By Sarah Madsen-Hardy
As part of Deb Breen’s WRX 150 class on Mobilities this term, students did research at the library—but not the kind one might expect. Her students made Mugar the object of study by designing a collaborative research project around how, when, and why people use the space. Students devised their own methodology – including observations, interviews, and surveys (using BU’s new survey platform, Qualtrics) – and then wrote their findings in several genres.
On March 23, the class presented its research to a captive audience of Mugar librarians. The main act was an impeccably paced PowerPoint featuring charts, graphs, and an embedded video that students created. The class also presented a bound report on its findings to Tom Casserly, Head of Reference and Instructional Services, and unveiled a poster that will be displayed on the first floor of the library. In her introduction to the presentation, Deb said she was “very proud of what the students achieved,” and praised them for their initiative and willingness to work together to complete the project.
Next year, Karen Bourrier will work with Deb and adapt this kind of experiential research assignment to her own WRX 150 topic. She is planning to ask her students to devise a study of accessibility on campus as part of a class on Disability.