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Carrying a Library in your Pocket

NSCC Library Services at VETA Mikumi 2013

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As we prepare for our last training session at VETA Mikumi and get ready to say our goodbyes to this beautiful country and the many friends we’ve made during our time here, I reflect on the many successes we’ve experienced in the library and IT portion of the “Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Training” project and all we’ve learned along the way.
In this final phase of the project, the library team, Leigh Gagnier, NSCC Electronic Services Librarian, Christina Pottie, South Shore Public Libraries Outreach Coordinator, and I identified and purchased e-books and apps to build an electronic library of resources to support the needs of the faculty and students in their teaching and learning. These e-resources were pre-loaded onto tablets as a convenient and flexible library solution, a ‘library in your pocket’.
It was especially exciting to witness the practical application of these tablets in both the Tour Guiding classroom and in the field. For example, when Tour Guiding instructors Ludovic Saronga and Patrick Kipinga took their students and the NSCC team on safari, the tablets quickly became a teaching tool. As Saronga pointed out various bird species in the Mikumi National Park, Patrick supplemented the lesson by showing the students photos of the birds and playing the bird calls. Having this portable library of resources at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere, creates a rich learning environment and is a wonderful supplement to the curriculum.
Also, thanks to our creative NSCC IT specialist, Paul Tweed and ICT instructor Selemani Mbaga, a solution was found to bring wireless access to the campus making the tablets an even more robust tool by allowing faculty to access the Internet for an even broader range of resources.
There have been many lessons learned from our experiences with this project which we believe will be of benefit to future International projects as well as enable us to further enhance our own e-book program within the NSCC library system. Asante sana to the faculty and students of VETA Mikumi who have taught us so much and made this project such a memorable experience.

Andrea Stewart
Director, Library Services

Posted by NSCC Intl 03:53 Archived in Tanzania Tagged education travel tanzania international library nova scotia resources electronic e-books Comments (0)

Read All About It!

Assessing Library Services at partner institution VETA Mikumi

DSC_4223.jpgWhen Katie Orr, Director, NSCC International, brought forward the opportunity for NSCC Library Services to participate in the final stages of the EFE project with VETA Mikumi in Tanzania, I was flabbergasted. It hardly seemed real until I set foot on Tanzanian soil and was on the road to Mikumi. The purpose of the trip was for me and two members of the South Shore Public Libraries, Troy Meyers (CEO) and Christina Pottie (Outreach Coordinator), to perform a library needs assessment in partnership with the faculty at VETA Mikumi Campus and make recommendations for the future development of a library to support the students and faculty of the campus. In addition, our goals for this trip included testing the accessibility of electronic resources from our respective library systems and to provide training on Internet research techniques.
We arrived at the airport in Dar es Salaam the night of June 3rd where we were warmly greeted by Mr. Moshi, Director General of Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA). We spent the night in Dar to rest up from our long flight and then set out for Mikumi the next morning with Christopher Ayo (Principal, VETA Mikumi). On our journey, we had the good fortune to be able to visit both a public library in Morogoro (98 kms from Mikumi) and the library at the Morogoro Vocational Teacher College (VTC). This helped us put into context the level of library services available in other areas and to determine if there might be possible future partnerships between these libraries and VETA Mikumi.
Upon arrival at VETA Mikumi that evening we were warmly welcomed and settled into our accommodations on campus. We’re told we’re lucky to be visiting in winter when it’s not quite as hot. I say bring on the heat because those who know me, know that I’m always cold back home. The next day we were introduced to the faculty and set to work to learn all we could from our hosts. The existing library at VETA Mikumi consists of a small collection of print materials which do not adequately support the students and faculty at the present time. In regard to collections, NSCC Library Services and the South Shore Public Libraries investigated expanding access to wider range of resources by connecting VETA Mikumi to electronic resources (e-books, e-journals and open educational resources) pertinent to their curriculum. After spending time testing and troubleshooting with the help of Chrizostem and Joseph, we had great success in connecting to the electronic resources available in our libraries. In regard to NSCC Library Services in particular, this allows the faculty at VETA Mikumi, who have been enrolled in CCEDP, to access resources to support their continued professional development as well as ongoing curriculum development. In addition to testing and troubleshooting the accessibility of e-resources, the team helped in setting up ESL language training software in the Language Lab and provided training sessions on downloading e-books, evaluating resources on the Internet and a demonstration of the Blackberry Playbook tablet. The Blackberry Playbooks were presented to the faculty for use as a support in their teaching. For example, Ludovic Saronga, a tour guiding faculty member, immediately saw the benefit of using the video recording application as a training tool with students out in the field. He demonstrated this on a tour of the Mikumi National Park where we were guided by Saronga, Patrick and several of their tour guiding students. One of the many highlights of the trip!
I’m pleased to say we were successful in achieving our outcomes for this visit and have come away from the experience with a greater appreciation of the challenges the campus faces in terms of Internet connectivity. I certainly learned that patience is the key and going with the flow is an essential skill in working with the sporadic network connections. However, everyone remains positive that Internet access will improve in the near future with the running of fiber optic cable along the highway from Dar es Salaam.
Our next step for this portion of the project is to complete a report of recommendations for a low cost, flexible solution for a library/learning commons based on the requirements outlined by Principal Christopher Ayo and the faculty.
Asante Sana to NSCC International for this wonderful opportunity and rich learning experience, to my colleagues at South Shore Public Libraries for a rewarding and successful collaboration and to everyone at VETA Mikumi for welcoming us to your campus and taking time out of your busy schedules to work with us.

Andrea Stewart
Director, NSCC Library Services

Posted by NSCC Intl 11:48 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania library nova scotia e-books Comments (0)

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