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Survey Says: strong appreciation and support for the library's video
Story Posted by Blake <http://www.eblake.com/> on Wednesday June 11
2003, @ 02:09AM -- Read 1 Times.
from the Watch-This dept.
Second in our "Media Librarianship in the 21 Century" series, aka
Linda Engelberg writes: "A recent survey at UH Manoa Library documented
how heavily faculty on that campus depend on videos for both instruction
and research. The responses to the survey were overwhelmingly positive,
indicating a strong appreciation and support for the library's video
collection and a recognition that today's students often learn more from
video than from lectures and the printed word.
A large gift from the Harry C. and Nee-Chang Wong Foundation in the
mid-eighties enabled the UHM Library to create the very attractive and
spacious Wong Audiovisual Center, a program that the Foundation
continues to support with purchases of equipment and compact shelving.
John Haak, the University Librarian at the time, saw the growing
importance of media to education and strongly supported the purchase of
video. In addition, other campus organizations and funding sources began
contributing to the collection ($79,204 to date). Thus UH got a head
start from the rest of the country in collecting videos.
By the mid-nineties, we had created one of the best video collections in
the world, including the most comprehensive collections anywhere on
Hawaii and most of the Pacific Islands. Our English language documentary
collections on Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia are
the largest in the world. So UH faculty and students, unlike faculty and
students at most universities, have, for years, had access to an
outstanding video collection. The figures show that they make good use
of it; last year's loans from our 22,000-title collection made up 31% of
the UHM Library's total circulation.
The faculty video use survey (Fall 2001) encouraged faculty on the Manoa
campus to address whatever issues interested them regarding how they
were using the collection and how they would like to see it improved.
308 instructors answered the survey, including 35% of the faculty in the
Colleges of Arts and Humanities, Languages and Literature and Social
Sciences. Since most faculty dislike e-mail surveys, this high level of
response was gratifying. In the Departments of Anthropology, Family and
Consumer Science, and Theatre and Dance the response was 100%. Almost
all Ethnic Studies faculty responded along with 50% of the English
Department. The Departments of Art, Communications, Speech, Journalism,
Linguistics, Language, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science,
Religion, Asian Studies, Women's Studies also made substantial showings.
Thirty-five faculty in business and the sciences responded; some
enthusiastically described their use of videos. But, clearly, the areas
of greatest use lie elsewhere.
HOW STUDENTS LEARN
Many faculty talked about how today's students learn. They explained
that students' learning styles have changed significantly in the past
few years; students' attention span for material presented in lectures
has become quite short. In fact, one instructor stated that research
indicates that lectured material has only about a 10% retention rate.
Because they grew up watching television, they learn most effectively
through the visual medium. Another respondent noted that most Americans
get over 60% of their information via television or the internet. His
conclusion was that it is, therefore, impossible to teach any subject
with contemporary relevance without including a media literacy component.
One frequent use of videos for instruction is that of stimulating
discussion; videos give everyone a common ground from which to discuss
the material at hand. Faculty report that students are often reluctant
to talk about course readings. They are, however, open to talking about
videos. Several faculty noted that by raising interest in a subject
through the use of video they are able to bring students back to the
Some of the other teaching uses mentioned (often repeatedly) were:
requiring students to watch videos and write papers on them as a way of
honing their writing and critical analysis skills; encouraging students
to use videos in their classroom presentations; putting a visual face on
an historical period, social situation or the experience of ethnic
groups; showing the human or emotional dimension of family and human
development issues; displaying the characteristic cultural features of a
particular region; allowing students to practice their language
listening skills; and introducing students to highly creative
individuals and their work. One respondent stated that because visual
media has become the dominant form of presenting knowledge in today's
world, teaching media literacy and critical viewing must be an essential
goal in education.
These days it is not surprising that, given access to a large collection
of videos, instructors would use them extensively in their teaching. The
surprise was that so many faculty and students are now using videos in
their research. One respondent noted that he relies heavily on film and
video to explore the emotional depth and texture of whatever subject he
is researching. Ethnomusicology and history students regularly use video
as a resource for thesis, dissertation and project research. This type
of use is common in other departments as well.
Among the many examples of research material mentioned were videos on
the martial arts, feminist documentaries, retellings of the Arthurian
legend, representations of Elizabeth I in film, television shows that
contribute to Queer Theory, documentaries on fashion designers,
photographers, artists, musicians, tapes made in or about the Pacific
Islands and Asia, documentaries about how ethnic or other identity
groups, e.g., the disabled, are portrayed in film and television, and
interviews with contemporary philosophers. The research possibilities of
videos are as rich as those for instruction.
Many faculty members in the humanities and social sciences are now
engaged in cultural studies; there are about 100 faculty at UHM who
study cultural texts as a focus for their research. An American history
professor shared that she is working on cultural constructions of
'lethal women' and that much of this research comes from filmed and
televised representations of women. The same professor is working on a
cultural and intellectual history of the 1950's. Films and television
shows from that decade will constitute some of her most significant
The survey results made it clear that for some faculty the collection
was not providing adequate coverage for their needs. Many complained
about outdated videos. Some of the topics whose representation in the
collection needs improvement were American Indians, feminist and gender
studies, drawing and painting, contemporary architecture, disabilities,
information technology and telecommunication, current mental health
practice, cancer, childbirth, nutrition, special education, writing,
Islam and the Middle East, teaching strategies, linguistics, Greek and
Roman mythology, aging, cross-cultural studies, animal learning, operant
conditioning, obesity, electrical engineering, landslides and
earthquakes, social science research methods, poverty, diversity, art
history, puppetry, and theatre production. The faculty expect that the
video collection should encompass all subject areas taught by the
university that are appropriate to the video format.
Among the comments gleaned from the survey results were four pages
expressing general appreciation for the Library's video collection and
the AV Center's service. They described the collection in glowing terms,
describing it as an "immeasurable service," a "vital, valuable and
intellectually crucial resource, and "one of the most valuable resources
available to this university." They indicated their awareness that few
universities offer such a great service. Indeed, many see the
Audiovisual Center as indispensable to their own education as well as
that of their students.
Another four pages of comments addressed the issue of funding; these
responses mentioned their fear of budget cuts and their hopes that there
be maximum budgetary support for the Center. In conclusion, the results
of this informal, but very successful, survey left no doubts as to the
importance of video to a large segment of the UHM campus's instructional
For further information you may contact Linda Engelberg, Video
Librarian, UHM Library, 808-956-5414, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT DO THE FACULTY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY'S VIDEO COLLECTION?
I can't stress enough how important films are for my teaching and
students' learning; I include films in every course I teach.
The Wong Audiovisual Collection stands as a testament to the best our
university has to offer.
The center is almost a do-it-yourself university within the university.
Your ability to keep up with current materials is vital to teaching and
Supporting Wong AV Center -- and supporting it generously -- is
supporting undergraduate education.
I strongly favor expanded funding and support for AV materials and would
be happy to do whatever is necessary to see that this happens.
Wong Audiovisual Center
University of Hawaii
Honolulu, HI 96822
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