to regular and timely instruction in the use of the library and other learning/information resources. The library offers orientations, tours, individual walk-in instruction, and formal library instruction programs throughout the year. UTMB librarians encourage faculty to schedule library sessions tailored to specific courses and assignments. Library staff is also available to faculty who are unable to attend regularly scheduled classes. Professional librarians will meet with faculty members and offer customized instruction based on particular information needs.
Library instruction is marketed to the campus community through the university’s newsletter, Impact (1), the UTMB Daily Announcements (2), the Academic Resources e-brochure (3), the library’s web site (4), and a printed mailing of the class schedule. Library staff manages a web log (blog) called LibraryLink (5) that monitors recent developments in scholarly publication, computer technology, academic communication, and scientific research, with special reference to their implications for libraries, library services, and the provision of needed information to the campus community. Additionally, a professional librarian attends bi-weekly course directors meetings to announce new products and services available in the library. The library’s director participates in the university’s new faculty orientation to increase awareness of information resources and services and also attends the monthly Council of Deans meetings.
Reference librarians are available 40 hours a week at the Moody Medical Library reference desk to answer questions and provide assistance. Reference librarians provide personalized instruction on a walk-in basis. In 2005-2006, reference librarians conducted 33,678 reference transactions. An electronic reference service is also available from the library’s web site; "Ask a Librarian" (6). During 2005-2006, 3,959 reference questions were answered from this service, up from the 3,719 questions received in 2004-2005. The electronic reference service allows clients to reach librarians through interactive chat sessions, web forms, or e-mail. Librarians also receive questions via their personal e-mail and telephone extensions. The reference department has comprehensive collection of print reference materials, 24 computers for public access, printing, and copy services. The library’s public access computer area has an additional 44 computers.
Library orientation classes are offered at the beginning of the semester for all new students. At these orientations, students are given an overview of the library including circulation, reference, document delivery/interlibrary lending and computer use services and policies, physical layout of the building, and opportunities for library instruction. Distance education students attend library orientations on the UTMB campus. Additionally, extra assistance is available through phone and online chat.
Library classes are updated as needed to reflect changes in technology and database availability and to address frequent questions that librarians receive from clients both in class and at the Reference Desk. An example of customized instruction offered to students is the library learning lab offered to all first year medical students in the first weeks of class. The hour-long lab includes small groups of approximately 18 students and is arranged around questions and answers that encourage students to be critical consumers of information. It covers the best information resources available for different types of questions. Second year medical students also attend a mandatory library learning lab where they are taught how to search the Medline database. Each student is given a question that corresponds to the organ based course the student is concurrently studying in the Practice of Medicine course. The questions are case-based so students have the opportunity to create a search strategy to answer a specific patient question. Search strategies are evaluated by librarians and feedback is given to the students. Labs are also offered to students in the School of Nursing. In the School of Allied Health Sciences and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, professional librarians attend lectures to demonstrate biomedical databases.
Regularly scheduled library instruction classes are held in the Carruth Room on the second floor of the library building. The Carruth Room has twelve computer workstations and an instructor’s station attached to a ceiling mounted data projector. Special library instruction sessions are also scheduled in the UTMB library’s Online Testing Center, the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in the Allied Health Sciences and Nursing building as requested by instructors. The Online Testing Center has 60 workstations while the LRC has 60 computers. The LRC functions as a branch of the UTMB Library.
Librarians support faculty with learning/information sessions called house calls. House calls are available to faculty who are unable to attend regularly scheduled classes. Librarians meet with faculty, often in the faculty’s office, and offer customized instruction. The sessions are personalized to match the faculty member’s particular information needs. Additionally, librarians often provide lectures to faculty on the future of scholarly publication. During the 2005-2006 academic year, UTMB librarians conducted 179 instructional sessions attended by 2,783 users.
The Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collection is the largest in the southern United States. It is best known for its gathering of rare books which date from the late 14th to the 20th century. The collection is open to the public from 8 to 5 every workday except for the lunch hour (7). An attendant is available during those hours to assist people in identifying and obtaining access to research and archival materials.
Learning Resource Center (LRC). Operating as a branch of the library, the Learning Resources Center (LRC) (8) enhances the instructional, research, and community service missions of the School of Allied Health Sciences and the School of Nursing through the use of independent learning resources. The LRC occupies 3,293.50 square feet in the School of Allied Health/School of Nursing building. The LRC maintains a select collection of audiovisual materials and a reserve circulating collection of materials identified by faculty for students. Audio tape and video tape duplication services are available on site, as are photocopiers and printers. The LRC provides 60 workstations in three computer laboratories available for classes, individual use, or in conjunction with the student testing center in the library to test as many as 120 students simultaneously. A group study room also is available with audiovisual viewing equipment.
Distance Learners. Both the library and the LRC operate with the philosophy that all traditional services should be equally convenient and available to distance learners. Consequently, the library and the LRC provide a strong information technology infrastructure for students, faculty and staff. Both facilities are connected to the campus broadband network and both are included in the campus wireless network coverage area. Information on how to access learning resources, including professional assistance, from a distance is given to students during orientation. The library’s staff works with faculty to develop tailored programs for students both in class and at a distance in order to meet specific information educational objectives such as literature searching and information selection and evaluation.
Distance learners have access to the same library resources as on-site learners. Most access is available through the library’s portal web page. Electronic information resources are accessible remotely to anyone with a valid UTMB student identification card and institutional electronic mail address. Print resources are provided to distance learners via electronic mail or web-based retrieval of scanned pages, surface mail or through reciprocal borrowing/lending agreements with other libraries. Special borrowing/lending agreements are negotiated with specific libraries when learners are based at another campus. The library also maintains an electronic interlibrary borrowing system, an electronic course reserves system, and an electronic reference question service.
Other Learning/Information Resources
Academic Technology Center (ATC)
The ATC, housed in the UTMB library, supports the design and development of curriculum and multimedia instructional materials for a web-based environment. There is a workstation available for faculty to prepare digital imagery for the web, download images from a digital camera, digitize and edit videos, and build and manage websites (9).
Academic Computing Department
UTMB employs an organizational alignment in which the administrative, educational, research and patient care functions operate under a common information technology infrastructure. Information Services provides institutional information technology infrastructure support, including access management and security, data network, desktop support, help desk support, mainframes and distributed systems, video technical services, and voice communications. Information Services also provides support for most institutional applications.
All classrooms, residence hall rooms, laboratories, and offices on campus have connections to the campus network. Authorized users have access through these connections to institutional administrative systems, web systems, email, Internet 1 and 2, Texas supercomputing resources, the State of Texas-sponsored Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), and -- through LEARN – to medical and research resources nationwide, including the National Lambda Rail initiative, a high-speed national computer network shared by university research institutions. Wireless computing access points are located throughout campus, primarily in areas having high concentrations of students.
Major personal computer facilities are available to students in the Moody Medical Library, the Jamail Student Center and the Learning Resources Center in the School of Allied Health Sciences/School of Nursing Building. Other smaller facilities are available in teaching, research and clinical areas throughout the institution (10).
Through its Classroom and Technical Services unit (CTS), UTMB’s Academic Resources division contributes to the university’s teaching, research, and service missions by providing meeting space and teaching/presentation technology services consistent with the current and evolving needs of the students, faculty and staff. CTS staff assist members of the campus community in scheduling and reserving 44 institutional class and conference rooms and in providing audiovisual and presentation equipment and technical staff assistance. Scheduling services are available via the Academic Resources web site. A list of available rooms, attendance capacities and installed teaching equipment is posted on the Academic Resources web site (11).
Equipment not installed in a given room is available for delivery upon request. Videotaping and editing services also are available. Videoconferencing capabilities for distance education are in place in the four major lecture halls and one classroom in the School of Allied Health Sciences/School of Nursing Building. Highly skilled technical staff are available upon request to operate equipment or deliver and set up equipment to specific classroom locations. Dedicated help phones located near podiums are provided for faculty to quickly summon technical assistance. Performance of regular equipment maintenance in accord with a ten-year plan ensures customer satisfaction and provides a mechanism for this service to keep pace with advancing educational technologies. An advisory committee, with representatives from each school, develops room use guidelines and assists with resolving scheduling issues.
Classroom teaching equipment and control configurations are standardized to make it easier for faculty to move from one facility to the next. UTMB’s ten major teaching auditoria are equipped with a lectern or podium with a stationary microphone and a wireless lavaliere microphone, light and an AMX push-button control for teaching equipment. Each podium has an IBM-compatible personal computer running the Windows XP Professional operating system and linked to the campus network with 100Mb connections. Computers are equipped with Zip, DVD, CD-ROM, and floppy drives, and USB connectors are located conveniently on the podium surface along with an auxiliary network connection for laptop computers. Other installed equipment includes videotape recorder/player, document camera, digital data projector, projection screen, chalk, or white boards. Most auditoria have wireless network access ports and many have audience response system capability.
All but seven of the smaller classrooms have the same computing equipment that is available in major auditoria. CTS staff are increasing the installed base of teaching equipment in smaller classrooms each year and provide an extensive array of equipment that can be delivered upon request. This includes data projectors, laptop computers, overhead projectors, slide projectors, public address systems, audience response systems, laser pointers.
Nursing Simulation Center
The UTMB SON Nursing Simulation Center (NSC) is a state of the art facility that provides an interactive environment that simulates a variety of clinical settings. The inpatient care lab is equipped with eight completely equipped patient care areas. VitalSim® manikins afford the students multiple opportunities for hands on practice sessions that replicate actual patient care procedures. Sim Man® is a high fidelity programmable manikin that replicates human physiologic responses, including speech capabilities. The Primary Care lab houses fifteen patient examination stations that are utilized to facilitate student learning of physical assessment techniques. Interactive computer assisted instructional programs offer a mechanism for students to reinforce and enhance their education. A selection of videotapes and references textbooks is available for use by students. Simulations focused at the provision of safe and effective maternal child care are conducted in the Hillcrest Foundation Birthing Suite where sophisticated manikins allow students to practice both delivery and care of newborns (12).