Victoria (Torrie) Raish joined Penn State World Campus as an online learning librarian earlier this year. We caught up with her to talk about her new role and how she’s helping online learners succeed.
Please give our readers a sense of your background and teaching interests.
I live close to Happy Valley with my three (soon to be four) daughters and husband. I received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mercyhurst College. I earned my master’s degree in secondary science teaching in the University of Southern California’s graduate program online through the Rossier School of Education. I then began applying for Ph.D. programs at Penn State, and I found an awesome adviser who researched cyber charter schools (K–12 online schools). After some unexpected opportunities, I ended up assisting in the libraries and got my first faculty position as your online learning librarian! My teaching interests are systems thinking, technology, global e-learning, the experience of distance education students and, of course, biology!
What first got you interested in the field of library science?
Believe it or not, I actually do not have my degree in library science. I was first attracted to the field because the library is an adopter of technology, and I held a graduate assistantship designing information literacy digital badges. This assistantship led me to researching learning spaces and how students use space. I have become part of the library community through these opportunities. My Ph.D. field of learning, design, and technology also has many parallels with information and library science in the digital information age.
Can you talk a bit about information literacy as it relates to the library?
Information literacy is knowing how to find, evaluate, manage, use, and create new information from existing sources of information. Information literacy has shifted as more and more information is found in a variety of sources and formats, including many digital resources. Being an information-literate student allows you to effectively take advantage of what the library can do for you and helps you to create better work for your classes.
Can you provide a broad view of the scope of library services offered for Penn State World Campus students?
As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the same services and resources as residential students. Here’s a great list to help you get started:
- use the library web page to search for resources
- look for course reserves
- find e-books
- request that course materials be delivered to your door
- use ask-a-librarian for help with any questions you have regarding the library or resources
- look at subject guides to direct you to quality resources for your courses
- watch tutorials to help you with information literacy concepts
As a Penn State World Campus student, you can also go to ANY Penn State library and use that space for your studying.
How does our library utilize the latest technology?
The library is really an early adopter of the latest technologies. Any technology that could help with instruction, accessing resources, managing information, or connecting distance education students to the library is something that the library considers for use. We are always cautious of bombarding students with too much technology, while at the same time using technology to create a more interactive and engaging experience for students.
What is the one thing you’d like Penn State World Campus students to know about library resources?
Even though you are not physically at the Penn State campuses for the majority of your instruction, you have equal access to the library.
Do you remember what your first library book was?
Clifford, The Babysitter’s Club, and Goosebumps were huge when I was in grade school. The thing I remember most was the Book It program from Pizza Hut!
What’s at the top of your reading list right now?
I have to read a ton of academic work now as I am finishing up my dissertation, but I like to read books that talk about the future and technology, such as Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku.
What is your favorite part about being a Penn Stater?
My favorite parts of being a Penn Stater are the people and opportunities we form connections with all over the world. Penn Staters are all so nice, and they really work together to make an awesome experience for the students.
If you need help with the library, reach out to Torrie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 814-865-0148. You can also use the ask-a-librarian feature and have your question directed to Torrie.