This internship experience provided me with so many opportunities to compliment my current skill set and push me into learning more about designing effective instruction using a variety of instructional design principles and tools. I was also able to view library/instruction practices and goals in a new perspective and work to create services for a different user population than I am used to.
The opportunity to attend Scholarly Resource Meetings each month in addition to attending candidate presentations provided me with the unique opportunity to see what the Brown Library is considering to be major issues in the field of librarianship as they relate to Brown. I was able to learn about off-site storage, e-book concerns, online tutorial formats, librarians as advisors and reference stacks policies, in addition to what sorts of approaches job candidates take in their presentations and how they answer questions during the Q&A session afterwards. These are opportunities I would not have had just working at URI as the concerns and user population at both URI and Brown are slightly different.
There were a few challenges I had during my internship the first is the compressed amount of time for the internship. Because I am graduating this semester, I had to commit to at least twelve hours per week over the three month time span in order to finish my 135 hours. I went to Brown almost every Monday and Friday and committed those two days to entirely working on my projects. It was challenging for me to juggle all of the other academic commitments I had this semester in addition to working at two different institutions. Essentially this is the breakdown of work this semester: 12 hours working at Brown every week; 10 hours a week working at the URI Reference Desk; 15 hours working at the URI Curriculum Materials Library; attending a course twice a week for my Independent Study in avant garde poetry (totaling 3 hours); working on all of the coursework, papers, readings for that Independent Study (perhaps 6+ hours per week); working on my Portfolio/MA Comprehensive Exam for my English MA (pretty much a bazillion hours per week check out all the requirements http://www.uri.edu/artsci/eng/Graduate/MA_Non_Thesis.html); and finally serving as President of Student ALA which had various hours of commitment but we did host four main events this semester so I am pleased. Basically, with all the work I was doing this semester I could barely figure out sometimes whether I was coming or going. I would never recommend to a student to attempt to balance everything like this. It was literally much to much and I think that sometimes I was a bit too stressed out to enjoy all of the exciting work I was doing at Brown.
I learned a lot about my limits as a person and how to manage my time to the mere minutes I had left-over each week. This will most definitely prepare me for the challenges of juggling my time as a professional between meetings, individual projects, group collaboration, serving in professional organizations, preparing conference presentations, publishing research and practically anything else that would come up.
It was challenging for me to approach instruction from a different methodology and process than I am used to. Because the tutorial was to be modular in nature, I had to approach the outline of the instruction pieces from an abstract point-of-view which is not an approach I have ever taken. It was difficult at first for me to imagine how all of the different components connected, but still existed one their own. It was also challenging for me to work on the content without a clear framework in mind. I struggled with understanding and visualizing how the content would “live.” As I wasn’t working on that part initially, I had to work on the content without necessarily seeing the “bigger picture.” I obviously understood the context and the various mediums for the content, but I was not able to actually see the framework first. Arlando’s work to take my contributions and make the content into a tangible videos was inspiring and made me feel that what I was doing was new and significant. This process of working from content first made me much more flexible in thinking about design and I feel I can approach design from a highly abstracted manner which provides a different and important perspective. Not every person I will work with in the future will approach design from the same point-of-view and I have one more approach that I can work from to better understand and collaborate with others.
I’ve also been reflecting on the implications of my experiences and what I’ve learned. First off, I absolutely loved working at Brown and I feel so lucky to have ended up in an instructional design internship there. Having a variety of experiences already (working at two different reference desks, managing the curriculum collection, providing instruction to students, working on LibGuides, etc) I really wanted an internship that would challenge me and provide me with very different opportunities relating to instruction. This was a perfect position for me and I realized that I would be happy in an instructional design position as a professional. And it need not necessarily be a librarian position, but it would be at an academic institution. I was awakened to my passion of working on designing effective instruction (particularly in an online format) and my love of working with different mediums and tools to enhance the instruction. I hope that I will have the opportunity to pursue this new interest in the near future.