Meet John Shank, Digital Learning Engagement Coordinator

John Shank has a long history in higher education, much of it involving library-related roles. Earlier this year, he began serving as Digital Learning Engagement Coordinator at the Penn State University Libraries, a position that will allow him to support Penn State World Campus students.

We asked John to share some insight into his experience and what most excites him about his new role.

Tell us about your background.

I have worked in higher education and academic libraries for nearly three decades. During that time, I worked at a community college, small liberal arts colleges, and in 2001, I came to Penn State Berks. I started as an Instructional Design Librarian. This faculty position was one of the first of its kind in the country and focused on connecting teaching and learning groups, IT (Information Technology), and the library to enhance student learning by integrating pedagogical sound educational technologies into the teaching and learning process. I partnered with the Berks Campus CIO and Academic Dean to establish and direct the Berks Center for Learning and Teaching. In 2014, I was selected and appointed to be the head of the Boscov-Lakin Information Commons & Thun Library at Penn State Berks. Most recently, in January of this year, I was appointed the Digital Learning Engagement Coordinator. One of this new position’s responsibilities is to serve as a University Libraries contact point for World Campus students, faculty, and administration.

How will you be supporting World Campus students in this role?

I will be working to further integrate and increase the libraries’ support, resources, and engagement across World Campus learning experiences.

A few examples of this include:

  • helping students access library services like “ASK A LIBRARIAN” that help them with identifying and accessing useful course and research materials such as books, magazines, journals, videos, etc.
  • working to further integrate Library Guides and instructional resources that teach and guide students on many topics and course assignments
  • advocating for increased access to digital materials and Open Educational Resources, such as Open Textbooks, that can also reduce students’ educational expenses

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am a very curious person and enjoy learning more about the world around me. I also enjoy helping others explore, discover, and learn new things. This is why I am passionate about higher education and the roles libraries play in helping educators and students find and access high-quality sources of information that help them grow their knowledge, be successful learners, and ultimately create new knowledge to share with the world.

What would you like World Campus students to know about library resources available to them?

If you are looking for library services and resources to help you with your assignments and research papers/projects, please start with the following sites:

  • World Campus and Penn State Online — a resource for students enrolled in World Campus and Penn State Online courses to access useful educational materials through the Libraries’ online catalog, databases, and document delivery services
  • Online Students Use of the Library — your starting point for access to all that Penn State libraries can offer you as an online learner

Are there any new services or resources that students might not know about?

Penn State is increasingly supporting the adoption of high-quality open educational resources such as Open Textbooks. I look forward to working with the World Campus community to support the use of these resources that provide increased ease of access and lower the cost of course materials, too. Learn more about Penn State’s efforts to support Open Educational Resources and Low-Cost Materials.

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